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Although you may feel as though advice about nutrition is constantly changing, the basic ideas behind my four precepts have not changed in half a century. Older adults may be more susceptible to infections if they attempt a juice fast or liquid diet because they may already have lowered protein stores. Dietary sucrose also may have an effect on plaque accumulation and bacterial population. For example, diets high in saturated fat , which is found mainly in meat and dairy products, have been linked with an increased risk of heart attack and stroke. But now, all that is changing. Everything you need to know about the lectin-free diet Anti-inflammatory diet: A detailed look at the Mediterranean diet here.

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This is because they know that when they test alternative medicines, they find that the do not work other than by psychological trickery.

In Steve Jobs had surgery to have a cancerous tumour from his pancreas removed, followed by a liver transplant in to help slow the deadly tumour. Unfortunately Steve Jobs was misled by various forms of alternative therapies.

He tried acupuncture, dietary changes, various herbal remedies and "a few other treatments he found in the Internet or by consulting people [ Specially catered chemotherapy immediately worked well but the time that Jobs wasted on alternative therapies 'may have ultimately proven far more costly'.

The moral of this story is that even intelligent people can be misled by the claims of alternative medicine, to the cost of their own lives. Everyone who diagnoses or aids people with illness should be qualified in human biology and medicine. This is because the Human body is massively complicated, where symptoms are often not straight forward.

There are no simple, general rules guiding us as to what the true causes of bodily malaise are. But the popularity of alternative therapies has meant that this largely unregulated industry employs a great many inexperienced, under-qualified and wrongly qualified practitioners 8.

One scientist, working for a skin care center, warns us that They have little or no experience with working on 'real' clients and their knowledge of anatomy and physiology is seriously lacking and in some cases, non existent!

In my opinion therapists who become self employed immediately after a short course can be a danger to clients. Because they have no experience. Some alternative qualifications are gained after a rapid 3-day course, which is clearly inadequate but still grants the student a good-looking certificate to hang confidently on their wall to impress patients with. Due to demand, some of these courses are only 1 day long.

Put it another day: If you went to your doctor with a complaint and he revealed that he had had only one day's formal study, would you trust him? Given the sketchy evidence for complementary medicine in general, you should be doubly distrustful of non-mainstream medical practices, even those who claim to be respectable.

In addition, Susie Bell points out, many beauty therapists are self-employed so have no backing nor methods for checking up on the products and methods they use. Given the quantity of well-funded pseudo-science present in the cosmetics industry, inexperience and naivety well tend to bolster confusion about what works and what is worthwhile.

This subtle psychological effect occurs whether or not the underlying treatment actually works and it is strong enough to continually distort medical studies into the effectiveness of health products and can make products seems effective when they are not - it can even do the same for surgical practices. Such unexpected effects have been studied in greater and greater detail by medical researchers, and it has emerged that placebo effects come in various forms The placebo effect is particularly significant in areas such as pain relief and stress, and is therefore best at overcoming aches and pains, headaches, stress-related conditions including recovery from stomach ulcers 10 and skin rashes.

The placebo effect is the reason why these remedies appear to work for so many people, when in reality they don't have any medical effect 12 , 15 , 16 , 17 , 18 , 19 , 20 and its effects can often support erroneous ideas as to how disease works, and how healing works.

How does it work? Many experiments have confirmed the ability of people to mentally control pain. Finally, 6 It works best when delivered by a confident doctor who also believes the placebo will work The above paragraphs are the summary to my page on the placebo effect.

For the full page, which has a section on how the placebo effect accidentally supports sham procedures and fake medicine, click here: The regression fallacy occurs when people extract too much meaning from chance events under specific circumstances. Disease and fortune come and go: But when things are bad, some will "try" all manner of superstitious, meaningless and misguided practices - including all kinds of alternative therapies.

Social psychologist David Myers agrees: Because we rarely employ controls and statistical analysis in our personal lives, it seems that any attempted solution, from the zany to the insane, has actually worked. This is the cause of untold numbers of superstitions, magical practices, religious beliefs and pseudoscience, and can sometimes lead large numbers of people astray, especially when stories and anecdotes are published by the press.

This is why many cults, religions and pseudo-therapeutic fads prey on the weak, depressed, down-and-outs and those who have recently experienced catastrophe. Such people are more likely to try new religions The solution is to be more cognizant of Human thinking errors. Cause and effect must be analyzed statistically, carefully, and by social scientists who know how to discount confounding factors. Homeopathic practitioners spend a lot of time with patients, talking, which in itself can have positive effects, especially on illnesses that are influenced by psychological factors.

