A few weeks back, one of the members of the “Bodybuilding Revealed” forum directed me to this 4-alarm advertisement from “Dr. Suzanne” Gudakunst. In his query, he gave a quick rundown of “facts” he learned from her site: how icky parasites and disgusting intestinal plaque are responsible for making us sick and fat – and how the powers-that-be are not only profiting from this situation, but are deliberately adding parasites to our food to make us worse! Apparently Dr. Suzanne has received death threats for revealing this information – but, as a noble martyr to the cause of YOUR health – she’s defiantly and bravely persisting, because she cares about you and wants to become “close friends starting YESTERDAY.”
Of course, you have to cough up $37.00 first ($57.00 if you choose “Option 2”) – but it’s a small price to pay for the “truth,” no?
Well, it would be…if it really is the truth. Let’s take a closer look, and see if it passes the test.
Dr. Suzanne’s site is cleverly done: there’s the requisite “SHOCKING PROOF!” in eye-catching 72 pt. red “Impact” font, lurid photos of the nightmarish crud and creepy crawlers infesting your body; and – best of all – a video clip of the lovely “doctor” herself. She’s a cutie alright: dark-haired and elfin…an internet Arwen in camo capris. I really liked how the vid was integrated into the site: there are no borders, so it looks like she’s walking straight into the ad. Neat.
Ok, maybe I shouldn’t pick on Dr. Suzanne – she has to make a living, after all, and Lord knows what protective body armor and bullet-proof glass cost these days. Her site, however, is practically a textbook illustration on how to abuse people’s trust in order to separate them from their money, so it’s worth taking a closer look at Dr. Suzanne and her collection of “facts.”
To start, let’s break Dr. Suzanne’s spiel down. In her ad, she lays out a pretty shocking indictment. It’s not just that you’re unhealthy, it’s also that others are to blame for it! She proceeds:
Even she realizes this last point is a real stretch, so she offers up a “fact” to support it:
“Here’s a fact that may shock the daylights out of you !…
Japan refuses to accept a single export from the United States in meat & dairy produce! Now, what does that tell you? That Japan is snobby? Nope! That Japan citizens hate milk and meat? Come on, you know better than that!
What it REALLY tells you is that the Government of Japan is on to something few (if any) people really know about! - That our foods have been filled with “unnatural” things that they aren’t supposed to have!”
This looks like a good place to begin deconstructing her pitch. It doesn’t have much to do with your health, perhaps, but it says a lot about Dr. Suzanne’s research skills and respect for the truth.
To start: let’s take a look at what the Iowa State University Agricultural Marketing Resource Center has to say about US dairy exports to Japan (June, 2008):
“ Primary markets for U.S. dairy exports are (in order) Mexico, Canada and Japan. …The demand for dairy products should remain strong in 2008, particularly in Asia.”
Now, that’s just dairy. What about meat?
Feel free to take a look at the USDA’s Export Requirements for Japan concerning red meat and poultry. If you’re curious about that “July 27, 2006” date in the first paragraph, there’s a simple explanation. There was a brief, 2 year period that Japan had – in fact – banned the importation of US Beef (not “meat” - just beef). But it wasn’t due to “unnatural” things being added to the meat. It was due to the discovery of BSE (bovine spongiform encephalitis or “Mad Cow Disease”) in a small number of US cattle. Prior to the ban, Japan was one of the largest foreign markets for US beef. And now that it’s over, trade is picking up steam again: Japanese demand is now exceeding the supply.
Oh my. Looks like Dr. Suzanne isn’t quite on the level here.
“I promise as your new friend never to lie to you (like all the others) and to only give you the absolute truth (absolutely UNLIKE all the others!).”
Well, c’mon, you should trust your friends, right? So let’s cut the lady some slack on this one…maybe she had good intentions, but just didn’t rely on authoritative industry and government reports. We’ll look at some other info instead…stuff that a “doctor” really ought to know about.
About half way down her site (it’s a looooong scroll…), Dr. Suzanne has helpfully posted an illustration of a parasite life cycle + an accompanying caption. The parasite is Paragonimus westermani – sez so right there on the pic. It’s a suitably chilling name for something living in your guts, isn’t it?
Ummmm…not really. The “informal” name for Paragonimus westermani is “lung fluke.” I’m not sure how a diet program designed to clear out your colon will have any effect on something living in your lungs – but I’m sure Dr. Suzanne must know what she’s talking about.
Or does she? Here’s the caption for the pic:
“Life cycle. Infection with the adult worm is acquired by the ingestion of raw, poorly cooked, or pickled salmon, trout, perch, pike, whitefish, grayling, ruff, eel, etc., harboring the plerocercoid larvae. After five or six weeks, the larva matures to the adult worm. Both eggs and proglottids are passed in the stool. The eggs develop in 2 weeks, and hatch to become ciliated coracidium larvae, and are ingested by the first intermediate host, the copepod. The copepods, containing the procercoid larvae, are ingested by fish, the second intermediate host, contains the plerocercoid larvae.”
Damn, that’s a mouthful. Bet it doesn’t make a bit of sense to you, either. But it does to me…this was covered in an epidemiology class I took in grad school. This caption is describing A COMPLETELY DIFFERENT PARASITE: Diphyllobothrium latum – the fish tapeworm. She even provides the link for the text, so you can see for yourself.
The caption and pic don’t belong together at all. But the life cycle illustration on the page she links to is pretty dull, while the Paragonimus pic is in color and is much prettier. So why not put the two together? Who’s going to bother to check?
