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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 2 Summary

The Food Hospital returns for a brand new series and this time the team are using food to try to tackle an even greater array of common illnesses, from acne and eczema to epilepsy and ADHD.

  • Episode 1

    The first patient to be seen by the Food Hospital team in this second series is four-year-old Jack from Lincoln. Jack suffers from atopic eczema, a skin condition that affects one in five children in the UK and which means his skin often becomes itchy, dry, red and cracked.

    Twenty-nine-year-old Beth from the Wirral suffers from rheumatoid arthritis, which is an auto immune disease that affects 400,000 people in the UK and causes painful swelling. She has already had five joints replaced.

    Twenty-two-year-old Adam from Manchester is terrified of fruit and vegetables. In fact, his diet is utterly devoid of anything fresh and consists of six things alone: chicken nuggets, chips, pizza, crisps, cheese on toast and chocolate.

    Finally, Dr Pixie McKenna goes on a mission to identify the heroes of the food world. She wants to see if claims that beetroot can increase performance in sports are true and meets Professor Andrew Jones from the University of Exeter, who is running a pioneering trial on some cyclists at the Portsmouth velodrome.

  • Episode 2

    First to be seen at The Food Hospital in this episode is 14-year-old footballer Ezra from Brixton, who suffers from Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder (ADHD), which affects up to five per cent of UK school children.

    The experts also meet 30-year-old Maryn from London, who has turned the normal five fruit and veg a day into 50 a day. As a fruitarian, he lives primarily on fruit, but is this restricted diet good for him?

    And Jayne, who's 31 and from Northumberland, suffers from Alopecia Universalis. It has left her with hardly a hair on her body, and while it has no impact on her physical health, it can dramatically impact confidence levels and she is desperate to seek a cure for her condition.

    Dr Pixie McKenna looks into claims that watercress may help gym work-out damage and speaks to Dr Mark Fogerty from Edinburgh Napier University, and the team press on with their 'Fibre Challenge', which aims to get viewers to eat more fibre via the free Food Hospital app. This week's volunteer is Sarah, who is taking part after losing her own mum to bowel cancer.

  • Episode 3

    Eighteen-year-old student Adam suffers from very bad acne. Approximately 80% of young people suffer from acne, but less than 20% get it as bad as Adam.

    Lucy puts him on a low GI plan to reduce his insulin levels to help control the production of his hormones, but will this work?

    Charlene, a 25-year-old healthcare worker from Essex, has a bizarre addiction. She guzzles up to six litres of cola a day, often using it as a substitute for food.

    Lucy devises a cold turkey diet to help counter the withdrawal symptoms, but after just 12 hours Charlene is ratty and suffering from headaches. Will this make her give up and slip back into her addiction?

    Ellie, who's 60 and from Leominster, hasn't had a good night's sleep in nearly 30 years. She has tried everything from herbal remedies to acupuncture, but nothing is working.

    Lucy puts her on a new diet, which involves eating a high-carbohydrate meal four hours before bed time to make her feel sleepy.

    And the Fibre Challenge continues, this time with volunteer Melissa who's taking part because her sluggish gut meant she was only going to the loo once every five days.

  • Episode 4

    The experts investigate the potential brain enhancing power of blueberries. Professor Jeremy Spencer from the University of Reading explains how a group of anti-oxidants called flavanoids could help improve your learning ability and concentration levels.

    Morbidly obese Phil, who's 53, is a semi-professional power lifter and also an actor who played a giant in one of the Harry Potter films. He wants to stay big and strong for his acting career, but is worried he's eating himself into an early grave.

    Lucy prescribes Phil a cholesterol-lowering healthy-heart food plan designed to help him lose weight while maintaining his strength.

    Eighteen-year-old Lauren from Preston is a crash dieter who has lost a stone in two weeks on the 'maple syrup diet'. Lucy puts Lauren on a calorie-controlled food plan devised to help her lose weight healthily, but will Lauren follow her advice or slip back into a yo-yo diet cycle?

    Nine-year-old Alfie has severe stomach pains, bloating and diarrhoea and his worried mum Becky thinks he may, like her, have coeliac disease.

    Dr Pixie McKenna looks into claims that onions could rival aspirin by thinning the blood and reducing your risk of a heart attack, and the 'Fibre Challenge' continues with volunteer Andy, who thinks eating more fibre has increased his energy levels.

  • Episode 5

    Rachel, 31, from Birmingham has a very extreme form of cystitis; a condition that many women fear.

    Dietician Lucy Jones prescribes her cranberry juice along with dried cranberries and daily probiotic drinks as a preventative measure, but will this leave Rachel with pain-free pee?

    Human rights lawyer Gozen, 25, from Enfield suffers from a chronic inflammatory skin disease. The unsightly symptoms include cysts and abscesses in her armpit, groin, chest and back areas, which exude discharge.

    GP Gio Miletto advises Gozen to go on a low GI diet used to relieve acne, which is said to have some similarities.

    Terri, 73, suffers from erectile dysfunction, which means the blood flow to his penis is restricted. He and his second wife are very much in love and yearn for a more physical relationship, but Terri's condition isn't helping.

    Meanwhile, women in the UK can spend up to £25,000 during their lifetimes on weight loss products, but Dr Pixie McKenna goes on the trail of a natural spice that could do the same job.

    Could the humble chilli really be a winner in the fight against flab? Stephen Whiting from Manchester Metropolitan University certainly thinks so and explains how the capsaicin chemical in chilli can increase your metabolic rate.

  • Episode 6

    It's all about the kids in this edition of The Food Hospital. This special episode investigates traditional party food: do sausage rolls, cakes, crisps, sweets and fizzy pop really send kids wild?

    In a bid to uncover the truth, GP Gio Miletto and Dietitian Lucy Jones host a party at Plumcroft Primary School in London and the results are rather surprising.

    Visitors to the Food Hospital in this episode include four-year-old Charlie from Epsom who has recently developed what doctors call a 'catastrophic' case of epilepsy.

    He has up to 300 seizures a day and his parents have been told that his condition is so severe that in the future he might not be able to recognise them.

    Fifteen-year-old Sam from York has Tourette's syndrome, an embarrassing condition which means he has physical tics, such as clapping and twitching, as well as vocal tics causing him to shout out words at frequent and sometimes inappropriate times.

    Sam finds his condition exhausting and is often teased by his peers. He wants to find out if certain foods can reduce his symptoms.

    Dr Pixie McKenna concludes her search for the heroes of the food world by looking at nature's own sports drink: milk.

    With the aid of Dr Lewis James from Loughborough University, and the assistance of a local boy's football team, she's pitching water against skimmed milk to find out which rehydrates us best.

    Finally, the results of the Fibre Challenge will be revealed with over 60,000 people having downloaded The Fibre Challenge App.

  • Extreme Diet Ward: A Food Hospital Special

    Episode 7

    Under the care of The Food Hospital team, six obese women are monitored 24 hours a day as they live together in a house, battling hunger and emotions. These women, with Type 2 Diabetes, embark on extreme but potentially life-saving diets to try to put their illness into remission.

    Britain is in the grip of a Type 2 Diabetes epidemic. Already costing £1 million every hour, it threatens to bankrupt the NHS within a generation.

    With three of the women on low-calorie meals while the others survive on just milkshake diets, there are tears and tantrums as they take on the challenge of a lifetime.

    But what happens over the course of eight weeks has huge implications both for the volunteers and for our understanding of this killer disease.

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