They may emphasise nutrition and exercise. Many such treatments, especially the hands-on ones, are soothing. It is unsurprising if patients feel better. As homeopath Anthony Campbell puts it: A homeopathic consultation affords the patient an opportunity to talk at length about her or his problems to an attentive and sympathetic listener in a structured environment, and this in itself is therapeutic.

In other words, homeopathy is a form of psychotherapy. Critical Thinking, Skepticism, and Science Exposed! Several studies have confirmed that a pessimistic style of explaining bad events saying, "It's my responsibility, it's going to last, and it's going to undermine everything" makes illness more likely.

We see in the above examples that stress is the emotional factor relevant in most of psychoimmunology. It has already been found that those with bad stress responses are more likely over the long term to suffer from ill health.

Those subjects who showed emotional stability and controlled responses to stress as adolescents had far better health at age 50 than did those subjects who had poor stress reactions when young. Even if such practices did nothing at all about the underlying organic causes of illness, they nevertheless help people to manage their symptoms, and they give people a sense of control over their illness - a sense of control that might be tremendously beneficial even if it turns out to be illusory.

Although this sounds good, it must be remembered that it is not the treatment itself that works. People are really being helped by psychotherapy - the time spent in personal reflection in an understanding environment, with nice and attentive practitioners. In , Bertram Forer conducted a personality test, and then gave all of his students exactly the same personality profile, which he constructed from random horoscopes.

This was occasionally previously known as the Barnum effect after a popularist entertainer. Extensive studies have found that this effect applies well to horoscopes, other astrological readings , messages given from the dead by spiritualists, various cold reading tricks and other profiling endeavours It is often mistaken for being a product of magical or supernatural means. Lack of sociological sense and knowledge of cognitive errors and skeptical thinking methods leads some people to accept wild theories, based on misunderstandings of common experience.

Freethought is healthy and appealing, but lack skeptical thinking also leads people into delusions and fantasies, and opens the doors for deception and consciously fraudulent practices, but most of all, for self-delusion. Their downfalls are often occasioned only slowly, as the evidence and careful checking , plus, having time to think, slowly results in a culture-wide change of opinion. The most common thing that perpetuates these errors is believing in them based on personal testimonies.

For example, many people argue that particular religions must be true because of how many other people believe in them 42 , Linked to this is many who chose to believe something because of the age of the belief Furthering such poor logic is a lack of understanding of statistical likelihood, and ignorance of thinking errors such as selection bias where we notice confirming evidence but ignore disconfirming evidence.

Because we instinctively value the popularity of a belief, our minds play a further trick on us: The basis of belief should be in the weight of evidence and not in a popularity contest. Practitioners themselves often exhibit the same credulity, allowing personal enthusiasm, pride and ego to completely obscure the need for scientific evidence.

He has been faced with sustained criticism from the scientific community for his claims about his sham products, but, rather than accept the evidence or fund proper trials of his stuff, he simply argues that "evidence-based medicine, at its worst, is exactly analogous to religious fundamentalism " 1. Whilst it is true that fundamentalists are stubborn as can be, it also happens to be true that so is evidence.

Amateur thinking, poor argumentation and misleading justifications for pseudo-scientific methods afflict both practitioners and patients. It is an example of "pseudo-science", where scientific terms are used without genuine understanding of their meaning, but in a way that makes out-there theories look reasonable at first glance. Quantum Physics terminology and paraphernalia is often used as a basis for postulating how there might be 'souls' The eminent physicist Victor Stenger now deceased was a vocal critic of the abuse of quantum physics done by spiritualists of various kinds: Not surprisingly, this idea can be found in New Age periodicals and in many books on the metaphysical shelves of book stores" Aside from the "observer effect".

The Observe Effect and Quantum Entanglement are two the prime areas where non-scientific minds can often allow their imaginations to distort the science. However strange it may be, quantum physics is not a doorway to magic, even if peddlers of pseudoscience litter their works with scientific-sounding terminology. St John's Wort has generally been found to be mildly effective as an antidepressant 1 , and, this chemical alone has been responsible for many of the positive findings of research into alternative medicines.

