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Oct 10, 2007 01:48 PM

Gillian McKeith - BBC's You are What You Eat

Thinking about trying Gillian McKeith's diet. Lots of ppl. on the BBC show lose a lot of weight and seem really healthy at the same time. Thoughts - anyone does this? Anyone have the book?

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  1. I haven't seen the book, but based on what I've seen on the show, I'd imagine that her diet pretty much involves cutting out red meat, dairy, high fat foods, and processed foods in favor of fresh vegetables, fish, and legumes. And it seems like her diets are specific to the people she's working with in the episode--i.e., dependent on the client's specific individual nutritional needs are. So if you were going to try her diet, it would be wise to check out the book first and then discuss with your doctor to find out if her recommendations are right for you.

    Regardless, a diet that is based on fresh fruits and vegetables and low in fat can't be all bad! It amazes me how many people on the show seem so traumatized giving up the take-away/processed foods, and are actually repulsed by Gillian's fresher healthier offerings.

    4 Replies
    1. re: tachis

      I got the book from the library and really like it. Very green. Very very. But, there is information about supplements and what your body needs when it does x, y, or z.

      I even bought some adzuki beans and made her mash w/ it. Not too bad.

      1. re: stellamystar

        You've piqued my interest now! I'm gonna have to look into the book myself!

        The dishes she prepares (or has the clients prepare) are intreaguing. Most of it looks really delish--in fact, I think there was a stew with adzuki beans and squash that looked like it would be quite tasty. But I admit there's been a few dishes that do look a bit dubious. Especially some of those juices. Eww. I'd probably have just as difficult a time forcing those down the hatch as the clients!

        Anyway, good luck in trying the recipies! Keep us posted on how they turn out!

        1. re: tachis

          I didn't know there was a book as well... every time I watch the show I feel inspired to eat healthier - those fresh vegetables and fruits she piles up on the second table always look DELICIOUS! I find it hard to believe that anyone could possibly prefer a plate-o-grease.... but if you've never learned to cook anything, fast food is what you're going to live on!

          1. re: tachis

            The adzuki bean mash w/ squash was good. She seasons a lot of things w/ miso paste which was a bit salty for me, but probably better than adding salt. I bought some mung beans and will try them out.

            I am not into the juicing thing at all. Mostly because a juicer is very expensive.

            She also has a different book I think 12 Foods for Healthy Living.

      2. I just saw it and like the show we have here, "Honey We're Killing the Kids," it seems like they have to take a really extreme position to get their point across. I couldn't figure out why their food didn't have any spices in it at first, unless she was trying to shock their palates into tasting vegetables or something, and I don't understand why all those juices would be helpful. I think it would be much more useful for people who aren't familiar with more advanced cooking techniques to give them tasty, healthy recipes they could use every day instead of forcing them to choke down beet/celery juice. But I suppose that wouldn't be considered interesting television.

        1. Gillian McKeith's reputation is pretty much in tatters in the UK, she claims to be a 'doctor' but actually got her 'phd' from a non-accredited mail order university. Most of her nutritional advice has been debunked by scientists, doctors (real ones) and nutritionists as total claptrap (e.g. her claim that chlorophyl 'oxiginates' the blood).

          I am very interested in food and love to eat. To a lesser degree I am interested in nutrition and have generally tried to base my dietary philosophy on eating a similar diet to those who live in countries where people are generally healthy and have low rates of heart disease, cancer, etc. For this reason I love French, Japanese and for want of a better term - Meditteranean food. The reason I say this is you can tell from looking at people in France, Italy, Japan etc. that they eat healthy diets. They just look good. McKeith on the other hand, always looks tired, drawn and to me, vaguely undernourished in her tv shows, hardly a recommendation for her philosopy.

          Furthermore, someone who reccomends not drinking any alcohol whatsoever, even an occasional glass or red wine seems to be basing her career on being a killjoy. She also seems to be ignorant of current research regarding the beneficial effects of the limited intake of wine.

          My sister bought one of her cookbooks a few years ago. It was full of the most grotesque culinary reccomendations I have ever seen. Avoid.

          PS - Check out her entry on wikipedia If you'd like some more info about her fraudulent credentials and other controversies surrounding her - including the very unpleasant legal threats her lawyers regularly issue to those who dare to criticize her.

          5 Replies
          1. re: lankyFool

            I was not aware of all the hoopla around her in the UK. I have enjoyed a few of her recipes, but could never do the diet she has on the show. It is far too extreme for me.

            1. re: stellamystar

              Maybe some of her recipes are okay, though I remember most of the one's I saw in the book my sister bought looked pretty unpalatable with ingredients that would be very difficult to source. Personally I don't think eating well is very difficult or requires an exotic diet, plenty of fresh fruits, vegetables with regular intakes of oily fish (for omega 3s) plus the occasional portion of red meat, cream, cheese etc. for iron and some nutrients not found in non-animal products.

              What I find so galling about McKeith is the way she abjectly lies about her qualifications then uses her supposedly objective books to push her nutritional supplements. Her husband owned a chain of health food stores in the US before she met him and her only real educational credential is a Master's Degree in... marketing.
              She has made a fortune hawking books and 'nutrional supplements' to the unwary and has done much to confuse people about nutrition and make them feel that the only way to eat healthily is to seek out exotic foodstuffs and supplements that hold the key to getting their bodies back to health.

