My second full ASA adjudication was published almost two weeks ago while I was away on holiday. I may not have blogged it immediately but I was delighted by this result and am proud to have been behind it.
As the ASA point out, ‘Dr’ Young has no medical qualifications but holds a PhD. In fact his PhD came from the same defunct, non-accredited distance learning college as that of Gillian McKeith, who stopped using the title ‘Dr’ following an ASA complaint.
As has already been reported here and here, following my complaint, Energise UK (t/a Energise for Life) had to take down numerous claims from its alkaline diet site, including advice from ‘Dr’ Robert Young, implying that living an alkaline lifestyle ‘can help reverse’ cancer.
Regular readers of this blog may have noticed I’ve got a bit of a thing about Robert O Young and alkaline diets in general. It can be amusing to watch Young assert that ‘over-exercising can make you fat‘ or that ‘people who eat meat often start to look like the animals they’ve eaten‘ but it becomes less funny when you think about people actually believing this stuff. Especially when he’s confident that he is able to reverse cancer and diabetes (types 1 and 2), even advising sufferers to stop taking their medication.
The Energise for Life site promotes a range of alkaline diet products, including many featuring Young’s smiling face, who they claimed was “widely recognised as one of the top research scientists in the world” and had apparently “hypothesised and proven that all sickness and disease can be attributed to the over acidification of the body … He literally has an almost 100% track record with cancer patients …” As well as being in breach of the CAP Code on Advertising, I also believe such statements, if used in advertising in the UK, could be in breach of the Cancer Act (1939) and should therefore be reported to Trading Standards.
Efficacy claims regarding the products included “Liquid Chlorophyll helps promote the natural cleansing functions of the body, strengthens cells and deodorises the body, including the bowel” and “chlorophyll builds the blood, and it’s the blood that sustains and builds your body …” Needless to say, this is complete and utter nonsense and was therefore also in breach of the CAP Code on several counts.
Unfortunately companies such as Energise UK are also in the habit of approaching newspapers, where they are beyond the reach of the ASA. The alkaline diet article in yesterday’s Sunday Times will be the subject of my next post.