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College of Natural Nutrition: bizarre teaching revealed

November 14th, 2008 · 37 Comments

A really good bit of investigative journalism by BBC Inside Out South West.was shown on Wednesday 12th November 2008.  Unfortunately it was shown only in the South West.  If you are in the UK you can see it on BBC iPlayer.  There is a clip on Youtube.  It features some very sensible comments from a real dietitian, Catherine Collins, and from Ben Goldacre .

The College of Natural Nutrition is not a university. In fact it is an industrial building in Tiverton, Devon.

(Could that be a tutor in the window?)

But some of the courses are given in the far grander surroundings of Regent’s College in London.

The College of Natural Nutrition diploma (over £1300) is the only qualification of Barbara Nash.  Nash is the ‘nutritionist’ who treated Dawn Page with a ‘hydration diet’, that resulted in organ failure, epilepsy and brain damage.  Nash’s insurers paid £800 000. in damages, but didn’t admit liability.

Dr Ben Goldacre pointed out that it perhaps isn’t surprising that people like Nash so often act far beyond their competence because they are being “aggrandised by the strange made-up colleges and bodies that are training and accrediting them”.

When you see some of the things she was taught, it isn’t surprising.  Secret video recording revealed some totally bizarre teaching by the College principle, Barbara Wren.

She claimed to have cured thyroid cancer by applying external compresses, half an hour with castor oil and half an hour with your own urine.  Claiming to be able to cure cancer is illegal.  Of course that isn’t done in public, just in private (a bit like Boots’ advice on useless supplements)).  The BBC did some secret filming.

And what caused the cancer? A computer stored under the bed.

Catherine Collins commented “It would be laughable if it wasn’t so serious.

In another lecture, Barbara Wren sounds very peevish because she is going to be prevented from “prescribing” 25 times the safe dose of iodine. She advises her hapless customers to go to a pet shop and buy Lugol’s (iodine) solution, used to treat fish tank water, so they can poison themselves in peace.

The College of Natural Nutrition, and Barbara Nash, are both still in business  The web site of the former has the disclaimer

“People who take the information and make decisions regarding their health or medical care, which they believe are based on ideas contained in this website, do so at their own risk. The author and publisher are not responsible for any adverse effects or consequences resulting from the use of any of the suggestions or information contained in the website “

I doubt if that is enough to exempt you from the Cancer Act.  Anybody who does make medical decisions based on this utterly batty advice might be thought to deserve what they get.

Alternatively, if you are daft enough, buy the course..

Postscript.  Some other blogs that give good information about this topic include Thinking is Dangerous and NHS Blog doctor

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Tags: Barbara Nash · Barbara Wren · CAM · College of Natural Nutrition · Dawn Page · Matthias Rath · nutribollocks · nutrition · nutritional therapy

37 responses so far ↓

  • 1 Dr-star-T // Nov 14, 2008 at 12:56

    Hi DC,

    I’ve also blogged this here:

    Be aware of who you believe and what advice you swallow

    The College theories are bizarre – a little excerpt for your delectation:

    “Minerals have different charges and the polarity is a function of the interaction between the four electrolytes: sodium and potassium (male and female) and between calcium (male charge, like sodium) and magnesium (female charge, like potassium).All doctors know this, they learn it in their training, but they subsequently ignore it
    [...]
    The moon rises, you go to bed and lie prone. The other 2 minerals, the Magnesium (female) and Potassium (female), now begin to act (please refer to the bottom part of Diagram 1). The Magnesium works with the Potassium, pushing it, and the two of them enter the cell and displace the 3 that have entered during the daytime, the Calcium, Sodium and fats. The daytime movement of Sodium and Calcium into the cell will happen whatever else we do. This second movement, which happens during the night, is what sometimes fails to occur.

    The moon-pull is much gentler than the sun-push: only if conditions are right within the body can the moon pull the sodium back across the cell membrane, thus making way for the Magnesium to exert a gentle push with the potassium, so that they go back to their rightful position, which is inside the cell. This is why it helps to note your energy state upon awaking in the morning, because feeling like you ‘have never been to bed’ is what we regularly hear in cases of CFS/ME and similar low-energy ‘diseases'”

    Pretty textbook stuff, eh?

