Unfavourable Mention in Observer

June 12th, 2005 by Ben Goldacre in bad science, gillian mckeith, nutritionists | 3 Comments »

Promo article for McKeith in today’s Observer describes me as a “journalist” and then goes off to find some scientists
to quote. Entertainingly unattributed Bad Science stories throughout. By “Rachel Cooke”.


So where did she train? McKeith’s CV has been the subject of some debate in the press. Her PhD, for instance, was gained via a distance learning programme at a non-accredited college, the American College of Holistic Nutrition, now known as the Clayton College of Natural Health. The fact that this college is non-accredited means that the US secretary for education does not recognise its degrees for the purpose of educational grants. In some states, the holder of a degree from such an establishment would not be allowed to practise as a clinical nutritionist. McKeith has never published any properly evaluated scientific research, not even her PhD thesis. As the journalist Ben Goldacre pointed out in his Bad Science column in the Guardian, McKeith’s much-vaunted certified membership of the American Association of Nutritional Consultants is also a peculiar boast. Ben Goldacre managed to buy the same membership for his dead cat via the internet for the bargain price of $60.

Of course, none of this would matter if all the advice that McKeith was handing out was based on scientific fact. But this is not always the case. Much of what she says is patent nonsense. In the past, she has informed us that a seed contains ‘all of the energy necessary to make a fully grown plant’, that ‘chlorophyll is high in oxygen’ which means eating green leaves will ‘really oxygenate the blood’, and that ‘the colours of foods represent vibrational energies… foods which are orange in colour have similar vibrational energies and even similar nutrient make-up’. ”

If you like what I do, and you want me to do more, you can: buy my books Bad Science and Bad Pharma, give them to your friends, put them on your reading list, employ me to do a talk, or tweet this article to your friends. Thanks! ++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++

3 Responses

  1. ann cummins said,

    March 25, 2006 at 5:50 pm

    I think she is doing a super job.Just look at all those people at risk of serious health problems,rebounding to great shape and health,in such a short time.Who cares where she qualified and what she knows or doesn’t know. She gets the results and saves lives.The patients always look great and by what they say,they feel great too.She always consults a medical doctor before starting any regime with a patient.What more can she do.!!
    Well done Gillian

  2. Ben Goldacre said,

    March 25, 2006 at 6:38 pm

    you’re right on time with that particular comment ann:


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