/ Health

Had dodgy advice from a nutritional therapist? We have!

Have you ever visited a nutritional therapist? In this month’s Which? magazine we investigated the profession and found some worrying practices, such as therapists advising against going to your GP.

One therapist advised our researcher, who was posing as a cancer sufferer, against having conventional treatment (a lumpectomy and radiotherapy), saying that she should try for three to six months to rid herself of the cancer through diet (by cutting out sugar).

Nutritional therapy can be big business; therapists charge up to £80 for a consultation and often prescribe expensive supplements on top. So we wanted to investigate whether it was worth the money.

How our investigation worked

We asked five undercover researchers to each visit three therapists. Each researcher was provided with a scenario.

One researcher (in her early 30s) had been trying to conceive unsuccessfully for over a year. Two (in their 50s) had been suffering from severe tiredness for the past three months. And two women (in their 40s) had recently been diagnosed with DCIS (Ductal Carcinoma in Situ), the most common type of non-invasive breast cancer.

A panel of experts (a dietitian, a GP and a Professor of Pharmacology) then assessed recordings of the visits and any other information the therapists provided to the researchers, including prescriptions for supplements.

Are nutritional therapists worth the money?

Our expert panel concluded that visiting a nutritional therapist wasn’t worth the money – and in some cases could have actually endangered the health of the researcher. Six of the fifteen consultations were rated as ‘dangerous fails’.

This could have been down to a number of reasons:

  • The advice given by the therapist could have potentially harmed the researcher.
  • Therapists were diagnosing conditions without relevant testing (even though their Code of Practice says they shouldn’t diagnose).
  • Researchers were advised not to visit their GPs about the problem, recommending unproven testing such as hair mineral analysis, and the case above, advising against cancer treatment.

Of the remaining visits, eight were rated as ‘fails’ and only one was graded as a ‘borderline pass’. Our experts were disappointed by the advice given by therapists and concerned at their poor knowledge of the body and how it works.

The experts were also worried by some therapists using non-evidence-based testing to diagnose symptoms. These tests included iridology (studying the patterns, colour and other characteristics of the iris), hair mineral analysis and a researcher being given several liquids to hold in his mouth before being told he had a chromium deficiency.

Are the recommendations right?

Twelve of the therapists prescribed supplements to the researchers, costing up to £70 a month. Researchers were told not to buy them from Boots or other high street chemists as they weren’t ‘pure enough’ and you were effectively ‘flushing your money down the loo’. Instead, they were asked to buy them from the retailers recommended by the therapist.

Of course, there is benefit in following healthy dietary advice, but most of what was provided by the nutritional therapists is freely available on websites such as the NHS site.

Plus, most of the therapists in our investigation recommended quite restrictive diets that excluded several foods (predominantly dairy and wheat) and taking expensive supplements.

If you do have a medical condition that you are concerned about, your first port of call should be your GP. If necessary they can then refer you to a dietitian. We have contacted the British Association of Applied Nutrition and Nutritional Therapy (BANT) with our findings and concerns.

People who have visited nutritional therapists emailed us to say that they found the diets recommended to them difficult to maintain over a long time and eventually gave up.

Have you visited a nutritional therapist? What was your experience like – do any of these findings ring true or did you have a more positive experience?

Comments
Member

Article from the Daily Telegraph yesterday, about the dangers of sugar:

http://www.telegraph.co.uk/health/9062809/Can-sugar-really-be-toxic-Sadly-yes.html

Member

Shock! Horror! The fruit that the NHS recommends us to eat also contains sugar.

Member

Hello Guy,
with reference to the book you have on Nutrition and Health and the experiments mentioned within it on diet and longevity, I would just like to add of the Blue-Zone peoples of the World, that their longevity was the highest, and where these indigenous peoples mostly lived on a low-calorie but nutrient-dense and plant-based diet to achieve the status of centenarian. Google the word “Nutritarian”.

A Scientist named Buettner and his team identified nine common traits with these indigenous peoples which had the highest longevity, and to which Buettner referred to as the Power9. Of the Power9, three related to diet. Buettner discovered that centenarians……………………………”usually consume a plant-based diet low in processed foods, and teach themselves to stop eating when they are only 80 percent full. They also regularly enjoy red wine in moderation”.

I must say……………………I do agree with that last sentence wholeheartedly!!!!!!!!!

Member

Hi Chrisb. Unfortuneatly the 1907 book on nutrition and health is not in my possession. I only browsed it when I was in the Doctors surgery in the Victorian Town at Ironbridge. If I go back, I will get more details and try to the folks in Hay on Wye to find me a copy. The Blue Zone book is indeed fantastic and is surprising in showing that the greatest longevity is best achieved with a life full of fun, activity and, as you say, some examples pure indulgence. It would be great to get it added to the geography and science national curriculum.