  • 2 Dr-star-T // Nov 14, 2008 at 13:02

    Oh, meant to add, you can add her to the “Murderous Advice list”:

    · Vaccinations and Immunizations.
    It is particularly damaging to vaccinate against the childhood diseases. [...]
    Measles was almost extinct until they brought the vaccine in.

    In England, where the government pays a large subsidy to doctors when a certain (very high) proportion of all the children on their patient list is vaccinated, it is probably still financially advantageous to a doctor to make sure all these children on his list are vaccinated.

    Requirements for travelling abroad are actually much less than doctors recommend. You can use homoeopathy.

  • 3 Dr Aust // Nov 14, 2008 at 14:28

    Dr*T, your enforced inactivity has turned you into a true Web-sleuth. That stuff about the ions being “male and female”, and responding to the moon’s gravitational pull, gave me the best laugh I’ve had all week. I shall have to point this out at the next meeting of our local ion channel seminar club.

    …And there was me teaching the students that ions had positive and negative charges, and valencies. Clearly I have been handicapped by working within a micro-fascist “Scientific” paradigm.

  • 4 College of Natural Nutrition: bizarre teaching revealed // Nov 14, 2008 at 14:36

    [...] Diet Expert wrote an interesting post today onHere’s a quick excerptA really good bit of investigative journalism by BBC Inside Out South West.was shown on Wednesday 12th November 2008. Unfortunately it was shown only in the South West. If you are in the UK you can see it on BBC iPlayer. … [...]

  • 5 Claire // Nov 17, 2008 at 13:03

    A little OT maybe, but came across this report of an inquest into the death of a healing therapist in the South West who pursued ‘natural’ treatment for a foot wound which eventually turned gangreneous. I looked at the website of the healing centre where the deceased person worked and read that he had died suddenly in April 2007. Not quite the impression I got from the press report of the inquest finding:

    “Recording a narrative verdict, Portsmouth and south-east Hampshire coroner David Horsley said: ‘At no stage following the injury to his foot did Russell Jenkins or anyone else on his behalf seek or obtain conventional medical advice or treatment for his condition. In consequence, Russell Jenkins’s condition was inappropriately and ineffectively treated by himself and by others and led to his death.”

  • 6 John Hooper // Nov 17, 2008 at 14:34

    Natural selection.

    A prime candidate for a Darwin Award (posthumous section).

    “””””A healing therapist who refused to see a doctor died after developing gangrene in his leg . . . . . . . . injured his left foot treading on an electrical plug at his home. The wound later became infected, but the 52-year-old shunned conventional treatment, saying his ‘inner being’ told him not to go to hospital. . . . . . Instead he tried treating it with honey, an ancient remedy for the treatment of infected wounds.””””””

    So this alleged “therapist” cuts himself and puts pure sugar on the open wound assuming his inner self will heal it. Bacteria think Christmas has come early and kill him.

    It would be funny if it wasn’t so sad.

    What is even sadder is that he probably would have inflicted this nonsense on his “patients”.

  • 7 Dr-star-T // Nov 18, 2008 at 20:49

    It’s a really strange story (I’ve blogged it here – thanks for the comment, Claire:).

    His partner, who lived with him during the episode, still works at the Quiet Mind Centre, which was set up by the deceased in question. In turn, that asks the question – has she and others at the centre learnt anything from the tragedy?

  • 8 Claire // Nov 18, 2008 at 22:04

    You’re welcome Dr-star-T. As mentioned before, I’m finding the way Mr Jenkin’s terribly unfortunate death is reported on the website of his healing centre disturbing. Simply to say that he ‘died suddenly’ is, I think, disingenuous, in view of the facts disclosed at inquest. And potentially misleading for anybody reading the website with a view to attending for treatment.

  • 9 Dr Aust // Nov 18, 2008 at 23:27

    Honey for wound healing has been the subject of a Cochrane review, believe it or not. They found some trials, including at least one in diabetic ulcers (wounds) – though none very convincing, surprise surprise.

    However, NOT to go and get properly treated once the wound had become overtly infected… and even more so once he must have begun getting systemic symptoms (i.e. actually feeling generally ill) as a result of the sepsis (blood poisoning) which would presumably have eventually killed him…

    That is, basically, completely flat-out crazy.

