Pete Evans’ name was splashed across news papers, TV, and social media last year, but his time in the spotlight was fading. So he has once more taken to social media to make controversial claims outside of his scope of practice, again endangering the health of people. Unfortunately it is common for people to place trust in celebrity figures and to want to follow their advice.
Celebrity chef Pete Evans has been criticised for giving “astounding” and “potentially deadly” diet advice to his followers on social media, with one doctor taking to Facebook to remind Evans he isn’t a trained health professional. Dr Brad Robinson, a gynaecologist and obstetrician from Brisbane, penned an open letter to Evans after the chef advised a woman who said she has been diagnosed with osteoporosis to avoid dairy.
There are definitely some positive aspects to the paleo diet, but the problem does not lie as much in the diet as it does with the comments Pete is making, and the blanket approach he takes when providing advice to all people and their circumstances. An individual making the decision to follow a diet/ the restriction of certain food groups is one thing, but an unqualified individual making these recommendations for all people is uncalled for.
I would strongly suggest removing dairy and eating the paleo way as calcium from dairy can remove the calcium from your bones,” Evans wrote on his verified Chef Pete Evans Facebook page on August 21, in an exchange that appears to have been deleted. Along with a link to his website The Paleo Way, Evans added: “… most doctors do not know this information.
Doctors are required to stay up to date on new research and any changes to best practice guidelines. They have access to numerous, reputable medical journals, know where to source credible information, as well as how to evaluate the quality of a study. It is likely you will always be able to find studies to back your view on anything, but whether they are good quality studies is another thing, and it does not mean you can ignore the mounds of evidence supporting the opposing view. Dr Robinson replied to Pete’s comment in an open letter.
Celebrity chef Pete Evans is a vocal advocate for the paleo lifestyle. This advice was refuted by Dr Robinson, who was quick to remind Evans in an open letter: “You are a chef, NOT a doctor”. “You are not someone who magically knows things that the sum total of generations of medical research has determined,” Dr Robinson said.
You do not have access to information that we uneducated doctors do not. Your astounding advice about osteoporosis would be amusing if it wasn’t so potentially damaging to anyone at risk who actually believed you.” Dr Robinson said other advice given by Evans, including an apparent recommendation to cease the use of anti-cholesterol medication, was “potentially deadly”. “Can we make a deal?” Dr Robinson wrote. “You don’t give medical advice and I won’t tell you how to best shuck oysters. Agreed?
Pete Evans swears by this advice, yet he is willing to forgo all of his morals and recommendations to appear on popular cooking show – My Kitchen Rules. He responded to Dr Robinson’s letter with a long reply – throwing in lots of likely biased references to make it look well supported. Let’s not forget his comments on sunscreen either.
The controversy is the second time in a month that doctors have criticised Evans, a judge on cooking show My Kitchen Rules, for giving health advice.
In July, Evans wrote in a similar question and answer session on Facebook that sunscreen was full of “poisonous chemicals” and people should think twice before using it.
This comment was criticised by Dr Tony Bartone, the vice-president of the Australian Medical Association, in advice that is perhaps evergreen.
I wouldn’t tell Pete Evans how to cook a chook,” Dr Bartone said. “We should all stick to our fields of expertise and leave medical treatment to appropriate medical professionals.
At the end of the day, people can follow whatever dietary advice they like; but unless the information has come from a qualified professional (dietitian or doctor), dietary/ health advice should not be given to the masses – or even your friend next door – especially those with medical conditions that can be vitally affected by diet. It is also poor form to slam whole professions and professional associations, as Pete has been known to do.