Member

For those of you who may be interested in the role of diet in relation to just one chronic disease (Cancer) a six year study was made on this relationship and published by the World Cancer Research Fund in 2007 entitled……………
“Food, Nutrition, Physical Activity and the Prevention of Cancer: a Global Perspective”.

The conclusions are very specific……………..
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Food,_Nutrition,_Physical_Activity_and_the_Prevention_of_Cancer:_a_Global_Perspective

Member
Katie says:
7 February 2012

A good example (that the UK could follow) of how the health of the nation was improved was in Finland when they gave fish and boiled potatoes to all school children and introduced financial incentives to get the nation exercisng. Heart disease rates dropped. (please someone correct me if I am wrong with the facts)
Guy and Chris B are right, there are so many world examples of health and longevity in people who eat traditional diets and live traditional lifestyles. However, I do believe we have come a long way scientifically and that a persons uniqueness (genetically) means that a one size fits all diet however good the diet seems to be could possibly be improved upon. Dare I say some people may benefit (due to a genetic polymorphism) to supplement with something that is specific to that particular genetic variation . The science of Nutrigenomics ……!!

Member

Believe what you say is correct, Katie, as to paragraph one but
believe additionally there was active discouragement of (too much)
saturated fats consumption resulting in Finland having a very/low
incidence of CHD and related diseases/illnesses unlike in bad old days
when it was the highest or amongst the very highest in the
developed world.

Too much intake of dairy products and red and processed meats in
the West if you ask me. Of course other lifestyle factors are equally
contributory.

Member
Elizabeth says:
7 February 2012

I would add to Katie’s example that not only fish and boiled potatoes were given, but selenium was added to the fields as they found that their soil was very depleted, (as is our own, by the way, as a consequence of the last ice age, in which the glaciers took away the top soil and dumped it in the sea). The application of seaweed could be a way of reversing that loss.

Member
Steve Oldfield says:
7 February 2012

To all the Luddites out there…not intended for you specifically Stuart.. :), but it is totally disingenuous to be demanding evidence of the success of holistic treatments, when the drug manufacturing/medical lobby have successfully manipulated the government to prevent therapists from even being able to exhibit client referrals that describe the benefits from their treatments, which are often achieved after exhausting conventional medicine and are thus by nature the more persistent and difficult cases. Regardless of your viewpoint it really is outrageous for the drugs lobby to have managed to prevent free speech and the opportunity to even share actual client experiences,
To use a few whacky extreme examples of poor therapy practise to bludgeon the free discussion and free communication of peoples personal experiences is so short sighted and unfair. There are plenty of poor nurses, doctors, physios etc.. out there dishing out dreadful and dangerous treatments, but it would be wrong to use this as an excuse to send conventional medicine underground. It is a victory for the pharmaceutical industry and luddites in the medical professions, not for the public.

Member
Stuart says:
8 February 2012

So you argument is that because some pharmaceutical companies are corrupt and manipulate the evidence, ‘alternative’ medicine should have not any particular standard of evidence applied to it. That sounds like special pleading. Logic not you strong point is it?

So in you ideal world would drugs have a standard of evidence to meet, or will it just be a total free for all where anecdotes are king and anything goes and anyone can claim anything?

What government censorship are you refering to?

Love the irony of the “luddite” comment. Self awareness not a strong point either then?

There are more parellels with alternative medicine and yourself, since you protest against medical progress in much the same way they did against mechanisation (because it changed their way of life).

Luckily, evidence based medicine is changing lives for the better while some cling to 200 year old fairy tales.

Member

Steve says we should not demand evidence that holistic treatments work and it is clear that some agree with this. Look at this positively, Stuart. It could save the NHS a lot of money.

Perhaps there is an alternative therapy has a treatment for paranoia.

Incidentally, Luddites with a capital refers to those who destroyed equipment in mills, and luddites could be used to describe those who reject modern developments in orthodox medicine. I’ve just noticed that I’m thinking along the same lines as Stuart in this and other matters.

Member

Okay wavechange we’ll just have to differ on our opinions on HFCS with the emphasis on “high”.
http://www.princeton.edu/main/news/archive/S26/91/22K07/index.xml?section=topstories

I know we agreed to discontinue our discussion on that but I believe it was you who brought up that subject again by mentioning Appleton and sugar pills.
The advice from the NHS then isn’t that bad in terms of limiting our salt/sugar/fat intake

I didn’t mean to insult you by giving a biochemistry lesson but that is what I understood as the metabolism of added sugars which has been linked to increased obesity, metabolic syndrome, an impaired immune system and other health problems, including insulin resistance
Mind you even some of the alternative sweeteners are no better, for example in the case of aspartame, but that’s another issue.

