What Does It Take to Shake People’s Faith in the Holford Way?

I don’t really have a comment for this account of family ill-health but think that the faith is touching:

We’ve all been sick, so you’ll have noticed the blogging ground to a halt for a while there. First John was down with Bronchitis, then Juliette with a Flu Virus, then StJohn with the same, and then finally after being surrounded by germs for 2 weeks. They got me!

But we stuck to our Patrick Holford way of fighting illness and are now all well, and back in the swing of things.

I wish the family well.

Update: 14:30 Interesting – I received an email from someone who sent me a link to demonstrate that Patrick Holford has a beneficial impact on family’s general health. I didn’t think that the post that was linked actually was much of an advert for this point of view and linked to that post. The family concerned has asked for the link to be removed and felt that it was mocking their beliefs. It’s amazing how readily you offend people with the words, “no comment”. Nonetheless, as a member of the family appears to be annoyed, then I have withdrawn the link.



Filed under Holford, patrick holford

16 responses to “What Does It Take to Shake People’s Faith in the Holford Way?

  1. 1. You never asked if you could use my Blog post. It may not be necessary, but it would have been good manners.
    2. You have a hang of a lot to say, but hide behind a “codename”. If you truly believe what you’re saying why not let people know who you are?
    3. You wish our family well? You use my blog post without permission, use it to belittle our belief system and then wish us well?
    4. I certainly do not want to be associated with you or what you appear to stand for . I am therefore requesting that you remove my Blog post immediately. And do not link to my site.

    Edit: See update. I did wish your family well after your trying time, it’s a shame that you don’t accept that. You don’t wish to be associated with an exploration of whether or not there is an evidence base to various bits of nutritional advice – that’s fine. You might want to remove your comment as although I have deleted your link, you put your URL in your comment.

  2. Hi there,

    Interesting blog you’ve got here. One of the joys of the internet is that everyone’s got an opinion about something. I’m no scientist, just a poorly educated accountant with nothing better to do than follow links to interesting websites.

    Whilst I imagine that you are busy with the latest cure for some or other disease and lap up the so-called research conducted by reputable organisations, I can’t but wonder if you are aware of the dis-information that eminates from the medical community. If one is going to put all ones faith in a single source of information then you deserve the results.

    For the rest of us, we use the grey matter between our ears and don’t allow others to do our thinking for us.

    As to the matter of copyright infringment. Despite the link back to the blog, did you by any chance ask for and receive permission to quote the source?

    You appear to be getting a little carried away with yourself. Keep up the good work. You might consider removing the post.

    Edit: Do see update to post. How very interesting that you rely on Holford to do your thinking for you and yet think others are incapable of thinking for themselves. Do read around the site if you are interested in the diverse sources of information that we use. By the by – what do you think about his mistake about the NNT for statins (search blog for statins)?

  3. You obviously misunderstood me…

    1. It is my choice whether I wish to be part of your “exploration” or not. I choose not.
    2. I specifically asked you to remove MY BLOG POST, being “we’ve all been sick etc.” not just my link.
    I’ve been polite so far and am now demanding that you remove the blog post you STOLE from my site.
    I am not concerned with your opinion, just your theft. Get it sorted!

  4. UKDietitian

    Dear John and Susan

    So let me hope I have this right.
    You have a blog on which you expound the ‘benefits of the Holford way’. You demand that your link is withdrawn (and it is). You then have a site that viewers of THIS site can’t access directly and yet you now seem upset that your endorsement of the ‘Patrick Holford way’* on said blog is being highlighted on ,er, another blog that happens also to be interested in the ‘Patrick Holford way’*?

    I’m not sure I see what your issues are here?

    You are entitled to post your views on the WWW and others are entitled to view it and comment – just as YOU have done, here.

    If you aren’t happy about your public musings being publicly reviewed then why make them public? limiting your musings to private emails will instantly deal with this aspect….

