Analysis of Kevin Trudeau's
"Natural Cures" Infomercial (2004)
Stephen Barrett, M.D.
In September 2004, after having been charged repeatedly with false advertising, infomercial marketer Kevin Trudeau became bound by an FTC consent agreement under which he agreed to pay a $2 million penalty and be banned from appearing in, producing, or disseminating future infomercials that advertise any type of product, service, or program to the public, except for "truthful infomercials for books, newsletters, and other informational publications." An FTC official stated that the ban was "meant to shut down an infomercial empire that has misled American consumers for years."
Around the time that the consent order was signed, Trudeau began flooding the airwaves with a 30-minute infomercial for a book called Natural Cures “They” Don’t Want You to Know About. Although the infomercial suggested that the book would make specific recommendations for specific problems, it actually did not.
In 2005, probably in response to widespread criticism that his book did not contain what it promised, Trudeau published a second edition that included alleged "natural cures" for more than 50 diseases and conditions. In 2006, he published a third book called More Natural "Cures" Revealed in which he claims to have gotten his inside information from a "secret society" that gave him "health secrets, access to the inner circles of the rich and powerful, and the ability to live a life of luxury." On page 11, he states:
As a member of this secret society I have sat in private meetings with the heads of state from countries around the world. I have attended secret international business meetings where business leaders, politicians, and media moguls coerce together to create the new world order with global control over individual people everywhere. I have been shown and have seen with my own eyes secret government and corporate documents. I have heard with my own ears how BigPharma, the food industry, and the oil industry are working together with governments and media outlets around the world. I have been in over sixty countries, yet there are no stamps of evidence in any of my passports. I have been to Area 51 in Nevada. (This top secret military installation is still denied to exist by the U.S. government.) This is where much of our technology has been developed. Area 51 houses most extraterrestrial artifacts, including a working spacecraft and dead alien bodies. I've seen these things with my own two eyes. As a member of this secret society I was used in covert operations around the world.
In July 2006, during a Webcast interview, Trudeau said he had sold 6 million copies of his "Natural Cures" books. He also said that he has been marketing since age 15, had made several million dollars before he was 18, and had started over 60 companies in over 60 countries with total worldwide sales of over $3 billion. In January 2006, ABC's "20/20" aired an investigative report that dug deeply into Trudeau's dishonesty.
Here is a transcript of an infomercial for his first book with my comments inserted in bracketed type.
“A Closer Look”
Announcement: The following is a paid commercial presentation.
Pat Mathews: I’m Pat Mathews. Welcome to a very special edition of “A Closer Look.” Today our guest is Kevin Trudeau. Kevin has written a book; it’s entitled Natural Cures “They” Don’t Want You to Know About. Well, it’s a pleasure meeting you, Kevin.
Kevin Trudeau: Nice to be here.
MATTHEWS: Okay. Tell us a little bit about who “they” are. I think that’s the first question.
TRUDEAU: Well, I came out with the book Natural Cures “They” Don’t Want You to Know About because it’s not a single—you always hear about “they.” You know. “They” did this; “they’re” researching this; “they’re” studying this. “They” in this case are really several government agencies—U.S. government agencies—and other agencies around the world, and the drug industry primarily, but also it involves the food industry. There are certain groups, including government agencies, as well as the food industry, the drug industry, and even some news and television and newspaper organizations that don’t want people to know about cures for diseases that are all natural because people can’t make money on all-natural cures. [Trudeau would like you to believe that government agencies, the food industry, the drug industry, and many media outlets are trying to suppress truthful information about "natural cures" and that this "suppression"has an economic motive. During the infomercial, Trudeau attempts to gain sympathy and credibility by portraying himself as an "underdog."] So there are in fact cures for cancer. There are cures for diabetes. There are cures for chronic fatigue syndrome. There are cures—all-natural cures—for attention deficit disorder, migraine headaches. . .
MATTHEWS: Now wait a second. Attention Deficit Disorder. Now how can that be lumped in with all of these physical maladies?
TRUDEAU: Well, when you look at . . . the way the system works today, you have the Food and Drug Administration—the FDA, and you have the drug industry. They really work in tandem. Unfortunately, there’s an unholy alliance there. People don’t know that the majority of commissioners of the FDA, which allegedly regulates the drug industry, okay, and the food industry—Food and Drug Administration, the commissioners of the FDA—the majority of them—go to work directly for the drug companies upon leaving the FDA and are paid millions and millions and millions of dollars. Now in any other format, that would be called bribery; that would be called a conflict of interest; that would be called payoffs. That’s exactly what’s happening right now. So what has occurred is the Food and Drug Administration is really working in tandem with the drug industry to protect their profits. Example: The Food and Drug Administration says that only a drug can diagnose, prevent, or cure any disease. [Federal law states that any product (except a device) intended for the diagnosis, prevention, or cure of disease is regulatable as a drug and that it is illegal to market new drugs that have not been recognized by experts as safe and effective for their intended purposes. This law, which the FDA enforces, is the cornerstone of public protection against unsafe and ineffective products marketed with disease-related claims.]
MATTHEWS: And they have the doctors.
