Complain to the BBC

Tuesday, June 7, 2016

The Truth About… Healthy Eating (First shown on BBC1 at 9pm 2 June 2016) was sadly nothing more than bad journalism full of questionable conclusions. 

Viva! Health's researcher and writer Dr Justine Butler wrote an excellent blog picking the dubious statements apart and pointing out the glaring ommissions. But if we want the BBC to listen, we have to make ourselves heard. Enough of meat and dairy advertising on their programmes! Below is a template complaint - feel free to use it when contacting the BBC - but bear in mind there is a 2,000 character limit on a complaint (the below is just below the limit).

It was biased reporting and drew misleading conclusions – it was more like an advert for the egg and dairy industries! In the goji berry vs strawberry test they only measured vitamin C ignoring other important nutrients such as selenium (low in UK foods). In Quinoa vs pearl barley they only measured energy ignoring protein which quinoa is a better source of. In kale vs ‘good old’ white cabbage; the ‘kale’ didn’t look like kale, it looked like salad leaves. 

They concluded the eggs and bacon breakfast was the healthiest dismissing links with processed meat and bowel cancer. Consuming one egg a day can double the risk of diabetes (1). 2.5 eggs per week can increase the risk for prostate cancer by 81 per cent (2). The WCRF and the WHO say processed meat does cause cancer. The WCRF say we should avoid eating processed meat – that means no bacon, ever.

It presented a very biased view towards the dairy industry focusing on one aspect of milk – iodine. A huge body of evidence shows the harmful effects of dairy which is why Public Health England recently reduced dairy in their Eatwell guide by almost half; down from 15% to 8% (3). The programme said saturated fat may be good for you – this is incorrect, the few headline-grabbing studies suggesting this have been discredited (4).

The BBC should be encouraging a diet rich in complex carbs, fruit, veg, nuts and seeds and discouraging meat, eggs, dairy and saturated fat which is what the new Public Health England Eatwell Guide says.

1)            Spence et al., 2010. Dietary cholesterol and egg yolks: not for patients at risk of vascular disease. Canadian Journal of Cardiology. 26 (9) e336-9.

2)            Richman E.L., Kenfield S.A., Stampfer M.J., et al., 2011. Egg, red meat, and poultry intake and risk of lethal prostate cancer in the prostate specific antigen-era: incidence and survival. Cancer Prevention Research. 4 (12) 2110-2121.



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