High-fructose corn syrup is often singled out by many of us as Food Enemy No. 1 because it has become ubiquitous in processed foods over about the last 30 years – a period that just happens to coincide with a steep rise in obesity. Coincidental?
http://www.sciencenews.org/view/generic/id/338193/title/Taste_of_fructose_revs_up_metabolism

Anyways enough on that.

Member

You mention aspartame. Let’s assume that I know what it is and how it is metabolised. With the exception of phenylketonurics, who should avoid aspartame for well established reasons, is it better that the rest of us should use aspartame, sugar, HFCS (or something else) to sweeten food and drink?

Let’s make the assumption that the majority of the population are fond of sweet food, even if that is not important in your life or mine, and that no amount of dietary advice is going to clear the supermarket shelves of sweet stuff in the next few years.

Member
Katie says:
7 February 2012

I agree with Steve Oldfield that regrettably the public are the real losers because there is now censorship of information and restriction of choice in healthcare. I think the public should have reasonable choice to decide how they want to be treated. The EC regulation of vitamins and herbs that came into force last Arpril threw the baby out with the bathwater. Whilst many inferior products may have disappeared and that is good – in my opinion quality products are no longer available as small companies cannot afford to license them. If they dont exist they will never be used in future trials/evaluations.
As for the need for supplements I dont know that the public realise that they are not given all the information about studies and metaanalyses and that only specific vitamins have ever been tested and no one knows of the quality of the supplements used in the supplement trials that demonstrated that apparently supplements dont work and may be dangerous. Its a question never brought up Results of studies that show supplements that may work (eg fish oils – yes contamnant free!!) are undereported..

Member

Katie,
I agree with you.
I believe that many supplement studies are designed to fail from the outset. One particular study claimed that 400 IU’s of vitamin E per day increased their risk of prostate cancer by 17 percent. The vitamin E used was all rac-α-tocopheryl acetate—a synthetic photochemically-derived form of dl-alpha tocopherol, which has known toxic effects.
GreenMedInfo.com has a listing of published research relating to the many ill health effects related to this compound. The Toxicology Data Network also lists numerous health problems related to synthetic vitamin E at various dosages. The study said absolutely nothing about the health effects of natural vitamin E (d-alpha tocopherol). Part of the problem with synthetic alpha tocopherol is that it depletes gamma tocopherol. I could go on.

Another study involving supplemental Vitamin D for women to show any relationship over a 2 year period with breast cancer risk, only used a very low dose of the Vitamin and then they used Vitamin D2 instead of the more effective D3. Too low a dose and the wrong form of Vitamin D or ergocalciferol instead of cholcalciferol.

I could go on and on and on, but these “studies” make headline news where prescription drugs take a back-seat, and rarely if anything is published about their dangers of a conservatively estimated 106,000 deaths annually when they are taken as prescribed.

But who controls the media in the USA? Big Pharma of course because they are their paymasters.
Choice in healthcare is gradually but successfully being eroded in favor of pharmaceuticals.

We call it…………..follow the money.

Member
Alan Hennsss says:
7 February 2012

Steve Oldfield said:

“the drug manufacturing/medical lobby have successfully manipulated the government to prevent therapists from even being able to exhibit client referrals that describe the benefits from their treatments,”

[citation required]

“it really is outrageous for the drugs lobby to have managed to prevent free speech and the opportunity to even share actual client experiences”

[citation required]

Member
Alan Henness says:
7 February 2012

That’s very interesting. All I do is ask for evidence to back up two statements made and I get two thumbs down. Says a lot, doesn’t it?

Member

Sorry Alan. I clicked the wrong one by mistake, but that only accounts for one of them. 🙂

I much appreciate your input. I may not say any more on this topic because some of the discussion is a tedious waste of time and I could say something I might regret about certain daft ideas.

Member
Alan Henness says:
7 February 2012

wavechange

Ha ha! They make no difference, of course, but it was interesting. Thanks for all your rational contributions to this debate!

Member
Alan Hennsss says:
7 February 2012

Katie said:

“there is now censorship of information”

What are you referring to? There always has been censorship of information: the Cancer Act in 1939 was passed to stop people making fraudulent claims that they could treat cancer when they had no evidence. I hope you agree that that ‘censorship’ is for the public benefit?

Of course, one of the biggest and wide-ranging areas of ‘censorship’ is that drug companies are prohibited by law from advertising Prescription Only Medicines to the public in the UK. Can you tell me where this fits in with the Big Pharma conspiracy theories?

“…and restriction of choice in healthcare.”

What choice are you referring to?

