Starving Secrets with Tracey Gold



Eating disorder docuseries is informative and supportive.

What parents need to know

Positive messages

The series highlights the physical and mental impact of eating disorders on a person's life in the context of helping sufferers accept help and heal.

Positive role models

Gold is open about her personal battles with eating disorders, and uses her experience to help encourage and support people struggling with recovery. Other experts discuss ways to help sufferers heal.


It's not violent, but disturbing behaviors like purging, are shown.


Contains non-sexual images of near-naked bodies (no private parts are visible), which are often emaciated. People often pull up their shirts or are seen in hospital gowns examining themselves or being examined. These images are offered within the context of highlighting the impact of eating disorders.


Occasional "hell" or "damn" is audible.


Apple computers and Southwest Airline planes are visible, but their logos are not shown. Medical centers like Rebecca's House Eating Disorder Treatment Center in Los Angeles and RainRock Eating Disorder Treatment Center in Eugene, Oregon, are featured.

Drinking, drugs, & smoking

Some folks with eating disorders smoke rather than eat.

Parents Need to Know

Parents need to know that this reality series deals with eating disorders in explicit detail. While it offers a lot of constructive information on how to identify and address eating disorders, it also contains disturbing images of people's struggles with the disease, including scenes of purging, over-exercising, and images of starved bodies. Occasionally smoking is visible. It's strong material for younger viewers, and parents will likely want to watch with their teens as a way of encouraging discussions about body image issues and other related themes, as well as help teens process the emotional anguish expressed by sufferers.

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What's the story?

STARVING SECRETS WITH TRACEY GOLD features people who are suffering from eating disorders like anorexia nervosa and bulimia. Actress Tracey Gold, who has successfully battled these diseases, reaches out to others who are battling their own disorders in hopes of getting them the help they need. Cameras follow as individuals binge, purge, over exercise, and engage in other behaviors that are a result of their eating disorder. With Gold's help, they enter treatment and continue their difficult journey towards overcoming their illness one step at a time. Throughout it all, Gold, specialists, and those in the grips of their disease offer some insight into what living with an eating disorder is like, and shed light on the physical and emotional impact of the disease. At the end of each episode, viewers get to see how the recovery process is going for the people who entered treatment.

Is it any good?


The series takes a troubling look at how eating disorders, which affect approximately 25 million Americans from every walk of life, manifest themselves in different ways. It highlights the various triggers that can lead to life-threatening behaviors like consistent fasting, over-exercising, and binging. It also underscores how difficult the process of recovery is, and how insurance companies can fail patients who desperately need help and/or relapse.

It has lots of voyeuristically uncomfortable moments, especially when sufferers of the disease begin to purge or openly resist treatment as a way of coping with their pain. But it is also designed to take a quick, supportive look at these experiences so that viewers unfamiliar with eating disorders can learn something from them. Others may find themselves thinking about their own relationship with food, exercise, and their bodies.

Families can talk about...

  • Families can talk about how the media contributes to kids' and teens' sense of a healthy body image. How much influence do you think magazines, movies, and celebrities have on how teens view their bodies? What kinds of stereotypical images of so-called healthy bodies does the media perpetuate?

  • What does this show teach about eating disorders that you didn't already know? Does someone have to be extremely skinny to have an eating disorder? How can we recognize the symptoms? If you think that you or someone you know are struggling with an eating disorder, who can you turn to for help?

  • Why do you think people agree to be on this show? What do they stand to gain or lose?

TV details

Cast:Tracey Gold
Network:Lifetime Television
Genre:Reality TV
TV rating:TV-14
Available on:Streaming

This review of Starving Secrets with Tracey Gold was written by

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Learning ratings

  • Best: Really engaging; great learning approach.
  • Very Good: Engaging; good learning approach.
  • Good: Pretty engaging; good learning approach.
  • Fair: Somewhat engaging; OK learning approach.
  • Not for Learning: Not recommended for learning.
  • Not for Kids: Not age-appropriate for kids; not recommended for learning.

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What parents and kids say

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Adult Written byRachelB January 7, 2012

Good show but not for kids

This is a good show for understanding eating disorders, but not for kids. It could potentially teach them how to have an eating disorder.
Parent Written byStopthemadness November 30, 2011

A View of Eating Disorders that is unexpectedly realistic for reality TV

Intense and scary - but paints a picture of a disease that's moving and thoughtful
What other families should know
Great messages


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