Diet & Nutrition

7 of Pete Evans' most controversial health claims

It's a 0/10 for Paleo Pete.

By Alex Lilly
Pete Evans is back in the news this week after calls were made to remove his controversial documentary The Magic Pill from Netflix.
The show, which is narrated and produced by Paleo Pete himself, features people with conditions ranging from asthma to autism who claim their symptoms were alleviated by a high protein, high fat diet.
In fact, Australian Medical Association President Dr Tony Bartone is the latest health professional to speak out, saying that vulnerable people are being misinformed.
Speaking to Fairfax, Dr Bartone said, "I respect Pete Evans' ability and expertise in the kitchen, but that's where it begins and ends," he said. "I would never dream of telling him how to prepare a meal. However, when it comes to the trusted health of our patients, everyone should turn to a health professional. That is, in the first instance, your GP."
And we couldn't help but think that this isn't the first time the My Kitchen Rules judge has raised eyebrows and shared certain health claims that made us do a double take.
Let's take a look at some of the biggest ones.

When he said bone broth can be used as baby formula

Pete Evans' cookbook, Bubba Yum Yum: The Paleo Way was shelved after health professionals protested against its misleading advice.
Whether you choose to breastfeed or use formula, you'd assume that these two are the only options for feeding a baby. Well, back in 2015, Pete Evans alarmed health professionals when his paleo cookbook for babies, Bubba Yum Yum: The Paleo Way, provided a bone broth recipe as an alternative for commercial formula. This recipe turned out to be potentially fatal for babies.
Speaking to The Australian Women's Weekly, Professor Heather Yeatman, president of the Public Health Association of Australia said that Pete's bone broth recipe "contains more than ten times the safe maximum daily intake of vitamin A for babies and inadequate levels of other nutrients."
Pete's book was shelved after a number of health officials voiced their concerns to the Federal Department of Health. The World Health Organisation says the only safe alternative to breast milk for young babies is commercial formula, so we won't be making that broth any time soon.

When he said sunscreen is "toxic"

In a Facebook Q&A back in 2016, the chef said, "The silly thing is people put on normal chemical sunscreen then lay out in the sun for hours on end and think that they are safe because they have covered themselves in poisonous chemicals, which is a recipe for disaster as we are witnessing these days.
"We need to respect the sun but not hide from it either as it is so beneficial for us, but use common sense. The goal is always never to burn yourself."
Pete himself opts for "a non-toxic one," but seeing as Australia and New Zealand have the highest melanoma skin cancer rates in the world and research showed that over 31,000 cases of skin cancer were prevented by long-term sunscreen use, it's still best to know the benefits of your sunscreen and slip, slop, slap.

When he suggested a paleo diet can cure autism

Better check your facts, Pete...
In a 2014 Facebook rant, Pete accused the Dietitians Association of Australia and Heart Foundation of creating dietary guidelines that create autism.
He posted, "Why has our rate of autism jumped from 1 in 10000 children in 1974, to 1 in 50 in 2014, where do you think it will be in another 40 years if it is escalating at this rate? This has grown rapidly since the guidelines have been in place!"
However, autism organisations called him out at the time saying the figure was 1 in 100. Awkward.
"There is absolutely no evidence that diet is the cause of autism," says Professor Dissanayake, who has been studying and researching autism for 30 years. "Throwaway lines can be damaging because parents will try anything to help their children."

When he said eating dairy is bad for you

"Most doctors do not know this information."
Taking to Facebook once again, Pete Evans suggested to a woman suffering from osteoporosis that she should cut out dairy from her diet because according to him, dairy "can remove the calcium from your bones."
When the woman replied saying she was going to read some more about this, Pete referred her to another one of his comments as "most doctors do not know this information." Naturally, the health experts were not going to stand for this especially as Osteoporosis Australia recommends dairy foods like milk, yoghurt and cheese as top sources of calcium.
In his Sunday Night interview, Pete also stated that "the calcium/dairy myth is the best piece of marketing I've ever heard."
Well, we hate to break it to you Pete but it may not be a myth after all.

When he said three meals a day is too much

Pete with his daughters Indii and Chilli.
Forget all that scientific research you've heard about eating regularly or munching on three meals a day, apparently Pete Evans' fasting technique is the way to go.
Last year, Pete told his 1.5 million followers (yep, you guessed it on Facebook) that skipping meals and fasting is the way to go if you want to be healthy and lose weight.
The My Kitchen Rules judge stated that the "whole notion of eating three meals a day" wasn't healthy, but rather a concept "created to help the multinational food industry stay in business by keeping the population craving carbs and not being able to maintain a healthy weight or to stay healthy".
Diabetes expert Associate Professor Sof Andrikopoulos begged to differ though.
"It's not the meals, it's the size of the meals. You can have one meal of 4000 calories and you will still put on weight."

It's safe to say that while his teeth look pretty good, Pete is not a fan of fluoride in water. He's labelled it a "neurotoxin" and in 2014, he posed in an anti-fluoride T-shirt for the controversial West Australian group Fluoride Free WA.
The Australian Medical Association (AMA) described the group as a "vocal hodge podge of conspiracy theorists", and the Australian Dental Association, said "it's always disappointing when people use their celebrity in a way that is not useful to society".
But Australians born after 1970 (when the majority of water fluoridation programs started in Australia) have about half the level of tooth decay than their parents' generation so we're not too sure how dangerous it really is.

When he warned us about the dangers of Wi-Fi

Yep, apparently not even Wi-Fi is safe. According to Pete, the electro magnetic waves can cause health problems. The jury's still out on what exactly those health problems are though.
"We... turn off Wi-Fi at night at home and have our house EMF friendly," he wrote. "If people have not educated themselves on this yet, then I urge them to do so as well. EMFS are causing a lot of issues for people."
We're guessing Pete's more of a 4G guy.