It is not known as of how it works, although, it is only effective for everyday depression and not the severe and long-term forms of depression, for which proper medical assistance is required. A statistical analysis of a few thousand Chinese studies saw it most frequently used to treat ischaemic heart disease, stroke, chronic viral hepatitis, peptic ulcers, childhood diarrhoea, hyperlipidaemia, primary hypertension, upper digestive tract bleeding, diabetes mellitus, and pneumonia At least 26 comprehensive scientific studies of acupuncture have shown that it has no significant effect.

But three large studies have found that acupuncture does reduce the incidence of headaches and migraines - although two of those have shown that sticking pins in randomly is as effective as using traditional Chinese methods. Scientists understand how the neural and hormonal stimulation of needles work in a biochemical way to sometimes produce the results of acupuncture.

What is known now is what has been suspected by practitioners for a long time: Instances of punctured lungs, increased pain, internal bleeding and other side-effects occur in up to 1 in 5 cases especially if a practitioner is not a medically trained doctor. It works for pain relief for medically known reasons and also due to the placebo effect 49 , but the traditional mumbo-jumbo associated with traditional acupuncture is best ignored.

How Does it Work? Of particular importance for a person's whole life is their month of birth. Practices based on astrology include the production of horoscopes, prediction of imminent or medium-term events in people's lives.

Belief in astrology has been in long-term decline in the developed world and it is opposed by most established organized religions 52 , but it is still a popular feature of many new religious movements 53 , 54 and astrological charts can still be found in almost every daily newspaper in the form of horoscopes One academic writes that " there can be few Western Europeans who do not know their zodiac sign " It is part of the underlying theory of the New Age 56 , 57 , and is very popular in India in particular, where it is institutionalized.

Astrological predictions have been tested scientifically and have been comprehensively found to be mistaken in both theoretical underpinning and practical application 58 , 59 , For example, David Voas looked at over ten million married couples and found absolutely no statistical effects relating to marriages between people of particular zodiac signs And Chinese astrology has a long history, but, they group the stars into completely different constellations and give prominence to the lunar mansions "a sign lunar zodiac" So it is clear that astrology isn't based on any particular sound theory.

Over the last years, the precession of the equinoxes has meant that each equinox and solstice point has moved around 30 degrees; an Aquarius today genuinely isn't the same sign as an Aquarius from history. Also, the dots that make up constellations are mostly stars, but many points are extremely distant galaxies, and the entire ensemble slowly moves and shifts over time, making most traditional methods of astrology useless Lack of knowledge of basic astronomy has made a mockery of astrology.

Also poor is their biology: Especially if you don't ask subjects how long they were in the womb for. The Forer Effect explains why most people readily accept that astrological descriptions are accurate - randomly assigned profiles are rated just as highly 63 , 64 , Astrological predictions of statistical likelihood of car crashes, divorces, etc, based on the month of birth nearly all fall foul of a simple statistical glitch - the Age Incidence Error Despite these problems, many continue to believe in astrology and horoscopes because general knowledge of statistical methods and general knowledge of thinking errors such as the Forer Effect is poor.

Also, it is popular because it is entertaining I am not going to attempt to explain how practitioners might possibly believe that this works, but the idea is that by sitting in an area where the lights are alternated between different colours, can somehow cure pretty much anything.

He is apparently completely oblivious to what light is and how it works, for such therapy is absolutely and completely meaningless, except perhaps for indirect psychological effects.

There are many other colour cures for many - probably all - different maladies. Light combinations and patterns are completely made up by practitioners with absolutely no scientific basis, or evidence-base, to determine what colours to use for what ailments.

Because of the placebo effect some patients come to think it works at which point it can have serious consequences when patients choose to no longer seek genuine medical aid.

For example, Ghadiali advised one diabetic father to stop taking insulin and accept the Colour Therapy instead, and unfortunately, he died 3 weeks later as a result Diet has an impact on health and affects the risk of disease Over the last few decades biochemical and other sciences, from neural to gastric, have made impressive contributions to our knowledge Never before have scientists known so much about food and nutrition.

Unfortunately much of this knowledge is not reported by the popular press and news outlets because it is technical, mundane and statistical in nature. The average consumer mostly hears only the sensational claims of pseudoscientific sham researchers and promoters, which are often paid for and orchestrated by the rich food industry itself.

The two most misleading sources of information are reports based on single-studies and TV adverts. Most people are ill-informed about diet and health as a result of this. There have been a long series of temporarily popular fad diets which limit food intake to a specific range of items, sometimes cutting out essential fats and proteins completely. They emphasize rapid short-term change at the expense of medium and long-term issues.

