I couldn't make this stuff up: how does Dr Gillian McKeith manage it?

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'Dr' Gillian McKeith I owe a lot to Ben Goldacre, author of the 'Bad Science' column in The Guardian. It wasn't so long ago that my lovely wife, Sarah, decided we needed to eat more healthily.

She was right. We did.

Now 'Dr' Gillian McKeith is a 'nutritionist' held in high regard by many. Channel 4 even has a show in which she goes round to people's houses, investigates their diets (and, erm, their faeces) and points out that they eat rubbish and need to eat better food.

Like that wasn't blindingly obvious.

But since Channel 4 has such faith in her, we thought, surely her advice would be worth following.

No sooner can you say 'we loves a nice book shop', then a copy of one of Dr Gillian's books was sitting in Sarah's hands and Dr G's advice was being followed. This included many things including eating lots and lots of blue-green algae pills every day, and regular shots of aloe vera.

Have you ever had aloe vera? Imagine what evil must taste like. Then take that thought and make it real. You now have aloe vera. For the record, ten out of ten people we know who tried it said “That's the most disgusting thing I've tasted in my whole life.”

But we were following the book so...

Anyway, one day Sarah was reading bits to me. I can't remember the exact words, but one sentence set off massive warning bells in my head. Dr Gillian was claiming that something was bad because it contained “inorganic iron”. Now, even giving her some benefit of the doubt (eg she meant that it was iron from inorganic sources or she was using the phrase informally), that still struck me as strange.

Iron, of course, is inorganic. Only things that are based on carbon are organic (hence “inorganic chemistry” and “organic chemistry”, the latter being the study of anything with carbon in it, the former being the study of everything else). To anyone with so much as an A-level in chemistry or biology, let alone a degree, implying that “organic iron” is better than “inorganic iron” is kind of like saying that “light-emitting lasers” are not as good as “dark-emitting lasers”.

A quick Google search and Dr Ben Goldacre's remarkable research into Dr Gillian popped up on my screen. Oh the horror. Dr Gillian's PhD is as worthless as a “Charles Kennedy: 10 more years!” T-shirt and her degree is in modern languages (or something equally arts-based).

I forward the links to Sarah and before you know it, algae pills and aloe vera are in the bin. Thank you Dr Ben Goldacre. Thank you Sarah.

But today, I read in the New Scientist the following words of wisdom from Dr Gillian's book Miracle Superfood: Wild blue-green algae:

Some algae enthusiasts believe that if you eat blue-green algae on a regular basis, you will connect with something essential and ancient. Richard France, a macrobiotic counselor, states it is not inconceivable that on subtle vibrational levels, unique genetic memories and messages of harmony and peace are stored in algae, which have grown undisturbed for aeons in a pristine environment. This information may be passed on to us at a cellular level, encouraging harmony among our own cellular family.... [algae] may even have special vibrational fields. Dr Gabriel Cousins describes it as subtle, organised energy fields. These vibrational energy fields are the life forces of the algae, which he believes have the ability to regenerate mind, body and immune forces.

Odd that in the whole time I was taking those pills, at no point did I feel connected to plankton, algae, amoeba or any other primeval-y organisms. Maybe I just didn't buy enough of them.

Or maybe, just maybe, she's talking complete cobblers. Does she even have as much as a GCSE in “combined sciences and woodwork”? Had I read those words before the diet of unpleasantry began, we could have avoided giving her even as much as a book's worth of cash. Still, at least we didn't give money to Mr Yousaff.

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The Advertising Standards Council has ruled that a leaflet claiming Chinese medicine is safer that conventional medicine and can cure 66 conditions, including lung cancer and depression, was both dangerous and misleading.

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This is what we want: more stuff attacking the algae-queen herself, 'Dr' Gillian McKeith. I've already ranted about her, so I won't bother doing it again. Read More

You know 'Dr' Gillian McKeith, right? That nasty, humourless woman with the fake doctorate who turns up on Channel 4 to look at people's poo and pronounce judgement on them? Yes, her. I've written a lot about her elsewhere,... Read More

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This page contains a single entry by Rob Buckley published on December 15, 2005 2:18 PM.

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