'Dr' Gillian Mckeith- 'Nutritionist'?

OK, now I am incensed. I will now speak out against this woman. Slander or no slander I cannot keep quiet any longer. As long ago as last January- Trevor McDonald on his ITV programme: “Tonight with Trevor McDonald” did an expose on Gillian McKeith. I then wrote the article: Medical Quacks

However with Medical Quacks, I did tread softly, softly as my husband kept looking over my shoulder saying: You can’t say that! You can’t say that! So I didn’t.

Now I will. Where does that woman get her ‘facts’ from? Who pays her? Why is she still being given air time? What are Channel 4 and the ITV network thinking of?

Give me some moments I have an appointment to get to, but I just had to get something posted on my website now.

Please email or comment if you have anything to say about this.

I’ll be back!!!!!

Okay, now I can spend some time on this. I am so fed up unravelling the confusions that ‘Dr’ Gillian McKeith sows with her advice from her TV programmes and her book(s). I am emailed with confused worries about their health since watching the programme or reading the books one worry was they worried about the cracks on their tongue as ‘Dr’ Gillian McKeith said it was due to a lack of Vit B.

First of all I wanted to know what ‘Dr’ Gillian McKeith meant by cracks on the tongue and what the email author meant about their cracks. I then went on to explain the deficiencies of Vit B as recorded in Patrick Holford’s book The Optimum Nutritional Bible. A ‘cracked??’ tongue didn’t come into it. Then someone else was worried about the sausages they had been eating as apparently all sausages were bad. I didn’t see the programme last night as I refused to watch it because I have ME and I was worried about my blood pressure – I knew ‘Dr’ Gillian McKeith would say something that would be incendiary to me.
I am so fed up with this woman but more fed up with the TV organisations that give her air time and take her seriously.

Who is she? Who are her parents? Where does she come from? Does she have a criminal record? She should have with all the lies and misinformation she has given out. Why hasn’t she been sued? I pay good insurance premiums incase I give out or do anything to harm anyone. Can her insurers cover her damages? Has the TV programme looked into this aspect if she is sued?

‘Dr’ Gillian McKeith is using business tactics to sell and not using the morality code of ethics which all health practitioners adhere to. I first heard of a ‘Dr’ Gillian McKeith when I was shopping in Sainsbury’s about 5 or 6 years ago. I was looking at some snack bars full of seeds and nuts and telling me they were ‘good’ for me. I bought one and was ill. I re-read the ingredients list and discovered that they contained things that weren’t good for me, infact they contained things that weren’t ‘good’ for anyone and I never bought her bars again. I can’t remember what the offending ingredient was, it may have been skimmed milk or hydrogenated veg oils or some equally offending ‘unhealthy’ ingredient in her ‘healthy’ bars. I am trying to find out, I can’t get to the shops at the moment being settee/lying flat/ME bound at the moment. I have logged on to her website which is very impressive and she sells the hemp seed bars there but no ingredients list can be accessed. I have emailed Sainsbury’s who also sell her health bar, as they don’t issue the ingredient’s list on this product and I am waiting for them to let me know. (They have got back to me, and cannot tell me the ingredients because it is not their product so they have given me the telephone number of ‘Dr’ Gillian McKeith’s shop; I have contacted them and they cannot tell me and have referred me to their warehouse who will contact me.)

Anyway back to the plot. Having vaguely heard of ‘Dr’ Gillian McKeith through her product in Sainsbury’s, when I saw her book advertised I assumed that I was looking at someone pretty bona fide as my brain remembered ‘hearing’ something about her before. Her health bars in Sainsbury’s whether bought or not, had been noted and looked at and so a subliminal message was created in my mind. Then lshe aunched her TV programme. However I really do wonder at the TV makers and their own research. Did they do any? Were they bribed by her to make the programme? She is such big business now that it would probably be impossible to pull the plug – a bit similar to the margarine story of many moons ago.