    And if he had gone early on to get proper treatment (debridement, dressings) for his wound he might have been able to manage without Evil Big Pharma drugs at all. Diabetic foot ulcer is hardly an unknown problem in conventional medicine.

    Anyway, talk about dying for your beliefs. Dr*T’s parallel with Jehovah’s Witnesses expiring for want of blood transfusions that their beliefs prohibit is spot on.

  • 10 Urine fan // Nov 21, 2008 at 08:55

    As someone who has attended Barbara Wren’s course, and paid the £1300, I feel moved to comment: yes, she says loads of stuff one thinks is sounds such tosh how can she still be in business – but –
    when I started the course I was suffering from dermatitis and has been treated by the N.H.S. with steroid creams and emolient creams for 22 years – it gradually got worse and I had to use more and more, stronger and stronger creams. I decided to put her bonkers recommendations to the test and try urine therapy and castor oil packs. When I stopped using the steroid creams my whole body errupted in rashes, and acute patches of inflammation – I started with her diet recommendations but little changed – but once I started on urine therapy and castor oil packs things really started happening. My skin is now beautiful – and very soft! Not a steriod in sight – so personally I am just grateful. Happy to have spent £1300 to have rid myself of my skin condition and happy that I was open enough to give it a go. I don’t care that it sounds crazy – i just am so thankful that it has worked. And that is just my story – when on the course I regularly met people who told me their own extraordinary breakthroughs.

  • 11 Dr Dave // Jan 7, 2009 at 22:05

    I can sympathise with Urine fan. Perhaps there’s an essence of baby that’s in danger of being thrown out with the bathwater. Biological reductionism is all very well, but none of us practicing medics should kid ourselves that we have all the answers.

  • 12 David Colquhoun // Jan 7, 2009 at 23:22

    I have never met a practising medic (or basic scientist) who thought they had all the answers. The only people who believe that are the people who ignore evidence and feel free to make up the answers. Sadly they kill people from time to time.

    Or are you being ironic?

  • 13 John Hooper // Jan 8, 2009 at 12:36

    It would appear that Barbara Wren took the piss out of Urine Fan both literally AND metaphorically.

    Had he/she read about Gandhi he/she could have still learned to drink her own bodily wastes and saved £1300 in the process

    David – I never met anyone who thought they had all the answers (apart of course from religionists and total woosters).

  • 14 Bad medicine. Barts sinks further into the endarkenment. // Feb 16, 2009 at 19:04

    [...] read here about the College of Natural Nutrition: bizarre teaching revealed. They claim to cure thyroid cancer with castor oil compresses, and a holder of their diploma was [...]

  • 15 Anne // May 18, 2009 at 20:31

    I have never read such a load of sensationalised press in my life. I know this case very well, and I would just like to say that Barbara Nash was stitched up and sold down the river by the way the judicial system operates, in particular the no win no fee cases, innocent people end up paying out to get rid of the case because if it goes to the high court it costs twice as much and the insurance companies cut their losses. There is no proof whatsoever that her healthy dietary recommendations (evidential), which were not fully adhered to caused Mrs Pages condition, there were many factors in this case that as usual have been overlooked. The press have grabbed Barbara Nash and made her a scape goat because she is a complimentary therapist. If you saw the evidence she has you would realise that this was not her fault but in fact she got caught up in the way the legal system now operates regards no win no fee cases. She recommended a normal healthy eating program and normal levels of fluids, she did not recommend a detox diet!! and supposedly intelligent people are accusing her of being responsible for Mrs Page’s condition again without the full facts, Mr Page accepted the settlement on the basis of no admission of liability.

  • 16 admin // May 18, 2009 at 23:31

    I agree that the law in this country leaves a lot to be desired. The courts are not the place to settle scientific questions, and there is always some doubt about causality.

    I notice, though, that you don’t comment on the absurd, preposterous made-up nonsense that Barbara Nash was taught.

    Perhaps I’ll be sued under our pernicious defamation laws for saying that. but it is a duty to point out that people who say that you can cure cancer with castor oil compresses, even if they believe that absurd idea themselves, run the risk of killing people, and giving false hope to the desperate.

