Christopher Scarfe – former partner in Institute for Optimum Nutrition – is nasty about cute little cats

Emo Kitty

Christopher Scarfe is a DipION nutritionist practising in Cornwall, who previously claimed to have been a Director of the Institute for Optimum Nutrition (ION). However, we found that some of the biographical information on Scarfe’s website was inaccurate and asked him for more information about this and about his role in the early history of the ION.

We wrote very politely to ask Scarfe some quick questions, and he replied with an unwarranted barrage of unpleasantries – insulting us, our blog, blogs in general, and our lolcats. We’d rather not publish the full correspondence – we don’t think it looks very stylish, and there’s already more than enough ill-framed discourtesy available on the Internet – but if Scarfe wishes to question our account of this correspondence in any way then we will very happily put the whole exchange online. Anyway, while I can take a rude e-mail or two, Scarfe went too far when he criticised the looks of our lolcats: how can you see the cute ickle kitty cat above and say that it looks like it needs omega 3…?

Scarfe’s website – where potential clients could learn about his experience and qualifications (the site also gives details of fees, contact info, etc) – used to claim that “In 1986 Christopher Scarfe graduated from The Institute for Optimum Nutrition (ION)…He then became a co-owner and director of ION between 1986 and 1991.” That sounded very impressive – becoming Director of your alma mater so soon after graduation, even if the school in question was the ION. However, we triple-checked the Companies House Records for the ION: Scarfe was not listed as a Director. Obviously, accuracy is important to us – so we contacted Scarfe to ask why his Directorship was not registered with Companies House. Aside for the aforementioned insults to Emo Kitty, Scarfe did eventually correct his website – when we pointed out that Companies House records are at variance with the claims on his website – and thank us for pointing the inaccuracies on his site. The new site states that Scarfe “became a partner and co-owner of ION between 1987 and 1990.” This does appear to be consistent with the Companies House records: during ION’s 1987 liquidation, it realised three payments of £383.33 from Holford and Scarfe, attributed to sale of assets (interestingly, the records also list disbursements of £314.99 and £25 to Holford and Scarfe, attributed to settlements of insurance claims).

In other words, Scarfe’s role at the ION was different from how he described it on his website – until he was corrected by Holford Watch – and took place over a shorter period. Aside from the aforementioned gratuitous insults to Emo Kitty, we do feel that it is important to be accurate about these things and we’re therefore pleased to see that Scarfe has corrected the inaccuracies on his website.

We know this might seem excessively detailed, but it’s very interesting how complex accounts of the history of the prestigious ION – alma mater of most of the ‘qualified’ UK nutritionists, and of Patrick Holford – can become. Because this, and Scarfe’s rudeness to our lolcats, we’ll keep a note of these inaccuracies up here for the record.

At the top of this post, I can almost see Emo Kitty smiling.



Filed under Christopher Scarfe, institute for optimum nutrition, patrick holford

30 responses to “Christopher Scarfe – former partner in Institute for Optimum Nutrition – is nasty about cute little cats

  1. Anybody who does not like cats was probably a rat in a previous life.

  2. LeeT

    Don’t worry about your cats. Help is at hand. Realising that there are only so many human beings who can be persuaded to take supplements Higher Nature has designed a new range of pills for your pets.

    Is this the same Higher Nature that recently parted company with Patrick Holford? Look forward to you revealing why in a future posting!

    Tell the cats we all love them!

  3. Pingback: Nutrition » Christopher Scarfe - former partner in Institute for Optimum …

  4. At first I was not sure about the cats. But now, I am convinced that they are an essential component of the ongoing critique of Patrick Holford and his nutritional philosophy.

  5. How fascinating, Lee. As you say, this is probably what happens when you have a number of products in search of a market, you end up marketing pills for pets rather than advocating that owners might see to their exercise and a good diet.

    How long will it be until we read about the perils of candida and food intolerance for cats, dogs, rabbits and guinea-pigs?

  6. Thanks for the link, Lee. I thought you were joking – but no, apparently certain industries are beyond satire. Omega 3 supplements for cats…

    Shinga, I hate to say this, but you already can get remedies for systemic candida in pets :(

  7. Claire

    “How long will it be until we read about the perils of candida and food intolerance for cats, dogs, rabbits and guinea-pigs…?”

    It’s all out there, on the interweb. Just ask any vet about the amount of owners, esp dog owners, who have ‘diagnosed’ food allergy/intolerance for all kinds of problems. A local vet I trust is of the opinion that some dog skin problems can be food related, but by no means all. Other causes can include not being conscientious about flea control (flea allergy dermatitis), worm control (hookworm infestation can cause dermatitis in dogs, I believe).

    That said, I’m aware there are some vets who offer CAM, even where there is no good evidence of efficacy, say for something like age-related back problems in a dog.