TRUDEAU: They [have] the doctors. . .
MATTHEWS: [Inaudible] as well.
TRUDEAU: [Inaudible] you, too. Right.
TRUDEAU: So the Food and Drug Administration says only a drug . . . nothing else . . . can cure, prevent, or diagnose a disease. Therefore the Food and Drug Administration continues to call more and more and more things diseases. Therefore they eliminate all-natural remedies. No one can say what a natural remedy can do if it’s been classified as a disease. So Attention Deficit Disorder is now a disease. Therefore only a drug can cure, prevent, or diagnose it. Cancer is a disease. Acid reflux is now a disease. Obesity is now a disease.
TRUDEAU: It’s not a disease.
TRUDEAU: Okay? Acid reflux is not a disease. Attention Deficit Disorder is not a disease, but it’s classified as a disease to protect the drug industries. But there are natural remedies. . .
MATTHEWS: There are natural remedies for psychological/neurological disorders or diseases, which they’re calling them now, right?
TRUDEAU: Absolutely, 100 percent. There are absolute natural cures for these problems. They don’t cost a lot. The problem is the manufacturers or the people that discover an herb, a food source—these are natural, an essential oil, a homeopathic remedy. These companies cannot by law say what the product does because if they say that this herb cures diabetes, then the Food and Drug Administration comes in and says, “Ah! You can’t say that because only a drug can cure a disease.
TRUDEAU: Therefore you are selling a drug without a license. And somebody will say, “Well, why can’t that company then just apply for a drug license?” Do you know what the cost is to get a drug approved in this country? This is directly from. . .
MATTHEWS: I can only imagine.
TRUDEAU: This is directly from the FDA. . . . On average—840 million dollars.
MATTHEWS: Well, that’s incredible. I mean, these. . .
TRUDEAU: Eight hundred and forty million dollars to get a drug approved.
MATTHEWS: Okay, you’d know more about this than I do but . . . natural cures have been around forever.
TRUDEAU: Well. . .
MATTHEWS: I mean, they were the original medicines.
TRUDEAU: That’s absolutely correct. . . . The drug industry only started in the last 75 years.
TRUDEAU: The drug industry just started. Before then, there were only natural cures. [Actually, the number of curative products was close to zero.] But the drug industry in America is the most profitable industry in this country. You know what else is the most profitable industry is the insurance industry and the food industry.
TRUDEAU: For example, obesity, weight loss . . . there are natural remedies for weight loss that the drug companies and the food industry does not want you to know about. Now think about this. Let’s assume that you owned a food company. You sell food. Okay? You want to sell more food because that’s how you make more money. Okay?
TRUDEAU: The lobbyists in Washington right now, as we speak, are demanding that the federal government and the various organizations—independent bodies—do not promote “eat less, exercise more.” The food industry does not want the message “eat less, exercise more.” Why? Because eating less means people consume less food. [This claim is a flat-out lie. Lots of government, professional, and voluntary organizations promote the idea of eating less and exercising more. The most prominent such effort is published every five years as the Dietary Guidelines for Americans.]
MATTHEWS: So the common threat in all of this seems to be money.
TRUDEAU: It’s all about money. The drug industry does not want people to get healthy. [It might be interesting to ask Trudeau what evidence he has for this claim.] Now think about that. People think, “[Inaudible] [not]—drugs are good.” No. The drug industry does not want people to get healthy. The drug industry wants people to buy more drugs. Healthy people don’t need drugs. If everyone in America was healthy, the drug industry would be out of business. [That's literally true, but irrelevant. Illness is not going to disappear. The realistic view is that the drug industry could not succeed unless it produces safe and effective products.]
MATTHEWS: Well, I know it’s rare, but sometimes there are what start out to be natural . . . medicines, for lack of a better word, that are studied by the FDA, and there are years of study before they finally give it a patent, then allow it to be sold as a medicine or as a drug. I can speak from personal experience, back in the ‘70s . . . I’m going to date myself . . .
TRUDEAU: Right. [Chuckles]
MATTHEWS: . . . but I was a spokesman for [a] health food store chain, and they were promoting a product called “granulated lecithin,” which, if I was going to put my voice or my face on camera to talk about these products, I was going to at least try them to see if they worked. And granulated lecithin, at that time, worked as far as reducing fat, giving you more energy, able to exercise and shed the pounds . . . [I don't believe that—and neither should you.]
MATTHEWS: . . . but . . . they pretty much wanted to shut the whole operation down because. . .
TRUDEAU: They got sued of course by either the FTC or the FDA. . .
TRUDEAU: —for making quote, “unsubstantiated claims.”
MATTHEWS: And you’re no stranger to that.
TRUDEAU: Absolutely. And this is the problem: When a natural remedy works, the Food and Drug Administration comes in because it’s affecting drug companies’ profits. [An] example: There was a study conducted on vitamin E . . . natural vitamin E . . . as a blood thinner . . .
MATTHEWS: I remember that.