“I think the public should have reasonable choice to decide how they want to be treated.”

Absolutely. And I hope we can agree that that choice must be a fully informed choice?

“The EC regulation of vitamins and herbs that came into force last Arpril threw the baby out with the bathwater. Whilst many inferior products may have disappeared and that is good – in my opinion quality products are no longer available as small companies cannot afford to license them.”

To be pedantic, the EU THMPD Directive 2004/24/EC came into force in 2004 and was implemented in 2005 and it only relates to manufactured OTC herbal products, not vitamins. 30 April saw the ending of a seven-year transition period under the Directive. That lengthy transition period was to give manufacturers plenty of time to make sure they had Good Manufacturing Practice in place (to ensure basic procedures to make sure the products are manufactured safely) and to compile the necessary dossier to submit to the MHRA. Unfortunately, manufacturers registering products under the THMPD don’t have to provide any data relating to efficacy or safety, so they are getting Government ‘approval’ without having even to meet anywhere near the same standards as Big Pharma.

Member

Alan. With regard to your comments on fully informed choice.If I was to receive a cancer diagnosis, and chose, after doing some thorough research that I would like to be treated with IV vit C and a Gerson diet would this choice be supported in the NHS?, would it be covered covered by private medical insurance? or would I instead have to get on a plane and look after myself?

Member
Katie says:
7 February 2012

Alan H – we do have other things to do as well – An example of censorship is when a small company is not allowed to say on the label that their product (eg plant sterols) may for example lower cholesterol – when the same censorship doesnt apply to large companies who produce cholesterol lowering margarines and the like. another example is when a small company is not allowed to say on a supplement of chromium that the chromium in the product may help to control appetite BUT Tesco are allowed to bring out a chocolate mousse with added chromium and make such a claim

Member
Alan Henness says:
7 February 2012

Katie said:

“An example of censorship is when a small company is not allowed to say on the label that their product (eg plant sterols) may for example lower cholesterol – when the same censorship doesnt apply to large companies who produce cholesterol lowering margarines and the like.”

Any sized company is free to make whatever claims they want. All that is asked is that they provide the evidence to substantiate that claim. This ‘censorship’ is evenly applied as far as I can see. Or are you suggesting organisations like the MHRA or the ASA are biased?

I hope you don’t think manufacturers should be free to claim whatever they like with no evidence to substantiate that claim?

Member

Katie
There is another Which? Conversation about tightening up claims for products.
https://conversation.which.co.uk/consumer-rights/food-health-claims-scientifically-proven-list-eu-member-states/

My own view is that it is crazy to give anyone chromium unless they have deficiency. What they need is dietary advice and appropriate support.

Member

Alan,
EU Health-claim regulations…………no bottled water company within Europe is now allowed to state that water will cure dehydration on their bottled water products.!!!!!!
http://www.telegraph.co.uk/news/worldnews/europe/eu/8897662/EU-bans-claim-that-water-can-prevent-dehydration.html

When push comes to shove there is going to be such a huge public backlash concerning health claims that most MEP’s should be fearful of keeping their jobs.

In fact this one is reminiscent of Monty Python regarding “bent bananas”………….
http://highered.mcgraw-hill.com/sites/007248179x/student_view0/chapter7/a_further_note_2.html

At least we can rest in the knowledge that our stalwart caretakers of Europe are doing a fine fine job.

Member
Alan Henness says:
7 February 2012

chrisb said:

“EU Health-claim regulations…………no bottled water company within Europe is now allowed to state that water will cure dehydration on their bottled water products.!!!!!!
http://www.telegraph.co.uk/news/worldnews/europe/eu/8897662/EU-bans-claim-that-water-can-prevent-dehydration.html

It undoubtedly helps if you don’t just accept the somewhat superficial (and self-serving) article in the Telegraph and look into it in a bit more detail, like Martin Robbins did in his Guardian column: Daft hysteria over the EU’s ruling on water and dehydration.

Member
Katie says:
7 February 2012

Alan – Am I wrong about chromium in that most products cannot claim that chromium may moderate appetite but that Tesco was allowed to say words of that nature on their chocolate mousse?? I hope that I am wrong

Member
Alan Henness says:
7 February 2012

Katie

I have no idea. You made the assertion that this was the case, so I’m looking to you to provide some evidence for it.

Member
Katie says:
7 February 2012

ok Alan I’ll get back to you

Member
Alan Henness says:
7 February 2012

Thanks!

Member
ExR&D says:
7 February 2012

From the just-food.com website:

The Skinny Mousse desserts contain the mineral chromium, which Tesco said has been the subject of numerous studies and clinical trials and has been approved by the European Food Safety Authority as a food supplement. Chromium has been found to regulate blood sugar levels, which in turn reduces cravings for sweet foods, Tesco explained.