              Her claims really are total junk, for instances she states that the tongue is "a window to the organs - the right side shows what the gallbladder is up to, and the left side the liver." Raised capillaries on your face are a sign of "digestive enzyme insufficiency - your body is screaming for food enzymes." Thankfully, Gillian can sell you some food enzymes from her website. "Skid mark stools" (she is obsessed with faeces and colonic irrigation) are "a sign of dampness inside the body - a very common condition in Britain." If your stools are foul smelling you are "sorely in need of digestive enzymes". Again. Her treatment for pimples on the forehead - not pimples anywhere else, mind you, only on the forehead - is a regular enema. Cloudy urine is "a sign that your body is damp and acidic, due to eating the wrong foods." The spleen is "your energy battery".

              It's shocking that her show is shown on BBC American, that really is a bad mark against Britain's public broadcaster. Please don't further enrich this charlatan by buying her books or 'nutritional supplements'.

              1. re: lankyFool

                I haven't read her books (and don't intend to), but it she's telling people to eat a colorful diet full of fruits and vegetables - certainly not a new or unfathomable idea. As far as the whole tongue thing goes - that comes straight from Eastern medicine. If you ever go to a TCM practitioner or acupuncturist, they will look at your tongue and base treatments off of the color, patterns, texture, etc. And just as reflexology is based on the idea that various portions of your hands and feet correspond to various body parts, so do the areas of your face. None of these are new ideas - in fact, most have been around longer than Western medicine (which is totally bunk - pump your body full of drugs to make it better? Please.).

            2. re: lankyFool

              Or, even better, check out Ben Goldacre. He writes the Bad Science column for The Guardian, and his own site has loads on McKeith (see the link at left):

              It's worth reading for the entertainment value alone!

              1. One one hand, she's a bit of a quack... on the other hand, eating better is always a good aim, and anything that can induce people to eat more fruits and vegetables has got to be good! Amazon's clearing the 'You are what you eat' book atm so I just ordered it, alas the companion recipe book is very expensive so I'll go without.
                BTW, it's not surprising that everyone loses scads of weight on her show - I only just realised that besides no sugar and booze, her 'healthy diet' demands NO wheat/bread, no dairy products, and no meat (just fish and the occasional piece of organic chicken)... it must be an absolutely huge cut in calories for her ideal candidates! She's also into wierd and wonderful 'nutritional supplements' that I think I'll skip...

                4 Replies
                1. re: Kajikit

                  Okay, but why would you buy McKeith's book when she has no background in nutrition (or cookery) and has been been shown to have made ridiculous claims and to have lied about her credentials. Wouldn't it be better to purchase the works of someone with more credibility - which would be just about anybody. I mean, did you really need 'Doctor' Gillian McKeith to tell you that eating more fruit and vegetables is good? That's been mainstream nutrition for decades. Her ridiculous claims such as the idea that ingesting chlorophyl "oxygenates" the blood on the other hand are verifiable nonsense and do nothing but help confuse people regarding nutrition.

                  1. re: lankyFool

                    McKeith is a joke in the UK.

                    Patronising health fascists we can well do without. You want her your side of the pond? Feel free to keep her.


                    1. re: lankyFool

                      Probably for the same reason people follow this charlatan:


                      Some are so desperate to lose weight that they will try anything. Gwen Shamblin (funny that her name has the word "sham" in it) probably has even fewer credentials than McKeith but will continue to prosper because of her brainwashing tactics. I've even heard of people who uproot their entire families just so they can be closer to her.

                      While McKeith may not have the credentials to make the claims she does, it doesn't seem as demented as Shamblin. However, I could be dead wrong - all I know of McKeith is from the BBCA show.

                      1. re: punkin712

                        Shamblin's diet advice is pretty simple: eat only when you are truly hungry and stop when you are comfortably full. Repeat. Lots of other diet books promote the same principles and give suggestions like putting your hunger on a scale of 1 to 10 and only eating when you're at a 8, or stop eating when you are 80% full .

                        You can ignore all the religious promotion contained in the first book ( I haven't read any others) and still lose some weight following that advice!

                  2. I've become completely obsessed with Gillian, even though I wouldn't trust her as far as I could throw her. It's just too fascinating seeing all the food an obese British person consumes in one week laid out on one long table -- six bacon butties! 12 pints of lager! Eight packets of crisps! Eighteen buttered crumpets! Six liters of orange squash! Three curry takeaways!

                    3 Replies
                    1. re: Chowpatty

                      And sometimes doesn't the spread remind you of a typical "all you can eat" buffet? It kind of looks good all spread out there - especially the ones that are heavy on the sweets. And anytime she wants to do a "death by chocolate" grave for me, I'm ready!

                      1. re: Chowpatty

                        One time she made a wedding cake from all cheese. It looked pretty tasty.
                        Since I am not a Brit, those curry takeaways look good. I also like when they say '30 Mugs of Tea!!!!' Or 14 Fizzy Drinks!
                        And that announcer/narrator is FABULOUS. Very punny. He is the same as the cleaning show before the you are what you eat show.

                        1. re: Chowpatty

                          I've never heard of her until reading this thread today. Don't know too much about her and her credentials (and for that matter, don't really care). However, her claims that she makes seem to not be unreasonable. I think there's a lot of merit to what she has to say. It may be too extreme and too foreign for most people to follow. However, there are people who live that lifestyle. A lot of the people who do follow that lifestyle do so because they have certain health conditions and they find a great deal of improvement leading a life without dairy, meats, yeast, sugars, etc. I give her props.