July 2015 in review: Part 4

So far we’ve reviewed the cover stories, pages 1-10, pages 11-21 and pages 22-39.  We’re nearly at the staple, without a hint of any remotely credible advice that doctors don’t give you. Lots of adverts, though.

Page 40  is the start of an article titled “sweet not-so-nothings”. (it runs on pp. 41, 43, 44, 47, and a listicle on page 49 (the intervening pages being advertisements), and  which advances this idea:

Artificial sweeteners may have zero calories, but they cause weight gain by boosting blood sugar and crippling the system that regulates it.

Aside from the missing word “may” (as in they may cause weight gain and it may be by this mechanism), this is all consistent with current science.

The inherent problem with artificial sweeteners is that they are promoted as a magic bullet to achieve weight loss without changing your behaviour. Any long-term reader of these pages will know that miracle cures, never are.

And the essential problem with the WDDTY article is that it uses studies such as Fueling the Obesity Epidemic? Artificially Sweetened Beverage Use and Long-term Weight Gain to assert a proven causal link.

The problem is highlighted in the first paragraph of the Conclusions of that paper:

There may be no causal relationship between AS use and weight gain. Individuals seeking to lose weight often switch to ASs in order to reduce their caloric intake. AS use might therefore simply be a marker for individuals already on weight-gain trajectories, which continued despite their switching to ASs. This is the most obvious possible explanation of our findings. Increased fast food consumption among soda users might further confound apparent associations.

There is a lot of study of the long-term effects of artificial sweeteners, because many diabetics rely on them and consume much larger quantities that will ever be seen in a normal diet. Cancer risk, in particular, has been studied. Artificial sweeteners do not raise cancer risk.  Very high doses do induce diabetes. In mice, at least. And that’s about as far as it goes. Normal human usage of artificial sweeteners seems to be safe.

Still, if you’re worried, WDDTY will sell you some stevia as an alternative.

Page 2 is an advert for Rodi Water, “purer than boiled water with a 95% lower carbon footprint” – handy if you don’t have clean drinking water on tap. That must easily cover a couple of dozen people in the UK.

Unfortunately tap water doesn’t taste great and, even worse, it contains a myriad of impurities including toxic algae, pesticides (slug poison currently exceeds legal limits), chemicals, medications and hormones, some of which water treatment plants either don’t routinely test for, or cannot remove.

SLUG POISON? If I was a slug I’d be worried. Anybody who’s used mains water on their garden will readily acknowledge that however much metaldehyde there is in tap water, it falls well short of the level required to kill a slug, let alone a human.

It’s an alarmist ad and the product is probably not that good for you, as there’s no indication it discriminates between “toxins” (i.e. chemicals we don’t like the look of) and beneficial minerals (chemicals we do like the look of).

tripePage 45 is an advert for the book “From Here To Infinity”. This can be summed up in two words: metaphysical tripe.

In the acclaimed Joseph Series spirit
communicator Joseph challenges, clarifies, demystifies and reconstructs established views of ‘reality’, ‘physicality’ and ‘spirituality’,
addressing such major paradigms as Illness, Wellness and Healing; Time; Space; Life After Death and much more.

See? Metaphysical tripe.

Heart aquacksPage 46 is, unusually for WDDTY, an openly identified advertorial; it promotes SImon Oxford, “Health advocate and nutritionist” (i.e. medically unqualified diet woo peddler), and his book “make yourself immune to heart attacks”. No doubt his website, makeyourselfimmune.com, will be scrutinised in due course with a view to establishing the defensibility of its claims.

Page 48 is another advert, this time for GetFitt, who portray themselves as “Far Infrared and Detox Specialists”. That’s a long-winded way of saying “frauds”. They have the chutzpah to link on their website to a WHO report on endocrine disrupting chemicals, with the clear (and unsupportable) inference that far infrared can “detoxify” the body of these chemicals.

Page 50 is another advertising feature for silvertownhealth.co.uk, a generic vendor of generic refuted miracle cures: krill oil omega 3, “total organic superfoods nutrition in a scoop” (i.e. a synthesised artificial diet supplement, but we’ll call it natural for the sake of branding), serrapeptase, co-enzyme Q10, “whole food” vitamin C (as if the body can tell the difference) and “Probio Gut Happy Gut”.

Pages 51 and 52 discuss hypothyroidism in dogs, beginning by promoting a raw food diet. This has been dissected a long time ago in a blog far, far away. It’s as wrong as the paleo diet or raw food diet for humans, and for pretty much the same reasons. The idea that a raw food diet is inherently balanced, is inherently unbalanced. It is just as easy to feed the dog the wrong thing without cooking it.

It also pimps “natural stem cell enhancers”. I love how quacks and charlatans are years ahead of medical science in these things.

Page 53 is an advert for serial offender The Healthy House, subject of numerous prior complaints to the ASA, whose proprietor is now conspicuously absent from the pages of WDDTY.

Page 54 portrays itself as editorial but is in fact also advertorial: for The Body Toolkit, a detox retreat. Juicing. Enough said.

Page 55 is the column of Markéta Bola, “a natural nutritionist
and raw living-food chef”. At least she’s doing fruit not something that is dangerous raw.

Page 56 is a full-page ad for wavewall mobile phone cases. “Scientific studies show mobile phone radiation can negatively affect sperm production”, we’re told, so you need a gonad-protecting mobile phone case.  The dangerously off-message BBC report that actually the evidence is too sketchy and at least one scientist (which is all WDDTY has ever needed to claim a fact) is keeping his mobile hone in his pocket.

Pages 57 and 58 are Harald Gaier’s “Medical Detective” column, where he dishes out folk wisdom dressed up in a white coat (though not, of course, credible evidence).

Page 59 is yet another full-page ad: Simply Naturals plant derived minerals, “essential for life” (tough luck on those of us who are all now clearly dead without them). Apparently “UNICEF and The World Health Organisation studies show alarming mineral deficiency in modern food and soil which is detrimental to health and beauty”. Alarming, eh? Or is it that your claims are just alarmist? Obviously citing the studies for the reader to check would be too boring, so they offer a testimonial instead.

Pages 60-64 contain a cover story, on someone whose doctors dismissed the “classic” symptoms of “chronic Lyme”. She suffered a tick bite, and then matched her symptoms to a list pimped by chronic Lyme quack Joseph J. Burrascano, Jr. Despite negative serology, she believed the quack and not the doctor. SO obviously the doctor was wrong. Because this is WDDTY.

There’s one more batch of pages to go before we finish this issue. The only things we’ve found so far that doctors don’t tell you, are the things which are outright nonsense – like chronic Lyme disease.

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