Holford warns readers against “slimming pills”, but what about “weight loss” pills with his face on the bottle?

I was surprised to see Holford speaking out against “slimming pills” on his blog:

Every year there is a new pill or potion that claims to do it all for you – starch blockers, fat blockers, appetite suppressants, slimming pills. Avoid them at all costs. You can’t cheat the body without paying a price.

I am also, by and large, sceptical about slimming pills. However, this includes a scepticism about the weight loss pills promoted by a well-known media nutritionist – whose name you might be able to guess.

Patrick Holford has promoted supplements for weight loss (we have previously criticised this: the advertised supplements lack a good evidence base). Holford has advised readers that, for example:

Garcinia cambogia (the tamarind fruit) has been shown to help weight loss as the body continues to burn calories as fuel rather than storing them as fat.

We had thought that Holford might have stopped promoting slimming pills. I am not sure if he still feels the same (guarded) positivity about hoodia. However, Totally Nourish (which uses Holford as one of its two “experts” and promotes his products) has a substantial “weight loss” section. This sections contains pills with tasteful pictures of Holford’s fact on the packet (including one product containing Garcinia Cambogia).

I wish I knew how Holford was able to square this circle in his mind. Being able to live with such contradictions must be an invaluable business attribute.




Filed under patrick holford

8 responses to “Holford warns readers against “slimming pills”, but what about “weight loss” pills with his face on the bottle?

  1. Kat

    Well there is a possible mechanism for those working. Let’s face it, if you had a bottle labelled with Holfraud gurning at you, you’d be put off your food. Ergo, eat less, lose weight.

  2. @ Kat – good point, well made!

    this post really does go to the heart of nutri-woo industry’s tactics – “beware the pills that claim to do too much, take our pills instead…!”

  3. Even when he’s being vaguely sensible Holford manages to screw it up – he is rightly skeptical of slimming pills (none of which are very good) but his reasoning is that

    “You can’t cheat the body without paying a price. “

    As if the body were some kind of all-seeing, vengeful God. Or perhaps a Mafia don: “You messa with-a the Body, the Body messa with you!”

    Actually there’s no reason in theory why you couldn’t make the perfect slimming pill. It’s just that pharmacologists have yet to manage it yet.

  4. UK dietitian

    Do you think that Patrick has forgotten to take his anti- ‘H Factor’ B group vitamins and fish oils, so leading to vascular insufficiency that compromises brain blood flow, negatively affects short term memory and increases long term the risk of Alzheimers, dementia and Other Diseases Of The Brain Curable By An IONista For A Mere £2000 And Counting?

    Or is it just that he is becoming increasingly forgetful in his old age? Especially as the rest of us know that the supplements he tries to flog us have absolutely not a single shred of robust evidence to support their use in the prevention of age-related memory loss.

    This could make for interesting debate.

    [Admin edit: Redact pun on name] v Holford the Forgetful.

    • Sorry about the cheerless edit but Patrick Holford is very unsmilely about puns on his name.

      Curious to note that Patrick Holford’s blog entry for this is currently down – it would be odd if this, of all the many items to which we object, is one that he ponders and withdraws but it is probably just an admin support issue.

  5. sensible girl

    it is strange that he withdrew this rather than any other of his posts or articles. perhaps once one of his own advisers told him it was a bit rich he did have to rethink this 8)

  6. Pingback: Patrick Holford and Slimming Pills That Lack Evidence: Apparently, No Irony Intended « Holford Watch: Patrick Holford, nutritionism and bad science

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