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The Complete Illustrated Guide to Nutritional Healing

by Denise Mortimore

listed in nutrition

[Image: The Complete Illustrated Guide to Nutritional Healing]

When I first looked at Dr Mortimore's book, I was highly impressed by the huge amount of information, large numbers of beautifully designed and well-presented diagrams to illustrate concepts and data, and by the sheer global coverage of so many important health and medically related topics, ranging from biochemical individuality, antioxidants, thyroid function, toxin levels, food allergy and intolerance and a host of dietary and nutritional advice for a wide range of health disorders.

The author and publisher appear to have assembled a highly useful and beautiful coffee table tome, in which it is possible to discover a myriad of nutritional facts: which antioxidant enzymes counter which free radicals, good food sources of vitamins, minerals and phyto-oestrogens, well-presented accounts of medical conditions affecting women and children in all cycles of their reproductive years, and a wide array of diets and detoxification schemes.

The day after I initially received the book, being the pedantic scientist I am, I turned to the back of the book to look up the references upon which the author has based her extremely authoritatively written text, and was utterly dismayed to see a bibliography and further reading section, but no scientific references. The long list of sterling-quoted books contains most of the industry-standard "bibles", such as Drs Stephen Davies and Alan Stewart Nutritional Medicine, Dr Melvyn Werbach's Nutritional Influences on Illness, Udo Erasmus' Fats that Heal, Fats that Kill. In fact, there are about 90 books, including my own Nutrition and Cancer, many of which are referenced throughout with hundreds of scientific references.

However, being aware of the extent of the huge divergence in opinion among nutrition and medical experts, I have a major credibility problem with not a single statement within the book being referenced. There is virtually no agreement between many of the leading dietary proponents about what constitutes the best diet. Gerson, Dries, Oshawa and AnneMarie Colbin promote radically different ways of eating, no two nutritional experts agree completely regarding supplement levels. And there are hundreds of statements within which are written as truths, but whose sources are not identified. These are as varied as stating that "Mediterraneans live longer due to the heart-protective mono-unsaturated fat in their diet", or that the maximum safe dose of vitamin C is 5 grams per day due to worries regarding kidney stones. There is much advice which would be more authoritative if one knew where it was coming from. [Positive Health readers will be aware that I regularly feature research about vitamin C (I am the author of a book on the subject), especially any testing the hypothesised concern about kidney stones. I have not seen any research which has verified that vitamin C is implicated with kidney stone formation, but much research which has not substantiated the hypothesis.]

How this (the absence of references) came to be may be more the policy of the publishers than the author, for I would imagine that being a microbial geneticist, the author would have assembled hundreds of references for this book. It may also be that the target audience is not supposed to be professionals, but simply the general reader who is supposed to believe what they read without critical questioning. I am not even suggesting that the information contained in this book is wrong or ill-informed, only that there is not even lip-service provided to the fact that certain of the ideas and "facts" presented are not facts as such but the author's best interpretation of the state of the art of nutrition today.

Treating human health problems is never simple, nor is one type of diet, the New Pyramid Diet ever the complete answer for every single person. This book is exceptionally well-presented and contains a mammoth amount of information. It is a pity in my opinion that the author didn't acknowledge that there is huge variation among so many of the leading proponents regarding nutritional healing and that she was, in fact, basing this book upon so many others before her.

Sandra Goodman PhD
Element Books Limited

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