If you're a regular reader of this blog, you know that my family used the Maudsley approach to help our 14-year-old daughter recover from anorexia. (Here's a link to the whole story as published in the New York Times Magazine.)
In Maudsley, parents take charge of their child's eating while they're in recovery. So it was up to my husband and me to devise meal plans for our daughter. Like most anorexics, she needed a lot of calories each day to gain weight--upwards of 4,000 calories a day during one phase of recovery. Because the act of eating was so terrifying and difficult for her, and because, like most anorexics, she endured many stomachaches, our strategy was to get as many calories as possible into the smallest volume of food.
What this meant, practically, was that our daughter ate a lot of high-quality, high-fat and -protein foods: Almond butter. Ice cream. Mac and cheese. (Some of our favorite recipes are here.)
Now this study confirms our instincts about what to feed our daughter. Fat, it seems, matters a lot when it comes to recovery from anorexia. Recovering anorexics who ate higher-density (translation: higher fat) foods were less vulnerable to relapse. I could speculate about why, but the bottom line is that for true recovery, you've got to eat fat. Lots of it. Not just x number of calories, but high-fat calories.
Fat can make the difference between true recovery and a lifetime of suffering.