Barry Groves’ Second Opinions website loses honcode accreditation

Following the Telegraph and Victoria Lambert’s credulous coverage of the ‘nutritionist’ Barry Groves’ beliefs about diet, we submitted a complaint to the Health on the Net Foundation – who had certified Groves’ site Second Opinions site as Hon Code compliant. The Health on the Net Foundation have now marked the certification of this site as ‘invalid’.

It is good to see the Health on the Net Foundation carrying out such checks. We can only wish that newspapers such as the Telegraph and journalists such as Lambert would achieve similar standards.



Filed under patrick holford

20 responses to “Barry Groves’ Second Opinions website loses honcode accreditation

  1. Is it wrong that I laughed when I saw “standards” and “journalists” in the same sentence? Perhaps I need to recalibrate my cynicism meter.

    Good news about HON, though – sometimes it does pay to complain.

  2. Heh – I can’t help retain the optimism, though…

  3. Lindy McGraw

    Is it wrong to be pleased that HonCode is (for once) doing something the upheld the standards that it is intended to protect?

    Good on you for having the drive to do this and follow it up.

  4. gazza

    What is it with these non-traditional route PhDs? One thing about them, they sure write a lot of books and use their title in every interview they can.

  5. James

    It’s amazing how the media’s dictocrats have brainwashed everyone into believing some flawed 1950 research by Ancel Keyes, who cherry-picked his “7 Countries” out of frustration for being turned down on his thesis by a recently named lord back in 48.

    Wake up people, americans have traded their 25 pounds of butter and lard per year for margarine, and yet obesity and heart disease skyrocketed in the last 5 decades. Along with vegetable-loving company’s promoting dangerous phytochemicals like soy as “magical” health products. Isoflavones cause infertility due to their estrogen mimic, and “vegan” kids are exposed to the equivalent of 5 birth control pills worth of estrogen every day due to looney parents who supplement the lack of meat with soy. It also raises infertility in men.

    So we eat less and less fat for 50 years, and keep getting fatter every day…

    This proves that “When everybody is thinking the same thing, nobody is thinking.”

    Good life with your taste-less, depressing foods people, and keep eating those highly oxidative vegetable oils, starches and carbs, so as to leave this planet sooner and do the rest of us a favor.

  6. Mike Bradley

    Well yes, James, people may well be eating less saturated fat than they did fifty years ago, but have you considered their outputs? We live in a far more sedentary world today than we did then.

    • Søren Nielsen

      Second-Opinions is has gotten the HON-code back ” “.
      -maby there should be make a new blog entry stating this would be the right thing to do?
      Saturated fat only has about 7 calories in reality, but thats beside the point the only thing that can make you overweight is carbohydrate by eating more than you body needs, the insulin will rid the blod of excess glucose(its dangerous to the body if theres too much) and store it in your bodys fat cells as fat. Eating fat will not raise your insulin(the “key” to open fat cells) much and you will not put on weight. Fat is also used for creating cell membrams and other parts of our body that needs replacement. And given the right conditions half of the fat is converted to ketones which can be used as energy by our bodies instead of glucose in most cells. We might do less but we also eat less ” “. In my opinion the idear that our lifestyle(in terms of energy usage) eksplains why we now get fat is rong. The problem is that our body is very bad at controling carbohydrate intake other than a full stomach and as we at the same time are sugar addicts we eat too much, try to see how much real butter you can eat compared to how meany sweets you can eat, if you are like me you can eat sweets all day long but will not get far with the butter.

  7. Thanks for letting me know about the re-accreditation. I’ll e-mail HonCode about this, and will put up a blog post when I know what’s happening with this.

  8. Rintintin

    I have no idea about the credentials of Barry Groves. I do know however that the argument he proposes , whilst going against the current orthodoxy on what is a healthy diet, is a reasonable one. Gary Taubes recent tome on the low carb diet validates this. Anybody who dismisses Taubes as being motivated by some agenda apriori to (his) examining the facts, or that he is simply incompetent, would do well to carefully examine the prejudices that underly their basic assumptions and their own crediblity when it comes to criticising others.

    • Which arguments? Some of his claims – for example, regarding autism – very much go against the current evidence. Groves’ arguments clearly differ from Taubes’, in significant ways.

      As for Groves’ claims about the dangers of following conventional ‘healthy eating’ advice, I do not see good evidence that following – for example – a Mediterranean-style diet is likely to have negative health consequences for typical people. One certainly does not see the large groups of people who have followed such a diet for cultural reasons dropping like flies as a result!

  9. HonCode accreditation has now been removed, again, from Second Opinions. I’ll post about this in more detail when time allows.

  10. Phil

    That’s strange, the HonCode site at the link that Soren Nielsen provided ( states: “This site has been certified since 06 Apr 2003 and will be re-certified upon completion of the annual review.” What is your evidence that the accreditation was ever removed from the Second Opinions site?

    • Thanks Phil. When I click your link, I get the message that there is

      no information for this number: HONConduct2537940

      Just a technical glitch, maybe?

  11. Phil

    Yes, I think the problem is the parentheses I put around it:

  12. Phil

    …actually, it was the added zero.

  13. bradfieldresident

    The HONcode certificate at for the Barry Groves site shows “This site is undergoing annual review” and “Date of last subsequent review: 14 May 2009”.

    Do you have any idea how long these “annual reviews” take? I have made complaints about the Australian Dental Association website HONcode certification (, and find it’s HONcode certificate to similarly be “undergoing annual review”. Is the seemingly open-ended-duration REEXAM status simply a loophole to allow sites to display a HONcode seal?

    The Health On the Net Foundation’s answers to my complaint did include a concession that one of the principles had not been adhered to, but on the whole gave answers that I am very much unsatisfied with, and appear to be non-responsive to emails to both and


    Bradfield Resident
    Sydney, Australia

    • Sorry about the slow reply – in my case HON Foundation did respond to e-mails and requests to investigate, although it took a little time on occasion.

      • bradfieldresident

        In a few days the Barry Grove HONcode accreditation will have (apparently) been “undergoing annual review” for 6 months. Meanwhile, it is aparently fine to display the seal and “This site complies to the
        HONcode standard for trustworthy health information”. What kind of joke is that?

  14. Susan

    God forbid we should actually put in print evidence that disagrees with Goverment recommended health advice!. Good for Barry. Hopefully more people will listen to him and question what we are told “on good authority by the Goverment .Too much tunnel vision in our society!!

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