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The Food Hospital

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The Food Hospital examines the science behind using food in medicine, tackling patients' health problems through the food they eat

About the Show

The Food Hospital examines the science behind using food in medicine, tackling patients' health problems through the food they eat

Series 1 Summary

In a pioneering new series, Channel 4 examines the science behind using food as medicine.

In experiments conducted following the latest scientific evidence, patients suffering from a range of medical conditions and symptoms are invited to attend The Food Hospital, where they are prescribed specific diets to find out if their health problems can be alleviated or cured by the food they eat.

  • Episode 1

    The Food Hospital doctors meet 24-year-old Lauren, who suffers from such an extreme case of Polycystic Ovary Syndrome (PCOS). With its symptoms such as weight gain, fertility problems and, most noticeably, excessive body and facial hair, Lauren fears living as a virtual recluse forever unless she can find help.

    Crippling migraines are destroying seven-year-old Harvey's life, and his mother will try anything to help her son.

    Twenty-five-year-old twin sisters Kristen and Maren are trying to use food as a weapon against breast cancer.

    And can 44-year-old single dad Chris turn around the world's fifth biggest killer, type 2 diabetes, with food?

    But it's not just about treating patients. Dr Pixie McKenna from Embarrassing Bodies investigates the truth about 'superfoods', and The Food Hospital launches a series of ambitious nationwide 'food as medicine' trials, kicking off in this first episode by investigating whether chocolate can help fight high blood pressure.

  • Episode 2

    The doctors meet Karen and her six-year-old son, Callum, whose lives are both blighted by psoriasis. Karen fears her son will get bullied like she has been because his lesions are so noticeable.

    No amount of creams and potions seem to help, so Karen and Callum are turning to food after conventional medicine has failed.

    Professional singer Sophie suffers from such severe acid reflux that, if it continues, it could spell the end of her career. After 13 years of this condition, she is also at risk of Barrett's Oesophagus, which can increase the risk of cancer.

    Sixteen-year-old Rianna is looking for an answer to her distressing and unexplained hair loss.

    And can obese 38-year-old father Ian reverse his dangerously fatty liver through food, and increase his life expectancy?

    Dr Pixie McKenna investigates the truth about vitamin supplements, asking if they have any real benefit to our health.

    And The Food Hospital launches its second Big Food Trial to see if food can help lower our cholesterol levels.

  • Episode 3

    The Food Hospital experts employ cutting-edge research as they treat a 19-year-old dancer with Crohn's Disease, an ex-soldier with a sleep disorder, and a man whose sperm needs a boost if he's to father the child he wants so much.

    And one of Britain's growing numbers of morbidly obese teenagers is taught how to approach food again after her gastric bypass surgery.

    Dr Pixie McKenna discovers the truth about sports drinks; do they really boost energy or are they an expensive irrelevance?

    And, with 1 in 10 of us reliant on sleeping pills, viewers get the chance to take part in a nationwide survey aiming to add to the growing evidence that there might be a natural remedy to insomnia, in the third Big Food Trial.

  • Episode 4

    Thirty-six-year-old Garrett is in constant pain from gout. Despite age-old associations with old men and rich living, Garrett's gout is hereditary and he's desperate for advice on how to control it and reduce his incapacitating joint pain.

    Twenty years of living with depression brings 37-year-old Debbie to see The Food Hospital doctors in the hope of a new approach to managing her condition.

    Suzi, a mum of three young children, has survived on a diet of just pancakes and chocolate bars for two years. Her faddy diet is seriously damaging her health. Suzi is deficient in many of the key vitamins and minerals and without help she'll risk life-threatening complications such as organ failure.

    And 31-year-old Tristan comes to see the doctors about his eczema and weight issues, but gets a shocking and serious health warning.

    Also, Dr Pixie McKenna discovers the truth about detox diets; do they actually make us any healthier or are we simply overlooking the power of our own digestive systems?

  • Episode 5

    Forty-two-year-old Ellie has a rare and traumatising condition called Fish Odour Syndrome. She gives off odours ranging from sulphur to rotting garbage and the reactions she gets have taken her to the brink mentally.