Of the independent scientific studies on fad diets, supplements, mega-vitamins and similar highly-hyped abnormal sources of nutrition, all have found them to be useless and sometimes actually harmful. The National Health Service UK warns that "many fad diets are based on dodgy science or no research at all, prescribing eating practices that are unhealthy and can make you ill" The boring truth is that only well-rounded diets are truly effective at long-term weight management with only the very basic advice being effective: Fads rely on testimonials and public-relations tricks to make themselves sound effective and claims are often based on easily biased single-studies rather than on independently verified and duplicated scientific trials.

The mass media love reporting on these single-studies as their claims are often outlandish and celebrity endorsements boost a fad diet from time to time. Fad diets distract people from sensible eating habits. Rather than accept enthusiastic praise from soap stars, models and newspaper advertisements, it is doctors and the medical profession that we should trust to keep us informed.

Let's stop falling for these tricks! Herbalism is also called 'botanical sciences', 'herbalism' and 'herbal supplements'. It is the practice of preparing solutions from plants and administering them to patients. Thus far, it sounds like much like many medicines. But there are extremely important differences between Herbalism and medicine:. Mainstream medicines are tested in a wide variety of conditions and are backed up with solid theory and large scale clinical trials.

Herbalism does not follow the scientific route - its solutions are based on a practitioner's feel for their patient, the drugs have mostly not been tested scientifically and most doctors in nearly all developed countries avoid Herbal Remedies In the USA and in other countries, herbal remedies are marketed as dietary supplements because then they do not face any strict controls on their effectiveness or safety Because Herbal Remedies use whole plants, or parts of plants, they often contain a complicated mix of drugs and chemicals, and, remedies can contain up to 10 different extracts from such mixed sources.

Although it is biologically plausible that some of these have beneficial effects, the overall manner of application en masse is dangerous and there is little knowledge about what combination should be avoided, and what medical drugs that they interfere with. It is known that some Herbal Remedies cause additional risks. St John's Wort Hypericum perforatum is one of the few Herbal Remedies that has been tested scientifically, and it is known to have beneficial effects on those suffering from mild to moderate depression, as long as it is proscribed by a doctor and is carefully prepared.

Most Herbal Remedies are not carefully prepared. The American Society of Anesthesiologists warns that "the ingredients of herbal medications vary enormously from maker to maker, that potency and purity are inconsistent, and that product labels are not always accurate" Many Herbal Remedies have been found to interfere with formal medicines and so many side-effects have been experienced that doctors now have to routinely warn patients about the use of herbal remedies, and ask them if they have been taking any before they undergo any surgery.

Researchers at the University of Chicago in found that many patients do not disclose Herbal Remedies to doctors during pre-surgery surveys and as a result some of them suffer unexpected consequences, and the "American Society of Anesthesiologists has recognised the potential for adverse reactions and suggests that patients stop taking all herbal medications two weeks before surgery" Between and a total of 2, adverse reactions, including deaths, were reported to the United States Food and Drug Administration.

The conclusions of these studies is that homeopathy itself does not work 79 , 35 , 80 , 81 and only poorly controlled experiments are more likely to show that it works It is founded on confused and nonsensical ideas that have been proven to be false, and products can have unexpected side-effects The theory is that the water has "memory", that diluting the chemical makes the cure stronger , and that this memory is somehow what cures disease.

The original solution is sometimes based on a "like cures like" principal, whereby a chemical that causes similar symptoms is used, and other potions are based on the same type of basic thinking as found in herbalism. It works only by psychological side-effects 85 , and is akin to confidence-trickery, and as such Homeopathy works best on illnesses that have a strong psychological component, and on illnesses that come and go naturally no matter what interventions you make, like the common cold.

Dr Ben Goldacre notes that " Homeopaths [ Because people do not understand concepts such as statistical regression most illnesses get worse then get better, all on their own nor the placebo effect the power of positive thinking on the body , many people are tricked into thinking that homeopathy works. Also, as most people don't understand what homeopathy is, many products are sold simply without the customer realizing that they're not buying medicine and that the products have not been tested to the same standards as medical products What are the Risks and Dangers?

Everyone who has looked has noticed that in two different newspapers, their horoscopes read two different things.

