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Editorial Issue 79

by Sandra Goodman PhD(more info)

listed in editorial, originally published in issue 79 - August 2002

Spending as much time as I do reading research, journals and books from all areas of health, the amount of vigorous, even vicious disagreement among top experts in every field never ceases to amaze.

Very recently, I read in an online newsletter by Dr Stephen Byrnes, two scathing reviews of books written by two iconic figures in conventional and complementary medicine, Drs Dean Ornish and Andrew Weil. Both authors were rightly called to task for, amongst other items, inaccuracies regarding types of fat present in certain foods, their knowledge about the so-called benefits of low-fat/low cholesterol diets, vegetarian and vegan diets, forays into the debate about the sugar link with coronary heart disease, so-called dangers of eating excess protein, the butter/magarine divide, meat and soy politics.

As readers of Positive Health are acutely aware from numerous articles, research and book reviews, there are unlimited experts lined up on each side of each of these minefield topics – fat, meat, protein, soy – which open up black hole chasms of arguments. I was extremely impressed with The Cholesterol Myths by Uffe Ravnskov (reviewed in Issue 60), a thoroughly scholarly review of the animal fat/cholesterol link with heart disease literature, drawing upon a significant body of meticulously performed research over the past 50 years.

Of course, some 18 months on, and with the advent of many more books about low fat/high carb, low carb/high fat, Syndrome X Insulin Resistant, to name but a few of the dietary chestnuts, this is but a snapshot of the fundamental disagreements about diet amongst the experts.

The above is but a tiny example of the disagreements among 'experts' about techniques and approaches in every field, from aromatherapy, homeopathy, midwifery, cancer treatments to eyesight improvement, as in Katrina Patterson's article NLP-based Strategies for Maintaining and Improving Eyesight Naturally and the review of Jacob Liberman's book Take Off Your Glasses and See.

A new book about fibromyalgia by a medical expert rubbishes not only the majority of most conventional medical treatments and physicians, but just about every other field traversed by the difficult conditions of chronic fatigue syndrome, Gulf War Syndrome, migraines, depression, Lyme disease, sleep disturbances. This includes all complementary treatments (quackery), most psychiatry, chiropractic; in fact this expert is so supremely confident that almost he alone has the true answer.

A response to this battlefield of the experts could be "if the experts are so divided, then what am I supposed to do?" My humble answer is that we should not automatically believe 'experts'; how many of us have embarked upon medical treatments, operations, therapies which we might not have followed in hindsight, if we had been offered additional options. Knowledge, truth, scientific and medical understanding are always changing.

In fact, I could barely believe my ears, listening to an 'expert' about eating disorders speaking on Radio 4's Today Programme, saying that chocolate bars, crisps and fizzy drinks are fine as part of a balanced diet for children, and that trying to limit these 'junk' foods in school children's diet might give them a guilty complex about 'good' and 'evil' foods! So much for 'experts'.

It appears to me plain as day that soil mineral and nutrient depletion and contamination of the soil, atmosphere, water and food supply with toxic chemicals and hormone disrupters, along with the consumption of nutrient-poor food and couch potato lifestyle must be behind much of the epidemic of bad health, chronic disease and destructive behaviour around us. As the Cover Story Dead Soils/Dead Foods – Impact upon Central Nervous System Disorders by Debbie Stoton so eloquently argues, "Food that was grown on soils that are depleted of trace elements that humans require for optimum health is not a complete food… Have we been asking the same industry that helped make us sick to make us well? Is government so drunken on the wine of the public tax trough that they too now rely on industry to save us? Can the drug companies reverse what the chemical companies have done? Common sense should remind us that many of our illnesses are caused by nutritionally incomplete diets... the health of the human race is co-dependent, in its entirety, on the complex nature of the food we consume… The revelation that dead soils are behind much of our nutritionally based suffering should quicken the cause of organic farmers and enlightened consumers alike… we can no longer continue to live in a fool's paradise thinking that all we grow on the modern conventional farm is healthy for us."

Check out the experts and do your own research wherever possible.


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About Sandra Goodman PhD

Sandra Goodman PhD, Co-founder and Editor of Positive Health, trained as a Molecular Biology scientist in Agricultural Biotechnology in Canada and the US, focusing upon health issues since the 1980s in the UK. Author of 4 books, including Nutrition and Cancer: State-of-the-Art, Vitamin C – The Master Nutrient, Germanium: The Health and Life Enhancer and numerous articles, Dr Goodman was the lead author of the Consensus Document Nutritional and LifeStyle Guidelines for People with Cancer and compiled the Cancer and Nutrition Database for the Bristol Cancer Help Centre in 1993. Dr Goodman is passionate about making available to all people, particularly those with cancer, clinical expertise in Nutrition and Complementary Therapies. Dr Goodman was recently featured as Doctor of the Fortnight in ThinkWellness360.

Dr Goodman and long-term partner Mike Howell seek individuals with vision, resources, and organization to continue and expand the Positive Health PH Online legacy beyond the first 30 years, with facilities for training, to fund alternative cancer research, and promote holistic organizations internationally. Read about Dr Goodman and purchase Nutrition and Cancer: State-of-the-Art.  She may be contacted privately for Research, Lectures and Editorial services via:   and

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