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Tuesday, September 25, 2007

LI Celebrity Alert: Orlando Bloom and Victoria Beckham

Last week I posted about the latest bad news from Britain, that somehow 20% of the British population has managed to convince itself that it has food allergies.

I've done so many posts about the seemingly limitless ignorance about all issues having to do with lactose intolerance or dairy allergy in the UK that I could fill up a book. Just check for the UK tags to get a long list.

With doctors, nutritionists, and newspaper columnists giving out advice that ranges from the inaccurate to the sheer loony, you'd think there'd be plenty of blame to go around when deciding who is at fault for the omnipresent ignorance.

You'd be wrong. It's the fault of celebrities.

Nic Fleming, the Medical Correspondent for the Daily Telegraph wrote that over 60% of general practitioners (GPs) have seen an increase in the number of patients complaining to be intolerant to wheat or dairy.

You might think that there's a clue staring you in the face. When a Medical Correspondent can't use the term allergy properly and sows confusion between allergies and intolerances, how in the world would ordinary readers understand the crucial difference?

But let's continue. Fleming quotes from a recent survey of 1000 adults and 250 GPs.

More than a fifth - 22 per cent - of people said they had first heard of food intolerances and allergies through interviews with celebrities, magazines and television, and 19 per cent had done so via friends and family.

This is a doubled-edged statistic. I admit readily - indeed I shout it out loud here at my blog - that getting medical information from headlines or the media equivalent is an extremely bad idea. But if getting medical information from television is so bad, why are health features a daily segment on every major news program? That survey makes no distinction between believing everything heard and using the media as a critical disseminator of valuable knowledge. Same for hearing from friends and family. Personal experiences with allergies and intolerances can be an invaluable sharing of hard-won knowledge, while other gossip is glurge as bad as any internet rumor.

Clearly people are getting bad advice about food from somewhere, however. Maybe we can identify one source. It's an article by Nic Fleming, the Medical Correspondent for the Daily Telegraph.

That's right. The following quote appears in the very same article blaming television and celebrities:
Patrick Holford, the founder of the Institute for Optimum Nutrition, said: "Probably as many as one in five people show an allergic reaction to wheat or milk, generating symptoms such as headaches, fatigue, facial puffiness, itching, eczema, bloating, abdominal pain, constipation and joint aches.

Hogwash. Crackpot hogwash.

You can read more about the Institute for Optimum Nutrition on Wikipedia, which also carries this warning:
Prof David Colquhoun has criticised the ION's Diploma in Nutritional Therapy, arguing that:

The give-away is the term Nutritional Therapy. They are the folks who claim, with next to no evidence, that changing your diet, and buying from them a lot of expensive ’supplements’, will cure almost any disease (even AIDS and cancer)... The IoN is run by Patrick Holford, whose only qualification in nutrition is a diploma awarded to himself by his own Institute. His advocacy of vitamin C as better than conventional drugs to treat AIDS is truly scary.

Thank you Nic Fleming, Medical Correspondent.

Oh, the celebrities. Right. Fleming mentions that:
the actor Orlando Bloom and Victoria Beckham are said to be intolerant to dairy products.

You know where else you might have seen that?

Right here. My post of April 15, 2006. "Free From" Foods Grow in Sales.
Orlando Bloom and ex-Spice Girl Victoria Beckham have to stay away from dairy products, say sources close to them (or tabloids or somebody equally respectable).

Somebody equally respectable. Like Nic Fleming.

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1 comment:

Kim said...

This reveals the intolerence of food in Britain.