Category Archives: weight loss

Patrick Holford and Slimming Pills That Lack Evidence: Apparently, No Irony Intended

Former Visiting Professor Patrick Holford may be Head of Science and Education at Biocare but he is not above blogging some very amusing doublethink[a] about weightloss pills for our enjoyment: Why I’m not a fan of slimming pills. Holford criticises starch blockers, fat blockers, appetite suppressants and slimming pills. He advises his readers to “[a]void them at all costs”. This is fairly unexceptional and would be worth little more than a scratch and a yawn were it not for the justifications that Holford offers for the reader’s merriment and if it were not that he has effectively re-issued a post that we had previously written up and that Holford subsequently withdrew.[b] We had assumed that Holford and his assistants had recognised the parlous blind spot concerning Holford’s own weight-loss products and recommendations but it seems not (which is a little sad as it vividly illustrates that the Holford-formulated Brain Food pack can’t be that effective). Continue reading

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Filed under 5-HTP, Cinnachrome, patrick holford, weight loss

Patrick Holford, Still Claiming IgG Levels Are Relevant to Food Intolerance and Weight Loss

Patrick Holford on ITV Lunchtime 16 April 2008
Former Visiting Professor Patrick Holford Head of Science and Education at Biocare so, presumably, they believe that he has scientific credibility and they persist in this belief despite the stack of evidence that might prompt them to revise their estimation of his scholarship, his level of discourse or hyperbolic styling as a in the field of health and nutrition. Holford is particularly obdurate on the topic of IgG tests for the diagnosis of food intolerance. Dr Robert Burton would probably find Holford’s continuing enthusiasm an interesting case-study for the next edition of Believing You Are Right Even When You’re Not. However, it may be understandable that Holford cleaves to this despite the explicit advice from actual immunologists and allergy researchers and clinicians because it makes up part of the platform that allows him to sell tests, pills and special diets that are guided by his books. Continue reading

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Filed under food intolerance, IgG tests, patrick holford, weight loss, yorktest

personaldietitians.co.uk – I can haz diet chocolate?

I Felled off Wagon'.  Cat with head in cereal box.

In Britain (and many other countries) dietitian is a protected title.  It is illegal to call oneself a dietitian in the UK without a proper qualification and HPC registration; the HPC regulates what dietitians do.  This is why we suggest on this blog that – if people are looking for health advice on their diet – they speak to a dietitian.  Because of this, when browsing the Internet (nothing to do with Patrick Holford) to see what type of web presence dietitians had, I was surprised to see what personaldietitians.co.uk was selling: a dubious-looking “Revolutionary Fat Loss Powder”, which has been

created by a dietitian specialising in obesity and weight loss. It contains organic ingredients such as ground flax seeds, seaweed and many useful vitamins and minerals all proven to play a role in fat metabolism, appetite control and activate fat loss

Among other things, this powder apparently

Decongests a sluggish liver and detoxifies the body to help you lose weight…Prevents you from losing muscle. When you lose weight you lose water, muscle and fat. However if you lose too much muscle, your metabolic rate drops and this makes it harder for you to lose further weight. The ingredients in the fat loss powder minimise muscle loss and makes it easier to tone up as you lose weight, a feature which many diets tend to ignore…The ingredients in the fat loss powder works with the pancreas and the liver to regulate the production of insulin which stops you feeling hungry and reduces food cravings. People with polycystic ovaries and diabetes have reported improved blood sugars.

There are lots of other claims – I suggest taking a look at the personaldietitians.co.uk page, so you can see these in context.  Entertainingly, the site also sells diet chocolate. Sadly, it doesn’t say how or why this works – but, anyway, until they invent diet pork crackling I’m not interested.

It’s easy to laugh at all this – diet chocolate, indeed – but there is a more serious issue at stake. The title of ‘dietitian’ carries a certain amount of weight Continue reading

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Filed under dietician, supplements, weight loss

Patrick Holford and the Bikini Diet

Patrick Holford has sent his latest email on weight-loss to our faithful reader, Precious Ramotswe. Mma Ramotswe has written to Holford Watch to ask for our advice.

Dear Holford Watch,

I am a traditionally-built lady, as you know. Most of the time, this is of great advantage to me (e.g., snakes know where I am and I can cast shade for small children), but I am subject to much advice on the topic of weight-loss. Patrick Holford has sent me an email about his eating programme. He exhorts me to “Be proud to be seen in [my] bikini this summer and switch to a low GL diet today”. I have looked through it but there is no mention of cake which makes me a little sad. However, it may be possible to put something together from oats and fruit, although that may make me sadder as it does not resemble cake. Continue reading

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Filed under 5-HTP, blood sugar, chromium, garcinia cambogia, GL diet, glycaemic load, glycemic load, HCA, Holford, patrick holford, supplements, weight loss

Patrick Holford and Supplements for Weight Loss: A Reader Asks

Patrick Holford has sent his latest email on weight-loss to our faithful reader, Precious Ramotswe. Mma Ramotswe has written to Holford Watch to ask for our advice.