I’ll bore you with this story because it is interesting. Well I think so. In about 1992 no it was 1994, I was studying for my exams in beauty therapy, aromatherapy, massage and aerobics. It was very late. I turned on the TV for a break in my studies and tuned into Channel 4 at about 11pm. I don’t know what the programme was called. It was about Trans Fats. I knew about these because I had just completed an essay on Nutrition and I had researched all sorts of information; Whole Earth had been particularly helpful and it was they who informed me about Trans Fats. The Channel 4 programme ended by saying that if margarine was invented today it would be banned. It was exposing Van den Burgh’s margarine company (I am sure it was they who made Stork and Flora but I cannot find the information now, evenso it is Unilever now who are a VERY big company) who made the majority of margarines then. Vegetable oil is healthier for us than lard and butter which was mainly used in the 1920’s for baking. So using the health propoganda to do with veg oils, Van den Burg ‘found’ a discovery in france of a french man who had managed to make an oil – solid, a method of making the runny veg oils solid. The method pumped more hydrogen molecules into the oil. However in doing this another fat was formed – trans fats. Trans fats in the body stop prostaglandins to be made. Prostaglandins are the precursers to making hormones. So the effect of margarine in the body was to halt the production of hormones making it a very dangerous substance. By the time the health implications of this was eventually understood by the powers that be, it was too late to stop the production. This was due to money and power. There would have been a slump in the market if Van den Burgh’s (or whoever the company was) margarine was exposed.

After the TV programme I was expecting to hear about this in the Newspapers. Never was it mentioned by the media again until towards the end of the 90s. Then Van den burgh (or Unilever) produced a margarine with virtually no trans fats. However watch for words like mono or di-glycerides of fatty acids. These are from hydrogenated oils. Look up the Unilever website. The article here is gobsmacking because it is their margarine that has caused the health problems in the first place. They are blaming lack of exercise and lifestyles but their margarine started it all in 1920.

My warning to you is with any new product or any piece of advice or any survey ask what the motive is behind the production or the advice. What is the money behind it? Who is providing it?

Every one has an ulterior motive. What is my motive for writing this? Several. One is that Mrs Whitehouse died some time ago and I think she is missed. We need a human watchdog to ask questions and expose immorality. The other is I need an outlet while I am ‘recovering’ from ME, if I ever do ‘recover’! And the last one is of-course the more inflammatory articles I write of interest to the public the more people will click on my website and I may begin to earn my living again despite my disability. I see nothing wrong in this – well I do, I feel guilty about it, but to justify myself I think of myself as a reporter who would get paid by a newspaper or periodical. And no-one seems to be concerned about that.

Anyway some slight digression – ‘Dr’ Gillian Mckeith is now big busines, is she too big to put out of business?

I am copying an article by a Ben Goldacre of the Guardian because it is so good:

Dr Gillian McKeith (PhD) continued

Ben Goldacre
Thursday September 30, 2004
The Guardian

Talk about bad science here I once saw a bloke at the opening of a Jackson Pollock exhibition in the Tate, wearing a T-shirt that said: “my cat could do better”. What, you may be wondering, has that got to do with Dr Gillian McKeith (PhD)? Well now. Besides her PhD, which we have already discussed, there were a few other interesting entries on her CV. For example, she is proud to announce under “Professional Associations” that she is a certified member of the American Association of Nutritional Consultants (AANC), which certainly sounds impressive. I bet you get a little certificate and everything.

In fact, I know you get a certificate, because I’m holding it in my hand right now. It’s in the name of my cat, Henrietta. I got it in return for $60, and it’s a particular honour since dear, sweet, little Hettie died about a year ago. So, coming in a bit cheaper than Gillian’s non-accredited correspondence course PhD and Masters degrees (although she will have got a discount from “Clayton College of Natural Health” if she ordered them both at once), it looks as if all you need to be a certified member of the AANC is a name, an address, and a spare $60. You don’t need to be human. You don’t even need to be alive. No exam. No check-up on your qualifications. And no assessment of your practice. I guess that could be embarrassing for some of their certified professional members. Presumably, the diploma is there to certify that you have $60.

If you know anyone else who is showing off about being a Professional Certified Member of the AANC, I’d like to hear about it. The only one I can find so far is a man called Dr Bannock who presented Why Weight on Channel 4 and Fat Academy on Discovery. No, I’d never heard of him either. He says he is a “Member of the American Association of Nutrition Consultants (Board Certified Nutrition Consultant)”. Glad you added that bit at the end, Dr Bannock. His website mentions his PhD in Nutritional Physiology, but he doesn’t say where it’s from; his website also features the odd photograph of a stethoscope, although to my disappointment, unlike Hettie, he’s not gone as far as dressing up in it endearingly.

But back to the money: if anybody wants nutritional advice from the decomposing corpse of my ex-cat, I shall be setting up a small shrine at the bottom of the garden, where you can leave chewed mice, ready cash, and offers of a primetime TV series on Channel 4.

