Magazine article New Statesman (1996)

Thick and Thin: John Sutherland on the Miracle Curs for Sale in US Bookshops

Magazine article New Statesman (1996)

Thick and Thin: John Sutherland on the Miracle Curs for Sale in US Bookshops

Article excerpt

To the mortification, doubtless, of its literary editor, for the past six months the New York Times bestseller list has prominently featured Kevin Trudeau's The Weight Loss Cure "They" Don't Want You to Know About, the follow-up to his 2003 blockbuster Natural Cures "They" Don't Want You to Know About.

Trudeau is the kind of quack who gives snake-oil merchants a good name. In earlier life a straightforward crook, he served two years for passing dud cheques, while masquerading as a doctor to do so. More recently Trudeau's advocacy of a "cancer cure" (involving sea coral) has initiated a series of court actions brought by the FDA. But he pays the fines and carries on selling.

In his latest book, Trudeau offers a new miracle cure. Along with his invariable colonic irrigation regime (as many as seven a day), he has "rediscovered" the "miracle" weight-loss cure of a British endocrinologist of the 1950s, Dr Albert T Simeons, who claimed that daily hCG (human chorionic gonadotropin) injections would allow the subject to survive on 500 calories a day while shedding weight so fast that every two weeks you'd need a new wardrobe.

Kevin himself claims that with the injections (photographic evidence attached) he lost "50 pounds in just 60 days without dieting, exercise, or surgery!" But hGC is a hormone found in the urine of pregnant women. No respectable medical authority backs the Simeons diet.

Trudeau--and self-proclaimed miracle workers like him--can operate because of a law passed in 1994 by Congress opened a "truck-sized loophole" (as its critics claim) for alternative medicines that can claim to be "dietary supplements". …

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