Can you tell our readers what your new book is about?
‘The Health Delusion’ is all about what has gone wrong with our health in the 21st century and how we can put it right. It looks at why, despite the amazing advances of modern healthcare, we are still over-run with chronic illnesses such as obesity, diabetes, heart disease, cancer, osteoporosis, dementia and depression. The book exposes the often shocking truths behind the diet, health and pharmaceutical industries, and why they can’t be trusted with our health. And ultimately, pulling together the findings of hundreds of research papers, the book provides the answers: a 21st century guide to health at every stage of life, from pregnancy all the way to old age.
You are both qualified in nutrition, but when did your interest in it all begin?
Glen: “I’ve been interested in food, cooking and health for many years. I first pursued this interest by training in Nutritional Therapy over a decade ago. The penny dropped in a big way and I realised that the focus of healthcare was all wrong and that good nutrition could make a huge difference, not just to peoples wellbeing in the here and now, but their future susceptibility to any number of chronic diseases. I had to go further in pursuit of the most rigorous and academic knowledge, which led me to study for a Masters degree in Nutritional Medicine. But my interests aren’t purely academic; I’m also passionate about good food and cooking, and combined both in my first book The 100 Foods You Should Be Eating, an evidenced-based healthy eating cookbook.”
Aidan: “Growing up I did not develop as well as the other kids, and was quite weak and sickly, which left me quite vulnerable to bullying and very physically conscious the older I got. Going down the conventional medicine route I got little answers, making me realize that modern medicine’s prime interest is not in promoting health but in treating illness after it becomes full-blown. It was then I turned to nutrition for help and began to see the benefits. This was at the same time as I was studying pharmacy, and I realized for most diseases it was the same theme; to treat and extend life of the sickly, not to reverse disease and promote optimal health. I decided that I would not continue this pattern, and would provide a holistic approach when it came to my patients. Post qualification I applied for and got accepted for a Masters in Nutritional Medicine, and the rest unfolded from there.”
How did your collaboration come about?
We met whilst completing studies for the highly respected Masters degree in Nutritional Medicine at the University of Surrey. Having listened to numerous world experts lecture on a wide range of topics relating to diet, nutrition and health, we were both captivated by the sheer volume of compelling research that simply wasn’t being clearly communicated to the general public. We quickly realised that the public had to have access to this information in a way that they could easily understand and this became the inspiration for the book. We both knew one thing; this was a book that had to be written!
There are many books out there that claim to guarantee you a healthy future, why is yours so different?
Far too many of the health, diet or nutrition books out there simply don’t have scientific credibility. Unfortunately, all too often they are based on a misinterpretation of the research, or worse still are little more than peoples own theories and opinions, presented as fact. Not only does this book expose the common myths that are all too prevalent, it provides a complete blueprint for lifelong health that goes beyond anything out there. It’s filled with new information, backed by hard science (we refer to over 500 research papers in the book) that is practical and helpful for the readers to promote great health from pre-birth right into old age. As well as this the information is delivered in a punchy easy to understand style. For these reasons the book is receiving rave reviews, from prominent members of the medical community to people simply looking for ways to give their families better health.
Why do you think that we are more health conscious that ever before in the 21st century?
There is a growing realization that the current trend of disease cannot continue, and that many of our biggest modern day health problems, such as obesity, diabetes, heart disease and even cancer, are influenced by the diets we eat and lifestyles we lead. Alongside this, we are bombarded with health advice from every direction, whether that’s from government recommendations, best-selling diet books, TV shows, magazines and newspapers, or the internet. This mass of advice has brought health to the forefront of our mind and has captured our imagination. Unfortunately, a lot of this information is incomplete or unhelpful, and sometimes even dangerous. Our book looks to change that by providing reliable health advice that you can trust.
If you could give our readers one simple tip to a healthier lifestyle what would it be?
Don’t believe any of the purported “quick fixes”. This is especially applicable to the fad diets, pharmaceutical drugs and wonder supplements. They promise to compensate for our poor lifestyles, and time and time again they come up short, often exacerbating our health woes. The solution to good health will never be found at the bottom of a pill jar, or spending a few months following some OTT dietary regime. But, the good news is healthy living is not so difficult, it’s never about extremism, and with the right information a few simple changes will have you set with good health for life.
What do you think the reasons are for an increase in blood pressure, cardiovascular disease and diabetes?
Our society has become primed for such illnesses. When you take our ever more sedentary lifestyles and combine it with the massive mistake of demonising dietary fat - creating a ‘carbo-philic’ environment - we have the perfect storm for the prevailing chronic diseases of our times. These diseases are all preventable. If we increase our activity levels and recognise that refined carbohydrates (the sugars, the white and beige foods; baked goods, bread, rice pasta, potatoes etc, and even fruit juices) are detrimental to health, as well as incorporating the necessary nutrients which are missing from our diets, these burdens would become a thing of the past.
What was the most surprising thing you found from writing this book?
Just how shocking the extent of misinformation is that we are being fed on a daily basis. We have all this wonderful academic research being carried out, but with the influence of the food, diet, supplement and pharmaceutical industries, combined with passive health authorities and supposed experts who don’t understand the science, the public is kept in the dark about this information needed for great health. For example, did you know that we’re not eating any more calories now than we did in the 1970’s, the very time in which obesity rates have more than trebled!
What do you hope to achieve from the release of this book?
With the labyrinth of nutritional advice out there, quite simply it is impossible to know what to do to be healthy, no matter how good your intentions. We wrote this as a credible one stop book for health; whether you already have or want to prevent chronic disease, if you want to age gracefully or if you’re looking for the best nutrition for giving birth to future generations, all the information you need is here. But not only this, we offer health assurance. We arm people with the necessary know-how, that the next time they see the all too common contradictory health headlines, they will know exactly how to interpret them, and whether it is relevant to them.
What is the best feedback you have received from someone following your advice?
Aidan “ when working in pharmacy, it was so disheartening to see patients who had become so reliant on medications that they had forgone the benefits that lifestyle changes can have. It was like you became a drug dispenser over a health adviser. But, for those patients who were receptive and followed advice, there was nothing more rewarding than inquiring why the cholesterol, blood pressure or diabetes drug was missing off a future prescription, and them turn and smile, to say they no longer need it after implementing the lifestyle advice they were given. It made you realise just how powerful a prescription, nutrition changes could be, and what a difference a holistic approach can make to someone’s quality of life.”
Glen “Over the years, I have given nutritional advice to hundreds of clients who have consulted me for nutritional advice, making it difficult to pick out just one. But the most satisfying moment of all must be when couples struggling with fertility go on to conceive after making changes to their diet and lifestyle, and taking the correct nutrients. Being a dad myself, I don’t think anything beats that!”
The Health Delusion: How to Achieve Exceptional Health in the 21st Century (Hay House, £12.99)
Female First Lucy Walton