TRUDEAU: . . . and they compared it to the drug Heparin. And this research showed that vitamin E worked as good or better than the drug Heparin. Well, if you go to a hospital, you don’t get vitamin E. [By failing to identify the study, Trudeau makes it difficult to check whether he is interpreting it correctly. However, to anyone familiar with medical care, the statement is absurd on its face. Vitamin E has slight anticoagulant effects, but hospitalized patients who need immediate anticoagulation require a drug that is powerful and predictable. For many conditions, intravenous heparin has been replaced by various derivatives that are safer and easier to administer.]
TRUDEAU: You get Heparin because it’s a drug, and it’s a profitable drug. Drug companies do not want people to get healthy; they want them to buy more drugs. If you have, for example, a pain, headache, they don’t want your pain to go away forever. They want you to be popping some type of pain-relieving pill for the rest of your life. [Again, Trudeau offers no evidence that this is true.] See, if you have a headache, it’s not because you have an aspirin deficiency. Think about it.
TRUDEAU: So . . . but if there was a way to cure migraine headaches forever so they never came back . . . if there was a way—and there is—a natural remedy you can put on the skin that will get rid of pain forever. [I don't believe that.] Arthritis pain will go away. There is a natural, herbal supplement that the Asian Diabetes Association has called “the final cure for diabetes.” [I don't believe that either.] It is the absolute cure. It’s an herbal remedy, it’s taken for three months approximately, and it will dramatically reduce or eliminate the need from any insulin shots, and it can cure diabetes type I and type II, in the majority of cases. Now do you think the companies that manufacture diabetes products want a cure for diabetes? [I don't know how anyone could measure that. However, I find it difficult to believe that the voluntary organizations and all of the doctors who treat diabetics would not be promoting such a product if it existed. Trudeau, of course, wants you to believe he has nearly unique knowledge of the "cure" so you will buy his book.]
MATTHEWS: I was going to mention that would put a real cramp in the insulin makers’. . .
TRUDEAU: It would wipe out a whole industry.
TRUDEAU: And this is the problem. Do you think the food industry wants people to be thin? No. The food industry wants people to be fatter. There are ingredients being put in food right now that make you hungry. [Note that he doesn't identify them.] There are ingredients being put in food right now that make you addicted to the food. There are ingredients that are being put in food right now that make you fat, and most of these products are called “diet products.” Interesting. You take a diet product and you think, “Oh, this is to help me lose weight.”
TRUDEAU: There is research that shows the ingredients being put in by the food manufacturers specifically increase appetite, specifically make a person fatter, and get them addicted to the product. [There is no such thing as food addiction.] Now if you sell food, isn’t that great for you?
TRUDEAU: “Wow! Let’s put in this ingredient so that when our customers buy it, they get hungrier. That way they have to buy more food.” Obesity is not a disease. It’s being put upon us by the food industry. Why is it right now there are more fat people in America than ever before in our history and more diet products are consumed than ever before? Over 70% of the people in America right now are overweight. Almost 40% are obese, but now it’s a disease, which means, guess what? They’re trying to wipe out all the natural cures for overweight so that you can have only drugs treat overweight people . . . and that’s [where] this book is. Natural Cures “They” Don’t Want You to Know About. Cancer . . . there are cures for cancer. There are ways to prevent cancer.
MATTHEWS: What are some—I mean, without giving away too much of the book? [The book does not suggest any "cancer cures. In fact, it contains almost no advice on how to cure specific conditions. So people who buy the book with the hope that it will help cure what ails them are unlikely to find such advice.]
TRUDEAU: You know, I have been attacked by the FTC and the FDA for making statements that are true. [Not true. He was "attacked" for making statements that were false. In fact, he made so many that the FTC finally got a court order making it illegal for his to sell any products except publications. When challenged by the FTC, Trudeau had the opportunity to defend himself by presenting evidence that his product claims were true. Instead of doing this, he agreed to go out of the "natural cures" business. If he had facts to back him up, do you think he would agreed to stop selling products whose sales totaled hundreds of millions of dollars?]
MATTHEWS: Such as?
TRUDEAU: Okay. Nobel-Prize-winning authors have said this. Doctors around the world have said this. Your body has a pH. Okay? If you remember your swimming pool, you tested your pH of acid/alkaline. . .
MATTHEWS: Right, right, right.
TRUDEAU: If your body pH is alkaline, you can not get cancer. [This statement is false.]
MATTHEWS: You can’t get sick.
TRUDEAU: You can’t virtually get sick.
TRUDEAU: Okay? If it’s acid, you can get cancer. In our—my personal observations, every single person who has cancer has an acidic body, acid pH, where it’s so [acidic] that it’s dramatically [inaudible]. . . [Considering the fact that there is no such thing as acidity or alkalinity of the body, I wonder what "observations" he can use to determine whether someone's body is acidic.]
MATTHEWS: Caused by?
TRUDEAU: A whole host of factors. Okay, there’s a multitude of things including the food we eat, even how we think, in turning the body acidic. But the point is, in order to get the person or cure them from cancer, it’s simply you get your body to be alkaline. If your body’s alkaline—and there’s a whole host of ways to get your body alkaline. If your body is alkaline, you can not get cancer. You can not get cancer, and if you have cancer, it goes away. That’s a cure. It’s a natural cure. [He promoted that claim for coral calcium until the FDA and FTC made him stop.]
