The Media’s “Food Cures” and Their Dangers

03.12.2016, Critique

Future biophysicist; therefore, loves science and fights against pseudoscience.

After reviewing the materials included in the “Health” section of Armenian media, it is possible to section out the structure of the anti-scientific material, generalized with this “formula”:

  • An arbitrary food item is taken, it can also be a mixture of food.
  • They list as many illnesses as possible, beginning with the flu, ending with cancer.
  • The arbitrary frequency and dosage for the food item to work is set.
  • It is claimed, that the best method to treat the illness is with this food item.

And for making the material more dramatic:

  • A reference is made to any person, who then claims, that he/she has been cured by the use of that food item. It is ideal for that person to be a doctor or scientist,
  • A conspiracy theory is automatically cited, for example, that pharmaceutical companies are concealing the methods of curing illnesses.

“168 Hours” comes to mind in terms of news “generated” with this formula or translated from other sources. During the previous month, the list of material found in the “Health” section included curing uterine cancer with aloe and even a denial of the disease, claiming that it is the result of a vitamin B17 deficiency.

The media outlet also suggests getting an antibiotic at home from moldy bread and orange, and considers infectious diseases as nothing more than a lack of meaning in life.    

It is noteworthy, that after the site uses any food items to cure, the media outlet publishes news, about a person who requires money, in order to get chemotherapy. But where are those “simple” methods that are “much more effective than chemotherapy,” when it concerns real lives?

Perhaps, the latest trend in Armenian media, water treatment, deviates slightly from the formula, claiming that drinking water is enough to be cured. Several media outlets, including the websites galatv.am, 168.am, tert.am, write that it is possible to cure high blood pressure, gastritis, tuberculosis, cancer by only drinking water in the morning.

Some of the materials note that water will cure tuberculosis in 90 days, but within this time the illness could theoretically kill a person.

And those cases are not few, which show the tragedy of the following methods or reveal the hidden frauds.

One of the most well known examples of fraud and extortion is Australian Belle Gibson, who was writing about how she was able to fight against brain cancer, by removing from her diet sugar, coffee, and a variety of other foods. The young blogger and her methods became popular very quickly, with the last one also establishing a fund for the fight against cancer. Suddenly in 2015 it was revealed, that Gibson never had cancer.

In the same year another young Australian blogger, Jessica Ainscough, died from cancer, who was known as the “Wellness Warrior” and had refused treatment for her disease.  

The use of “food cures” and similar methods is dangerous not only in the case of cancer, but also for those diseases, which are easily treated by modern medicine. Also, even the lightest diseases that are easily treatable can become a serious threat to a person’s life and health in the case of not receiving timely medical care.

Rubina Davtyan

The views expressed in the column are those of the author's and do not necessarily reflect the views of Media.am.

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