Last night's viewing - The Food Hospital, Channel 4; The Case, BBC1

 

I've had a weird allergy to Channel 4 dieticians ever since I unwisely swallowed a Gillian McKeith programme without reading the small print first. Even the sight of one can make me breathless and sweaty now, so I approached The Food Hospital with some caution.

"I passionately believe in the science of food as medicine and I want the public to know about it," said Lucy Jones, the series' resident dietician. Which is all very well but for the fact that "passionate belief" doesn't prove anything at all. The best procedure, I thought, was to follow some advice Bear Grylls once offered on how to find out whether jungle fruit is poisonous: nibble a tiny sample and then wait to see whether you get an adverse reaction before eating the whole thing. And the essential verdict is that it seems to be harmless – one of those programmes that helps Channel 4 with its public-service remit, but also allows the viewer to squat in a consultation room and gawp at the unwell.

How much good it will do, I'm not sure. The simple proposition is that improved diet can achieve results just as good as expensive medicines, and that even when it can't, symptoms can be improved. But when it comes to the prescriptions The Food Hospital doles out, there doesn't seem to be anything terribly sophisticated in the advice. Poor Lauren, who has polycystic ovaries and hirsutism (she has a beard ), was hauled into a consulting room lined with tasteful monochrome pictures of broccoli and told to give up eating sausages and cheese and replace them with pulses, vegetables and fruit. Oh, and they thought it would be a good idea if she did some exercise too. Harvey, a little boy who suffered from terrible migraines, was given slightly more specific advice about avoiding foods that might trigger his attacks. But then with Chris, who has type two diabetes, we were back to common sense. An exclusive diet of petrol-station pies and confectionery, it turns out, isn't very good for you. Who'd have thought it?

It's to the programme's credit, though, that they undermined the idea of any fast-track way to guzzle your way to better health. Dr Pixie McKenna, who we usually encounter peering at a scrofulous set of genitals in Embarrassing Bodies, gently undermined the idea of the "super-food" – a marketing ploy designed to get us to pay more for blueberries – and pointed out that nearly all fresh fruit is super if the alternative is a Twix bar and a packet of pork scratchings. And then Lauren, Harvey and Chris returned to demonstrate – visibly in the case of Lauren and Chris – that you really can achieve quite a lot in a short time if you're prepared to stick to the diet.

Chris had given himself an incentive by downloading photographs of gangrenous toes on to his mobile, a reminder of what awaited him if he strayed from the straight and narrow (very narrow, in his case, at just 800 calories a day). The food that had gone into them had achieved some of this, I'm sure, but not nearly as much as the food that hadn't gone into them. The truly effective medicine was personal determination. Perhaps Channel 4 could follow up with "Will Power Hospital".

Lovers of courtroom drama will be able to gorge themselves over the next couple of weeks. Peter Morgan's The Jury starts next week on ITV1 and in the meantime there's The Case, running on five consecutive afternoons this week with the trial of a man accused of murdering his terminally ill partner. Ruthie Henshall plays the chambers' harpy in a way that suggests she's worried about reaching the upper circle, but she's less conspicuous than she might normally be because everything in The Case is a touch melodramatic. And if the Did He Do It plot isn't enough to keep you hooked there's a Will They Do It teaser involving the lead barrister and his ambitious young junior.

Arts and Entertainment
Reawakening: can Jon Hamm’s Don Draper find enlightenment in the final ‘Mad Men’?
tv reviewNot quite, but it's an enlightening finale for Don Draper spoiler alert
Arts and Entertainment
Breakfast Show’s Nick Grimshaw

Radio
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Arts and Entertainment

ebooksNow available in paperback
Arts and Entertainment

ebooks
Arts and Entertainment

Eurovision
Arts and Entertainment
'Youth' cast members Paul Dano, Jane Fonda, Harvey Keitel, Rachel Weisz, and Michael Caine pose for photographers at Cannes Film Festival
film
Arts and Entertainment
Adam West as Batman and Burt Ward and Robin in the 1960s Batman TV show

Comics
Arts and Entertainment
I am flute: Azeem Ward and his now-famous instrument
music
Arts and Entertainment
A glass act: Dr Chris van Tulleken (left) and twin Xand get set for their drinking challenge
TV review
Arts and Entertainment
MIA perform at Lovebox 2014 in London Fields, Hackney

music
Arts and Entertainment
Finnish punk band PKN hope to enter Eurovision 2015 and raise awareness for Down's Syndrome

eurovision
Arts and Entertainment
William Shakespeare on the cover of John Gerard's The Herball or Generall Historie of Plantes

books
Arts and Entertainment

Game of Thrones review
Arts and Entertainment
Grayson Perry dedicates his Essex home to Julie