    In my view that is deluded and plain wicked. Do I take it, Anne, that you don’t approve of the Cancer Act 1939? Do you think that anyone should be able to sell something as a cancer cure if they can persuade people to pay for it?

    And getting back to your original topic, perhaps you could tell us the evidence that a “hydration diet” is healthy? I’m sure that you won’t rise to that challenge though, because there is no such evidence.

  • 17 WORDPRESS // Jun 3, 2009 at 12:30

    Many degenerative diseases are deemed to be impossible to cure by doctors, state registered dieticians and specialists when you visit them.

    I personally, was given painkillers and a standard diet sheet and told that it was old age and there was no cure for my crippling arthiritic pains all over my body by my GP, the state registered dietician and the specialist over many years.

    But inquisitive people are beginning to question, ‘Why have I got this?, What can I do about it?’. They are not leaving any stone unturned; ‘Urine theraphy, castor oil packing? Bring it on!’ Some of it may be deemed quackery, no matter.

    Well, wake up WORLDPRESS, there are many people out there who have found a solution to their problems through trying alternative diets, techniques and lifestyle changes and want to spread the word.

    And it is catching like wildfire. For example, even the NHS recently decreed that the doctors methods of popping pills and scanning is doing nothing for relieving back pain and costing the NHS and the economy millions of pounds and want to consider acupuncture and other alternatives.

    If I waited for medical science to prove why alternative nutrition and therapies work, I would be on my third hip replacement at best or in a wheel chair by now.

    As it is, 20 years on, I am walking for many hours, jogging and trapezing on an asymetric sailing dingy, joining races along with young people who are one third of my age. And all without any pain!

    Meanwhile my GP who was same age as me and who protested at the time, ‘You can not live on that!’ was deceased 2 years ago of a degenerative disease himself. I only wish he took notice when I told him how I made myself better, as he was a dear friend…

    Ann Wigmore and Barbara Wrens of this world are a mixture of Gallileos of our day, questioning whether the world is really flat and your old nan, who cured you through good old fashioned methods handed down through centuries. (X-communication and burning at the stake comes to mind.)

    They are aiding many people like me let down by the system who overcome their afflictions and want to shout from the rooftops, THERE IS HOPE OUT THERE, DON’T GIVE UP !!!’ They may choose become disciples themselves as alternative nutritionists.

    What it comes down to is, the Naturopaths harness the NATURE’s ability to cure which is plentiful if we know how. We are part of a big experiment designed over millions of years and constantly evolving. It is wise to sometimes go back to the drawing board and remind ourselves where we have come from when we are lost in a jungle of adverts from different interest groups.

    This girl paparazzi chasing Barbara down the road saying, ‘Are you claiming you can cure?’ is very naive. She should enrol in her course for two years and study the many anotomy and physiology, nutrition and other informative books that are needed to do a multitude of homeworks and pass hours of exams, do hours of research on the Internet on various maladies before she can even begin to judge her, instead of dumbing one session down for a sensational short article and a ‘You tube’ video to earn a few £’s.

    It is a great shame that one person was damaged as a result of consultation of a nutritionist but the jury is out whether this person has misunderstood the theraphy; there is no liability accepted. We are not given the facts of the case to judge properly.

    We must remind ourselves that people are incapacited and die in the care of the NHS for all sorts of reasons all the time as well.

    The world would be a stifling place if we did not have freedom of speech and quiz everything that is thrown at us by the establishment, especially if we sense that something is not quite right and we need to seek the truth.

    We have just found out that our MP’s are short of honest in their dealings with expenses. Apparently a new MP is approached by drug companies quite regularly. How do we know that a lot of what we are offered as ‘cure’ in the NHS has got our best interests at heart?

    Our childeren are poisoned and a lot of lives are wrecked by alcohol due to relaxation on alcohol availability laws. Do not tell me that they did not have a vested interest in pushing alcohol 24 hours a day on unsuspected young people? The pictures we see of young people behaving badly outside pubs at 2 o’clock in the morning and related crimes are heart breaking.

    Moral of the story so far?

    There are no morals any more.

    We are lost in a world of spin, deception, and incompetence.

    It is up to us as individuals to boldly seek the truth if we want to live long and prosper!

