Eddie Abbew is changing your favourite rapper’s diet

Still from The F*ckin Eddie Abbew Show

The bodybuilder is taking on food and pharmaceutical companies with his viral videos, beefing with Tesco’s and making Stormzy apologise for eating Maccies.

If you spend a lot of time scrolling, then Eddie Abbew has probably made you worry about the contents of your fridge. The foul-mouthed 60-year-old has long been a big deal in the bodybuilding world (he won the British championship in 1997), but more recently he’s enjoyed a massive surge in virality thanks to his tirades against ultra-processed foods and his unyielding love for boiled eggs.

Eddie’s content is a far cry from the usual health influencer fodder. His videos are angry, bluntly telling viewers to Wake the fuck up!” from supermarket aisles as he tears down the products on their shelves. Turns out, people like being shouted at: he’s racked up millions of followers on TikTok and Instagram with his rants.

Eddie’s not the first person to talk about the dangers of ultra-processed foods. But his fury-fuelled content is making the UK’s youth listen. That’s in part thanks to his influence in the UK rap scene: Rimzee claimed he transformed his health with the bodybuilder’s advice, while Stormzy apologised to Eddie for eating a post-gig McDonalds. Now, he’s even got his own GRM Daily series, The F*cking Eddie Abbew Show, complete a health-conscious cooking segment by his daughter Sellina.

Is Eddie Abbew a man of the people, a fearless truthsayer who’s standing up to food corporations that poison us for profit? Or is he sensationalist, recklessly exaggerating the research to make his content more clickable? We got him on the phone to find out.

Hi Eddie! First things first, what did you have for your breakfast this morning?

I don’t eat until about 4 or 5pm.

Well, I had a healthy breakfast because I knew I was speaking to you and I didn’t want to get told off. I had overnight porridge oats with frozen berries, coconut yoghurt, mixed nuts and almond butter. What do you think?

Do you ever feel tired during the day?

Yeah, knackered.

Because you’re eating shit. That’s not food. Have some fucking eggs and avocado.

What’s wrong with overnight oats?!

Oats are for feeding fucking horses – and for the ones that aren’t performing well. Unfortunately when I was nursing, I was told to tell my patients with high cholesterol to eat oats because oats lower your cholesterol – bullshit. Overnight oats, your body treats it as sugar. When you get up in the morning, your liver releases energy for you straight away. And you have to expend that energy before you start putting more in it. As soon as you eat those oats, your insulin level goes up. And as soon as insulin level goes up, your body’s in storage mode. That’s why you’re tired.

[Sorry, Eddie. Some experts consider overnight oats to be a healthy breakfast because they release sugar slowly and improve the body’s response to insulin. – Ed]

Noted. What’s your background and how did you get into fitness and nutrition?

I was born in Ghana. Basically, I’m one of the people that were imported by the NHS to become nurses in the UK, back in the 80s. So I was a nurse for a while, then I became a bodybuilder because that’s always been my passion. And then, after my bodybuilding career, I opened my gym. And then I started training bodybuilders. That’s what led me to where I am now.

Tesco’s have confronted me. Marks & Spencers have done the same. Holland & Barret have told me to leave. Wenzels and Greggs don’t like me very much”

Did your passion for health start when you were a nurse?

No. It started when I was 15 years old at boarding school in Kenya. I saw a magazine with a picture of a bodybuilder and I was intrigued. I just wanted to know how they managed to build that amount of muscle. I had the bug before I came here.

When did you start using social media and how did it blow up?

I used to use Facebook and try to advise people through text – you know, prose. I’d write lots of posts on Facebook, but not many people were reading them obviously, because people don’t like to read. My youngest daughter Sellina, who is a chef, was the one that said that you can help a lot of people by going [on video]. My team now is about six people, and four of them are Gen Zs. My daughter is the leader.

Why do you think a rap platform like GRM Daily wanted to do a show with you?

GRM Daily appeals to the younger generation, especially the Gen Zs and some millennials. And I’m appealing to that demographic, they’re the ones who follow me most, especially on TikTok. These are the ones that come to gyms and they’re the ones who are eating all this crappy food. They’re the ones consuming all this ultra-processed food [which is] leading to colon cancer in their 30s in their 40s. That’s crazy.

I don’t really pay attention to UK rap. I’m a Luther Vandross guy”

I saw that rapper Rimzee said he followed your advice and Stormzy apologised to you for eating McDonalds…

And Central Cee. He put it in his story that he’s eating eggs now, which is good.

Do your kids think it’s cool that you’re relevant in the UK rap scene?

Maybe they do. I hear the songs that they play, but I don’t really pay attention to them. I’m just an old boy. I’m a Luther Vandross guy.

