I spoke to women of all ages for my research, but it was the language of those in my age group — in their 40s, 50s and above — that troubled me the most.

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Or cut out whole food groups in pursuit of clearer skin, a flatter stomach or smaller behind.

After all, when you put a group of women of a certain age together it’s only a matter of time before talk turns to the size of their bottoms and their latest dieting attempts.

She’s a devotee of clean eating, which fixates on the quality of food and pitches ‘goodies’, such as kale and nuts, against the so-called ‘baddies’, carbs and pasta.

To help her desperately ill daughter, this mother must face up to the fact she is herself obsessed with food and accept this has the power to damage not just her own psyche, but also that of her impressionable child.

The Food Of Love (Lake Union Publishing) tackles some uncomfortable truths.

The protagonist is a mother of an anorexic teenage girl who is herself obsessed with her daily diet.So no, of course you’re not bulimic or anorexic, as those are two conditions at the extreme of the eating disorder spectrum.But can you still say that your relationship with food is entirely healthy and normal?It goes without saying, of course, that this isn’t you.But stop for a moment and read that definition again, which is the NHS description of an eating disorder.Officially recognised symptoms of an eating disorder include being fixated with food: consumed with what you mustn’t eat and being obsessed with your weight and body shape.