Trust Me I'm A Doctor, TV review: Next they'll be suggesting fat is good for us, I thought - and then one guy did

Michael Mosley and co used the opening episode of series four to dish out the kind of advice sceptics dream about

Amy Burns
Wednesday 06 January 2016 22:17 GMT
They’ll see you now: Dr Chris van Tulleken, Dr Saleyha Ashan, Dr Michael Mosley and Gabriel Weston in ‘Trust Me, I’m a Doctor’
They’ll see you now: Dr Chris van Tulleken, Dr Saleyha Ashan, Dr Michael Mosley and Gabriel Weston in ‘Trust Me, I’m a Doctor’ (BBC)

If January has already had you uttering the dreaded D word – detox – then stop now because you might as well replace it with a different D, namely "Don't bother". Yes, according to the experts on the new series of Trust Me, I'm a Doctor, your antioxidant-boosting smoothie is a waste of money. And as for those protein shakes you've been scoffing post-workout? Pointless.

Michael Mosley and co used the opening episode of series four to dish out the kind of advice us sceptics dream about. After conducting a series of experiments, the team concluded that "supplementing" your body is a waste of time and cash as – surprise, surprise – your body is pretty good at regulating itself. Led by Dr Chris van Tulleken, a group of volunteers agreed to undertake an eight-week exercise regime, supplemented by a daily protein shake – only half of them received a placebo. Eight weeks later everyone's muscle mass had increased, but there was no difference between those taking the protein shake and those taking the placebo. As Dr Van Tulleken explained, once your body starts to detect excess protein – ie the shake – it finds a way to get rid of it, usually as energy, fat or urine. And results in an antioxidant smoothie experiment were similar – because the body already produces all the antioxidants it needs, if it detects any more it simply slows down production.

This was, in many ways, extremely lazy television. Some of the volunteers were so lacklustre they didn't deserve the airtime. Even Mosley's over-the-top cheering couldn't raise a smile. And footage of "simple household exercises" – including violently swinging a laundry basket around, lunging while vacuuming and squatting while brushing your teeth – was just bonkers. It looked like some hideous shopping channel advert for household aids. But to be fair, it did work. The results proved that everyone was getting stronger despite some of the exercises being conducted while sat on the sofa.

Ditching the detox? Improving fitness from the comfort of your living room? This was too good to be true I thought as I snuggled deeper into the sofa – next they'll be suggesting fat is good for us. And then one guy actually did. Professor Fredrik Karpe was adamant that, provided you don't carry fat in your stomach and you don't have any metabolic problems, losing weight is a waste of time. In fact, he insisted that bums and thighs were actually a "safe" place to store fat and that big hips were "beneficial". It was at that point I started to think that maybe some of his advice should be taken with a pinch of salt. Or perhaps that should be sugar.

Muscles of a different kind were being flexed on BBC4 in Lucy Worsley's new series, Empire of the Tsars: Romanov Russia. Much of the episode focused on ruthless ruler Peter the Great.

This was an interesting trip down history lane but a slightly oddly shot one. There was so much footage of Worsley it was unnerving. Often filmed from a distance, through a window or in a mirror, she spent about half the programme pretending not to know the camera was on her. It was, however, always on her and kept closing in on her over-red lips and terrible (also over-red) dress sense. It was distracting and drew away from the incredible Russian backdrop. But her passion for the subject matter was utterly charming, unlike Peter himself who had his own son sentenced to death for treason. He also died of gangrene in 1725. Perhaps he could have done with an antioxidant supplement after all.

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