Dear Holford Watch,

I am a traditionally-built lady, as you know. Most of the time, this is of great advantage to me (e.g., snakes know where I am and I can cast shade for small children), but I am subject to much advice on the topic of weight-loss. Patrick Holford has sent me an email about his eating programme. I have looked through it but there is no mention of cake which makes me a little sad. However, it may be possible to put something together from oats and fruit, although that may make me sadder as it does not resemble cake. Continue reading

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Filed under 5-HTP, chromium, chromium polynicotinate, garcinia cambogia, GL diet, HCA, Holford, patrick holford, weight loss

Think of the children! Food for the Brain advice could harm autistic kids?

UPDATE: Food for the Brain have responded to my criticisms by revising the page in question. The new text advises that those caring for autistic children “consider pursuing a wheat and dairy free diet which has proven helpful for some, but not all, autistic children. However we recommend you do so under medical supervision, or supervision of a dietician or nutritional therapist to ensure that suitable replacement foods are included that ensure your child achieves optimal nutrition.” While I haven’t had time to go over the page in detail, this is a clear improvement on the previous advice – and is very welcome.
This means that the version of the Food for the Brain site referred to in the below post is an older (out-of date) version of the site.

1Towards the start of the year, the Independent on Sunday reported allegations that a Food for the Brain intervention lead to an autistic girl suffering sleep problems and weight loss. I’ve already pointed out that Holford’s Brain Bio Centre’s online advice for kids with ADHD could also cause problems – because it advocates an overly restrictive diet. However, given the previous problems that Food for the Brain has had, you’d think it would be extremely careful not to give any potentially harmful advice to autistic kids and their parents. Well, you would expect this…

Actually, Food for the Brain’s ‘Action Plan’ for autistic children advises that they “avoid the remove the likely culprit foods such as wheat and dairy from the diet. In any case, avoid additives and preservatives.” Now, I’m not quite sure what ‘avoid the remove’ means – there are enough typos on Holford’s websites that you do wonder whether Holford and colleagues have got their brain-boosting supplement regimes quite right. However, it sounds like Food for the Brain is advising that large numbers of foods should be eliminated from the diets of autistic kids.

There is no mention of the need to seek the advice of a properly qualified medical professional – or any medical professional – to monitor the effects of such a radical intervention. However, when putting children on a restricted diet you do need to be careful that they get the Calories and nutrients they need in order to grow and thrive.

Just to be clear what I find so worrying, I’ll recap out some of what happened around Food for the Brain in the past:
– Food for the Brain put an autistic girl on a relatively restricted diet (despite knowing that she was already, before being put on this diet, “a very poor and fussy eater”). In January, the dietician Catherine Collins alleges that diet this made her lose weight and suffer sleep problems.
– In a March ‘clarification’ in the Independent on Sunday, Holford acknowledges that “[t]he temporary weight loss may have occurred when we put her on a gluten-free diet“.
– Happily, the weight loss was noticed and the girl was put onto a less restricted diet – which included the reintroduction of wheat pasta. Since this was done, the girl “has…regained the weight she lost“.
– Still, the Food for the Brain website advises that autistic children should be put on a gluten and dairy free diet, without mentioning the need to seek medical advice and supervision.

It sounds like the girl who was the subject of the Independent on Sunday’s March story may have been ‘lucky’ – her problems were noted, and she was taken off this gluten free diet. I really hope that no children will be harmed by the advice that is currently on the Food for the Brain website – but, if a restricted diet causes excessive weight loss and/or malnutrition, and if the child isn’t being supervised by a competent professional who can act to correct these problems, the risks really don’t bear thinking about…

This was meant to be a nice, light-hearted entry – but to be honest the thought of a ‘respectable’ charity giving out advice that could harm vulnerable kids (even after past experience should have taught them about the need for supervising this type of diet) makes me sick. Perhaps those running Food for the Brain could use the – no doubt considerable – thinking power of their cooperating brains in order to at least remove the dangerous advice from their website. I mean, before we get onto advice which is wrong and/or not backed up by sound evidence, couldn’t they just remove the advice which could lead to children being hurt.

Please.

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Filed under autism, children, elimination diets, Food for the brain foundation, harm, kids, patrick holford, restricted diets, weight loss