Please send your bad science to bad.science@guardian.co.uk

See also another article by Ben Goldacre I like his terminology.

13 thoughts on “'Dr' Gillian Mckeith- 'Nutritionist'?

  1. You obviously have not kept yourself up-to-date with nutrition – other than through info available to General Practitioners and the like. Read Patrick Holfords books properly and you will find there is very little that she is saying differently. Read about the theory behind acupuncture and Shiatsu therapy and you will hear these things from way back when.

    Stop wittering on and get an education.
    She produces wonderful results with her advice. I felt she was a breath of fresh air, and I was already familiar with what she was saying so I found it funny cos’ people like you will wonder where she got it all from

    Happy reading
    Regards Eileen

  2. Hi Eileen, thanks for your comments. Which bit did I get wrong? I’ve got Patrick Holford’s book in front of me and a cracked tongue does not appear in the list of deficiencies for any of the B group of vitamins. You are not alone in worshipping ‘Dr’ Gillian Mckeith. I do understand why she is so liked – she says what people want to hear. I just don’t like the idea of someone giving out homely mumsy advice and getting her facts wrong and parading herself as a qualified practitioner. Why can’t she advertise herself as an unqualified caring person (money focussed – she must be worth a fortune!) who likes to give diet advice? We earthlings are such a bunch of sheep who love to be told what to do. Find out for yourself Eileen. If you have read Patrick Holford’s book, you don’t need her advice do you?
    Shiatsu and Acupuncture – yes, well, I probably agree with you there, if that is where you think I need educating. I don’t understand those therapies which is my point I think in the article. Being such a sheep like culture we will go for therapies we don’t understand just because someone has said it is good. Much to my husband’s frustration I won’t! We have had many ‘interesting’ discussions with friends and family over the acupuncture debate! I am a bit of a doubting Thomes as far as Alternative Therapies are concerned. Read the article on the Placebo Effect I would like to hear your thoughts about that! Thanks for taking the time to comment and God bless to you. It is great to have opinions and it is great to share them.

  3. Upon finishing reading your remarkably candid outburst on Gillian McKeith (very good by the way) I happened to notice the ads placed by Google on the right hand side of your page.

    Well I couldn’t help but double with laughter at the goods advertised.
    Gillian McKeith Books, Juicers, Sprouters, Rebounders and other nutritionally based goodies, And all at 15% off if I used the site having a sale.
    This must piss you off on a scale of mammoth proportions and made me wonder just how many of her products your page has inadvertantly sold for the daft bint.
    Perhaps it’s my fertile imagination but I cannot help but envisage a naive, nay dim plonker mashing his keyboard in haste to purchase her cut price crap to see exactly what the fuss is all about.
    On the bonus side I can well see his purchases hitting the landfill within the fortnight and for that we must salute him.

    Anyway I talk enough bollocks to the people I know without imposing it on the authors of every article I read, And so again nice work, Good luck with your recovery and my sympathies for Googles irony.

    What the …. is a rebounder, Besides Gillians accreditations ?

  4. Hi Dave, thanks for your email it made me laugh! I took a peek at your website, it reminded me that my car could do with some TLC! The ads by Google – I am going to try and block the ones I don’t want but Google don’t give too many options. But I guess it is a free world after all and the consumer is free to make their own choices but I agree it does seem bizarre! Still its good for a laugh! You are not alone in thinking that what she says is a pile of stinky stuff and it is no wonder there is a sale of her products and that they offer a speedy dispatch – can’t wait to get rid of them? I just hope that the benefits that people get from her products and advice don’t come back to bite them, who would they sue if there was a health concern? What I find amazing is that we all know that avoiding cream cakes, sugar and the like will make us feel better – why do people need to be told this by a fraud when fully qualified professionals have been saying this for donkey’s years? People are weird … was it Ena Sharples who said: ‘Ee by gum ther’s nowt so queer as folk!’

  5. I discovered You Are What You Eat last year, and have been an avid viewer. It airs daily on TLC here in Canada. The show was the first time I’d ever heard of Gillain McKeith, and I have to admit I love the show. I’m very interested in nutrition and am always working to improve mine, so its nice to have a show that reinforces good habits. I don’t see how anything Gillian says on the show is bad advice! Before she starts with people, they’re eating the most disgusting, processed diets ever, and she gets them eating a vegetable-heavy, unprocessed diet that always results in them feeling better. I don’t know anything about her products, but the show, to me is good. On the show she never bills herself as a PhD or Dr, nor does she push margarine and the like.

