A health influencer on TikTok is receiving harsh backlash from doctors, parents and child cancer survivors after he critiqued a children’s hospital cafeteria menu.
Paul Saladino, known as “Carnivoremd2” on TikTok, filmed himself reviewing the food in the Dell Children’s Medical Center at Ascension Seton in Austin, Texas. Among the food options, Saladino picked out chicken tenders, french fries, Cheetos and an orange vanilla Coke, ending the video with “we need to do better for our kids.”
“This is a children’s hospital,” he wrote in his caption. “Disgrace.”
Doctors and families came out in droves to oppose Saladino’s TikTok.
“Oncology nurse here,” one person commented on a parent’s response to the video. “I tell my patients we don’t diet when on chemo. Eat whatever you want whenever you want it because there will be times you won’t.”
TikToker and father Curtis Vallier filmed a lengthy response to Saladino, describing his daughter’s experience with brain cancer that lasted more than a year before she died.
“Cancer treatments, it destroys a child’s appetite, it destroys their willingness to eat,” Vallier said in his video. “So when they’re hungry, you feed them whatever the hell they want.”
Saladino, who is known for his raw-food diet and ”radical life” advice on his podcast, often covers topics like gut health, diet foods, illnesses and grocery purchases. This time, Vallier said he was “way out of line.”
Saladino does not appear to have responded to any of the criticism on TikTok, as of Dec. 6.
Doctors and nurses echoed Vallier’s response in their own videos, but other viewers had different concerns — and points to make.
Some people questioned why Saladino went inside a children’s hospital with patients who had compromised immune systems if he didn’t have any business with someone inside the hospital. Others shared concerns about security. Many challenged that Saladino may have only selectively shown the more unhealthy options on the cafeteria menu — with others pointing out that stressed and exhausted parents need quick calories, too.
“I had one kid that wasn’t eating,” one viewer commented. “He overheard we had chicken tenders and asked for like five. We all nearly cried cause he was getting so skinny.”
“I had cancer as a child and spent 2 years at a children’s hospital,” another said. “I can guarantee you that the last thing my parents were worried about was the food.”
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