From the manufacturer bio-synergy.co.uk:

This low calorie dessert is enhanced with chromium which helps suppress your sugar cravings.

Member
Alan Henness says:
7 February 2012

ExR&D

It would appear that the manufacturer has been able to supply evidence that that product did what was being claimed for it. I assume that it was Bio-Synergy (whatever size they are) who were making the claims and not the giant Tesco?

I’m not exactly sure what Katie was claiming about the ‘small’ company: was it that they provided EFSA with evidence but that it was unfairly rejected; or they provided evidence that was rejected because it wasn’t up to the required standard; or that there was contrary evidence and EFSA decided the evidence supplied was insufficient to overcome the contrary evidence; or that they hadn’t provided evidence, but still wanted to make the claim regardless?

Member

I cannot find an ingredients list for this stuff.

Member

From the Food & Drink Innovation Network:

“This low calorie dessert is enhanced with chromium, which contains naturally occurring amino acids to help suppress sugar cravings.”

So, chromium contains amino acids?

Sorry, I don’t have a sugar craving, only a brain, albeit not very big.

Member
Katie says:
7 February 2012

Alan I have just read that EFSA passed a ruling in Dec 2011 to prevent companies using clever marketing and making slightly misleading claims on food products, This chocolate mousse was advertised last July 2011before the ruling so I dont know if Bio Synergy still make the claim

I have emailed ASA and hope to get a reply. My point is I suspected some small companies have never made these claims as there has been pressure on them not to make any claims relating to symptoms – I have never seen this claim before on for example chromium supplements. I aim to find out all the facts and will let you know.

Member
Alan Henness says:
7 February 2012

Katie said:

” I have just read that EFSA passed a ruling in Dec 2011 to prevent companies using clever marketing and making slightly misleading claims on food products,”

Sounds like a good idea!

“I have emailed ASA and hope to get a reply.”

Sorry, why the ASA?

“My point is I suspected some small companies have never made these claims as there has been pressure on them not to make any claims relating to symptoms”

What pressure? Surely there should be pressure not to make misleading claims, but claims that can be backed up with robust evidence should be OK?

“I aim to find out all the facts and will let you know.”

Good!

Member

There have been various comments about the perils of sugar. I don’t accept that it should be treated as a poison but I do believe that we should follow the NHS guidelines and not eat much of it.

Perhaps it would be good to get rid of our tradition of eating sweet food and drink at the end of a meal. Perhaps we can find ways of rewarding children that do not involve giving them sweets.

I’m desperately looking for something that we could agree on.

Member
Natasha says:
8 February 2012

Wavechange I completely agree with your statement about sugar in small quantities and children shouldnt be given sugar in desserts and as rewards!!
I also agree with you about the statement about chromium containing amino acids – it has to be a misquote or someone at the time in desparate need of a sugar fix and lost all logical reasoning.

Member

I like your explanation, Natasha. 🙂

Alternatively, it could just provide a reminder that we should not believe everything we read on websites, or even in peer reviewed papers.

We need to think about what to do about chocolate. Maybe develop a taste for bitter chocolate.

Member
Selina Import says:
8 February 2012

Great Mindwave I would agree with you on all that. Poison is an emotive word used for over emphasis

Member

My MEP has admitted to me that the Pharmaceutical Companies have a very powerful and influential status within Europe and the European Parliament, and much more so than any other organization.
He gave this as the reason why there is strong push towards limiting the MPUL’s (Maximum Permitted Upper Levels) of Vitamins and Minerals to non-therapeutic levels. He went on to say that the Pharmaceutical Companies perceive Nutrients as a threat and competition to their business, and are strongly influencing the EFSA to implement these changes under the guise of “safety”, when Vitamins and Minerals already have an impeccable safety record.
Conservative MP Daniel Hannan complained to the Daily Telegraph last September 3, that, “whenever you see an apparently insane Brussels Directive, someone, somewhere stands to gain.” And in his view, the Directives affecting natural remedies resulted because of lobbying by the large pharmaceutical companies.
http://www.i-sis.org.uk/vitamins2.php

The problem with evaluating and comparing drugs with nutrients is that nutrients cannot by definition be subjected to safety analyses, because nutrients are essential to life and heal organisms at the cellular level; they also act together synergistically to bring about organ repair, and cause systemic healing when given in higher doses than RDI’s. Toxicity is rare.

This cannot be said for synthetic drugs which are systemically toxic, meaning they are toxic to more than one body system as well as on a cellular level; hence there is a constant need to weigh the benefits of their use with the known risks of their toxicity, specific doses of just so many mg, timing of ingestion, duration of treatment – and the prescription requirement.

