Internet Gurus Say You Can Heal Anything with a Diet, and People Believe it

The cult-like following of dieting as a medical treatment

Anahide T
9 min readSep 13, 2022


Image courtesy of the author.

Hippocrates famously said, “Let food be thy medicine and let thy medicine be food.” The Ancient doctor thought alimentation was a promoter of health and that diseases lay in unbalanced lifestyles.

Adopting a healthy lifestyle is still today’s number one manner of preventing the apparition of diseases, together with hygiene. The WHO recommends a healthy diet “to protect against malnutrition in all its forms, as well as non-communicable diseases (NCDs), including such as diabetes, heart disease, stroke, and cancer.. .”

Health practitioners recommend promoting one’s health through one’s lifestyle and diet. Some of them are doctors, but there are also non-medical practitioners, like osteopaths, and naturopaths. On the internet, a large part of the information surrounding nutrition comes from people who aren’t medically trained to give nutritional advice. And if many of those recommendations appear to be inoffensive, they may often rely on pseudo-scientific beliefs, if not cult-like practices.

Many believe that it is possible to cure not only metabolic diseases, but also autoimmune disorders, or even cancers, with the help of a strict diet. I wanted to know to what extent those beliefs are connected to reality, and how far it was possible to push them before they become dangerous.

Not all fad diets are bad: Jason Fung, the doctor who reinvented fasting

As we established before the idea that food can be a form of medicine isn’t new and is still relevant today on many levels. Doctors are the first to promote a healthy lifestyle and a balanced diet to prevent diseases.

Dr. Jason Fung started as a nephrologist. Yet, he is most known for his work on intermittent fasting and its effect on type 2 diabetes.

With more than 800k followers on Youtube, he created for himself a community of people who listen to his health advice. His work focus on reversing the idea that type 2 diabetes is a chronic and progressive disease. He believes that the way this disease is viewed is biased and that current…



Anahide T

Brand strategist and web-designer.