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You Are What You Eat

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You Are What You Eat

You Are What You Eat
Starring Gillian McKeith
Country of origin United Kingdom
Original language(s) English
No. of series 4
Producer(s) Anna Richardson
Running time 30mins (inc. adverts)
Original channel Channel 4
Original run 2004 – 2007

You Are What You Eat is a dieting programme aired in various forms between 2004 and 2007 on British broadcasting company Channel 4, and presented by Gillian McKeith. The fourth series was called You Are What You Eat: Gillian Moves In.


  • Methods 1
  • Spin-off series 2
  • Weight Loss Effectiveness 3
  • Controversy 4
  • Website 5
  • Books 6
  • References 7
  • External links 8


The show often uses shock tactics to get the participants to lose weight. In each episode all food eaten in one week by the person(s) taking part is placed on a table to highlight problem areas of their diet. Another technique is the analysis of the participant's faeces by McKeith to detect certain problems and make them known to the person involved. This aspect of the show gained McKeith the nickname "The Awful Poo Lady".[1] Emphasising the possibility of the participant's death is sometimes used, with references to children they might not see growing up or a mock grave being prepared. Generally, editions would have these scenes in the first part followed by the participant's attempts to follow McKeith's diet and exercise regimes in the second. The fourth series was expanded from half to one hour programmes, with the contestants moving to McKeith's London house and being visited overnight at their homes for inspection.

Spin-off series

Localized versions of You Are What You Eat were produced by Viasat and aired in Sweden, Norway, Denmark, Hungary and the Czech Republic. Viasat was the first company in the world to adapt the format locally. MTV3 also produced a local version of the show in Finland. The show was a success and it was the frequently most viewed show in Finland when it was aired.

Weight Loss Effectiveness

Weight loss by participants was often significant, with some examples as follows:

  • Series 1. Episode 1. Yvonne Grant: Lost 28 lbs. Average 3.5 lbs per week. 11.4% of body weight lost.
  • Series 1. Episode 5. Dean Mills: Lost 42 lbs. Average 5.3 lbs per week. 12.5% of body weight lost.
  • Series 1. Episode 8. Nicholas Hughes: Lost 56 lbs. Average 7.0 lbs per week. 20.5% of body weight lost.
  • Series 2. Episode 7. Joseph Heyburn: Lost 31.5 lbs. Average 3.9 lbs per week. 10.5% of body weight lost.
  • Series 2. Episode 13. Geraldine Mawson: Lost 42 lbs. Average 5.3 lbs per week. 16.2% of bodyweight lost.
  • Series 3. Episode 1. Irene Shingfield: Lost 38 lbs. Average 4.8 lbs per week. 15.5% of bodyweight lost.
  • Series 3. Episode 2. John Harrison: Lost 56 lbs. Average 7.0 lbs per week. 14.8% of bodyweight lost.

Based on the results of 34 participants in the series the subjects all recorded significant weight loss with an average loss of 4.3 lbs per week and an average 12.7% of body weight lost over the 8 weeks. This compares to recommendations by the British Dietetic Association that weight loss be in the region of 2lb or 1kg per week[2] or 5-10% over six months,[3] although participants were following the regimen under consultation with their doctors and generally starting from a high weight and a very poor diet.


In the first series of the show, McKeith was sometimes referred to as "Doctor", and she has continued to use the title in some media, although the later series referred to her as a "holistic nutritionist", using the title "Ms. Gillian McKeith" at some points. It emerged in December 2005 that Gillian McKeith has no accredited doctorate. McKeith received her PhD via a distance learning programme from the American Holistic College of Nutrition, Alabama, which later became the Clayton College of Natural Health before closing in 2011.[4] The Clayton College of Natural Health stated that it was "accredited by the American Association of Drugless Practitioners and the American Naturopathic Medical Accreditation Board".[5] However, this accreditation was never recognised by the U.S. Secretary of Education.[6]

McKeith is also a member of the

External links

  1. ^ "The Awful Poo Lady". Bad Science. Retrieved 2012-04-19. 
  2. ^
  3. ^ British Dietic Association. "Weight Wise - setting realistic goals". Retrieved 2012-04-19. 
  4. ^ "Gillian McKeith, round 2". Goldacre, Ben. Guardian News and Media Limited, 19 August 2004. Retrieved 19 December 2008.
  5. ^ [1]
  6. ^ "Clayton College of Natural Health: Be Wary of the School and Its Graduates". Retrieved 2012-04-19. 
  7. ^ "Dr Gillian McKeith (PhD) continued". The Guardian. 2004-09-30. Retrieved 2007-02-10. 


  • You Are What You Eat: Michelle's Diary

There is also one book written by Michelle McManus from her appearance on the show.

  • You Are What You Eat Mealplanner
  • You Are What You Eat Total Health Overhaul

Nutritionist Carina Norris has written a number of official You Are What You Eat books

  • Living Food for Health
  • You Are What You Eat Cookbook
  • You Are What You Eat: This Plan Will Change Your Life

There are books that have been published to accompany the series. The following are written by Gillian McKeith:


An official tie-in website was created in support of the show enabling viewers to complete an online questionnaire and receive a personalized nutrition suggestions.



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