- What’s really behind these recent Daily Mail headlines?
- Do chocolate, wine and cheese really help you lose weight?
- Watch out for this newspaper health “news” trick…
They’re full of lies… half-truths… conflicting advice… and hysterical fearmongering…
And yet they’re so addictive!
Yes, I’m talking about mainstream newspapers.
Not just the paper ones you buy on the way to work, but in particular their ONLINE versions.
They are packed full of information and alluring headlines that demand your attention.
Nothing wrong with that, right?
Well, when it comes to looking after your health, they can be seriously bad for you.
To give you an illustration, if you followed every article in something like the Daily Mail health section your life would be like this…
- Monday – article tells you wine is bad for you (you give up wine)
- Tuesday – article tells you wine protects against cancer (you drink wine)
- Wednesday – article tells you that exercise doesn’t help you lose weight (you forgo your usual swim)
- Thursday – article reveals that 30 minutes of light exercise a day extends your life by 10 years (you run to the swimming pool)
- Friday – article says that swimming pools have dangerous levels of toxins (you run screaming from the swimming pool)
- Saturday – article says red wine IS definitely bad for you after all (you drink wine anyway and feel terrible about it)
You might think that this is because they’re reporting science ‘news’ and the news changes all the time.
But they’re not.
Most of the time they’re repeating press releases from research facilities (usually corporate sponsored) or recycling articles from other parts of the internet.
For instance, a quick look at the Daily Mail website on Monday 11th April showed a series of articles all revealing the secret to slimming.
The first headline was:
“Want to slim? Get stuck into the chocolate and red wine: Key to weight loss is the bugs in YOUR gut rather than counting calories”.
In itself the information isn’t bad. It’s actually pretty much saying what I wrote a few weeks ago in my email, “The Obesity Epidemic Explained” in which I talked about why counting calories is bad for you.
In this article, Professor Tim Spector, points out that your stomach is home to 4lb of bacteria. Fatty and sugary foods kill off this ‘good’ bacteria and help the bad ones to flourish.
Amazingly, he proved this by experimenting on his OWN SON!
He put him on a McDonald’s-only diet for 10 days and discovered that it destroyed 1,400 species of gut microbe in his gut.
(Thinking about it, I’m glad now that my father was a personnel manager).
Foods like cheese, chocolate and wine were actually good for the stomach enzyme balance.
The thing is, while this article was interesting, it wasn’t news.
This was simply a report on what Spector said about his own new book The Diet Myth: The Real Science Behind What We Eat while he was at a literary festival.
Then there was another slimming article right next to it…
“Obese woman who married in a size 20 wedding dress reveals how giving up ONE ingredient helped her to halve her weight”.
This is an exciting idea isn’t it?
It makes out that you could just give up one thing and suddenly all your weight control problems are sorted out forever.
So what was it she gave up?
The article says she stopped eating junk food, cut out sugar and gave up her six daily cans of coke.
Oh, and she started going to the gym five times a week.
Hmmm. That’s not giving up one ingredient, that’s a healthy eating plan that includes exercise, avoids processed foods and includes the very tough challenge of giving up sugar.
But this doesn’t make such a good headline does it?
“Woman halves weight by eating healthier and doing some exercise”.
The reason the Mail and other online versions of newspapers do this, is that they get more clicks on their online articles, meaning more money from the advertisers. That’s the sole aim.
It’s fine, after all, they’re running a business.
But this “single solution” approach to health news is very misleading. It suggests that there’s an easy fix to a very complex problem. People take these ideas literally and end up in all kinds of fad diets with unrealistic goals and huge disappointment when they fail.
Then there was another article beneath it that claimed…
“Change your life before 8am: Reduce stress. Lose weight. Fulfil your dreams – simply by rising early.”
Again, it’s a neat idea that if you switch your alarm clock on an hour earlier you’ll going to lose weight.
Except if you read the article, it’s not really about that…
Firstly you’ll see that it’s effectively a recycled press release for a book by Hal Elrod.
Secondly, you’ll see that his book is not simply about rising earlier, it’s about taking time each morning to set firm life goals for personal happiness and fitness.
In other words, it’s about making firm plans to change your health and lifestyle for the better.
Of course, this is totally sensible advice.
But it doesn’t mean that getting up early is a solution, any more than giving up Coke is a solution, or that eating more chocolate and drinking more wine is a solution.
Astonishingly, next to all of this was a picture of Kim Kardashian with the headline: “An hour-long operation to banish ‘orange peel’ skin…and gruesome though it sounds, surgeons insist it’s virtually pain-free”
So there’s always surgery too, right?
It’s no wonder that people are in a state of confusion. Newspapers make all kinds of diets and procedures seem okay and permissible by sticking a celebrity bum or face near it.… and yet everything is also dangerous and wrong with endless scaremongering headlines.
My advice is to take the mainstream information with a pinch of salt. It’s not always what it looks like!
I hope with The People’s Doctor that I can help you sift through the bad and good info, giving you a friendly opinion on how to feel better day to day.
For instance, if you suffer from muscle or joint pain you might enjoy this article which I’ve posted on the website. “Dr Frankenstein Was Right!” How Electricity Can Bring You Back to Life
To get more free advice, visit the People’s Doctor website or access our recommendations and remedies here.