current events commentary
The Hallelujah Diet: Real Benefit or Dietary Quackery?
Copyright © 1998 by Stephen Cumblidge
Claiming that a diet is "good" is a subjective statement that
generally doesn't demand any skeptical inquiry, but claiming that a diet
can cure or prevent cancer does require examination. This examination
is a good idea, as if the diet can indeed deliver on its promises then
the world would benefit from the knowledge, and if a diet like the
Hallelujah diet has no real effect, then that should be show as well.
The Hallelujah diet sounds like it has a lot in common with other
fad diets. The article in the collegian, and a subsequent letter to the
editor, claim that the diet is responsible for curing or preventing
diseases such as cancer without any clinical proof that this is the
case. Why do I feel the need to see clinical, scientific proof before I
accept a cure as legitimate? Because the scientific method is generally
the best way to determine if something actually works, or if people are
only seeing what they want to see.
Some of the warning signs that this diet is a fad diet is are the
claims made as to the health effects of the diet, as well as the poor
understanding of medicine. The following health claims are made in the
Connie Bailey of Port Matilda had Grave's disease and said she
overcame it by eating right and drinking plenty of fluids including raw carrot
juice and plenty of water.
Betz said cancer growth has proven to be conquered through the Hallelujah diet.
I really wish that the Hallelujah diet was actually proven to stop
cancer growth. Unfortunately this is not the case.
Some interesting if not very accurate "information" is given in the
The five main factors that contribute to disease are a poor diet, poor physical
condition, gradual exposure to radiation and toxic substances in the environment and diet,
tobacco and illegal drug use, and stress and emotional distress, Betz said.
One has to wonder which diseases Betz is talking about. I find it
interesting that sanitation/cleanliness, proper cooking, immunization,
and heredity are not mentioned as factors. Vaccines and clean drinking
water have done more than just about any other factors to lower the
death rate of many diseases that have plagued mankind for as long as we
have been on the Earth. Many third world nations eat "All Natural"
foods, but have a high incidence of "All Natural" diseases such as
dysentery and have high rates of malnutrition. Environmental radiation
has yet to be shows as a cause of cancer, as it is at such low levels
that its effects are difficult to measure. Areas of the US with high
background radiation do not have higher cancer rates as one would
Another aspect to this which makes me suspicious is the "All
Natural" bent to the diet. Nature is not the nice and friendly
all-loving force it is often portrayed as being. Nature is full of
toxins and diseases that are very dangerous and destructive. As I
stated above, "unnatural" chemicals such as chlorine in drinking water
have saved countless lives and improved the standard of living a great
deal. "Unnatural" preservatives have also saved lives by reducing food
spoilage and the food poisoning that can occur with spoilage. Cooking
food kills germs. Try eating "All Natural" mistletoe berries some
time. Just because something is "All Natural" does not mean that it is
"good", "better", or even safe.
Chemicals are not the magic fountain of goodness either, don't get
me wrong. Many chemicals such as DDT have been found to be harmful to
humans and the environment. Chemicals that are to be added to food
should and do have to pass many scientific tests to make sure that they
I would like to see clinical tests of diets such as the Hallelujah
diet to find out if there is any validity to the claims. If diet can
help reduce the cancer rate then this could be a huge help to mankind.
The effects of diet is being studied right now by real researchers, with
mixed results so far. Time and careful experimentation will tell. It
is, for now, too early to go around shouting that the Hallelujah diet
cures or stops cancer.