Dear Great Spirit, if you refuse to make me an employee of a major banking institution with a slapdash attitude to its assets, please make me a diet guru.
Someone with a cruel sense of humour prompted me to watch The Spa of Embarrassing Illnesses on the previously-unknown-to-me UK Style.
I’m sorry, I can’t do this sort of thing the justice it deserves. It’s almost off the scale of exploitative nonsense. The programme’s subjects expose their ailments, then (at best) get to drink wheatgrass, defer to wind spirits and throw their negativity away by dropping stones in a brook.
According to the website preview:
Run by leading British nutritionist Amanda Hamilton, the Spa of Embarrassing Illnesses aims to detoxify, rejuvenate and deal with the root cause of these afflictions, rather than simply mask them with quick and easy remedies.
If there are quick and easy remedies, wtf aren’t these people taking them?
Detox. Whenever I hear the detox word in combination with diet, I grind my teeth. These will soon be stubs, if the sort of poo that passes for a lifestyle programme on UK tv is anything to go by.
I used the “poo” word because I also saw another TV diet programme on Thursday, in which the “poo doctor” Gillian McKeith plays a minor role. No she’s definitely not a doctor – see Ben Goldacre’s BadScience )- nor even a medically qualified nutritionist, but she is well known for scrabbling through people’s shit on national tv.
This show had a 20-odd stone woman and a 6-stone woman teaching each other how to eat. They swap diets for a week and supposedly learn some lessons that will lead both of them to a more normal weight. What! Swap one disordered way of eating for another? This is a good idea?
“Too-thin” girl stuffs herself with fish fingers and snacks and “too-fat” woman lives for most of the day on a slice of lettuce. The thin girl suffers from the impossibility of taking in gargantuan amounts of food and the fat woman is constantly starving. At the end of the week, they’ve lost or gained weight… Well, duh.
Surely this unedifying story can’t teach anything about eating – unless the lesson is “you can lose weight if you stop eating and gain weight if you eat more”, in which case, how stupid are you, if you don’t already suspect that?
These programmes make spectacles out of the subjects, who are either completely naive or so desperate for their 5 minutes that they will happily bare their bodies and reveal their most embarassing problems to the whole nation. It’s not even as if they get rational solutions in return. They just become adverts for the peddlers of new age woo.
Which brings me to my This-Week’s-Favourite-Silly-Diet. I’ve heard of this froma few people recently. I even know of someone who spent £130 on a blood group diet profile. It’s based on your blood group. A review in Weight loss resources website describes the diet and its scientific basis quite succintly:
Follow a diet that’s designed specifically for your blood group and you’ll lose weight, feel healthier and lower your risk of many diseases. At least, that’s what Dr Peter D’Adamo, naturopath and creator of the Blood Type Diet claims in his book Eat Right For Your Blood Type. No wonder then, that it’s been a hit with Hollywood stars like Liz Hurley and Courtney Cox-Arquette, as well as closer-to-home celebrities, like Martine McCutcheon……
But while Martine might be a fan of the Blood Type Diet, most medical and nutrition experts aren’t…….
Medical experts universally agree that the theory is nonsense, and say there is absolutely no link between our blood group and the diet we eat.
Well celebs are so well known for their grasp of scientific nutrition, aren’t they? Speaking, personally, I wouldn’t dream of taking health advice from anyone who didn’t have at least a minor part in a UK soap. Or was at leastgoing out with a Premiere League footballer.
In a medical emergency, when no soap stars are available, I would accept the assistance of a tv “nutritionist.” But they would have to have their own line of high-cost novelty foods, as a bare minimum, and I would naturally prefer a televised record of dissecting human secretions.