The photo of bladder tissue infected with Schistosoma haematobium is just as deceptive. Do schistosomes infect human bladders? You betcha they do. But this parasite isn’t found in the US at all – so unless you live in Africa, Southeast Asia, or the Caribbean, you don’t have a whole lot to worry about.
This is pretty lame - and totally unnecessary. Dr. Suzanne’s sales pitch is just a collection of random, scary stuff about parasites designed to creep you out and keep you from thinking critically. It’s really not hard to get it right…if you know what the hell you’re talking about. Honestly, you’d think a medical doctor – especially one who wants to be YOUR doctor - would be a little more scrupulous about her “facts.”
Hold on a sec…Dr. Suzanne IS a medical doctor…isn’t she? I mean, she writes things like “ As a doctor I’ve seen far more than my fair share of people who were alive one day and then dead the next. ”
I wonder…What med school did she attend? What’s her specialty? What professional organizations is she an accredited member of? The ad doesn’t say.
Isn’t this important information that you’d want to know about someone who wants to be YOUR doctor? Just askin’.
Fortunately, the American Medical Association keeps the largest database (814,000) of licensed physicians in the US – both for member and non-member doctors. And it just so happens they have a “Doctor Finder” that anyone can use. I checked it out by putting in the names and states of a couple of docs I know, and they came right up. Dr. Suzanne lists Arizona as her state of residence at the bottom of the page – but when I typed “Gudakunst,” “S” and “Arizona” into the search engine, I drew a blank. Next, I went through every single state – and non-state – location in the drop down box, just in case she practices somewhere else. I got exactly two hits on the last name for a couple of non-AMA members (Craig Gudakunst and Jane Gudakunst) in Pennsylvania, but as Porky Pig used to say: “Th-th-th-that’s all folks!”
Now maybe Dr. Suzanne is unknown to the AMA – they are part of the vast conspiracy to keep you fat and ill after all. Maybe they’re even the ones issuing the death threats – lol.
Is Dr. Suzanne really an accredited health professional? If she was, you’d think she’d be in that database. It’s not up to me to disprove it, however…IMHO, the burden of proof is on her.
I got a hyoooge laugh over this one:
“…But then they found out the TRUTH about foods poisoned by dangerous chemicals that resulted in Plaque, and how food companies actually put in Parasites deliberately designed to make you fat and to make you sick…”
Food companies deliberately put parasites in their products? Who knew? After all those years I spent in the Food Science and Technology Department at UC Davis – makes you wonder how I missed it.
Sorry, this one doesn’t pass the smell test. Think about it for a moment: if food companies were adding parasites to their products, there would have to be sources – right? Just like for any other food “ingredient.” Are there really suppliers out there who are mass producing/harvesting parasite eggs and larvae for their “customers?” If so, what “critters” and hosts are being used? Are they “super bugs” designed to survive retort sterilization, flash freezing, extrusion, baking, and dehydrating? And how would you keep something like this a secret? Do you have any idea how BIG the major food companies are? Can you imagine how many employees that Kellogg’s has? Cargill? Pillsbury? Archer Daniels Midland? PepsiCo? Thousands of people would know about it – not just Dr. Suzanne.
This is just silly: it’s real tin-foil hat stuff. Cheez Whiz, Coke and Twinkies aren’t good for you, but we don’t have to invent goofy conspiracy theories to explain why.
Sorry: I know that this is a lonnnnnnng post. But if you’re still with me, then you should realize that the claims made by Dr. Suzanne simply aren’t credible: there’s little evidence that parasitic infections are making people fat (in fact, weight loss may be a symptom in some cases). Sure, people can get parasites: and if you think you have this problem, then you should schedule an appointment with your doc: intestinal parasites are easily found under the microscope. Parasitic infections can be serious: do-it-yourself cures are no way to go about getting rid of them.
Fine then…but maybe all this is just a sales tactic. Even if the worm and plaque stuff are a bunch of s**t (no pun intended) – surely Dr. Suzanne must know something about how to get into good shape. I mean, just LOOK at her…She’s gorgeous!!! So maybe her program is worth it, anyway.
Well, I may not be eligible for a job at “Hooters” – but I’m no slacker in the bod department either. You know what they say: “A picture is worth a thousand words” – so here we go…
This is a pic I posted on the BBR forum for my last birthday – so I posed in my birthday suit: get it? And I’m the mother of two teenagers, one already in college, so I’m not a sweet young thing like Dr. Suzanne, either.
So what’s MY secret?
Sorry kids, I don’t have one: no magic pills, no superfoods, no fantastical secret formula translated from ancient papyrus texts. And despite Dr. Suzanne’s insistence that “everybody” has this horrible plaque stuff and parasites in them that’s making them fat – they seem to have missed me – I’ve never done a “detox” program or anything else to get rid of them.
Here’s the real truth: anything and everything I do is really quite basic and freely available, so you don’t need to pay me – or anyone else – to discover it. Most of it’s covered right here on the Ultimate Fat Burner site already. What I do and how I do it will be included in the things I blog about, so all you have to do is check back here every once in a while.
And no, I’m not writing about this stuff because I want to be your doctor, best friend or guardian angel. I’m just someone with a background in genuine science, who’s sick and tired of seeing it abused by self-styled internet “experts” trying to make a fast buck.
Like “Dr. Suzanne.”
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Elissa Pratt Lowe is a former research scientist and a staff writer / technical advisor for UltimateFatBurner.com, the largest and most respected supplement review site on the Net. Visit Paul and Elissa at UltimateFatBurner.com and get two free reports: Dirty Rotten Tricks: Supplement Company Lies That Cost You Money and 7 Fat Burning Secrets