A countdown show looking at the shocking truth behind what we eat and the often dangerous and misguided methods we adopt in order to lose weight. Scientists, industry experts and exponents discuss the pros and cons of fad diets, 'healthy' foods and extreme exercise regimes. We all know about the benefits of exercise, good diet, looking good and living a healthy lifestyle, but most of the things that are good for us can bring side-effects that are precisely the opposite. Incontinence, infertility, infected genitalia, energy drink madness, hip replacements and even death are commonplace among the beautiful people – as are botched surgeries, extremely dangerous self-harming diets and bizarre exercise programmes.
Growing up in the streets of Dundee, actor Brian Cox was surrounded by tobacco. His entire family either smoked it or chewed it and yet Brian reveals, he never took up the habit. To find out why not, Brian travels to Virginia in the US to discover how the habit of smoking kick-started the British Empire and created a global market of addicts.
In this episode, Gabriel uncovers the cases of an engineer who fixed his own heart, a toddler whose bones were repaired before he was even born and a girl whose immune system attacked her own brain. We meet a man who can taste words and find out how his condition is helping develop new ways to enable blind people to navigate and even recognise colours. And we encounter a man who was immobilised by MS but can now cycle and scuba-dive thanks to a pioneering new treatment that has reversed his disease.
The heart is the most symbolic organ of the human body. Throughout history it has been seen as the site of our emotions, the very centre of our being. But modern medicine has come to see the heart as just a pump; a brilliant pump, but nothing more. And we see ourselves as ruled by our heads and not our hearts. In this documentary, filmmaker David Malone asks whether we are right to take this view. He explores the heart's conflicting histories as an emotional symbol and a physical organ, and investigates what the latest science is learning about its structures, its capacities and its role. In the age-old battle of hearts and minds, will these new discoveries alter the balance and allow the heart to reclaim something of its traditional place at the centre of our humanity?