Monday, October 31, 2005


Aru-aru semi-quackery

the spirit of monkey was irrepressible Aru-Aru Daijiten (fronted by Masaaki Sakai, the man who was Monkey, a show I remember fondly from watching it in my youth) is one of the more popular health-related programs on the telly, even though it wanders infrequently into outright quackery, but its regular skirting with faddishness or dodgy medical science quite often makes me angry. I can cope with stupid programs promoting stupid stuff, but this program presents white coats as voices of authority, even when those in the white cloaks are on the fringes.

This week was dieting with caffeine (uggh, I can predict AdSense quackery ads surrounding this story!) which demonstrated with a sample of six people how drinking five cups a day of fresh coffee decreased body mass and increased the resting metabolic rate by up to 20% of some of the participants. There was a couple of warnings displayed about not overdoing the coffee, but no mention of disruption of sleep patterns or an increase of stress, both symptoms that I had quite badly up to a few years ago when I was overdoing it on coffee and coke for a good number of years.

I always wish that program would tackle a real meaty issue for once; rather than this week's fad diet (I remember the total mess they made of an Aitkins low carb one) or woman's magazine-style personality tests (putting your T shirt on head then arms instead of arms then head indicates a Mummy's boy) how about addressing anorexia (fuelled in part by endless stupid diet programs) or some other real mental health issue? I know it is the purpose of TV to entertain, but surely they can find ways to be truthful at the same time?

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