Bella Blisset previously ran a pretty dismal article on nutrition in the Evening Standard (9/10/07, p. 41) – pretty much reproducing some of Holford’s claims that food is better medicine than drugs, without allowing any experts in evidence-based nutrition and medicine to challenge his – often dubious – claims. To make things worse, the article referred to “Dr Patrick Holford, the UK’s top nutritionist” (Holford does not have a PhD). Depressingly, another version of this article has been carried by the Scotsman – with the main change being that it now refers to “Patrick Holford, the UK’s best-known nutritionist”. The article is , however, still riddled with dubious claims. You can leave your comments on the Scotsman article here, or contact the paper with your views.
Unsurprisingly, I’m not impressed with the article. I’m glad that Blissett has realised that Holford is not a Dr (though it seems a bit mean that she hasn’t credited Counterknowledge for pointing out her error). But, while making such a basic mistake might cause some to fact-check the rest of the article, the same dubious claims are reproduced in Blissett’s Scotsman article as were in her Standard piece.
While Blissett’s revised article suggests that she no longer thinks Holford is the UK’s top nutritionist, she has not gone to the effort of getting any of the UK’s top nutritionists and/or dietitians to respond to and critique his claims (although one of them has been moved to post a comment on the article to explain some of what Blissett and Holford got wrong). Her account of ‘conventional medicine’ is also something of a caricature, which just focuses on the medicines on offer – for example, regular weight-bearing exercise is an effective ‘conventional’ way to reduce one’s risk of osteoporosis but Blissett’s article only mentions HRT for osteoporosis.
Luckily for Blissett, some of the Scotsman’s readers have left helpful comments on the article – pointing out some of her mistakes. I could pull the article apart here – but I think it would be more fun for us all to help to take the article apart in the comment’s section provided by the Scotsman. So, in the interests of devolved working, I think we should all head over there and each tackle one of the article’s claims. See you there :)
UPDATE: comments have now closed on that article, though lots of good stuff now up there. So much for that cunning plan. I’ll, um, try to think of something else in the morning…