MATTHEWS: Well, that’s. . .
TRUDEAU: Cancer can’t. . .
MATTHEWS: —a pretty bold statement.
TRUDEAU: But it—but it—it’s true. And do you think the cancer industry wants a cure that’s all natural? No!
MATTHEWS: No, obviously not. [Trudeau does not define the "cancer industry," but I would think it includes drug companies, cancer specialists, other physicians, researchers, hospitals, pharmacists, and voluntary health organizations. These groups do not have identical interests. For example, any researcher who found a "natural cure"for cancer would win the Nobel Prize and quickly achieve both fame and fortune. Moreover, it is safe to assume that the individuals who make up the "cancer industry" would be pleased if products were found that could cure cancers in themselves and others who they care about.]
TRUDEAU: It’s a billion, billion, billions of dollars. . .
MATTHEWS: I think the drug industry’s being attacked on all sides. They’re being attacked by natural cures; they’re being attacked by people importing their drugs from other countries . . .
MATTHEWS: . . . and I think that . . . you know, being a government agency, a . . . you know . . . for all intents and purposes, in the United States, that’s where the control needs to stay. It just seems like that.
TRUDEAU: Well, it—and that’s why there’s an unholy alliance between the FDA and the FTC. Now this book Natural Cures “They” Don’t Want You to Know About covers arthritis, migraines, pain, headaches, cancer, heart disease; we talk about depression, stress, phobias, fibromyalgia, herpes. . .
MATTHEWS: Now fibromyalgia, that’s kind of like a blanket over. . .
TRUDEAU: It’s a blanket—when you have some symptoms, you don’t feel good . . .
TRUDEAU: . . . and there’s no . . . nobody knows what it is. . .
MATTHEWS: It’s . . . like you’re in a funk.
TRUDEAU: They’ll call it fibromyalgia. . . or Chronic Fatigue Syndrome is another one. There are natural cures that are not drugs that absolutely work. And the companies that manufacture these natural remedies, or in some cases, simply foods that you can consume or foods to avoid, just take this food out and the problem goes away, these companies cannot state what their products do, what the homeopathic remedies do, what the essential oils, what the herbs, what the vitamins, there—minerals. The companies that sell these products can not say what they really do because if they do, the FDA will come in and say you’re making a claim, therefore it’s a drug, therefore you’re selling a drug without a license, and the FDA [right]. . . [These statements are false or misleading. The FDA has approved more than a dozen health claims that can be made for foods. The only requirement is that the claims be truthful and supported by competent scientific evidence. Even though all homeopathic products are worthless, the FDA permits products whose ingredients are listed in the Homeopathic Pharmacopeia to be sold without a prescription for self-limiting conditions readily diagnosable by consumers." The FDA's policy toward the other products is that no claim can be made unless it is supported by competent scientific evidence.]
MATTHEWS: [What doesn’t] have to be a drug?
TRUDEAU: Well, according to the FDA, it does. See, the FDA laws state that nothing . . . nothing can cure or prevent or diagnose a disease unless it’s a drug.
MATTHEWS: They even have a problem with vitamin C, I believe, and that’s been around forever. . .
TRUDEAU: They tried to make that a drug.
MATTHEWS: Is that right?
TRUDEAU: Yes. The drug industry is trying to get—for years—has tried to get all vitamins and minerals labeled “drugs” so that they can control it. [This is a flat-out lie and scare statement used by the supplement industry to get vitamin users to ask Congress to weaken FDA protection. In the early 1970s, the FDA wanted to stop the sale of very-high-dose nutrients without a prescription. However, a health-food-industry campaign persuaded Congress to pass the Proxmire Amendment to the federal Food, Drug, and Cosmetic Act to prohibit the FDA from limiting the potency of ingredients of vitamin and mineral products that are not inherently dangerous.] There are health freedoms in this country that are being taken away from us. There are more people sick today than ever before. There are more people that are overweight. There are more people that have diabetes. There are more people that have cancer. There are more people that have heart disease. There are more people that have migraine headaches. There are more people that have arthritis. There are more people that have virtually every major health abnormality. [Trudeau doesn't indicate how he does his counting. Since the American population is increasing and since Americans are living longer, I would expect that an overall increase in number of people becoming ill and the number of people acquiring diseases that are prevalent in older people. However, Trudeau's statement is false because the incidence of many diseases has decreased. Poliomyelitis, for example, has been wiped out in the United States.]
TRUDEAU: It’s getting worse and worse. Medical science has failed. It’s obvious. When more and more people are getting the disease, isn’t it true that the medical industry is failing us? [As noted above, the answer is no. In addition there has been tremendous progress in helping people cope with various diseases.] More people take drugs today than ever before. Now I’m actually going to put a number on the screen if people want the book, called Natural Cures “They” Don’t Want You to Know About. It’s not in the bookstores yet. It’s available here. We’ll put a number on the screen. You can call to get more information on where to get it. And [I] also have a newsletter that comes out now; it’s a monthly newsletter called “The Whistle Blower.” [And that’s]. . .
