If only scientists were celebrities…

Whatever you celebrated over the last few weeks you most likely enjoyed a few too many of the delights offered over this time of year. As we entered 2018 you probably read a few celebrity articles on healthy eating or you were given a celebrity cook book. Celebrities instil in most of us feelings of awe, envy and adulation drizzled with a generous side dish of inferiority. It’s interesting to observe the subject matter boundaries that are applied to celebrities, or to put it more bluntly, it would be interesting to observe these boundaries…if you could find them at all.  

It doesn’t seem to matter to millions of people around the world that Gwyneth Paltrow achieved her celebrity as an actress and that this training, or talent or experience has no correlation with the science of nutrition. This isn’t a rant against Gwyneth Paltrow because she’s simply one of many celebrities who are providing (often ill-informed) nutrition advice. The celebrities come from all kinds of backgrounds ranging from actors to fashion bloggers, to musicians and chefs. The common link is that they usually have no formal training in the science of nutrition.  

The issue is that these people generally seem to promote ‘fad diets’ that recommend eliminating entire food groups and which lack any solid scientific basis. Moreover, the advice often dispenses with the most basic fundamental tenets of biochemistry, nutrition science and common sense.

A few years ago, the British Dietetic Association listed the paleo diet and the sugar free diet as two of their top 5 worst celebrity diets - I’m referencing these two because they’re two of the most visible and popular and it’s likely your friends or family are contemplating them.

We’re being sold a whole lifestyle that includes the idea that food can be a magical elixir that can cure all ills. We’re drawn in by pretty blogs that make drinking green smoothies seem like the cure for all ills, Facebook tales of struggling lives turned around by a new piece of kitchen equipment, Instagram feeds of over stylised photo shoots, colourful cookbooks and Twitter hashtags like #detox, #juice, #glutenfree, #sugarfree and #cleaneating. All of this is a lot more appealing than following scientific guidelines or listening carefully to a doctor or qualified nutritionist and dietician, we get that!

At HeadUp we know people need to be entertained which is why people are attracted to the latest celebrity diet or way of living. Our responsibility is to ensure that our nutrition advice is based on the most up to date scientific research on food, health and disease. The science is the most straight forward part, but by itself it won’t inspire you to change. Our job is to make the science appealing, sexy and interesting. The entertainment will be in our delivery, but the advice is based on science.

If only celebrities were scientists.

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