  • 18 Bee65 // Jan 6, 2010 at 12:53

    Amen to WORDPRESS…..Go and seek your own truth because there is no right or wrong answers… because what is today, is not tomorrow. And there is too much greed… its too easy to follow a natural diet and let your body cure itself… where is the money in that !! So let TOXIC PEOPLE blind us… Meanwhile why is the WHO trying to irradiate all foods …. maybe because they contain nutrients the body needs to maintain good health !!! well they cant patent food like their drugs … so they will kill the nutrients instead… And that’s just the tip of the tip of the iceberg.

  • 19 Bee65 // Jan 6, 2010 at 13:03

    SUBLIMINALLY BRAINWASHED EASILY LED BLEATING SHEEP,THIS IS WHAT WE ARE BECOMING. Go Barbara Wren I love your book Cellular Awakening. There is wisdom and knowledge in us all…. its made up of other peoples truths and beliefs we can relate to besides our own.. we shape and mould our own minds !!! Don’t we???

  • 20 andyarty // Aug 5, 2010 at 18:00

    You are condeming the whole of (natural) nutrition over 1 accident by 1 practitioner when 1000s of people die a year from mainstream medical practice.

  • 21 andyarty // Aug 5, 2010 at 18:01

    Oh, and reading what some people put up here tears my heart out.

  • 22 David Colquhoun // Aug 5, 2010 at 18:17

    @wordpresa and @bee65
    I found particularly interesting the statement that “the Naturopaths harness the NATURE’s ability to cure”. There is some truth in that. Their treatments, on the whole do nothing whatsoever, but when the body’s remarkable ability to cure itself works, they then claim credit for it (and take your money). Of course they quietly forget all the people who die unnecessarily because ‘nature’ didn’t win.

    @andyarty
    At least, unlike Bee65, you seem to realise that Wren was both delusional and (unintentionally perhaps) wicked.

    Yours is the usual straw man argument, However much harm is done by conventional medicine, it doesn’t excuse harm done by people like those described here,

    It is all a matter of balancing benefit and risk Certainly some drugs do harm, and sum do good, At the risk of resorting to anecdot, I’d be dead three times over without regular medicine (most recently from a kidney tumour). Without general anaesthetics I’d have suffered horribly during surgery.

  • 23 WORDPRESS // Sep 10, 2010 at 19:40

    Quite right too; if you are so uninformed about health that you acquired a kidney tumour, you do need the full medication and more.

    However, unless you have an accident and need a repair, the job of keeping healthy falls on your shoulders not your doctors. You owe it to yourself and your family to learn all about health.

    Barbara’s school is one of the many sources of excellent information. I and everyone else who attended it found it absolutely invaluable.

    I have not been sick once or suffered a pang of pain since I tried her methods. Personally, I will be forever grateful to Barbara. I outwalk my children on country walks and get mistaken for my grandson’s mother.

    Nature unfortunately does not heal by itself while you abuse your body. However, if you educate yourself about health principles you stand a very good chance of attaining and sustaining health.

    NHS is the 5th biggest employer in the world catering to a mere 1% of the world’s population and still at breaking point because people at large think it is beyond them to help themselves.

    Most of the degenerative diseases are due to stress, life style, diet and pollution originated. You sort these out and hey, presto! No more disease! It is very easy.

    For the rest, there is the NHS, for which we should all be eternally proud and grateful.

  • 24 WORDPRESS // Sep 10, 2010 at 20:48

    I do apologise if that sounded a little insensitive; I am truly sorry that you acquired a kidney tumour and very happy for you that you had it successfully removed.

    However, the point I am trying to make is that the op does not guarantee that you will not acquire another one, if all the mechanisms that produced it are still in place.

    I am sure that your doctor will be the first one to recommend that there are things that you can do for yourself to avoid a recurrence.

    It is not about NHS vs Alternative Health.

    It is about taking responsibility for our health where we can.

    It is about educating ourselves about health.

    Only then, NHS is there for all of us as a safety net. And we are very lucky to have it.

  • 25 Dudeistan // Sep 11, 2010 at 07:54

    @Wordpress

    Both the Department of Health and the NHS recognise the importance of patients being responsible for their own health.

    Sadly, most of the public ignore this advice. Some will only take it when it is wrapped up in mumbo jumbo such as that provided by alternative practitioners.

