BDA alarmed by controversial and potentially dangerous advice in BBC’s ‘Doctor in the House’

BDA alarmed by controversial and potentially dangerous advice in BBC’s ‘Doctor in the House’

20 November 2015

On 19 November 2015, the BBC aired the first episode of their new series Doctor in the House. The British Dietetic Association was alarmed by some of the advice provided by the doctor to the family featured.

In the episode, key sources of carbohydrates for the person with diabetes were removed with emphasis placed on removing dairy and wheat containing foods. This along with suggesting that the 5-a-Day for the individual came from vegetables only, avoiding fruit completely, whilst also promoting time-restricted eating / fasting.

“This advice is potentially dangerous with possible adverse side effects. Not only is there limited evidence around carbohydrate elimination and time-restricted eating for those with diabetes, but cutting out food groups and fasting could lead to nutrition problems including nutrient deficiencies and adversely affect their blood sugar control, particularly in individuals taking certain medications or insulin,” said Dr Duane Mellor PhD and registered dietitian.  

“Whilst reducing refined carbohydrates and sugar intake is definitely a positive, many of the other recommendations lack evidence from scientific research base. People living with diabetes watching the programme are advised to stick with their current treatment and discuss any changes with their diabetes team, which can include a consultant or GP, dietitian and Diabetes Nurse.”

According to Diabetes UK guidelines, everyone with diabetes should receive individual and ongoing dietary and nutrition advice from a dietitian. The television show did not appear to use a dietitian to assist with the dietary advice, and whilst doctors are highly qualified professionals, dietitians are the only qualified health professionals that specifically assess, diagnose and treat diet and nutrition problems at an individual and wider public health level. Uniquely, dietitians use the most up-to-date public health and scientific research on food, health and disease, which they translate into practical guidance to enable people to make appropriate lifestyle and food choices.

For more credible dietary guidance for diabetics, please visit the BDA’s FREE resource, Food Fact Sheets. There is a Fact sheet specifically for Diabetes Type 1 as well as Diabetes Type 2.


Additional information

  • Visit the BDA website at:
  • Dietitians are the only nutrition professionals to be statutorily regulated, and governed by an ethical code, to ensure that they always work to the highest standard. Dietitians work in the NHS, private practice, industry, education, research, sport, media, public relations, publishing, non-government organisations and government. Their advice influences food and health policy across the spectrum from government, local communities and individuals.



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