So the proposed European legislation in limiting the MPUL’s of Vitamins and Minerals to non-therapeutic levels (based on the grounds of safety) is flawed, and in the interests of the Pharmaceutical Companies and presumably to maintain their status-quo and profit margins.

To achieve the “positive list” of approval for individual nutrients, manufacturers have to submit safety data and a dossier provision for getting nutrients onto this Positive List
The estimated cost to put a dossier together for a single ingredient is somewhere between £250,000 and’ £800,000! That is based on the fact that there was no pre-existing information on the ingredient, though the cost would be significantly less if there was some available data.
Manufacturers are therefore constrained in terms of cost, and essentially have their hands tied behind their backs in being unable to finance these dossiers for approval of nutrients. This I suspect was intentional.

CHROMIUM is a nutrient that made it to the positive list and reprieved…………………….
A mineral that balances blood sugar levels and is widely used by diabetics to help control their condition. Chromium picolinate supplement, which is not on the “positive list”, is seen by health professionals as a safe and effective nutritional supplement for people with insulin resistance and those at risk of diabetes.
http://www.nutraingredients.com/Research/Chromium-supplier-welcomes-EFSA-chromium-verdict
http://www.rense.com/general63/banvit.htm

Member

Wavechange,
“Shock! Horror! The fruit that the NHS recommends us to eat also contains sugar”.

Yes, but I am referring to “added sugars” to foods and drinks such as sodas, rather than naturally occurring sugars as found in fruits. There is a huge distinction in health consequences.

Member

So the fructose in HFCS, which you warned me about, is different from the fructose in fruit? I would like to see this explained in a chemistry textbook or journal, and not some crackpot’s website or a newspaper article.

I think we need to take some information about added and natural sugars with a pinch of salt. Not too much salt, of course.

Member
ExR&D says:
8 February 2012

Isn’t the effect on human health different when you eat naturally occurring sugar as part of a nutrient-dense whole food compared with packet sugar which is not a whole food and is not nutrient dense? My intuition tells me to eat whole fruits in moderation (not drink fruit juice because that’s not a whole food), and ignore packet sugar that my body is not designed to deal with.

Member

I agree to some extent, especially about moderation. Fine to eat an orange but not to drink a large glass of this, whether is commercially produced or home-made from ‘fresh’ oranges.

I’m more concerned about eating a traditional English breakfast, with all the salt, fat, carcinogens produced from nitrites and nitrates in bacon and sausages, and carcinogens produced in frying. I would rather risk eating sugar-infested breakfast cereal. Skip that and have proper muesli (without milk powder or sugar) and accept that a lot of the carbohydrate is metabolised to produce glucose much faster than some of the wholefood cranks are prepared to admit. Avoid processed foods, I agree, but there is no need to become obsessed and pay silly money for them.

Basically, we are eating too much food and the fact that much of it requires little or no preparation does not help. Some advocate small frequent meals but this can lead to continuous grazing, which works well for cows but not for humans.

Member

Hello Wavechange,
I didn’t say, or mean to imply, that the fructose contained within High Fructose Corn Syrup is any different from that found in fruits, but what I did try to explain is the word “high” and how fructose proliferates the processed food supply.
A western diet now includes far more fructose than was originally intended by our maker and it is this overuse that is claimed to be leading to health problems.
HFCS 55 (mostly used in soft drinks), approximately 55% fructose and 42% glucose; and HFCS 42 (used in beverages, processed foods, cereals and baked goods), approximately 42% fructose and 53% glucose.[5][6] HFCS-90, approximately 90% fructose and 10% glucose, is used in small quantities for specialty applications, but primarily is used to blend with HFCS 42 to make HFCS 55.

The fructose found in fruit does not get metabolized as fat inside your body. The fructose found in fruit is a simple sugar, and it gets metabolized as a simple sugar. Eating fresh fruit does not elevate your triglyceride level.
When it comes to fructose, eating fresh fruit is very different than drinking a soda that has been sweetened with high-fructose corn syrup. A medium-sized apple contains about 10 grams of fructose. A 12-ounce soda that has been sweetened with high-fructose corn syrup contains close to 25 grams. There is some research evidence showing that excessive intake of fructose can raise triglyceride levels in humans, and there is definitely concern among health professionals about greatly increased intake of high-fructose corn syrup in sodas and other processed foods in the U.S. diet. But a whole, natural food like a medium-sized apple does not contain an excessive amount of fructose, and moderate amounts of whole, natural foods in a balanced diet are highly unlikely to bring your fructose intake to an excessive level.