    By taking her treatment into her own hands and cutting out whole food groups without medical supervision, Ellie's relationship with food has been destroyed and her health has been put at risk.

    Severe eczema has taken over 16-year-old Toby's life, to the extent that he fears ever being able to fulfil his dream of becoming aeroplane cabin crew because of his worry over people's reactions to his noticeable crusty lesions.

    Thirty-year-old mum Michelle suffers from crippling pain due to suspected gallstones. Can Shaw and Lucy treat her with just food, avoiding surgery?

    Lucy and Gio myth-bust hangover cures with three hard-drinking students from Leeds.

    And Dr Pixie McKenna investigates the truth about health claims on food packaging: does food always do what it says on the tin?

  • Episode 6

    The Food Hospital experts treat Taigh, a 19-year-old fitness instructor so food phobic that she's never even eaten a vegetable; Anne, who is going through the menopause and whose hot flushes are ruining her life; and 39-year-old photographer Kate, whose diet could be causing her spine to fuse. Can an experimental food plan help control her disabling condition?

    And they may have the body beautiful, but are the gargantuan appetites of a wannabe Mr & Mrs Universe killing them from the inside?

    The first Big Food Trial results are in: how have the group study from Episode 3 and viewers taking part remotely via channel4.com, facebook and the iPhone app got on with their insomnia?

    And, in 'The Truth About', Dr Pixie McKenna investigates whether do-it-yourself food intolerance tests can really tell us the ingredients that make us ill.

  • Episode 7

    Forty-seven-year-old Alan, who suffers from painful and embarrassing bloating, gets more than he bargained for when consultant surgeon Shaw Somers reveals the shocking news that his body is more like that of a 62-year-old and that he has Metabolic Syndrome: a host of life-threatening conditions from high blood pressure and cholesterol to full-blown Type 2 Diabetes.

    If he is to increase his life chances, Alan is going to have to take immediate action, implementing dietitian Lucy Jones' tailor-made food plan, or he may have no choice but to go straight onto medication.

    Twenty-three-year-old Dawn's life is blighted by extremely bad breath. She's self-conscious with other people and rarely gets kissed on the lips by her man. Dawn is desperate to know what foods will help her banish her halitosis forever.

    Meanwhile, Chronic Fatigue Syndrome has impacted Steph's life for the past 13 years. Can Lucy and GP Gio Miletto's experimental plan help cure a controversial illness that has no proven causes?

    Joan is in her fifties and has high blood pressure - a common condition that can be fatal. People of Afro-Carribean origin, like Joan, are far more likely to suffer from high blood pressure.

    Joan has lost many in her family to the consequences of this condition and she's willing to do anything to avoid the same fate.

    And in The Truth About..., Dr Pixie McKenna talks to a top cancer expert to find out what foods in our diets can influence cancer, both positively and negatively.

  • Episode 8

    Forty-seven-year-old Clementine is in denial about her health and becomes emotional when Shaw Somers gives her the shocking news that her cholesterol levels are dangerously high.

    She is put on the scientifically designed but challenging Portfolio diet, known to reduce cholesterol for those who can stick at it.

    Twenty-four-year-old Laura has Irritable Bowel Syndrome (IBS) and her wind is so bad it has previously led to her being hospitalised. The Food Hospital experts offer her a lifeline in the form of the pioneering Low Fodmap diet, which could have radical implications for those suffering from a condition that affects one in five of us.

    Julie is a sporty young woman but once a month her life becomes practically unbearable as she suffers with extreme PMS. After incorrectly diagnosing herself with an intolerance, Julie meets Gio, who discovers the food she has cut out could be the one that would most help her symptoms.

    Thirty-two-year-old Ian lives life to the full and does his best to look after his body, but Lucy and Gio investigate if his extreme raw food diet may be doing him damage on the inside.

    The results of the nationwide Big Food Trial, examining the effects of food on blood pressure, are revealed. And Dr Pixie McKenna examines how we can evaluate whether health headlines in the news are worth heeding or not.

The Food Hospital synopsis

The Food Hospital examines the science behind using food in medicine, tackling patients' health problems through the food they eat

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2 Series, 14 Episodes