Autoimmune Thyroid Disease

An Unfortunate and Lengthy Adventure in Misdiagnosis

Snake oil

with 2 comments

Though I have a strong dislike of mainstream dogma in science, I have a rather stronger dislike of woolly, made-up naturopathy. Personally I regard spirituality and superstition as nothing more than crystals, joss sticks, made-up religions, and believing – with extreme arrogance – that one “just knows” better than everyone else. A lot of people regard spiritual healing, NAET, hypnotism and other similar practices as harmless. I don’t. I find them extremely harmful, especially when unleashed on the vulnerable.

A poor friend of ours recently visited a nutritionist in the hopes of some advice about his GERD, which he thought might be caused by food allergies. Even though I know that GERD is rarely caused by food allergies, getting across to someone that a food allergy test would not only be useless, it would be dangerously misleading, is another matter. To him I am just another layperson with some random advice, like most of his friends. So he went anyway.

He was given an ‘allergy test’. He was told to touch various different, clearly labelled vials of substances, while his ‘energy levels’ were recorded.

A Vega machine works just like a lie detector, or a Scientologist’s E-meter. It does not measure food allergies, it measures people’s emotional responses to food. If you have particularly strong feelings of like or dislike towards certain foods, the machine will record these. It is self-fulfilling, because it ‘confirms’ what you have already suspected for years – that you hate tomatoes or spinach for a reason, because you are ‘allergic’ to them.

The only way to accurately test for food allergies is with blood tests. Even skin prick tests are extremely misleading when one’s problem is food chemical intolerance, since strong tasting foods like tomato or cheese can cause atopic reactions merely because they contain food chemicals.

After our friend had his ‘allergy test’, the so-called nutritionist then took out a crystal. She swung it over him. “Is F. allergic to wheat?” she asked the crystal. “Is F. allergic to dairy?”, “Is F. allergic to sugar?” Then she went to her cupboards and brought out various substances. “Is F. allergic to this?” she asked the crystal repeatedly. Apparently this method was very informative, because the crystal told her that F. was indeed allergic to wheat, dairy, and sugar.

Must I say this? There is no such thing as a ‘sugar allergy’. It is possible to be allergic to corn. It is even possible to be allergic to cane. It is impossible to be allergic to carbohydrate.

It makes me furious that I have spent years researching nutrition, yet people go out and pay to get the kind of advice any common medium would give after five minutes’ practice in a circus tent.

Spiritualists are dangerous. If I based my diet on “just knowing” what was good for me, I would still be a chubby, hypoglycaemic, asthmatic, anaemic vegetarian who ate Kelloggs cornflakes morning, noon and night.

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Written by alienrobotgirl

8 April, 2006 at 2:46 pm

Posted in Quacktitioners

2 Responses

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  1. […] Some time ago I mentioned briefly that the only way to diagnose food allergies correctly is to use skin prick tests and blood tests, and that even these methods have problems. I want to expand on the problems a bit […]

  2. […] suffered from GERD for many years and has treated it with H2 blockers. Recently he tried seeing a nutritionist, a complete fraudster who waved a crystal around. She told him he was “allergic” to […]


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