Dr Michael Mosley’s wife let him infect himself with tapeworm – but only if he agreed to get rid of it before it matured.
Michael Mosley, the host of Trust Me, I’m A Doctor, is like a walking encyclopaedia. When he realised he was more interested in the human body and mind than a career in banking, there was no stopping him. Today, he’s a doctor, writer, television presenter and producer. He talks about the strange deal he has made with his wife, what concerns him most about old age, and why he and his dog look the same.
The show itself is called Trust Me, I’m A Doctor. Why are you trustworthy?
I think because everything I talk about, write about, things like that, is based on science. On Trust Me, we are unusual because we do our own experiments and these are done with major universities and they like doing them because we can help recruit patients and often get published in places like the British Medical Journal.
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What is the most bizarre experiment you’ve done on screen?
I deliberately infected myself with tapeworm. I went down to Kenya, we got hold of an infected cow, a dead one, cut out the cysts on its tongue and I swallowed three of them to see if I would get singles, twins or triplets (of tapeworm). The deal with my wife – she’s a GP – was I would try to get rid of it before it held maturity. Because when tapeworm hit full maturity, fragments break off, crawl out of your bum and go looking for somewhere else. So my wife wasn’t keen on that, understandably.
In general, should people trust their own doctors?
I think that you should be open-minded about it. There’s a good chance that your doctor certainly knows more than the average YouTuber or the other nonsense you can see on the internet. But doctors also get out of date … particularly in the area of nutrition because we get taught nothing about it very much at medical school and it doesn’t form a huge part of ongoing work.
If you were a superfood what would you be?
If I was a superfood I think I would be fermented. I think I would be fizzing with stuff. So I’m a fan of kimchi, kombucha … also things like low-fat yoghurt which are full of probiotics so I like to think of myself as something like that. Lively and good when you eat it. I’m good for your gut.
What are the top-three health myths that most people believe but they shouldn’t?
One is that it’s better to lose weight slowly rather than rapidly. All the evidence now is (about) the benefits of a rapid weight-loss diet. The other one is starvation mode – the idea that when you lose weight your body crashes down. Doesn’t happen, not true. And the third myth is that breakfast is the most important meal of the day.
What is the best age to be and why?
The best age to be is the one where you are now in – your happiest. I am really happy. I’m in my 60s now. I am healthy. I think the main thing is to be healthy and, for that, you have to look after your body. I’m not a universally happy, clappy kind of guy but I’m delighted with where I am now.
What concerns you most about old age?
I think the thing I’m most concerned about is dementia. My father started showing signs of that in his early 70s which is only 10 years away from me and I don’t want to be a dependant. I don’t want to be a miserable shell of my current self and my poor, long-suffering wife having to look after me. I just want to be run over by a bus or die abseiling or windsurfing or something. I just want to go quickly.
What are three things people won’t know about you?
I think people would be surprised to know that I studied politics, philosophy and economics and I was a banker for a couple of years. I think they might be surprised to know that I like dancing. And the third thing is that I’m actually quite an introvert. I come across as quite an extrovert but actually I’m not … I work hard at it but actually I like periods by myself.
What are your pet hates?
My pet hates are people who go, ‘Losing weight is easy’. That’s just not true. People who say, ‘It’s all about eating less, doing more’. It’s true but utterly futile. It’s kind of like telling someone the way to win a football game is to score more points than the other side. True, but utterly useless.
And your pet love?
My pet love is my pet. I have a dog who I adore called Tari and we go for long walks together and she is great company. She yaps a lot when it comes to going out, but otherwise she has no faults. My wife cuts both our hair – that’s probably why we look a bit like each other.
Trust Me I’m A Doctor, Choice, Thursday
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