Potter's attempt to create an Essex Taj Mahal was a lovely treat

tv
Arts and Entertainment
A scene from the original Swedish version of the sci-fi TV drama ‘Real Humans’
tv
Arts and Entertainment
Hugh Keays-Byrne plays Immortan Joe, the terrifying gang leader, in the new film
filmActor who played Toecutter returns - but as a different villain in reboot
Arts and Entertainment
Charlize Theron as Imperator Furiosa in Mad Max: Fury Road
film
Arts and Entertainment
Jessica Hynes in W1A
tvReview: Perhaps the creators of W1A should lay off the copy and paste function spoiler alert
Arts and Entertainment
Power play: Mitsuko Uchida in concert

classical
Arts and Entertainment
Dangerous liaisons: Dominic West, Jake Richard Siciliano, Maura Tierney and Leya Catlett in ‘The Affair’ – a contradictory drama but one which is sure to reel the viewers in
TV review
Arts and Entertainment
Richard Herring, pictured performing at the Edinburgh Fringe Festival two years ago
comedy
Arts and Entertainment
Music freak: Max Runham in the funfair band
theatre
Arts and Entertainment
film 'I felt under-used by Hollywood'
Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?

ES Rentals

    Independent Dating
    and  

    By clicking 'Search' you
    are agreeing to our
    Terms of Use.

    Abuse - and the hell that came afterwards

    Abuse - and the hell that follows

    James Rhodes on the extraordinary legal battle to publish his memoir
    Why we need a 'tranquility map' of England, according to campaigners

    It's oh so quiet!

    The case for a 'tranquility map' of England
    'Timeless fashion': It may be a paradox, but the industry loves it

    'Timeless fashion'

    It may be a paradox, but the industry loves it
    If the West needs a bridge to the 'moderates' inside Isis, maybe we could have done with Osama bin Laden staying alive after all

    Could have done with Osama bin Laden staying alive?

    Robert Fisk on the Fountainheads of World Evil in 2011 - and 2015
    New exhibition celebrates the evolution of swimwear

    Evolution of swimwear

    From bathing dresses in the twenties to modern bikinis
    Sun, sex and an anthropological study: One British academic's summer of hell in Magaluf

    Sun, sex and an anthropological study

    One academic’s summer of hell in Magaluf
    From Shakespeare to Rising Damp... to Vicious

    Frances de la Tour's 50-year triumph

    'Rising Damp' brought De la Tour such recognition that she could be forgiven if she'd never been able to move on. But at 70, she continues to flourish - and to beguile
    'That Whitsun, I was late getting away...'

    Ian McMillan on the Whitsun Weddings

    This weekend is Whitsun, and while the festival may no longer resonate, Larkin's best-loved poem, lives on - along with the train journey at the heart of it
    Kathryn Williams explores the works and influences of Sylvia Plath in a new light

    Songs from the bell jar

    Kathryn Williams explores the works and influences of Sylvia Plath
    How one man's day in high heels showed him that Cannes must change its 'no flats' policy

    One man's day in high heels

    ...showed him that Cannes must change its 'flats' policy
    Is a quiet crusade to reform executive pay bearing fruit?

    Is a quiet crusade to reform executive pay bearing fruit?

    Dominic Rossi of Fidelity says his pressure on business to control rewards is working. But why aren’t other fund managers helping?
    The King David Hotel gives precious work to Palestinians - unless peace talks are on

    King David Hotel: Palestinians not included

    The King David is special to Jerusalem. Nick Kochan checked in and discovered it has some special arrangements, too
    More people moving from Australia to New Zealand than in the other direction for first time in 24 years

    End of the Aussie brain drain

    More people moving from Australia to New Zealand than in the other direction for first time in 24 years
    Meditation is touted as a cure for mental instability but can it actually be bad for you?

    Can meditation be bad for you?

    Researching a mass murder, Dr Miguel Farias discovered that, far from bringing inner peace, meditation can leave devotees in pieces
    Eurovision 2015: Australians will be cheering on their first-ever entrant this Saturday

    Australia's first-ever Eurovision entrant

    Australia, a nation of kitsch-worshippers, has always loved the Eurovision Song Contest. Maggie Alderson says it'll fit in fine