  6. Hi Jenny, thank you for your comment. If you are interested in nutrition buy books from qualified nutritionists and do some research for yourself. Once you begin educating yourself, you will see for yourself that ‘Dr?’ Gillian McKeith is getting her ‘facts’ confused, she should come with a government health warning as some of her advice when confused could be dangerous. Look for books or websites for Dr Sarah Brewer or Patrick Holford. I wish you happy researching and very good health. Marianne

  7. Thank you for the article about this imbecile. In a recent article I published in ‘The Skeptic’, the journal of the Australian Skeptics, my description read ‘Stuart Adams is a real nutritionist with a real degree from a real university…..’ My friends and family asked what the significance of this was; to which I explained, that many people out there calling themself a nutritionist are nothing more than a quack with a mail order degree. I regularly give lectures to various groups and am on a weekly radio show, and have to tell my audiences to seek nutrition advice from a ‘Dietitian’. They sometimes ask why I say ‘Dietitian’ and not ‘nutritionist’, seeing as I am the later but not the former. In short, people like Gillian McKeith are the reason why we have to be cautious about telling people to get advice from a ‘nutritionist’. Perhaps more frustrating, people like her cause undue cynacism about nutrition related issues to many sceptics.

  8. Hi Stuart, thank you for your comment, you may like to see this comment by Patrick Holford
    There are always going to be rogues in whatever industry you choose to embark upon as this article shows with the pharmacy industry, and then of-course we have the rogue in the form of our ‘Dr?’ Mckeith. We just have to be one step ahead and be seekers of the truth ourselves encouraging others to seek the truth too.
    I like your site, perhaps you would consider allowing me to put a link to your site from mine? It will give my readers another source to a professional nutritionist. Good wishes to you!

  9. According to Holford Watch, it might not be advisable to place so much faith in the accuracy of Patrick Holford’s research.

  10. Liked your article and though I think Gillian McKeith is impressive for changing people’s behaviour where few would succeed, she is a wacky loose canon, not a scientist or a medic. Why she uses a purchased degree seems a poor strategy for her, but it may be her mocking academia… She is a media star and that is obvious to anyone. Even genuine doctors on the media are seen through for their motives and what they are by most viewers I suspect. Tonmoy Sharma, Raj Persaud and Beechy Colclough are just the tip of the entertainment medicine show iceburg.

    Relax, its edutainment, anyone who takes any medical advice solely from a television show is seriously deluded.

    The best counter to this if you felt inclined would be a web page with specific points related to specific things Gillian McKeith says, citing the episode and date. That would be helpful. A sparse clear page where anyone could look up a wonky point and be guided to sound information. Readers would contribute to that. So rather like surfers looking for information on Gillian McKeith find you, then they find advertisements for Gillan McKeith products on your site, you could keep the circle going with clarification of her odder points.

    It is also interesting to try and detect her influences, echoes of macrobiotics, German medicine, Heaton and Lewis, Dean Ornish?

    You might enjoy the music of Dr John, Count Basie, Lord Buckley and Captain Beefheart. But they set out to entertain you, often aiming their show at when you have had a few drinks and critical faculties are numbed. Few ever asked for the certificates to justify their titles. Dr Gillian does not want you to take her seriously, she does her act to prompt a strong reaction.

    I suspect Gillian McKeith has improved the nutrition of more people than any other television person, the serious sound well qualified doctors (those who are not also frauds) can be proud of their work as academically sound, but is anyone watching?


  11. I think she has sowed more confusion than any one. I also feel she has also brought being qualified in anything into disrepute and she should have more regard for her ‘fellow’ practitioners. One good thing that appears to have come out from all of these types of people is that the government are now considering regulation of all practitioners and that is a good thing! (but we who are qualified knew all about this from many years ago!)

    The people she appears to help I wonder if are actors because they actually look typically ‘fat and happy’ and fairly healthy and upbeat apart from being overweight. She has not had truly obese people on the programme who are medically and morbidly obese. If her advice had helped those people then it would be interesting wouldn’t it?

    As for the academically sound – I feel that sensible people do listen to them but they are the types who are probably too academically busy to bother with submitting their thoughts to blogs such as this and don’t watch TV anyway!

