Ex Emmerdale star Hayley Tamaddon: 'I ate 2500 calories of fried chicken a day!'

Ex Emmerdale star Hayley Tamaddon chows down on a diet of junk food for ITV's new experiment
Hayley Tamaddon chows down on a diet of junk food for ITV's new experiment (Image credit: Tony Ward)

Hayley Tamaddon, who was Emmerdale's Del Dingle, on why her own health battle made her sign up for ITV’s fast food experiment

Most of us know that fast food isn’t good for our health and wellbeing, but what would actually happen to our bodies if we ate it for every meal for three whole weeks? That’s the idea behind ITV’s new one-off documentary, The Junk Food Experiment, which sees six celebrities take part in a scientific overfeeding study, which lifts the lid on how junk food affects physical and mental health. Taking part are former Emmerdale and Corrie star Hayley Tamaddon, singer Peter Andre, The Chase’s Shaun Wallace, Olympian Tess Sanderson, politician Nadine Dorries and Made in Chelsea star Hugo Taylor. Over 21 days, they will spend a week eating fried chicken, one week devouring pizza, and another eating burgers.

Throughout the trial, doctor Michael Mosley and a team of medics, monitor the celebs and, surprisingly, the results aren’t dominated by weight gain.

Here ex Emmerdale star Hayley Tamaddon, 42, reveals why the experiment has given her food for thought…

Why did you sign up for the show?

Hayley Tamaddon: "I’m quite partial to a little bit of fast food, and used to eat quite a lot of it before I was diagnosed with severe irritable bowel syndrome [IBS]. I was diagnosed a few years ago after I ended up in hospital numerous times in extreme pain. Since then, my diet has completely changed and it’s worked wonders. When this came up I thought, maybe if I test myself like a guinea pig it might help someone else with IBS. Weirdly, I was looking forward to seeing what would happen to my insides!"

Was the ‘diet’ a big commitment?

HT: "It’s a massive commitment. I love fast food but I wasn’t anticipating how much we’d have to eat to make the experiment work. In my first week I ate 2500 calories of fried chicken a day. It was tougher than I thought it would be. I had heart palpitations, very little energy and my tummy was in agony. The doctor noticed my statistics started to change. Basically that’s where it all went downhill for me!"

Not all the celebrities can stomach the experiment. Can you guess who leaves and who remains?

Not all the celebrities can stomach the experiment. Can you guess who leaves and who remains? (Image credit: Tony Ward)

What did you learn?

HT: "It’s really made me think about certain things I eat. For my part, I hope it will help people with IBS. If you suffer tummy issues after eating, go to the doctor and get checked. Maybe you’re gluten intolerant or have IBS. Everyone is different. You don’t need to be in pain. There isn’t a cure but you can control it."

Is there a lot of junk food on filming sets?

HT: "The Coronation Street canteen is really healthy! There’s an amazing choice of salads, vegetables and fish – although there are chocolate and chips if you want them. I’d return Corrie in a heartbeat; it holds a special place in my heart."

On a different note, are you watching the current series of Dancing on Ice?

HT: "Of course! I always get slightly envious that I’m not there. I was lucky enough to do it twice [Hayley won the 2010 series and the All Stars spin-off in 2014]. I’d do it every year if I could! Getting taught to skate by legends Torvill and Dean makes it a magical show to be part of."

The Junk Food Experiment, featuring ex Emmerdale star Hayley, is on next Wednesday at 9pm.

Elaine Reilly
Writer for TV Times, What’s On TV, TV & Satellite Week and What To Watch

With twenty years of experience as an entertainment journalist, Elaine writes for What’s on TV, TV Times, TV & Satellite Week and www.whattowatch.com covering a variety of programs from gardening and wildlife to documentaries and drama.


As well as active involvement in the WTW family’s social media accounts, she has been known to get chatty on the red carpet and wander into the odd podcast. 

After a day of previewing TV, writing about TV and interviewing TV stars, Elaine likes nothing than to relax… by watching TV.