If anyone drinks a can of soda full of sugar, glucose will enter the bloodstream at a rate of something like 30 calories per minute. A complex carbohydrate is digested more slowly, so glucose enters the bloodstream at a rate of only 2 calories per minute

This is my take on the matter and no I am not attempting to insult your credentials Wavechange.

The Yale Guide to Nutrition states……………….
If complex carbohydrates are broken down to mono-saccharides in the intestines before they are absorbed into the bloodstream, why are they better than refined sugar or other di- or mono-saccharides? To a great extent it has to do with the processes of digestion and absorption. Simple sugars require little digestion, and when a child eats a sweet food, such as a candy bar or a can of soda, the glucose level of the blood rises rapidly. In response, the pancreas secretes a large amount of insulin to keep blood glucose levels from rising too high. This large insulin response in turn tends to make the blood sugar fall to levels that are too low 3 to 5 hours after the candy bar or can of soda has been consumed. This tendency of blood glucose levels to fall may then lead to an adrenaline surge, which in turn can cause nervousness and irritability… The same roller-coaster ride of glucose and hormone levels is NOT experienced after eating complex carbohydrates or after eating a balanced meal because the digestion and absorption processes are much slower.

My concern about fructose is not in its chemical composition, but in the high quantities it is now being consumed from a processed diet, and how this can have injurious health consequences.

Member

I would be interested to know how HFCS 90 is made, since conversion of glucose to fructose catalysed by glucose isomerase will not achieve this. I might look that up.

I suggest that we should focus on following government guidelines on nutrition and that these should be tweaked where necessary and modified when there is good reason for changes.

The reasons for avoiding processed foods are well established, but let’s avoid the cranks’ claims and also the healthfood shops that charge silly prices by exploiting ignorance and fears. With the exception of those who have a known health problem the only weight loss diet that should be promoted is advice to eat less and to eat a balanced diet.

Member
Selina Import says:
8 February 2012

Mindwave, I remember being in a crowded shop that sold bacon in Dublin in about 1960. A man suddenly said in a loud voice. “you will get cancer from eating bacon”. He was very much a crank back then. I am a bit of a wholefood crank but very economical as my breakfast is usually homegrown apples oatmeal and some yogurt. Eat very little out of a packet. As a child and young person, we basically thought bacon and egg was what supper was. My grandparents diet was the same and the bacon and ham homecured. Very high salt. No cancers but heart trouble and high blood pressure..

Member
Selina Import says:
8 February 2012

So sorry wavechange senior moment in saying mindchange

Member

Mindwave? Mindchange?? I like the second one, though there is an ambiguity about whose mind should be changed. 🙂

wavechange was just a username I had used on a vintage radio forum.

Member
Selina Import says:
8 February 2012

Wavechange – got it right! Was that vintage receiving radio or transmitting? Son is a very keen amateur radio chap

Member

I repair radios and other home electronics until integrated circuits arrived and spare time departed. Had my house been bigger I might have become a collector. I have never been interested in ham radio, though I can understand why it is a popular hobby. Now if that’s not off-topic, nothing is. 🙂

Member

Wavechange,
I have never personally relied on Govt’ guidelines in the case of diet/nutrition although I think they are on the right track, albeit slowly.

Indeed the reasons for avoiding processed food are well established, but as Selina has highlighted, the cranks of yesterday are usually the realists of today, and I wager that will be the case with diet/nutrition and disease-causation.
I agree with you that Health-food shops can charge what seem to be exorbitant prices, but is there anything that isn’t currently perceived as having “silly and extortionate prices”? Do Health-food shops exploit “ignorance and fears”? that is debatable, but they have historically been viewed by many as beacons of health-truth. I daresay that some are solely run with the profit motive in mind as most businesses would, but I think historically that is not the case in my view.

Eat less and consume a balanced diet? Absolutely, just so long as this is low-calorie and nutrient-dense, but by a balanced diet I assume you mean an apple in either hand should balance the scales eh?.!!!!

Member

OK, we should at least agree to stop trying to wind each other up.

Let’s not worry about whether it is the scientists or the NTs who shape advice on nutrition for the future. Take the credit if you want, but my view is that science and orthodox medicine has made a bigger contribution.

Member
Selina Import says:
8 February 2012

Had a small wholefood and delicatessn shop for a while in early 80s. Don’t think I made even 50p and hour. Lloydspharmacy bought the chain Holland and Barrett in 1992. It now seems to be owned by the Carlyle Group.

Member

OK, wavechange I agree to stop trying to wind you up, but then whose trying? I think I did it rather well (humor).!!!

I don’t seek any credit for anything, and I don’t think it really matters whether scientists or NT’s or anyone involved with Nutritional Science shapes the advice on Nutrition in the future, just so long as it accurate and reliable advice, without any preconceived/biased/or prejudiced notions.

