The Scotsman reproduces a Standard article – correcting its ‘Dr Holford’ error, but still with lots of dubious claims

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…



Filed under Food Is Better Medicine Than Drugs

6 responses to “The Scotsman reproduces a Standard article – correcting its ‘Dr Holford’ error, but still with lots of dubious claims

  1. Claire

    Thanks for the contact details. Having also recently seen this – – I think I feel a diatribe coming on.

  2. Have emailed them to praise the comments and bemoan their closing commenting on the article. I particularly praised pv’s point about Holford, Vit C and AIDS.

    PS – have you heard about PH promoting propionyl carnitine for heart health? Does anyone know which companies sell P. Carnitine?

  3. Thanks for contacting the Scotsman.

    By a wonderful coincidence, look at the pills for sale with Holford’s face on them

  4. Pingback: Holford in the Scotsman: another dubious claim about autism « Holford Watch: Patrick Holford, nutritionism and bad science

  5. Jenny

    It makes me laugh how you all think you’re so good and use all those words like you think you’re above her: “Blissett’s dire article”.

    I wonder if you know what Bella does now? She works for Grazia as health and beauty writer – she has at least one article published every week – she lives in a maisonette above a bakery just off High Street Kensington.

    I’m sorry, what do you lot do for a living? Put down other people’s articles to make you feel better about your own miserable lives? Yes. That was it.

  6. Jenny – sorry that you don’t like that we ‘use all these words’. It’s pretty tedious to argue about the authority – let alone about who earns most money – so what do you think are the main strengths of this article, then?

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