Richard Osman says his addiction to food is ‘identical’ to drugs and alcohol

Richard Osman says his addiction to food is ‘identical’ to drugs and alcohol

Richard Osman has opened up about his addiction to food on Desert Island Discs.

The TV personality and author spoke about his struggle with food during his appearance on the BBC Radio programme today (26 December).

He said that food addiction is “identical” to alcohol and drug addiction, but that it does not have the same “doomed glamour”.

“The secrecy of consuming these things, the shame behind it [is the same],” said the Pointless co-presenter.

“If an alcoholic came to my house they would be shocked to see bottles of gin and bottles of wine, completely untouched,” Osman said. “Because an alcoholic couldn’t have that in their house.

“And if I came to your house and there were crisps or chocolate bars untouched in the fridge, I’d be like, ‘What? How are they untouched?’ – if I’m going through an episode.”

He added: “And food is a tricky one, because booze and drugs you can just give up. [It is] unbelievably difficult but [with] a zero tolerance policy.

“Whereas if you’re addicted to food or to love or all these things that are sustaining, you do still have to have them, and so it’s quite a hard one to work your way out of.”


Osman recalled going to therapy in his thirties to help with his food addiction. The presenter said he believes that he will struggle with these issues for the rest of his life.

He said: “I’m either controlling it or not controlling it at any given time, and these days I control it more often than I don’t, but it’s actually quite hard and sometimes you do slip, but I try my best and I certainly have no shame about it now.”

Osman encouraged those listening who may “overeat” to address the issue and “face it head on”.

“That’s a difficult journey and it doesn’t come naturally to me, but the more I try it, the happier I get,” said the presenter.

For anyone struggling with the issues raised in this piece, eating disorder charity Beat’s helpline is available 365 days a year on 0808 801 0677. You can visit their website here.