Tuesday, November 09, 2010

A fat load of marketing

EoR was casually switching through radio stations the other day, when he heard a woman scarily telling everyone how they were deficient in all sorts of nutrients, and it was almost essential that everyone in Australia supplement iodine, vitamin D, selenium and so on. She also informed the listeners of the dangers of a fatty liver.

By this stage EoR was getting rather worried. It turns out that the woman was Dr Sandra Cabot. Well known worldwide for her bestselling book The Liver Cleansing Diet. True to form, like all self-help books, regardless of the amazing results promised by the original book it has now apparently been superseded by a new volume, Fatty Liver — You Can Reverse It.

Well known American doctor, Thomas Eanelli, meets an Aussie doctor, Dr. Cabot, through her little green book The Liver Cleansing Diet. After searching through university medical libraries and visiting numerous liver specialists and surgeons and finding no real answers, Dr. Eanelli discovered that the liver could be healed without drugs or surgery - luckily the information in this little green book was the catalyst that would inspire him to go on and heal himself thus avoiding potentially dangerous surgery.
Dr. Sandra Cabot has devoted her career to helping people heal themselves from this potentially fatal yet still under reported disease.
Dr. Thomas Eanelli's courage has enabled him to "come out of the refrigerator" to share his tale so others may be saved.

What sets this book apart from others is that rather than bravado and bragging by a set of new age gurus, Cabot and Eanelli instead forge an instant connection with their readers by their honesty and empathy when confronting the imperfections of dieting, especially where food addictions are concerned.
This book may become one of the most timely and important health narratives in years.

Like other fringe health advisers, Dr Cabot seems to spend a lot of time scaring people, with her reports of how cancer is increasing, interspersed with promoting her seminars. Fear, of course, is one of the great advertising motivators (are you too fat? too undesirable? too unfashionable? do you have bad breath? are you going to get cancer?) and it's unsurprising that the altie health vendors use this since it seems Australians fear cancer more than any other nation on Earth*.

Her modality is, however, scientific (why, she says so herself!). In fact, disagreement with her claims is so rare as to be noteworthy.

There has been the occasional person who did not understand my theories on the liver, and in particular one reader thought it was impossible to cleanse the liver, believing that this was unscientific! However, it is vitally important to cleanse the liver regularly because, like any filter, it can become overloaded and blocked with excessive waste products.

Yes, your liver is really just a fancy kitchen sink filter.

Possibly the singular person who refuses to accept this miracle is Dr Joe Proietto.

No doubt, the diet is good because it involves low-fat and more vegetables and more fruit. None of us would argue with that. The problem I have is the claims made for this diet are based on no scientific evidence and the simplistic blaming of the liver for a multitude of different ailments. I will quote again Dr Cabot’s own words?—?“How can anyone know the benefits of a particular diet or therapy without evaluating its effects upon patients first”. On this we agree. What we clearly don’t agree on is what constitutes proper evaluation. There is overwhelming acceptance in the medical and scientific community that any new therapy or any new claim for an old therapy must be tested in a controlled trial, preferably in a double blind fashion. The words “controlled trial” do not appear anywhere in the book.

Dr Proietto also details the various expensive supplements, memberships, powders, tonics, books and creams that you need to buy to ensure your health the Cabot way.

*The newspaper report makes the world-encompassing claim, based on a survey conducted in only eight nations. No, EoR can't see how the extrapolation has been made, but it's not alone in its statistical exaggeration.

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