    However, even if every citizen in Great Britain cared for themselves and ate/exercised sensibly, some will still get cancer. That’s because shit happens.

  • 26 WORDPRESS // Sep 11, 2010 at 13:08

    There may be also a lot of mumbo jumbo out there but I had to study “Anatomy and Physiology by Gary Thibodeau, PhD of Biology at University of Winconsin, and Kevin T. Patton PhD, and Staying Healthy by Nutrition by Elson M, Haas MD with Buck Levin, PhD, RD” among others, and pass exams on it for Barbara’s course.

    Yes, as you put it so delicately, cancer may still happen even when we care for ourselves sometimes.

    But for the majority of ailments that we burden our doctors with and that impair our ability to live fruitful and enjoyable lives, there is a lot that we can do.

  • 27 Dudeistan // Sep 11, 2010 at 14:29

    @Wordpress
    Sorry, I didn’t realise you were so highly qualified.

    Diseases such as cancer, diabetes and heart disease exist for a variety of reasons; genetics, exposure to chemicals, virii, poor lifestyle habits etc.

    Regular exercise, stress management and a sensible diet can reduce the risk of these diseases, but not eliminate them.

    The fact that some alternative nutritionist courses incorporate a bit of common sense does not make them valid or guarantee future well-being.

    I do despair when members of the public do a brief course in anatomy & physiology and think they are then qualified enough to provide a PROGNOSIS for patients who are recovering or have recovered from cancer.

  • 28 WORDPRESS // Sep 11, 2010 at 15:04

    And for the record, the members of the public who do a brief course on anatomy & pysiology are not allowed to provide any kind of PROGNOSIS for cancer patients. Most of us just help ourselves. Maybe that should be outlawed as well?

  • 29 WORDPRESS // Sep 11, 2010 at 15:43

    And out of curiosity, what does Dudeistan mean? Is it a name or a country? Thanks.

  • 30 WORDPRESS // Sep 12, 2010 at 09:13

    How can adjusting your diet to your medical needs be called “alternative therapy” in the first place?

    However it is all beginning to change.

    It was in the news this week that Vit B can ward off Alzheimers.

    And in the medical web site Pulse GP Dr Schail Butt discusses coeliac disease in relation to diet and intolerance to gluten.

    And Pulse’s latest video of the day is of Dr David Soodeen performing osteopathy techniques to the shoulder.

    And believe me, we, the public, would rather take it from our health care providers instead of busting our brains ourselves.

  • 31 Which? magazine: “…high street nutritional therapists are a waste of money” // Jan 16, 2012 at 12:32

    [...] University of Wales and nutritional therapy Nutritional Fairy Tales from Thames Valley University College of Natural Nutrition: bizarre teaching revealed Nutriprofile: useful aid or sales scam?  Response to a threatening letter from Mr Holford Food [...]

  • 32 WORDPRESS // Feb 7, 2012 at 16:02

    (…) In 2003 Terry Wahls, M.D., was diagnosed with secondary progressive multiple sclerosis and soon became dependent upon a tilt-recline wheelchair. After developing and using the Wahls Protocol™, she is now able to walk through the hospital and commute to work by bicycle. She now uses intensive directed nutrition in her primary care and traumatic brain injury clinics. Dr. Wahls is the lead scientist in a clinical trial testing her protocol in others with progressive MS. (…)

  • 33 David Colquhoun // Feb 8, 2012 at 11:59

    @WORDPRESS
    It is discouraging that you should continue to defend the utterly bizarre, and potentially lethal, ideas that were revealed in this post. It is entirely apparent that Wren knows nothing whatsoever about cell membranes, ion channels, and nothing whatsoever about how to interpret evidence.

    You refer to “how we can optimise the cell membrane potential through a natural diet”. What do you mean by “optimise the membrane potential”? What makes you think it’s affected by diet? What makes you think that altering it will help any diseases whatsoever? I fear that you, and she, are using sciencey sounding words without any real comprehension of what they mean.

    Nobody doubts that nutrition is an important subject. It has been studied extensively by real scientists and doctors. “Nutritional therapists”, on the other hand, have recently been found, yet again, to give silly, made-up, and sometimes dangerous advice, in the course of the recent investigation by Which? Magazine.