    Of course, now that you have insisted your URL be removed from this site, we can only speculate as to who you both actually are.

    Let’s speculate. From the unpleasant tone of your email, I would suggest that you are

    a) American with the typical GSOH failure and a US belief in the LEGAL PROCESS
    b) ‘holistic therapists’ with a suspicious disbelief of all-things Big Medicine
    c) A Patricks People schill….or
    d) all of these

    Would you care to reply – in an obviously anonymous manner – seeing as all we viewers know from this site is that a)you are called John and Susan b) you sure get narked about the slightest thing and c) you seem willing to debate??

    The ‘Patrick Holford way’ = creating interesting distraction from a self-terminating illness by a need to purchase books/ supplements/ dodgy tests to amuse the gullible whilst Big Nature takes its course. And if this approach fails to ‘cure’ then able to generate more revenue with more books/supplements/tests to take it to a more ‘Optimum Level’ whilst blaming said individual that it is their fault they have arthritis/cancer/whatever…

    And of course, to all the US citizens that enjoy this site as much as we do in the UK – point a) above – doesn’t apply to you…

  5. anon

    What do they teach them in homeschooling these days?

  6. Paul Power

    Obviously “Susan” does not understand the first thing about the Internet, namely that it’s public.

    Or the second thing, that if you post on it anyone else can quote from what you wrote. That’s not stealing.

  7. To UKDietitian
    We have a site that expounds the benefits of Homeschooling. A Blog on the site that talks about our daily homeschool happenings, in which I mentioned as you can see, that we had been ill and how we had become well. There is an about us page, with contact details etc… End of story. There is a link to a Patrick Holford Book, as it has helped us as a family many times over. That is the only mention about Patrick Holford.

    No we’re not American or holistic healers, and have no interest in your crusade to discredit anyone. It’s generally not a good idea to make assumptions based on your personal unhappy experiences, as inevitably as in this case they’re wrong.

    All I’m asking is that you not draw us into this as we do not share your beliefs about Patrick Holford. I never asked the “invisible” person behind this Blog to remove just my URL, I’m certainly not trying to be anonymous. I asked for him to remove my Blogpost. I really don’t like this sort of Blog that is negative, aggressive and full of people that hide behind “code names” (Paul Power excluded, point taken by the way. It’s just in my nature to be polite and ask permission before I grab someone elses blogposts or articles, whether I have to do it for legal purposes or not.) and don’t want to be associated with it.

    Another thought, Instead of trashing people, why not give people some positive input, if you don’t want them following Patrick Holfords ideas, who do you recommend? Virtually every post has been filled with a nasty undertone. Is this the way to show people a new approach to healing, if that’s what you’re trying to do? Put your influence to good use and show people a new positive way. Don’t just sit back and criticise. Help people. If you want to counter Patrick Holfords “marketing” then show people the alternatives. I’m happy to learn anything new.

  8. UKDietitian


    how lucky that you obviously live on a different continent to us in the UK, where Mr Holfords insiduous self-promotion and weird interpretation of nutrition is of the fairytale genre. Absolutely nothing wrong with that, I totally agree with you, except when people begin to confuse his nutritional fiction with fact.

    This site is the equivalent of the little boy in the crowd pointing out that said Emperor has no clothes (as do the Holford entries on http://www.quackometer.net and http://www.badscience.net ). Their Holford comments are not – sadly – a case of fiction – despite your beliefs.

    This media nutritionist has no qualifications in nutrition, hence his difficulties in interpreting even basic nutritional research. This site clarifies his many nutritional errors in detail for those interested individuals – also without a nutritional background – who would like the facts.

    I guess you will reply that lack of qualifications does not necessarily hamper progress, and that although you have no ‘qualifications in education’ you are muddling through in a parallel world of education-at-home. I think thats quite brave – and at least only your children are a result of your experiment, successful or otherwise.