    Not everyone has your sensible attitude when it comes to TV and advertising and they are actually swayed by it, which is the point of TV programmes and advertising! If her programme is meant to be a comedy Channel 4 should advertise it as such.

    Patrick Holford on the other hand may also not be as emminently qualified as we should expect but his advice is fairly sound (apart from his attitude to milk) but he had help!
    He has been fairly clever and intelligent and from what I remember him telling us at a course I was on back in 1994 has always had the backing of his friends Brian and Celia Wright of Higher Nature.
    I think Gillian has been using his theories but without looking at the background to them and so getting herself confused.
    Patrick Holford’s argument is that he has been giving it for 30 odd years and so his experience speaks volumes.
    Trouble is if we give Gillian much more credence she will say the same.
    On the other hand a qualified Nutritionist is in trouble for the advice she gave to a patient to lose weight who then had an epileptic attack and the cause is being blamed on the health advice. The Nutritionist who gave the advice should sue the government for their advice about salt and water which she only passed on to her client and which every trained person from beauty therapist to Osteopath had been trained to advise.
    Our own dear government here in the UK told us through a TV ad campaign not to consume any extra salt at all. (Remember the slug campaign?) We were all having too much apparently and this was the cause of high blood pressure. Then just as suddenly as we were told that, the advert telling us to give up salt disappeared and in the press we started to hear that we should consume no more than 6 grams of salt every single day. Which is a lot! How come they can get away with that dramatic change of mind? One minute telling us not to consume salt, the next no more than 6 grams! It is outragous!!! And has the message of 6 grams a day got through to those people who listen to ad campaigns? No.

    I am asking people if they are eating enough salt when they come to me with their muscle problems. Salt is essential for our nerve impulses and there is no cited or scientific paper that proves that salt raises blood pressure (that I can find).
    Water, we were told to drink 2 litres of water a day. I have never been able to consume that much and felt like I was drowning but because it was the health advice at the time and because I was trained to say that when I was on courses for skincare I passsed that information on. Now because of my own experiences I tell people to drink water when they are thirsty and to drink tea and coffee and other things because they like the taste but to avoid fizzy drinks with additives at all costs. At times I have forgotten to drink and someone made themselves very ill because they forgot to drink so we do need to understand that we need to drink something at the very least 3 times a day.

    The new thinking is that drinking a lot of plain water flushes out important electrolytes. Hmm … the jury is still out on that one as far as I am concerned. The body is more intelligent than that so I think there is something else going on. Caffeine from coffee, tea and coco cola interferes with an anti-diuretic hormone – vasopressin. Anti-diuretic means to stop water being flushed out. So something interferring with that may encourage more water out of the body than the body wants.

    It is all backward cover-ups by people who should know better. Because salt was advised out of our diets, people were then drinking far too much for their own systems perhaps flushing out more ‘salts’ and so there was a health risk.

    One Doctor in captivity some years ago asked to treat other prisoners, he wasn’t allowed any medications but he found they improved when he advised drinking more or less water. If you are ill, you may need more water to flush out the toxins. If you are not ill, you may not need so much water.
    If you are hot and sweating you may need to eat more sea salt, calcium, magnesium and potassium. Sea salt contains a trace amount of calcium and magnesium plus of-course sodium. A good quality water like Evian provides a lot of calcium, magnesium, potassium and salt. Bananas provide a lot of potassium.
    We must stop being sheep and stop listing to rules of other people and think about ourselves and our own bodies and what feels right for us.
    I found this incredibly hard to do as I had been brought up with rules, very strict rules. Since believing in Jesus Christ who came to break the rigidity of honouring the rules (not disarm them) by providing one more – Apply Love, which is Love for yourself as well as others, I came to trust only Him and I am doing much better in thinking for myself.
    Any person, including myself, whether they are trained or not should temper their words with: ‘This is Advice only based on training and experience please decide for yourself if it is right for you.’
    As for the webpage idea – good idea – need to ponder on that one. I am really sorry that Gillian has taken herself off to think about things and that her empire may be crumbling (Independant article). I wish she would turn it around and take on board a qualified person who can provide the advice she should be giving and maintain her media profile. Personally I think that people don’t mind mistakes, they mind people not admitting to them and they mind people not putting their mistake right. Change Gillian, don’t give up, change.

  12. Hello there! This article could not be written
    any better! Going through this post reminds
    me of my previous roommate! He constantly kept talking about this.
    I will forward this post to him. Fairly certain he’ll have a very good read. Thank you for sharing!

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