    The advice given by Wren, revealed here, is mostly bizarre pseudo-scientific nonsense. It the Trading Standards people did their job properly, she’d have been prosecuted under the Consumer Protection Regulations 2008, and now be in prison.

    It’s a sad fact that there are only too many conditions which medicine can’t help. But in that case, you have to say so, not just make up wicked nonsense like claiming that castor oil compresses will cure cancer.

  • 34 WORDPRESS // Feb 8, 2012 at 20:03

    I am sorry that you are taking this attitude; I merely wanted to be helpful as I feel that diet has saved me from a certain hip and knee operation and it might have helped you too. Science unfortunately has not studied yet how diet can help certain diseases; it does not mean that in the future in will not be proven that it does help. It will be interesting to follow Dr Wahl’s progress…

  • 35 David Colquhoun // Feb 8, 2012 at 20:54

    @WORDPRESS
    Thanks for your kind words. It would be wonderful of osteoarthritis could be prevented or cured by diet alone, but sadly there is no reason to think that it can.

    I can agree almost completely with your last statement.

    “Science unfortunately has not studied yet how diet can help certain diseases”

    Actually there has been quite a lot of work on diet and cancer or cardiovascular outcomes. No very big effects have come to light, and since the studies aren’t randomised, it’s hard to be sure about causality. What do you think, for example, of my post about red meat and cancer?

    You go on

    “it does not mean that in the future in will not be proven that it does help”

    That’s entirely right. I’m merely saying that you shouldn’t run courses, or sell treatments to patients, until after that evidence emerges (if it ever does).

  • 36 WORDPRESS // Feb 10, 2012 at 18:25

    I have read your post about red meat and cancer and found it very interesting, informative and in tune with the latest books from Taubes’ “Good Calories, Bad Calories” and “Why We Get Fat”.

    Taubes takes it one step further and argues that all calories are not equal. He says that the “calories in, calories out” just does not hold water and that calories from different food groups have different metabolic pathways and have different effects on us. He goes on to put the blame for the obesity epidemic squarely on the shoulders of the medical establishment and sponsorship bias:

    “… the fault lies entirely with the medical authority… we are never going to solve our weight problems, let alone the societal problems of obesity and diabetes and the diseases that accompany them, until we understand this and correct it.” “I am going to argue that this calories in/calories out paradigm of adiposity is nonsensical…”

    “The funding of research projects, laboratories and entire academic centers by the food and pharmaceutical industries is now a fact of life in modern medical research…” “When Science dedicated special issues to obesity research…paid for by the Sugar Association promoting the use of sugar in weight loss diets” “…consulting fees from Coca Cola, Craft Foods and Mars…”, etc.

    Prof Ludwig from UCSF has also been quoted in the media recently: “The food manufacturing practices have created a “toxic environment” that dooms children to being overweight.”

    You are absolutely right that in theory we should wait until the evidence emerges, but in this case when the messages from the scientific community are garbled and the average housewife is obese, has sick kids and husband whose livelihood is threatened by health problems, waiting for science is sometimes not an option. “If it ever does.” sums it up!

    I also agree with you that the answer is one of inference. Yours seems to be “Just accept that there is no cure and wait till they find one preferably through randomized trials.” Mine has been “Nature has been perfecting its diet trials far longer than man has, give it a chance.” And I am glad that I did, as all of my family has benefited.

    What I really found fascinating in your blog is the link you provided to the nitrate levels in green vegetables and how it alters according to the weather; whether is cloudy or not. And also that the Mediterranean diet is proven to be healthier. I will hypothesize here, but could it be that the sunshine’s effects on Med food that could be superior to what we are eating in cloudy old UK here?

    Then maybe the answer is to move to the south of France and live happily ever after. It is not surprising than that the longest lived person on record, Jeanne Calment (122 ½ yrs) of Arles was still cycling past 100!

  • 37 The exploitation of cancer patients is wicked. Carrot juice for lunch, then die destitute // Apr 1, 2013 at 11:36

    [...] to Thomas’s picture is Barbara Wren. She was secretly filmed by the BBC claiming "to have cured thyroid cancer by applying external compresses, half an hour with [...]

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