Ben Goldacre

I’d like to submit to Bad Science my teacher who gave us a handout which says that ‘Water is best absorbed by the body when provided in frequent small amounts.’ What I want to know is this. If I drink too much in one go, will it leak out off my arsehole instead? Thank you. Anton.

In the past, [medicalization]has been portrayed as something that doctors inflict on a passive and un-suspecting world – an expansion of the Medical Empire. But in reality, it seems that these reductionist bio-medical stories can appeal to us all, because complex problems often have depressingly-complex causes, and the solutions can be taxing, and unsatisfactory.

If I was writing a lifestyle book it would have the same advice on every page, and you’d know it all already. Eat lots of fruit and vegetables, and live your whole life in every way as well as you can: exercise regularly as part of your daily routine, avoid obesity, don’t drink too much, don’t smoke, and don’t get distracted from the real, basic, simple causes of ill health. But as we will see, even these things are hard to do on your own, and in reality require wholesale social and political changes.