MATTHEWS: Tell us a little bit about that.
TRUDEAU: Well, I’m actually . . . I’m so passionate about this industry, the book covers all these diseases and the cures, but there are so many new things that come out and that I find from the industry. For example, the food additives, the food industry right now is going to be the next attacked, similar to the tobacco industry. There are food ingredients—additives. . .
MATTHEWS: Well, they’ve already started that. . . .
TRUDEAU: They started with Coca-Cola, when it used to have cocaine in it. [According to Snopes.com, which dissects "urban legends," the original product (1885) contained some cocaine, but by 1902 the amount was insignificant and by 1929 it was zero.]
MATTHEWS: Well, they started with that. And then they were going to ban them from elementary schools. . . [This statement is a bit loose around the edges. Narcotic ingredients were common in patent medicines in the 1880s. That was one factor that led to passage of laws to make our foods and drugs safer and to establish federal agencies (most notably the FDA) to enforce the laws.]
MATTHEWS: —and high schools and. . .
TRUDEAU: Well, what’s occurring right now is there are ingredients being put in the food for one reason.
MATTHEWS: What’s that?
TRUDEAU: To make you hungry or to make you addicted to the product, or to make you fat. In other words, there are certain ingredients being put into the food today on purpose to make people fat because fat people eat more food. This is sad but it’s absolutely true. [Notice that Trudeau doesn't identify any of them.] Why is every other country in the world has lower obesity levels than America? Why are Americans blowing up? . . . . [The answer is complex. Several factors are involved, but "ingredients to make people fat" are not one of them.]
MATTHEWS: They don’t eat right.
TRUDEAU: Many countries won’t eat our meat, won’t eat our dairy products. We can’t export a lot of our food products because the health agencies around the world won’t accept the toxic, potentially poisoned food products [inaudible]. [The American food supply is probably the safest in the world.]
MATTHEWS: So the theory is: How could you be expected to eat right if you’re not being given the proper foods to eat? [There's no shortage of "proper" foods. Obesity is the result of eating too much and/or not getting enough exercise. Heredity also plays a role.]
TRUDEAU: Correct. Correct. So there’s a whole host of nutritional elements in it. Now, so “The Whistle Blower” is a monthly newsletter now that I come up with where I talk about and expose all of these different scams, in effect. [I have seen the first few issues. So far I have seen nothing useful. Moreover, much of it is the same information in the book.] Misleading information. . .
MATTHEWS: Could you mention any?
TRUDEAU: Well, the problem is when you start mentioning specific things, all of a sudden, these particular companies will start attacking. Remember Oprah?
TRUDEAU: When she talked about the meat industry?
TRUDEAU: What happened—?
MATTHEWS: The cattle industry.
TRUDEAU: What happened? She got sued by the Meat Association. She got sued because she was giving her opinion about meat and exposing how meat is manufactured. [Texan meat producers charged that her program had been unfairly slanted to disparage meat. The suit, which lost, was brought under a Texas law that dealt with product disparagement. The court ruled that the opinions expressed on the program were protected by the First Amendment. Trudeau's idea that it is generally dangerous to eat meat is wrong, and so is the implication that his book is unique because it makes criticisms that others have been afraid to voice.] There was a great book called Fast Food Nation, which talked about the quality . . . or the lack of quality of the meat supply in most of the fast-food chains, about how the meat is made, how the sick animals are chopped up and fed to us, and it’s probably loaded with feces and urine and potential disease, how these animals are given growth hormone. And why is our children today, little girls having breasts at 10 years old and starting their menstrual cycle so early? [Overweight is associated with earlier development of girls. Food that reaches the American table does not contain growth hormone.]
TRUDEAU: Why are little boys having puberty so early? Well, could it be the growth hormone that’s being put into—?
MATTHEWS: It’s not in the water.
TRUDEAU: Well, no, it could be, but it could be probably in the meat. It could be in the dairy, where they put the growth hormone in the animals to blow them up really quick and then we consume them. Many of these. . .
TRUDEAU: Many people believe that we’re getting hormone replacement therapy just by eating food. [Federal regulations require that hormone use be stopped before the animal is slaughtered. The false idea that food contains significant amounts of growth hormone is used to promote the sale of "organic" meat products.]
MATTHEWS: Or drinking milk.
TRUDEAU: It could be in the dairy products.
TRUDEAU: It doesn’t happen overseas.
MATTHEWS: Let’s talk a little bit about the fast-food industry as well. A lot of people chuckle at the notion of . . . people filing lawsuits against fast-food companies for causing them to become addicted to this food and, you know, people laugh that off, but what you’re saying is there is some truth to that.
TRUDEAU: I believe that there is some truth to it. And I believe people have to take personal responsibility [and go], “I can’t eat certain things every day and expect to be thin.” But I also believe that a lot of the advertising being done is false and misleading. When you see a professional athlete who has a fantastic body eating. . .
MATTHEWS: No body fat, right.
