Craig Sams of Green and Blacks gets angry

April 17th, 2007 by Ben Goldacre in alternative medicine, bad science, chocolate, craig sams, gillian mckeith, hate mail, nutritionists, onanism | 104 Comments »

Craig Sams is the founder of Green and Blacks. He made his money from chocolates, ice cream, and biscuits, and he is very angry with me for questioning the science behind Dr Gillian McKeith PhD and their corporate world.

This gem is from Natural Products magazine, the in-house trade publication of the nutritionism industry. I’ve included the original advertising from the page it appeared on, so you didn’t miss out on the context. That’s correct, by the way, your eyes do not deceive you: a whole page of the leading trade publication from this billion pound industry is devoted to me. Read the rest of this entry »

The Pill Problem

March 31st, 2007 by Ben Goldacre in adverts, bad science, medicalisation, nutritionists | 29 Comments »

Ben Goldacre
Saturday March 31, 2007
The Guardian

Direct to consumer drug adverts in America are a proper joy, and especially the TV ones: your life is in disarray, your restless legs/migraine/cholesterol have taken over, all is panic, there is no sense any where. Then, when you take the right pill, suddenly the screen brightens up into a warm yellow, granny’s laughing, the kids are laughing, the dog’s tail is wagging, some nauseating child is playing with the hose on the lawn spraying a rainbow of water into the sunshine and laughing his head off as all your relationships suddenly become successful again. Life is good.

They even have celebrity endorsements for drugs, on chat shows, conveying important treatment information on odds ratios and relative risk – if I can slip into 1990s teen slang for a moment – “not”. Read the rest of this entry »

Matthias Rath In London

March 26th, 2007 by Ben Goldacre in africa, bad science, matthias rath, nutritionists | 45 Comments »

Here’s a thing: video of Matthias Rath speaking at a rally in London on Saturday March 24 2007 to rapturous applause.

For those who don’t remember, Matthias Rath is the German vitamin entrepreneur who sells his proprietary vitamin pills to people dying of AIDS in South Africa Read the rest of this entry »

Patrick Holford – “Food Is Better Than Medicine” South Africa Tour Blighted By HIV Claim

February 27th, 2007 by Ben Goldacre in africa, bad science, matthias rath, nutritionists, patrick holford | 64 Comments »

Here’s a bit of a data dump of some of the critical news coverage that Patrick Holford’s “Food Is Better Than Medicine” tour of South Africa has picked up. They’re not very impressed in Africa by his claim that vitamin C is better than AZT, and Holford seems a bit conflicted over it himself. Here’s a typical news quote…

He has also denied news reports which he said implied he had been saying vitamin C was more effective in treating Aids than the ARV medication, AZT. “This is not true,” he said at the weekend. “I have never made this claim. “What I have said in the latest edition of my book, the New Optimum Nutrition Bible… is that ‘AZT, the first prescribable anti-HIV drug, is potentially harmful and proving less effective than vitamin C’.”

And reassuringly, meanwhile, Rath researcher Raxit Jariwalla seems to have backed down somewhat. Here is his Read the rest of this entry »

What’s wrong with Dr Gillian McKeith PhD?

February 18th, 2007 by Ben Goldacre in adverts, bad science, channel 4, gillian mckeith, nutritionists, PhDs, doctors, and qualifications, stifling criticism | 312 Comments »

For years, ‘Dr’ Gillian McKeith has used her title to sell TV shows, diet books and herbal sex pills. Now the Advertising Standards Authority has stepped in. Yet the real problem is not what she calls herself, but the mumbo-jumbo she dresses up as scientific fact, says Ben Goldacre

Ben Goldacre
Monday February 12, 2007
The Guardian

Call her the Awful Poo Lady, call her Dr Gillian McKeith PhD: she is an empire, a multi-millionaire, a phenomenon, a prime-time TV celebrity, a bestselling author. She has her own range of foods and mysterious powders, she has pills to give you an erection, and her face is in every health food store in the country. Scottish Conservative politicians want her to advise the government. The Soil Association gave her a prize for educating the public. And yet, Read the rest of this entry »

Enough. Patrick. Holford.

February 17th, 2007 by Ben Goldacre in africa, bad science, matthias rath, nutritionists, patrick holford | 44 Comments »

Ben Goldacre
Saturday February 17, 2007
The Guardian

Look, I realise this is beginning to feel like one of those big containers where the Americans play Britney at you over and over again until you confess to crimes you haven’t committed. I’m totally ready to Read the rest of this entry »

The Truth About Nutritionists

February 10th, 2007 by Ben Goldacre in bad science, gillian mckeith, nutritionists, references | 37 Comments »

Crikey, I’ve got a column in the BMJ!

BMJ 2007;334:292 (10 February), doi:10.1136/bmj.39118.546308.59
Observations
MEDIA WATCH
Tell us the truth about nutritionists
Media nutritionism distracts us from social inequality and the real causes of ill health

They’re certainly keen to praise themselves, but if you really wanted to do some primary prevention work in the community, would you start with the media nutritionists? The answer, for reasons of increasing seriousness, is no. Read the rest of this entry »

The Internal Examiner

February 3rd, 2007 by Ben Goldacre in bad science, gillian mckeith, nutritionists, references | 85 Comments »

Ben Goldacre
Saturday February 3, 2007
The Guardian

As the awful poo lady goes into her fourth series on Channel 4, I can’t stop thinking about that PhD. I’m talking about Dr Gillian McKeith PhD, of course. It’s from a non-accredited correspondence college in the US, so no trustworthy government body attests to their standards. But I’m open minded, and it was always perfectly possible that Read the rest of this entry »

Shouting At The Irish

January 31st, 2007 by Ben Goldacre in bad science, gillian mckeith, nutritionists, onanism | 21 Comments »

I was on The Panel RTE-2 in Ireland last Monday, video below. It’s a pretty funny show, I sat in the green room being fed peeled fruit by naked groupies wondering what it would be like to be the least funny person in the room. Luckily we joined forces and devised an innovative public health promotion strategy.

the panel

Picking up this show online, and watching some of the other excellent RTE stuff from the same site, really makes you realise how rubbish most telly on the telly is. Recently I’ve been procrastinating my way through archive.org where there’s a load of proper high resolution vintage material (discretely packaged up with a creative commons political agenda). Carnivorous Plants is excellent early creationist nonsense, and Nosferatu is as good as they say, in fact they’ve got some great old feature films, as well as cracking trailers like The 5,000 Fingers of Dr T.

For the more pretentiously minded, Ubu has Read the rest of this entry »

World Wide Weirdness Shootout – updated

January 27th, 2007 by Ben Goldacre in africa, alternative medicine, bad science, matthias rath, MMR, nutritionists, religion, scare stories | 59 Comments »

Ben Goldacre
Saturday January 27, 2007
The Guardian

I’m not a complicated man – as my girlfriend could happily tell you – but I do get a bit worried about these stories I’ve been emailed, where African people say something stupid about the science of Aids and we all laugh at them. To be fair, the facts don’t make it easy for me to be this sanctimonious. The Gambian president, Yahya Jammeh, has just this week disclosed that he can personally cure HIV, Aids and asthma, using charisma, magic and charms. “The cure is a day’s treatment” he says: “asthma, five minutes”. HIV and Aids cases can be treated on Thursdays, and within three days Read the rest of this entry »