‘Ratbiter’ has an excellent piece in Private Eye. In an article headlined May contain nuts, they ask Who is Patrick Holford, the British media’s favourite ‘nutritionist’? (issue 1197, p. 29).
The article begins with a critical look at some of Holford’s statements on vitamin C and HIV/AIDS, and also discusses one of Holford’s disagreement with David Colquhoun.
Ratbiter then points out that
Holford is derided by science bloggers, most notably the authors of the punchy HolfordWatch site, but foreigners trawling the British press cuttings would find him popping up as an expert witness more often than Posh Spice at London Fashion Week.
When the Daily Star decided to help “32DD beauty” Dani Llloyd lose weight, it called in Holford. When the Mail wanted a miracle cure for low education standards, Holford told it that “children who eat good fats, from raw nuts, seeds and oily fish, double their chances of high performance.” Further upmarket, the Guardian foodie Joanna Blythman reported his arguments against putting folic acid supplements in bread as if they were the serious reservations of an acknowledged specialist, while the Independent described him as “one of the world’s leading authorities on new approaches to health and nutrition”.
The article is also critical of Teesside’s decision to grant Holford a visiting professor’s post, and the way that the “University of Bedfordshire endorsed a degree course run by [Holford’s] Institute of Optimum Nutrition”. Having covered a lot of ground, Ratbiter ends the article by asking
As [Holford’s] ideas spread round the world, when will journalists and university vice chancellors finally ask him some hard questions?