    However, its quite deceitful for the same benign view be afforded Holford. His guru musings draw in those with self-terminating illnesses(yippee, my ‘flu is cured after 5 days – which sorry to disillusion you but is its natural cycle, and your ‘cure’ was despite, not because of, Holford’s fiction).

    Holford also draws in the chronically sick and – dare I say it – terminally ill (Say NO to cancer!!! ker-ching!!!). Destined never to ‘enjoy a slice of bread’ again or a milk-based dessert based on Holfords weird and wonderful ‘allergy tests’ and wrong, wrong, wrong interpretation of nutrition, but enough dosh (saved from not eating foods previously enjoyed) for the £100 + ‘optimum’ supplement profile, even though the evidence is not only tentative, but COMPLETELY WRONG. And as a take-away point, with the exception of folic acid for NTD prevention, and vitamin D for global health benefits, there are seriously harmful outcomes in taking high doses of vitamins and minerals recommended by Holford/ ION/ BrainBio/ FoodForTheBrain/ whatever next new income generating venture is…

    I don’t expect you to be au fait with the nutritional evidence – thats the global role of RD’s – but believe me, Holfords interpretations are seriously flawed. Don’t take my word for it. Both the UK and SA dietetic associations have issued statements denouncing the practices he employs. The UK and SA media have also taken extensive issue with Holford’s Rathist-like approach to the role of vitamins in HIV/AIDS. It is only because the SA media were ahead of game that he had to back-track from advice WHICH REMAINS ON HIS WEBSITEHowever, he is certainly a well-trained psychologist, and uses all the skills of his ONLY profession to pull in the punters to Patricks Weird World of Alt.Nutrition.

    Finally, you ask why contributors ‘hide’ behind a pseudonym. Could ask you the same. In your case its because you personally dislike anyone taking issue with your blog comments.

    If you live in the UK and you criticise Holford in the media, you will be subject to an extensive and persistent harassment in person, from the Big Yin himself. Then – according to excellent authority – his sinister approach tsends menacing emails and veiled threats about legal action against the person in question, followed by more unpleasant emails and letters demanding ‘retraction-and-reply’. This is then followed by a continued stream of unpleasant personal comments about said person to journalists, other health professionals etc seeking his comment.

    Despite his media ‘presence’, however, Patrick has failed to recognise that only the soft, shallow media swallows his self-styled nutritionist promotion unreservedly. The more objective media like to appraise the evidence, and share comments when useful.

    You have shown more interest in feisty debate than your guru.

    And we know that Patrick has had issues with this blog also, and has invited comment for discussion. I am sure if he has issue with any of these comments so far we can expect to hear from him……

  9. Dr* T


    I think everyone needs to inhale some oil of echinacea infusions and exhale the bad energy (Oil of echinacea has been proved to do this many times). I do a lot of work with provings ;)

    It is actually amazing how rational people (I assume) go utterly bonkers once you question (that’s question, rather than laugh at) their point of view. Rather than continue with debate, or even say “not getting into this” they would rather sabre rattle with copyright nonsense, sinister undertones and lack of manners.

    Anon – the answer is ‘not basic science’ and ‘don’t question anything – just believe’.

  10. Homeschooling – it strikes me, that in the US at least, that this is an attempt to control childrens’ thoughs and stop them being exposed to challenging ideas, such as science. I have no idea what the typical motivation in SA is for homeschooling, but the attempt to control thought, like the above attempt, appears to ring true again.

  11. anandamide

    To be fair to home schooling; in the unlikely event that I find myself with children, I’d be reluctant to send them to a state school (and I have three teachers in my family). The bullying, aggression and rowdiness of my comprehensive meant that I learned pretty much nothing at comprehensive other than how to keep my head down.

  12. superburger

    to go 100% off topic, and talk about homeschooling for a second.

    I can see why one might want to homeschool – but how do you ensure a decent exposure to science.

    you really need a half decent lab to show the exciting experiments that get kids inspired – things like sodium in water, silver mirror tests, dissection of kidneys, feathers and stones dropping down a vacuum, Young’s double slit experiment, Mulliken’s oil drop apparatus; all the things that are fun and get people (self included) interested in science.

