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Fortunes Fade For Peddlers Of Food Fads

By Rupert Truscott-Hughes on May 22, 2015 in Other

Photo: Con Artist

Photo: Con Artist

It appears that the world is finally crumbling down around the so-called diet ‘experts’ who espouse nutritional advice without a skerrick of actual science behind them, and Rupert here is absolutely rapturous about the reversal of fortunes that is rapidly taking place.

Since the advent of the Internet a couple of decades ago, the rise of social media more recently and the increased accessibility of information associated with the widespread adoption of smart phones and tablets over the past handful of years, it has never been easier for these snake-oil salesmen dressed up as diet experts to reach their naïve audience and flood them with baseless advice.

Unfortunately, the even bigger problem is that the punters are crying out for it. They’re looking to enrich their lives with new juice detoxes and food fads that they firmly believe will somehow make their lives better, whether it be through increased energy in the morning or a better looking rig when they look in the mirror before they hit the sack at night. Worse still, they’re more than happy to pay top dollar for it, which means the perspective peddlers of this rubbish are rubbing their hands together.

In the last couple of months, though, at least three high profile falls from grace in the health and fitness industry have hit the headlines, and part of me hopes that more will follow.

Firstly, ‘Wellness Warrior‘ Jess Ainscough lost her battle with cancer, which she had chosen to fight with alternative therapies rather than take the advice of medical professionals and opt for an amputation of her affected arm. Soon after, The Whole Pantry founder Belle Gibson (who used an alleged lie about having overcome terminal cancer through a change in diet to push her product) was exposed for failing to pass on charitable donations she’d raised to the charities they were intended for. Completing the trio of nutritional travesties, ‘Paleo’ Pete Evans’ latest project (a Paleo cookbook for children) was found to contain a recipe that could potentially have fatal consequences for infants and the book was subsequently pulled from production.

While I am rather happy seeing some of these shonks held to account, I do hope that the consequences aren’t as tragic as those felt by the aforementioned Miss Ainscough. While I believe that a lot of the advice that she dished out was dangerous, and that the Gershon Therapy she was a staunch advocate for (which involves giving yourself five coffee enemas a day and drinking about 13 glasses of fresh raw juice over the same period) is a complete crock of shit, I am not entirely heartless and sympathise with the family and friends that survived her.
However, let’s not let her passing prevent us from conducting a critical analysis of her conduct. Ainscough, and others like her, need to be held to account. Selling hope might be a profitable business, but selling false hope is morally wrong in the best case, and criminal at worst.