Crackpot McKeith Punished

Well it is about time.

has been a prominent enough person in the general UK media to have her own category on Ben Goldacre’s fascinating Bad Science blog. If you dont know about her this extract from Bad Science gives a bit of background:

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.

She is a force of pure marketing evil. She bullies fat people to the point at which they burst into tears. She advocates all manner of weird and wonderful woo as cures for various illnesses. Her ideas about health diet defy belief. She claimes eating Chlorophyl will oxygenate your blood. She claims DNA/RNA is only present in growing cells and defies aging. “In the heart,” she explains, “chlorophyll aids in the transmission of nerve impulses that control contraction.”

In short, she is completely off her head.

You can read more about McKeith on Quackwatch – or better still, Ben Goldacre’s blog where you can read the full details of her current problems with the Advertising Standards Agency.

In association with Channel 4 Nutjob McKeith pushed herself onto the UK public as a “Clinical Nutritionist” (woo-title if ever there was one). She is often called Dr McKeith, or even “Dr Gillian McKeith PhD,” with the implication she is a medical doctor when in fact she has a PhD. However, this PhD is from a woo-factory of dynamic proportions. She has her “PhD” from the Australasian College of Health Sciences (Portland, US), yet you cant find out any of the details of her final thesis. She touts her “professional membership” with the American Association of Nutritional Consultants, yet this is the same level of membership Ben Goldacre’s dead cat has.

The amount that could be written about McKeith is phenomenal. She combines ignorance, voodoo-woo and an a massively outspoken personality. She capitalises upon lazy people not bothering to understand science but who are enamoured by the trappings of science and the weird rituals she practices (sniffing crap for example). To paraphrase a USENET post I read, as people move away from religion, the void is filled by conspiracy theories, sprituality and mumbo-jumbo – it is the conservation of idiocy. McKeith is a prime example of this.

Anyway, it seems a reader of the column has actually gone to the advertising standards agency and complained about her use of the title “Dr” and “PhD.” The ASA has upheld the complaint, but to avoid a formal ruling, McKeith has voluntarily agreed to stop calling herself “Dr.” This is not as toothless as it may sound, as she has spent a lot of time building a rep based on her status as “Dr McKeith.” She claims that she will continue to call herself Gillian McKeith PhD but from Ben Goldacre’s leaked wording of the ASA text that was also going to be prohibited (note: this is in relation to advertising materials only).

This may be a small victory for common sense but it is still a victory!

10 thoughts on “Crackpot McKeith Punished

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  3. Y’all must be fat. What does it matter if the woman is a doctor or not?
    She makes sense. In a world of fast food and instant gratification where we kill ourselves slowly with the crap we shove down our throats, PhD or not, Gillian McKeith is a voice of reason.

    You should try listening, while you shove more crap in your piehole.

    Its too bad you cant get a PhD in common sense, then people like Gillian McKeith and other natural health nutritionists and homeopaths would all be highly qualified.

    But you pathetic souls, who ignore the message and shoot the messenger, (for whatever reason… good time to ask yourself EXACTLY why you get so much satisfaction from this… something about not liking to hear the truth, or common sense perhaps?) continue to kill yourselves with the crap you ingest daily.

    You mock McKeith’s obsession with poo (Yes, well to each his own. For example, some people actually get turned on by poo… but that’s another story) when its actually your own crappy life and the extent you go to destroy other people you shud be looking at.

    If you could point me in the direction of any person who has suffered serious side effects or died from taking McKeith’s advice/pills etc.

    I can show you PLENTY of people who suffer side effects/have died etc taking the medication prescribed by so called ‘real’ doctors.

    Get a life.

  4. Hi Blister, thanks for your comments. You may find it easier to spell it “you all” instead of “Y’all.” It certainly makes more sense.

    “What does it matter if the woman is a doctor or not” – it matters a lot and it seems the advertising agency agrees. If it didn’t matter, and as she isn’t a doctor, why did she pretend she was?

    You say “Gillain McKeith is a voice of reason” – nonsense. Using an appeal to ridicule does not support your argument and I can assure you I am more than able to listen while I eat. I do it every day. That is one of the advantages of reality, it keeps me sane.

    As for the “PhD in common sense” blimey. Have you ever and I mean EVER seen her programmes? Eating Chlorophyll will oxygenate your blood? Do you believe that?

    Actually, I don’t for one second think you do – unless you are as uneducated as your post appears. You go on about shooting the messenger – interesting as you offer nothing which vindicates McKeith’s line of crap but you think throwing out childish insults will do the trick.

    Your last “point” about people dying at the hands of real doctors is madness. If I said drinking 1ml of water every 15 mins was the root to health you could equally argue no one would die from it. It would still be crap.

    Still, you have had your rant. Thanks for sharing with us.

  5. Sorry. I can’t resist commenting on this either, even though you’ve done it perfectly well, TW.

    Is there some connection that I just can’t see between having Mickey Mouse qualifications and bullying people on tv and being “fat” if you don’t agree that’s a good thing?

    And since when did being “fat” become the worst insult you could throw at someone?

    Being self-evidently “fat” because you dispute a tv food guru. No matter how hard I try, I can’t remember a biological mechanism that adds lard to the body every time you dispute that chlorophyll puts oxygen in your blood. Or have a problem with berating people who already have so little self-respect they’ll go on tv to be told how to lose weight.

    Does the good “doctor” have a monopoly on standard common sense advice about not over-eating and not eating garbage just beacuse she throws some of it into the mix of rubbish? Does objecting to what she says mean a devotion to “fast food and instant gratification”?

    ‘Swallowing garbage whole’ applies at least as well to taking any self-serving tv pundit as an expert as it does to eating McCrap.

  6. It is a bit of a “McCarthy-esque” line of reasoning. If you disagree with McKeith it MUST mean you are fat and about to die….

    (Maybe there really were reds under the bed!)

    I still take the stand that most of Mad-McKeith’s advice was not common sense. There is a kernel of common sense, hidden under all her woo and ritual to trick people into thinking it is insightful. Her advice was generally far from helpful. The suggestions she makes are better torn apart on BadScience, but as an example this line of Wooism:

    “Each sprouting seed is packed with the nutritional energy needed to create a full-grown, healthy plant”

    Ha. Just goes to show, being an Natural Health Nutcase, I mean nutritionist, means you don’t have to learn Biology…

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