Last week the BBC brought some more news about Robert Young, Ph.D., whose invention, the alkaline diet, was hailed as extremely helpful by actresses like Jennifer Aniston and Kate Hudson, and this time the medico wouldn’t want to brag about for hitting the news! For he may have to go and get himself a jail robe pretty soon!
First, he practiced medicine without bothering to get a license, second, it is alleged that he treated people who were dying of cancer with spurious cures like baking-soda solutions (he must have been short of traditional medications at that time).
Young was one of the authors of a 2010 book called The pH Miracle which dealt with the level of acidity in the blood. According to the book, it was the underlying reason of developing a number of illnesses, so one was supposed to avoid it by achieving the right balance of pH levels. It gave rise to several alkaline diets and cleansing procedures based on eating more foods that produce body’s alkaline compounds rather than those which metabolize to produce acidic compounds.
The idea began to grow on people in 2013 when Victoria Beckham displayed on the Twitter a picture of a cookbook based on the notion and thus drew a lot of attention to it. The method was picked up by Jennifer Aniston, Kelly Rips, Gwyneth Paltrow, Kirsten Dunst and others who gave it thumbs-up. Kate Hudson spoke highly of a high-alkaline diet in the book she wrote entitled Pretty Happy: Healthy Ways to Love Your Body. Miranda Kerr did justice to bottled alkaline water – although whether it was really justice remains to be seen, since the water’s beneficial qualities remain unconfirmed.
But meanwhile, Young’s fate has turned its back on him! Last year it was discovered that he didn’t have a license for the services he rendered, and that misbehavior could put him out of circulation for something like three years and more. There were other charges piled up against him which proved rather difficult to hold up – for one, getting money from patients under false pretenses. Treating patients with a far-gone cancer condition with baking soda (and taking good money for that) promising them that removal of excessive acid from the body would put them on the highway to recovery. According to the information of the San-Diego Union-Tribune, there is going to be a re-trial for several charges, including theft by fraud.
Although Young has passed himself off as a health expert and a naturopath for years and years, the BBC unearthed his credentials which proved to be risible: he received a doctorate in nutrition at a correspondence school which was not credited properly and has long since vanished into oblivion. No other medical degree does Young hold.
One of his patients’ story was disclosed: she was a young woman from Great Britain, 27 years of age, she had cancer, and paid the quack over $75 thou., hoping to the last that she may get better yet. She flew over to Young’s ranch in California and was dead within the three following months.
Asked if he had any remorse for what he had been doing, the self-appointed doctor replied that he felt no remorse knowing how many people had profited through the alkaline diet methods. “Thousands if not millions,” by his estimation.
The man is ignoring the fact that his diet, like many other cancer treatments, remains scientifically unsupported. It’s not doubted that foods possess different pH levels, but there is no tangible evidence that diets based on that principle possess recovery qualities.
Judging by publications in Health authored by leading gastroenterologists, modern medicine is perfectly able to maintain the necessary pH levels in any part of the body due to excellent equipment – it is easier and faster done this way than by cooking up strange diets, according to Evan Dellon, associate professor of medicine at the University of North Carolina School of Medicine.
Of course, high-alkaline diets recommend many healthy foods – vegetables, fruit, nuts, seeds which are known to be rich in antioxidants, and in this fashion they are beneficial. Also, they advise to avoid high-acid foods (meat, caffeine, dairy, processed foods) that is a great idea as well. That makes them indisputably wholesome, but it doesn’t mean that we will go attributing to them miraculous but unconfirmed health qualities. Let’s wait until medicos will be able to say that the pH levels idea is definitely very conducive to successful treatment.
Back in 2013 Cynthia Sass, the Health nutrition editor, writing about the growing popularity of high-alkaline diets, remarked it was early days yet to discuss their recuperative benefits – although, she accentuated, their basic idea of eating mostly fresh and natural foods is undoubtedly acceptable.