This is because they are not based on evidence, and are made up. Horoscope writing is often given to the new guy on the press team: Quick weight loss diets are not healthy, and the weight is likely to rebound when you begin eating normally again. South Beach Diet Helps Control Hunger Designed by a Florida-based cardiologist, Arthur Agatston, MD, who wanted to protect his patients from serious medical conditions like heart disease and diabetes , the South Beach diet is one of the popular diets that stresses the importance of controlling hunger by eating before it strikes.

While the first phase of the diet is strict, the third, "Maintenance," phase is meant to be a lifelong eating plan that allows you to enjoy occasional treats while maintaining a healthy weight.

Eat a balanced diet, eat in moderation, and eat what you want. The diet uses a points system to track what you eat and provides motivation through local support meetings with weigh-ins or dieters can attend "virtual meetings" online.

Though the high level of flexibility and temptation can be difficult for some, Weight Watchers has had a great track record of success for more than 40 years and remains one of the most popular diets today.

The Mediterranean Diet Emphasizes Heart-Healthy Fats If a dinner of fish and veggies with a glass of red wine sounds like an ideal meal to you, you may have found your diet match in the Mediterranean diet. This heart-healthy diet includes the food staples of people in countries surrounding the Mediterranean Sea, such as Greece and Italy. With an emphasis on heart-healthy fats — those containing unsaturated fats and omega-3 fatty acids — the diet is rich in seafood, nuts and legumes, fruits and vegetables, whole grains, and olive oil, as well as red wine in moderation.

Zone Diet Balances Proteins and Carbs Celebs like Jennifer Aniston may come to mind when you think of the Zone diet, which maintains that changing the balance of the foods you eat mainly, adding protein to balance the carbs at every meal or snack will help you lose weight, reset your metabolism , and ward off chronic health conditions like heart disease and diabetes. Dieters follow a "" breakdown to help control insulin levels and hunger, getting 30 percent of their calories from protein, 30 percent from fat, and 40 percent from carbohydrates.

Devotees give the Zone diet praise for variety and ease of use, though others warn that the popular diet plan can feel restrictive and is light on certain nutrients. Is the Atkins Diet a Fad Diet? No longer a diet of all-you-can-eat bacon and scrambled eggs, the New Atkins Diet Revolution — created in — is a streamlined version of the original diet, one that balances lean protein with controlled portions of fat and healthy carbs.

One of the most popular diets, you begin with just 20 grams of carbs a day and very gradually increase the amount each week. As with many other diets, the main idea is to stop eating foods made with refined flour and sugar, but even nutrient-dense whole-grain foods are off-limits until you reach the maintenance phase. While proponents tout the Atkins diet's short-term effectiveness and say it's easier to stick to than other diets, detractors point out that you're really not getting a well-balanced diet and may particularly be lacking calcium.

Fish, lean meats, fruit, nonstarchy veggies, and nuts are in; starchy veggies, dairy foods, grains, and processed foods are out. Lose Weight and Feel Full on the Volumetrics Diet Losing weight by eating fewer calories yet still feeling full — does that sound like the ideal diet for you?

Perhaps try Volumetrics , which proposes that foods that contain more water, such as fruits and vegetables, are healthier because they have lower energy density than sugary and fatty foods. Less a fad diet than an approach to eating, Volumetrics is backed by sound research and strongly promotes eating to feel full; drawbacks include an emphasis on at-home cooking , which can be a big adjustment for some.

The Raw Food Diet May Lack Healthy Nutrients Advocates of the raw food diet believe that cooking food and thereby breaking down its enzymes destroys many of its nutritional benefits. Though nutritionists praise the focus on fresh produce and avoidance of processed foods, many say the diet is lacking in nutrients and is difficult to sustain. Nutrisystem Is Customized Just for You If you desire a diet where the thinking and planning is done for you, Nutrisystem may be for you.

With this fad diet plan, the meals are premade and engineered to deliver only a certain amount of calories per day based on your age and gender. While weight loss success is certainly possible — it's an easy, popular diet plan to stick to because everything is done for you, and it's customizable — a major drawback is the cost of the packaged meals.

It promotes whole foods over processed foods and encourages meditation and slowing down your lifestyle along with your eating habits. Meals consist primarily of whole grains, fruits, and vegetables, so weight loss is achievable, but naysayers caution that this plan's rigid guidelines make it difficult to maintain and can even lead to nutritional deficiencies. As with many diets, it's important to do plenty of research before adopting a macrobiotic lifestyle, and to work with a dietitian to ensure all your nutritional needs are being met.

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