TRUDEAU: —eating certain amounts of—[eating] certain companies’ foods and go, “Wow! Isn’t this great?” Isn’t that telling you or leading you to believe, “Wow! I could have this body. Look at him! He has this body and he eats all this stuff.” That’s false and misleading in my opinion. [Weight and body composition depend on the amount eaten and the type and amount of exercise, not on whether or not people eat particular foods.]
TRUDEAU: Okay? Then the person goes there and they blow up like a balloon. They become fat.
TRUDEAU: But there—but there are cures, some specific ones. Let’s talk about heartburn for a minute.
TRUDEAU: [Acid reflux disease. All of a sudden it’s a disease. [And] do you know—? [Acid reflux is not a disease; it is an event that occurs in a variety of circumstances and conditions, some of which are easily managed with self-help measures and some of which require medical treatment.]
MATTHEWS: [But it] generates millions of dollars in television advertising as well because it’s a disease. [The ads advise consumers that the symptom of heartburn can be treated in several ways. They also advise—correctly—that persistent heartburn is a reason to consult a physician.]
TRUDEAU: When you think—when you think today . . . how many ads have you seen for drugs?
MATTHEWS: More now . . .
TRUDEAU: Than ever before.
MATTHEWS: . . . than two years ago.
TRUDEAU: Now, who are the drug companies trying to convince to use the drugs? Isn’t it true—?
MATTHEWS: A whole new generation of people.
TRUDEAU: Well, think about it.
TRUDEAU: You’re sick. You go to a medical doctor.
TRUDEAU: This is what normally happens. The doctor is allegedly trained, looks at your symptoms; based on what he sees in his experience and knowledge, writes you a prescription . . . or he cuts out a part of your anatomy. That’s pretty much what doctors do, right? [Laughs] [Wrong. Doctors may also recommend dietary change, other measures, or simply waiting if a problem seems likely to go away by itself.]
MATTHEWS: Yeah, right. . ..
TRUDEAU: It’s . . . pretty much all they do.
MATTHEWS: Well, there you go. Doctors. . .
MATTHEWS: —and chiropractors. . .
MATTHEWS: There’s [another]. . .
TRUDEAU: They write you—they write you a prescription—medical doctor or cut out a part of your anatomy.
TRUDEAU: But the doctor’s supposed to know what drug is going to solve these symptoms. Why are the drug companies advertising on TV every day to you and I? Think about it. Why? So that we’d go to our doctor and say, “I want this drug I saw on television.”
MATTHEWS: That’s why they give the doctor samples.
TRUDEAU: Right. But see—but do you understand. . . . how wrong this is? People now are being programmed by the drug industry: “Buy drugs, buy drugs, buy drugs—”
MATTHEWS: Or to go to their doctor and specifically ask. . .
TRUDEAU: Ask for a specific drug.
MATTHEWS: —for a specific one. Yeah.
TRUDEAU: And if the doctor says no, they’re going to go to another doctor who will write them a prescription. [It's true that advertising promotes certain drugs, but not to the extent that Trudeau suggests. If a doctor says that the drug is not appropriate and the patient trusts the doctor, there would be no reason to look further.]
TRUDEAU: It’s about. . . . selling more drugs.
MATTHEWS: —to me, that—to me, that’s—that sounds . . . illegal.
TRUDEAU: It’s about selling more drugs. Let me give a number out so that people can get the book if they want it. The book is not in stores right now, but we do have a number on the screen. If you do want the book Natural Cures “They” Don’t Want You to Know About, or if you want to get information on my monthly newsletter “The Whistle Blower,” just call the number on your screen and we’ll give all the free information on it. Let’s talk about depression. Studies, for example, that come out—and I expose this in the book.
TRUDEAU: Studies, for example, are very misleading. You take depression, and a study said St. John’s Wort, which is a natural herbal remedy for depression—it’s been used for centuries.
MATTHEWS: I’ve talked to people who have touted that highly.
TRUDEAU: Okay. There was a specific study that came out and on the front page of the newspapers, it said, “St. John’s Wort proven ineffective in studies.”
MATTHEWS: Right. I remember that.
TRUDEAU: “Proven ineffective.” Well, nobody actually. . .
MATTHEWS: By whom?
TRUDEAU: Nobody read the study.
TRUDEAU: When you look at the study, there was St. John’s Wort and two prescription medications that are [inaudible] powerful and allegedly antidepressants.
MATTHEWS: And placebo. Yeah.
TRUDEAU: Okay? So they had these in the study, and guess what? The study showed that none of them did anything for depression. So, obviously the study’s flawed or none of them work.
MATTHEWS: But you could watch sporting events on television and see commercials for antidepressants.
MATTHEWS: I mean, this. . .
TRUDEAU: I was watching Seinfeld, and I thought, “There must be a lot of depressed people watching Seinfeld,” because almost every other ad, there was for antidepressants. Let me tell you something. Drugs aren’t the answer. . .
MATTHEWS: It’s a show about nothing.
TRUDEAU: [Laughs] Exactly. Drugs are not the answer for depression. Drugs are not the answer for cancer. [I don't believe that mainstream practitioners claim that drugs are "the answer" to either problem. Drugs are highly effective against some types of depression. Similarly, drugs are effective against many types of cancer.]