I do agree with you that Modern Medicine has made great strides in improving the lot of humanity as a whole, as for example in anesthesia, surgical skills/techniques, trauma, diagnostics and so on, but it is my fervent wish that instead of sitting on opposite sides of the health-divide, we could marry the disciplines together and discard that which is true quackery from the equation, and embrace that which is built on what actually works from that which does not.
The problem arises from dogma on both sides, and the financial incentives that go against the grain in achieving freedom from disease and a life worth living.

Someone was right…………………..I should have been a politician!!!

Member

I agree with all of that, and your last sentence did give me a good laugh. If you are prepared to accept a balanced view of a subject you would be no good as a politician, even if you can present an argument.

Although I am in favour of the scientific approach and have the greatest respect for those who specialise in promoting the public understanding of science, those scientists who indulge in public scare tactics do worry me. I prefer the ones who beaver away in their labs and wait until they have something worth publishing rather than succumbing to the pressure to publish – which seems to be debasing science.

I am not happy about conventional medicine, and I have criticised pill pushing GPs and the lack of one-to-one care that individuals need and is beyond what the NHS can offer. There is more – a lot more – but I do not want to discredit a service that is achieving so much in difficult circumstances. Ever since this Conversation started, I have wondered what would happen if the Which? researchers had visited GPs instead of NTs. I expect this would have shown some opportunities for improvement.

Member
Adam says:
8 February 2012

Since the conversation recently touched on health claims, readers may be interested in our – that is, the Alliance for Natural Health’s – current campaign to veto the list of 222 approved health claims currently going through the European Parliament: http://www.anh-europe.org/news/anh-launches-health-claims-veto-campaign.

Also, we’d like to take this opportunity to respond to some comments made by Maria Henness of the Nightingale Collaboration earlier in this thread (https://conversation.which.co.uk/consumer-rights/nutritional-therapists-advice-worth-the-cost/comment-page-7/#comment-55244). First of all, we wish to point out that we are an entirely donation-funded organisation, and the vast majority of that funding comes from individual members of the public, a proportion of which are practitioners. Although we do receive funds from some product manufacturers, describing us as, “Funded by the food supplement industry” as though we are nothing but a paid mouthpiece is simply untrue. Trade associations like the Health Food Manufacturers Association (HFMA) are 100% funded by manufacturers and distributors, and our positions are at odds with trade associations like the HFMA in important areas.

The assets Maria mentions simply reflect the strength of support, principally by members of the public and practitioners. When we put out a call for funding of a legal challenge in the European Court of Justice against the EU’s Traditional Herbal Medicinal Products Directive (THMPD), we achieved our initial funding target and more in a few short months – a great testament to the depth of feeling on the issue. Once again, the vast majority of this money came from small, individual donations. Very little came from companies. We fail to see why a donation-funded campaign organisation should not have donations in the bank, or what is wrong with having a team of paid staff – but Maria appears to believe that we are frauds unless we are penniless volunteers. She should take a look at the history of effective NGOs (non-governmental organisations).

Any unjaundiced reading of our article about Prof Williamson – the ‘Prof at Reading’ – would make it clear that we did not mount a, “Spineless and unsupportable attack” on anyone. She misrepresented the aims and scope of the THMPD in a letter to the UK Health Secretary, the consequences of which could have been to force perfectly safe and legal products from the UK market. Our article clearly stated that Prof Williamson had been supportive of herbal medicine in the past. In fact, her prior position made us wonder why she was suddenly proposing a move that would promote highly purified, single-herb extracts, stabilised in a base consisting of artificial polymers and other additives, over the more natural, whole-herb products that she has championed in the past.

We are at a loss as to why Maria thinks we accuse anyone of being Big Pharma shills, “Over and over again on [our] website”. When we find good evidence of such connections, we will present it, but it is laughable to present the material on our website in such a childish and simplistic manner. Maria’s baseless accusation does remind us of the infinite debating loop that Ben Goldacre found himself in recently, however [http://www.anh-europe.org/news/goldacre-vs-verkerk-an-unresolvable-twitter-duel].

Finally, we are not against proportionate regulations that work to protect the consumer. However, close examination of the relevant EU legislation, such as the THMPD, the Food Supplements Directive and the Nutrition and Health Claims Regulation, show clearly that consumers will be afforded little additional worthwhile protection. Instead, they will be denied the choice of effective, safe, high-quality products and even of the information they need to make healthy food choices. Worse, still, many will be force to buy completely unregulated products from the Internet. These are issues we believe are worth campaigning against, and which Ms Henness – if she were nothing more than a genuine consumer as she claims – would probably be on our side about.