A popular graphic circulating compares photos and lifestyle information of Gillian McKeith and Nigella Lawson. Are the photos and captions accurate?
Gillian McKeith & Nigella Lawson Graphic
A popular graphic circulating around the web shows pictures of Gillian McKeith and Nigella Lawson side by side. The caption jokingly implies that Gillian’s “healthy” lifestyle has led to her rather unflattering look as depicted, as opposed to the lovely photo of Nigella, who supposedly leads a much less “healthy” lifestyle. Are the photos and the sentiment of the caption accurate?
This graphic was first analyzed by a Briana Rognlin at Blisstree in November 2011. Our analysis followed in May 2012. Let’s look at the actual photo and caption first.
The caption reads:
This woman is 51. She is TV health guru Gillian McKeith, advocating a holistic approach to nutrition and health, promoting exercise, a vegetarian diet high in organic fruits and vegetables. She recommends detox diets, colonic irrigation and supplements.
This woman is 51. She is Nigellea (sp) Lawson a TV cook, who eats meat, butter and desserts.
I REST MY CASE
Analysis of Statements
First we’ll look at the accuracy of the statements regarding both women.
Both women were 51 until September of 2011. As of December of 2014, both women are now 55.
In the case of Gillian McKeith, her website does appear to promote many of the dietary/health practices depicted in the caption. Although it has since changed, the 2012 Wikipedia entry for Gillian McKeith made the following statement:
McKeith takes a holistic approach to health, promoting exercise, a pescetarian diet high in fruits and vegetables, grains, beans, nuts, and tofu, and the avoidance of processed and high-calorie foods, sugar and fat, red meat, alcohol, caffeine, white flour, and additives. She recommends detox diets and colonic irrigation, argues that the colour of food is nutritionally significant, and that she can diagnose ailments by examining people’s tongues and stools.
According to this cursory inquiry, it appears that Gillian McKeith’s beliefs on food is generally correct as depicted in the graphic.
Nigella Lawson’s Wikipedia entry has also changed since 2012, but once included quotes about the nutritional value of her meals. Following is one such quote from the her 2012 Wikipedia entry, “Lawson admitted the recipes were not “particularly healthy”, although she added, “I wouldn’t describe them as junk.” She openly admits that she isn’t a chef, nor is she a champion for “healthy eating.”
It seems obvious that the women have different approaches to food, generally correct in the caption above. This leads us to the photos themselves. Do these two photos accurately depict the two women?
While one could easily argue that there is some validity to the photo and the caption, there are many factors involved. First, Nigella may simply possess more natural beauty stemming from a youthful-looking gene pool. Perhaps Nigella sought out plastic surgery to assist in her youthful appearance? Secondly, are outward appearances an accurate reflection of inner health (mental or physical)? Looks can be deceiving, and outward appearance may hide internal health problems such as clogged arteries, for example.
The creator of the graphic appeared to choose a bad photo of Gillian McKeith’s to make the comparison seem more uneven. McKeith looks much different in some of her other photographs found online (see example below).
While the caption of the graphic may be accurate, the photos appear to be cherry picked by the person who made the graphic to intentionally include a poor quality picture of Gillian McKeith. The implication that an “unhealthy” diet or lifestyle promotes physical attractiveness is obviously a flawed sentiment.
Updated December 27, 2014
Originally published in May 2012