MATTHEWS: But . . . you could not have a homeopathic medicine advertised on Seinfeld to do the same thing and probably cause your body less harm. [That's correct, because no homeopathic product is effective against depression or cancer.]
TRUDEAU: Absolutely not. The FDA would come in with guns. The FDA walks in with guns. People don’t know this. They have guns. They walk into companies without warning, and they confiscate harmless . . . herbs, vitamins, minerals, and they shut the companies down. When you read—and I’ve read hundreds . . . thousands of testimonial letters from people. I was in the gym just two days ago, and a fellow came up to me and he said, “You know, I’ve seen you on television and I took some of your advice, and a particular product,” which I can’t mention because the government forbids me to, said, “it’s changed my life. My knee was in so much pain, I couldn’t walk. And I started taking it and within two days, the pain left. And within two weeks, I’m walking perfectly. I’m giving this to all my friends.” He was a professional soccer player from England. [Trudeau's claim that he can't mention the name of a product is baloney. A court has ordered him to stop selling products, but he is free to promote anything as long as he isn't directly or indirectly selling it.]
TRUDEAU: And he was telling me about the story.
MATTHEWS: And he’s tried it.
TRUDEAU: I can’t. . .
MATTHEWS: He’s a testimonial to the product.
TRUDEAU: Now I can’t tell you—the federal government is forbidding me to tell you these stories because they say, “They don’t mean anything.” [Trudeau is correct that testimonials are not evidence of effectiveness. However, he has not been ordered to stop telling stories. The court order forbids him to sell products other than books and newsletters.]
MATTHEWS: You have a gag order.
TRUDEAU: That’s right.
TRUDEAU: “They don’t mean anything. They’re only anecdotal.”
TRUDEAU: Let me tell you something. You talk to these people. Tell them it doesn’t mean anything. It means their life.
TRUDEAU: Natural remedies are curing people of cancer, curing people of diabetes, curing people of depression, curing kids of Attention Deficit Disorder within days. [Baloney.]
MATTHEWS: And those are horrible diseases, and even less, curing them of having to go through another day with pain.
TRUDEAU: Correct. Pain is one of the biggest . . . industries going. I started talking about acid reflux and I got off the subject but let me go back to this. I had a friend of mine from England come to my house. Twenty-six years old, he’s been on prescription medication for quote “acid reflux disease,” which I don’t believe is a disease at all but it allows the drug companies to promote drugs. And he said, “I’ve had this acid reflux because I need to get rid of my excess acid.” I said, “No, this is the scam. You don’t have excess acid. If you have heartburn, it’s because you don’t have enough acid.”
TRUDEAU: He says, “What to do mean?” I says, “Well—”
MATTHEWS: That’s interesting.
TRUDEAU: “An antacid doesn’t get rid of excess acid. It gets rid of all the acid.” In your stomach, you have acid. That’s the digestive enzyme, right? [Wrong. Acid is not an enzyme.]
TRUDEAU: So when you eat food, you don’t have enough acid and all of a sudden, that’s what causes this burning sensation . . . because you don’t have enough acid. The food is not being digested. Okay? So it turns into a gas, it comes up and that’s what’s burning your esophagus. [Nonsense. The heartburn to which this refers is caused by stomach acid that leaks into the esophagus and irritates the lining of the esophagus. The treatment of heartburn depends on the cause. Some people who have leakage while they sleep, for example, can be helped by elevating the head end of their bed several inches.]
TRUDEAU: It isn’t the acid. It’s the gas. . .
MATTHEWS: And you get the pain in your back and everything else.
TRUDEAU: I said, “So what happens is when you take an antacid, it eliminates all the acid in your stomach. [That's not true. It it neutralizes the acid it encounters but does not stop production.] Then your stomach goes, ‘We don’t have any acid. Quick! Produce some!” and it begins to pour massive amounts of acid in your stomach and that’s why the pain and discomfort goes away.” [That's not true. Antacids do not stimulate acid production. The antacid works by reducing the acidity.] He said, “I don’t believe you.” I said, “Well, do you have any heartburn right now?” He said, “Yes.” I says, “Great. Let me give you a tablespoon of vinegar.” He said, “Vinegar? That’s acid! That’ll make it worse!” I go, “Well, if it makes it worse, then you have excess acid. If it makes it better, that means you didn’t have enough acid . . . because we’re going to add some acid.” [Inaudible]. . . [The "test" and the reasoning behind it are not valid. Depending on he amount of acid and the location of the problem, anything that prevents the acid from continuing to irritate the esophageal lining might relieve the discomfort. For example, water that washed the acid back down into the stomach could relieve the symptoms.]
MATTHEWS: Now would that be a natural cure [and it would]—?
TRUDEAU: That’s a natural cure. He took the vinegar and guess what happened. Within seconds . . .
MATTHEWS: It was gone. [Considering Trudeau's tendency to deceive, I am not confident that the story is true. But even if it is, it doesn't mean that Trudeau's explanation is correct. Vinegar is much less acidic than stomach acid and would probably not create more irritation. It's possible that the vinegar washed stomach acid away from the irritated area or that the act of drinking caused the sphincter muscle at the bottom of the esophagus to open and drain the acid that was causing the symptoms.]
