Eccentric, brilliant, bollocks

August 12th, 2004 by Ben Goldacre in bad science, channel 4, gillian mckeith, nutritionists, PhDs, doctors, and qualifications, references | 4 Comments »

Ben Goldacre
Thursday August 12, 2004
The Guardian

· Right. Who shall we pick on this week? How about Dr Gillian McKeith (PhD): she is number one in the bestseller charts, after all, and she does have a weekly show on Channel 4 where “the eccentric but brilliant doctor”, as her management firm calls her, examines people’s faeces, in test tubes no less, and gives them technical nutritional advice, for dealing with their health issues. “Gillian holds certificates, degrees and a doctorate (PhD) from top colleges and universities,” says her website ( She has claimed to have a PhD from the American College of Nutrition. In fact, she does not have a PhD from there. Her PR says this was an isolated, accidental error and an intern might have got the name of the college wrong. This is not an isolated error: she also claims to have a degree from the ACN in her book, Dr Gillian McKeith’s Living Food for Health. Where is her PhD actually from? The same place as her Masters degree: the Clayton College of Natural Health. The cost of the course is currently $5,300 (nearly £3,000), online or by post. There is, if you’re interested, a discount if you pay for your Masters at the same time. It’s a non-accredited correspondence course, which is not recognised by the US secretary for education for the purpose of educational grants.

· What about the rest of her CV? It has been removed from the web. But, fortunately, you can still see it, in Google’s cache ( or on other sites such as How about her research projects? As she says, “Dr Gillian McKeith (PhD), conducts key clinical research, publishes findings.” “Studied effects of aphanizomenon-flos aqua on childhood learning disabilities and behavioural problems (Nebraska, USA; and El Salvador school system)” is particularly impressive. It goes on. “Studied effects of stressors on ageing and immunity with Dr Robert Pollack (MD), Temple University Medical School (Philadelphia, USA).” She may well have published findings, but none of these feature on Medline, the universally-used database of academic peer-reviewed research publications, which also, since you ask, includes alternative medicine and nutrition journals.

· According to her PR (Max Clifford Associates) Dr Gillian McKeith (PhD) is “enormously proud” of her PhD, and feels that it is equivalent to any other PhD. By the way, Channel 4 has commissioned another series from her.

You can still read Dr Gillian McKeith’s original CV here:

A number of people have contacted me to suggest I was misrepresenting the contents of the CV. I have no interest in correcting them one by one, so to prevent any confusion, here is Gillian McKeith’s original CV as it appeared on her management site in 2004.

Dr Gillian McKeith is a world-renowned nutritionist with her own range of products, who, from June 2004 is presenting a new prime-time series on Channel 4 called “You Are What You Eat”.

The show literally gets to the bottom of some of the country’s worst eaters as Dr McKeith revamps their eating habits, changes their lives and does for them what “How Clean Is Your House” did for homes!

It will be accompanied by a Penguin book, already tipped to be a best-seller, which will offer non-nonsense nutritional advice by the eccentric but brilliant doctor.
IPrior to this, Dr McKeith presented a TV strand series “Dr Gillian McKeith’s Feel Fab Forever” on Granada TV. She went on to present a strand called “Hollywood Health” on ITV’s “This Morning”. She was then the Healthy Living Expert for two years on BBC1’s “Good Morning”.
She is also widely acclaimed in the United States and she was the Celebrity Health Reporter for the network “Joan Rivers Show” for more than two years as well as being host and Executive Producer of “Healthline Across America”, a nationally syndicated radio show, which aired for five years. On that programme, Gillian interviewed celebrities about their health and lifestyles.

Dr McKeith is a best-selling author. As well as her forthcoming book “You Are What You Eat”, she has also written “The Miracle Superfood: Wild Blue-Green Algae” and “Dr Gillian McKeith’s Living Food for Health”. She is a regular columnist for the magazine “Slimmer, Healthier, Fitter”.

Dr McKeith is a practising Clinical Nutritionist and Director of the McKeith Clinic in London where she conducts key clinical research, publishes findings, and consults with patients at her busy practice. Born and raised in the Highlands of Scotland, Dr McKeith spent more than 15 years in the USA.


* PhD, Doctorate in Nutrition; American College of Nutrition (Birmingham, USA)
* MSc Nutrition, Masters Degree in Nutrition; American College of Nutrition
* BA, Bachelors Degree in Neuroscience Linguistics & Language; University of Edinburgh (Scotland, UK)
* MA, Masters Degree in Health Systems Management; University of Pennsylvania – Ivy League (Philadelphia, USA)



London School of Acupuncture (London, UK)

Kailish Centre of Oriental Medicine – Kampo Herbology (London, UK)

East West College of Herbs – (San Diego, USA)

Australasian College of Health Sciences (Portland, USA) – pending Diploma in Herbal Medicine



American Naturopathic Medical Association (ANMA)

American Association of Nutritional Consultants (AANC)

American Herbalist Guild (AHG)



Worked with Linus Pauling (PhD), world’s leading researcher in Vitamin C and Nobel Prize winner (New York, USA).

Studied effects of aphanizomenon-flos aqua on childhood learning disabilities and behavioural problems (Nebraska, USA; and El Salvador school system).

Studied effects of stressors on aging and immunity with Dr Robert Pollack (MD), Temple University Medical School (Philadelphia, USA).

Minneapolis, USA – 6,000 people in attendance. Sofia, BULGARIA – 7000 in attendance. London, ENGLAND Vitality Show (UK’s largest health conference), which is sold out every year to packed public audiences. Natural Products Europe Expo (Britain’s largest trade event). Invited to speak each year.





BEST NEW PRODUCT OF THE YEAR for nutritional formulation –Natural Products Europe

Dr Gillian McKeith writes regular columns for national health magazines including:


Here’s Health Magazine

The Health Store Magazine

Healthy Magazine (Britain’s largest circulation health magazine)

Go Healthy Magazine

Natural Lifestyle Magazine

Living Food Magazine

Slimmer Healthier Fitter