  8. As taurine is an essential amino acid for cats shouldn’t we be feeding them Red Bull?

  9. As taurine is an essential amino acid for cats shouldn’t we be feeding them Red Bull?

    We have teh proof.*

    * to avoid doubt, Holford Watch is not recommending that readers feed their cats energy drinks. If you do, we are not going to help you get the cat down from the curtains.

  10. LeeT

    Supplements for pets ehhh what next? Perhaps Patrick Holford will be invited by David Cameron to lead a tast force on mental heatlh where he will be able to think the unthinkable.

    I have a copy of the “Natural Health” (former associate of Patrick Holford) catalogue next to me. You may be interested to know that ” Superpet Organic Aloe … [s]oothes rashes, flea bites, hair loss and scarring.” With supplements for human beings they have to be careful what they say, but with animals they seem to have more room for manoevre so to speak. Can anyone confirm that?

    Going back to the main post (!) the evolution of the ION does seem a bit confusing. Anyone who has ever studied elementary business law will know that there are several different kinds of organisation – e.g private limited company, public limited company, sole trader and partnership. Usually the company structures do not change though a private company may occasionally become a public company. As far as I can see the ION was first set up as a private limited company in 1984 before dissolving itself and becoming a partnership in 1987. In 1992 it was registered as a charity. Do we know if was registered as a charity at any point between 1984 and 1992? If not eight years seems a long time to get around to doing so.

  11. As far as we know – ION was not a charity prior to 1992. It is interesting to disentangle all the different threads and knots.

  12. dunc

    Are you lot all a bunch of ignorant time wasting cocks

  13. dunc

    Are you lot doctors or what?

  14. “Are you lot all a bunch of ignorant time wasting cocks”.

    An interesting question Dunc. I’m glad you tackled the issues instead of resorting to personal attacks.

    “Are you lot doctors or what?”
    Well they must be, as only someone with vested interests in big pharma could possibly have a problem with The Messiah and his Disciples (Holford et al). I mean, the mistakes on the CV, the potentially dangerous dietary advice, the fact that he is unqualified… what could there be for anyone to criticise unless the were a pawn of big pharma?

  15. ‘Scuse the typo [unless they were a pawn of big pharma], I must be low on Omega 3 today!

  16. thanks Dunc. I know that organic farming is important, but I’m not sure that whether or not I keep cockerels is particularly relevent here. What exactly is it you’re trying to say here?

  17. halfabrain

    Back on the issue of The Messiah and his disciples…. I wonder if there isn’t a bit of a philosophical schism developing in ION and BANT…with PH still firmly on the side of -medicine bad, nutrition natural therefore good(even if this does involve popping endless amounts of his pills), it seems that some breakaway Nutritional Therapists are trying to align themselves with medicine in a bid for some credibility to quote one example,

    ‘nutritional therapist: …believes in science-based evidence and working with the medical profession, not against them’.

    Doesn’t change the fact that they’ve all trained religiously, in the art of nutritional non-science at The Institute of Iontology, sorry Optimum Nutrition.

    I love the ‘science-based evidence’ ….is there any other kind?

  18. Dunc, I’ll hold my hand up. I am an ignorant time wasting cock. Now, what is your real question?

  19. LeeT

    Shinga – Do you know what the ION was up to between 1984 and 1992 when they registered as a charity?

    halfabrain – I don’t think there will be a significant breakaway within the ION. The membership admire Patrick Holford too much. What have you heard? Go on tell us, you are among friends here … The ION does have a rival in the rather strangely named Raworth International College – Student gain diplomas in nutritional therapy and get to use the letters Dip Raw. (No I did not make that up. I suppose there is some kind of punishment if they cook the carrots before dipping them in humous.)

    Interestingly, Patrick Holford has just stopped endorsing “Higher Nature”‘s products. In this month’s catalogue or newsletter as they call it there is a very strangely worded “good-bye Patrick” message in the welcome editorial. I wonder if that is significant in any way. Certainly none of the “experts” mentioned in the newsletter seem to be diplomates of the ION. (You can get hold of the newsletter at

    I also understand there is a bit of rivalry between Patrick Holford and Gillian McKeith. Can anyon confirm that? It is interesting that they never make appearances together which one might expect if they were good pals.

    One day there may be genocial wars between followers of different approaches. “Are you a follower of Sister McKeith or the Holford Way? Are you DipNut, DipRaw , Dip ION or Dip Red Hot?”

  20. LeeT

    Incidentally, does anyone have any proof that Gillian McKeith and Patrick Holford are not the same person?

    I mean in my opinion it is conceivably possible. If it does not do me or anyone else harm in spreading that message why not? And don’t give me any nonsense about proper tests, balance of probabilities and peer reviewed sightings of them in different places ….

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