Clean science:The Dirty Truth

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Did anyone see the BBC programme last week, Horizon ‘Clean Eating: The Dirty Truth’?

I watched it, anything to do with health and food is my thing, but just from the title I knew it wasn’t going to flatter those trying to help people reclaim their health. And I was right.

It didn’t help that celebrity advocates of different food recipe books declined to be interviewed, people such as the Hemsley sisters and Natasha Corrett, which gave their causes an air of hidden agendas. This lent itself well to the obvious message of the programme, to discredit anyone trying different ways to sort the mess we’re in on the health front globally.

The presenter is Dr Giles Yeo, a pleasant, direct chap who is easy to watch. He is, of course, coming from a science based background, from which the doctors in our health system are trained. He said that he needed proper facts to believe any claims made. Everyone he interviewed was asked for the proof. The research that backed up their message. And rightly so. But when there was evidence it wasn’t enough. When speaking to the author of ‘Wheat Belly’ cardiologist William Davis, Yeo argued that gluten, or specifically the gliadin protein in wheat didn’t have an effect on everyone. Cut to a leading researcher in Coeliac disease. We saw tests done on ┬ámice (not humans) and concluding that gluten wasn’t detrimental to all of them.

But oddly it did say exactly what Davis was saying. The researcher mentioned that the gluten was a problem if the person eating it was genetically predisposed, had a compromised gut or was put under stress. So basically born of parents who have grown up in a time of eating processed foods, eats processed foods every day and lives a 21st Century lifestyle. In other words almost everyone!

It got worse as the programme went on. And of course the dark conclusion focused on the soon to be criminal Dr Robert O Young, millionaire founder of the alkaline diet. He has been found guilty of treating terminally ill cancer patients with promises of making them better. I think it was really good that he allowed himself to be interviewed. Misguided, to say the least, that you’d attempt to reverse a condition that has clearly gone past the point of no return, never the less he is still part of the effort to slow the ever increasing illness pandemic we are facing.

This back lash over the media termed ‘clean eating’ against the help offered now is another triumph for the science argument. Shoot it down in flames and everyone can go back to doing as they always have and keep handing their health to doctors and the food industry.

Science is evidence based so it must the absolute truth, right?

But have you ever asked how research is funded? How does a drug get licensed? It is far from  the unbiased shiny clean thing Dr Giles is implying.

It is eye opening when you understand that research is funded by companies who are relying on the outcome to further their own cause. The pharmaceutical industry wants the next magic bullet to put in a pill that can be marketed and used by millions. It only has to show two tests that show a drugs efficacy, even if it has done hundreds that don’t amount to anything. The food industry wants research to contradict the perceived effects of the ingredients in its products. There really is no money in proving that an apple eaten leads to hundreds of nutritional chemical reactions that we don’t understand, as opposed to a manufactured fruit bar. Funding research has to lead to a financial return, so the research on whether eating differently will never be done. Catch 22.

My conclusion is that science is manipulated via research to see what the people providing the money want to see. Exactly what Dr Giles accuses all the people he interviewed of.

The bottom line is that the promise of money interferes with the best of intentions. Whether it is to sell glossy diet books, Coca-cola or Nurofen.

I am living proof that getting rid of certain foods makes a difference. I am a living experiment.

Dr Giles Yeo, don’t try to feed me the line that science is clean, because it isn’t.

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