TRUDEAU: [Snaps fingers] Gone. I said, “Your body’s not producing enough digestive enzymes.” You don’t want to have to take vinegar or a pill for the rest of your life. You want your body to be normal so you don’t need to take any pills. He had to take some digestive enzymes for a few weeks and he slowly reduced to get his body normalized. Within two months, he got off the prescription drug; he has no heartburn, no acid reflux. That is a cure. [There are several other possible explanation for what happened, but since this anecdote does not contain enough detail to know what took place, I won't speculate.] People don’t need to have heartburn. But the problem is the drug companies don’t want you to be cured. They want you to have heartburn for the rest of your life so that you continue to take their drugs for the rest of your life. [Something else is missing from the picture. If vinegar was effective against heartburn, wouldn't the companies that make vinegar be trying to promote it for that purpose?]
Herpes. There is a cure for herpes. And on television, you see, “There is no cure for herpes. You need to take our drug every day for the rest of your life.” Well, there is a cure. But do you think that manufacturer wants people to know that there’s a cure? Of course not, because that means they don’t sell any more drugs. It’s about money. It’s not about the quality of people’s health. The bottom line is, the food industry, the drug industry, do not want people to get well . . . because if everyone was healthy, they wouldn’t need to buy any more drugs. And that is the bottom line. [If there were a "natural" cure for herpes, do you think the world would keep it a secret until Trudeau came along?]
MATTHEWS: Well, that . . . seems wrong.
TRUDEAU: It’s wrong, but unfortunately, when you have a company that’s a publicly traded company, like all the drug companies are, they have a fiduciary responsibility to the shareholders.
TRUDEAU: They don’t have a fiduciary responsibility to the people, their customers. Their responsibility is to the shareholder. And they have one legal responsibility: To increase profits. They have to.
TRUDEAU: They don’t want people to be cured. . .
MATTHEWS: [Yeah, but] there could be simple cures.
TRUDEAU: There are. There are all-natural cures. You’ll never hear about them because the manufacturers can’t tell you what they are. Diabetes, migraines, cancer, heart disease, acid reflux, Attention Deficit Disorder, depression, stress, phobias, fibromyalgia, pain of all sorts, arthritis, the list goes on. Lupus, multiple sclerosis; there are cures for multiple sclerosis. There are cures for muscular dystrophy that are all natural and people are not being allowed. . . [Manufacturers are not the only information sources. If these "cures"were effective, wouldn't they be making headlines everywhere? Trudeau apparently would like you to believe that he is the only person who is willing to reveal the secrets. Would any such belief be logical?]
MATTHEWS: Now muscular dystrophy, for example . . .
TRUDEAU: —[to tell the truth].
MATTHEWS: How long would . . . well, I mean, I guess it depends on the case. But on the average, what kind of program of homeopathic medicines would someone have to get on and . . . ?
TRUDEAU: There is . . . in the book I tell you, in most cases, MS symptoms are caused by something you’re eating. It’s a food additive. And when you stop eating it within . . . in some cases, days, the symptoms of MS go away. Now isn’t that shocking? [It's pure baloney.]
MATTHEWS: Well, it is shocking.
TRUDEAU: It’s caused by a food additive in many cases. In many cases, MS is being diagnosed when a person doesn’t have anything. It’s a food additive that’s causing the problem. [More baloney.]
MATTHEWS: Well, Kevin, I’ve learned a lot. And I hope the viewers have. I’m going to try the vinegar.
MATTHEWS: I think that’s going to work and I believe I’ll read the book.
TRUDEAU: They’re all in the book. [I didn't see any mention of vinegar or other cures in the book. It has a chapter called "How to Never Get Sick Again," which lists 111 strategies (such as wearing white clothing when indoors), most of which are senseless. But it does not relate these strategies to specific diseases. In fact, the chapter called "Cures for All Diseases" states:
I would like to give you the cures for every disease; I would like to tell you the natural treatments available that can eliminate your symptoms and, at the same time, address the cause instead of suppressing the symptom. However, as I began to write this book the Federal Trade Commission and the Food and Drug Administration took unprecedented action. I am forbidden to give you specific cures in this book. The FTC has ordered me not to give you any specific product recommendations, or say where you can acquire the cures and receive treatment. . . . This entire chapter has been censored by the FTC.]
Do you believe this? I don't. Trudeau signed a voluntary agreement that he would not sell health or disease products or use publications to sell them. He still has the First Amendment right to claim that various generic methods or product ingredients provide benefits. FTC attorney Daniel Kaufman, the lead attorney in the recent case against Trudeau, told me that the basic principle involved is that Trudeau is not permitted to use a book as a marketing tool to promote brand-name products with which he has a financial connection.]
MATTHEWS: It’s Natural Cures “They” Don’t Want You to Know About. This has been “A Closer Look.” I’m Pat Mathews and thanks, Kevin, once again.
TRUDEAU: My pleasure.
MATTHEWS: It’s been great. Thank you.
TRUDEAU: Thank you.
This page was revised on January 3, 2008.