My Malignant Melanoma

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Wednesday, 17 June 2009


Barry Groves

I had a question a little while ago about how reliable the information on diet and lifestyle in Barry Groves' book "Trick and Treat" was, after it had been publicised on a cancer site.

The book makes some claims which fly in the face of the scientific evidence. In support of its extraordinary claims, it offers no new research or other scientific evidence, but instead represents merely a reinterpretation of the available evidence by someone with no relevant qualifications.

No relevant qualifications you say? But Groves says he has a doctorate!

His "doctorate" was apparently purchased from Trinity College and University, an internet diploma mill. If you'd like to call yourself "Doctor" as well, just fill in this form, and you will be exactly as qualified as Groves for a few hundred pounds. As you can see, it doesn't ask any difficult questions, or ask to see any evidence of study or research in the area in which you wish to claim to be an expert.

So what we seem to have here is a member of the general public who thinks he can interpret the scientific evidence better than people who have actually studied the area, who has seemingly purchased a worthless "qualification" to boost his credibility.

So what claims does he make?

1. There is a conspiracy to suppress natural cures for illness.
Oh no there isn't.
2. A high salt, high animal fat, low fibre, low fruit and veg diet is better for you than the recommended healthy diet.
Not true for cancer risk. Not true for heart attack risk.
3. Fluoridation causes cancer.
It does not.
4. Plenty of sunlight is good for you, and sunscreens are in fact the cause of skin cancer.
5. Sugar causes cancer.

There are others, all as untrue as the above. Groves is only distinguished from the mass of others promoting scientifically groundless untruths about diet and lifestyle on the internet by his promotion of what amounts to the Atkins Diet, instead of vegetarianism.

When he says that his conclusions are "evidence based", this seems to mean that he is taking his own anecdote, and cherry picking a few dodgy papers to support his claims. A proper evaluation of the evidence usually involves someone who didn't buy their qualifications on the internet taking into consideration ALL of the evidence, not just the bits they like.

I'm proud to say that I have just managed to have Groves' website's HON accreditation removed for the second and hopefully final time.

Good work. Hopefully final, as you say.
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