    As for Holford – he’s got ideas, opinions and a business model. People are entitled to question those ideas and opinions.

    If Holford’s lifestyle manuals work for you then that’s great.

  13. Wow! I’m still amazed at your ability to make assumptions about me.

    I’ve never professed to having Patrick Holford as my Guru. But his books were recommended to me and I have read some of them and do practise some of what he reveals. Be it right or wrong. I’m not denying that.

    Secondly, I do not muddle through our homeschooling and believe it or not don’t experiment with my kids. As I do not know much about nutrition, it may be best for you to research Homeschooling before making assumptions. If you really want to know about us and our Homeschooling choice you can visit our website, either click on my name (in blue) or put http://www.ourhomeschooljourney.co.za into your browser. There you will find we are completely honest about both the Pros and Cons of Homeschooling based on our experience. You can see what we do on a daily basis and the results we achieve. All of my family have benefitted from the HS experience. But the Holfordwatch is just that, not the Homeschoolwatch so I’ll leave it at that.

    Other than to say my contact details and all information about us in on the site, just go to the about us page. I’m not hiding my identity as you claimed.

    Maybe it’s best to leave it at that? But again I would like to suggest to you that you use your influence in a positive way. Not just focus on the negative.

    You do not agree with Patrick Holford, I understand that, what I am asking for is more information. Not more evidence of why someone is wrong but an alternative view. In other words how do you guys suggest we fight illness? From flu to cancer.

    It seems pointless to just tell us what not to do. It shouldn’t just be left at that. What positive recommendations do you have? Where do we get information on how to deal with illness and how to eat healthily? I’m asking for your opinion, be it right or wrong. Everyone has one and is entitled to one. I’ll like to hear yours. As a Dietitian what do you do to stay healthy and well? What books do you recommend we read to further educate ourselves? Just your opinion…

    Without aggression and personal attacks on my lifestyle choice. I honestly would like your opinion.

  14. superburger

    In other words how do you guys suggest we fight illness? From flu to cancer.

    For general provention of illness? a sensible balanced diet based, rich in fruit, veg and low in saturated fat. Don’t smoke / drink heavily. Regular cardiovascular exercise – this seems to be the mainstream advice.

    Once you are ill (ant it will happen) see a good doctor and follow their advice.

    That’s just my opinion, like.

    Or am i being naive myself?

  15. Susan- in terms of a lot of Holford’s advice (e.g. the alleged benefits of megadose vitamin C, secretin for autism, chelation therapy without clinical heavy metals poisoning, etc) the most appropriate response is often a negative one – the best ‘alternative’ is just to not do it.

    Those of us writing here are also involved in other projects, but we’ve never sought to use this blog to offer any kind of comprehensive vision of a healthy diet or lifestyle. That said, you’ll find good general advice on the BDA website, and I like Pollan’s suggestion that we should “Eat food. Not too much. Mostly plants”. Obviously, if you need detailed medical advice see a Dr or dietician.

    As to why we don’t put our personal details on the site, we explain why on the About Us page: “We’re not over-sharing on biographical details…because we find that it distracts from a critique of the science and ideas.”

  16. Susan, as far as good food advice goes, for most people it is very simple – a balanced, varied diet – not too much – full stop. Holford confuses the issue greatly – all that talk of supplements and ‘food is better medicine that drugs’. For me, I would add – enjoy food first and foremost for its own sake, try something new, grow stuff, make stuff and cook. Don’t have too much of anything; don’t miss out anything. Don’t turn it into a fetish – food is a pleasure.

    And when you get ill – medicine and therapies – from doctors – based on research and evidence. Don’t succumb to the snake oil salesmen who promise shortcuts, ‘naturalness’, holistic cures, magnets, magic and mubmo-jumbo.

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