Ben Goldacre: Battling Bad Science

Have you ever come across one of those articles in your morning paper which says that claims eating more of something cause cancer whilst drinking something else can prevent it?  Have you noticed that there’s always a scientific study that backs it up?
Headlines like, ‘Carrots may ward off cancer‘, ‘Why doughnuts can make you depressed…‘ and ‘Bacon and sausages increases heart disease‘ are in liberal and conservative newspapers alike.

When you read something that appears too good to be true or totally scary and it’s backed by science, you do start believing because science gives it credibility.  But before you start drinking gallons of tea and reaching for that bar of chocolate, watch this witty TED talk by Ben Goldacre who educates us on the sensational nutrition claims that may have been stretched that little bit too far.



For me, this is an example of bad PR practice where the pharmaceutical PR professionals would dress up their press releases in order to entice that journalist who’s looking for interesting content or a government body who’s trying to push forward a policy.  I think this is a real shame that despite the talk of corporate social responsibilty and political transparency, Dr Goldacre has just shown us that we are still very far from reaching this.

Have you come across examples of these types of  ‘miracle’ or ‘scary’ food stories in the press? Share them here!