Do you forgive Stormzy for eating Maccies?

He said it was a one-off. And then he apologised, so I forgive him.

Do you ever walk past a McDonald’s and just think, Fuck it, I’ll have a Fillet-O-Fish and a milkshake”?

I’ll have a cheat meal, let’s say once a week, in the evening. And once a week, on a Saturday, we have a family meal. But it will never be McDonald’s because that’s fucking shit. My daughter’s a chef, my wife’s a chef, so I’m not really tempted by a lot of what’s around. I’m appalled by the fact that these people are allowed to sell all of that and nobody reprimands them.

They are telling us that one in two of us will get cancer. When I first came [here] in my early 20s, they said one in six of us. What’s happened? I’ve got friends who are still nurses and they say that colorectal cancer is really high amongst people in their 30s and 40s. That was an old person’s illness. So I set out to make people aware of this.

You’re standing up to a lot of big corporations. Have any of them been in touch with you?

I just get kicked out of the shops. Tesco’s have confronted me. Marks & Spencer have done the same. Holland & Barret have told me to leave the shop and not to record. Wenzel’s and Greggs don’t like me very much. But I don’t care because the support I’m getting from people tells me that I’m doing the right thing. I’m not gonna stop.

After getting kicked out of a few shops, you’ve gone incognito for some of your content. No offence, but you don’t have a very convincing disguise…

Haha! That’s just humour. The thing is, if I can’t go in there, I can just send somebody. And today I went into Marks & Spencer and [filmed] something and then I did a voiceover. I don’t know why they’re trying to stop me.


Is your content intentionally funny?

Yes, it has to be. You have to find a way of engaging people. I listen to doctors like Anthony Chaffee, Ken D Berry and Eric Berg. But the way they deliver their message is so boring, very factual. So I tried to do the opposite of what they’re doing, to deliver [the message] in a way that I would want to watch. The average person wants just a little bit of information. I’m just planting the seed for them to do their research.

One of your sayings is sickness is a business”. Can you elaborate on that?

That’s drawing in the conspiracy people, isn’t it? And it works. Because sickness is a business. Listen, most of the people who own the nutraceutical companies also own the pharmaceutical companies and the food industry. It’s all combined.

When I was nursing, when I was in the wards, we were being sent pens from all these pharmaceutical companies – they are all in cahoots with each other. They know that what we are eating is what’s making us sick. The reason why colorectal cancer is really high is because of what we’re eating. But nobody’s telling the doctors, you know, when your patient comes to you with colorectal cancer or any bowel problems, just tell them to change to stop eating this shit. [Not quite true. Doctors do often recommend a healthy diet in response to many illnesses – Ed] It’s a big conspiracy. They make you sick and they’re selling the solution.

Have you found much evidence of a link between food companies and pharmaceutical companies, or is it more suspicion and speculation?

It’s a suspicion. But I was reading something by [doctor and author] Chris Van Tulleken and it basically says that almost everything that we eat is owned by about [ten] companies around the world. When you look at studies by universities, you [sometimes] see that they’ve been funded by these pharmaceutical companies and drug companies in the food industry, the sugar companies.

You often link bad diets to mental health problems. I know it’s complicated, but can you briefly explain the science?

It’s not complicated at all. You’ve got neurotransmitters. Your body works on signals. There are signals going through your cells. The neurotransmitters that control your gut are the same ones that control your emotions, that control your brain. So the gut-brain axis is very important. The proof [is in] the amount of messages that I get from people from all over the world. And I put them all on my Insta story highlights. There are 1000s of them. People will say to me, Eddie, my mental health has improved because I changed my diet.”

I don’t doubt that with things like depression diet could be a contributing factor. But it’s one of many factors, right?

But what are the other factors?

Well, if someone loses their job, then they can’t make their rent and they get evicted by their landlord. If they get depressed it’s not just because they ate too many Pringles. There are external factors.

Right, so you’ve got endogenous depression, which is when it comes out of nowhere. That is always from the gut, something’s happening inside. [Although some studies show that the gut – brain axis influences mental health, endogenous depression can be caused by other biological and genetic factors – Ed] And then you’ve got exogenous depression, which is also called reactive depression, okay? Reactive depression [could happen when] somebody dies in your family. You obviously become depressed. But then your ability to deal with that situation is still coming from your gut. Your ability to handle that situation is coming from what you put inside you.

It’s quite hard to explain all of this in a TikTok video, isn’t it, Eddie?

Absolutely. What I do is I put everything out there. [Then] you can do your own research. So people are doing their own research, finding out what food makes them feel good. That’s what we’re doing well. If I was just sitting here making a lot of noise, I wouldn’t be getting this popularity. But it’s working for a lot of people.

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