Tag Archives: food intolerance

Patrick Holford and the Vitamins for Asthma That Become All About Food Intolerance and YorkTest

I have explained this many times
Patrick Holford is Head of Science and Education at Biocare and a busy man. However, he has a little time on his hands since becoming a former Visiting Professor at the University of Teesside so he started a blog on which only paying-subscribers were allowed to comment. Sadly, despite the additional writing practice, Holford’s ability to provide accurate references or even link to the correct paper has not improved. We also have a splendid example of flip-flopping on the value of meta-analyses that is nicely captured in a recent Will Wilkinson summary of David Brooks:

Scientists have discovered X. Mostly X vanquishes my intellectual bugbears and confirms me in my prejudices. To the extent it doesn’t, science isn’t really an authoritative source of wisdom, now is it?

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Filed under patrick holford, supplements, vitamin c, yorktest

Anton Emmanuel on why IgG testing for intolerances is not a useful diagnostic tool

Dr Anton Emmanuel is a Senior Lecturer in Gastroenterology at UCL. He has also studied the use of IgG testing kits – specifically, Yorktest testing kits. His research has been referred to (very likely inappropriately) by Yorktest in defence of their products. He is also one of the experts listed as backing Food Intolerance Awareness – which refers people to Yorktest for IgG tests.

When Radio 4’s Case Notes investigated food intolerance, Emmanuel was interviewed re IgG testing. We were surprised to hear him offering a rather (in our opinion, appropriately) negative assessment of the diagnostic value of such tests for identifying food intolerances.

Emmanuel is introduced by the presenter as not being very impressed with testing kits, and describes this process of testing as “not nearly as specific as one would like it to be”. For Emmanuel, the fact that wheat, yeast etc. come up often on these tests probably reflects “as much as anything else, our exposure to these things in our diet” rather than a specific intolerance/allergy.

Emmanuel is not impressed with these tests due to, among other issues:

  • No external standard as to levels which show intolerance: the tests rely on internal standards which aren’t as robust as one might like.
  • The effects in the patients Emmanuel has seen using these tests have largely been unimpressive, period. Even where patients did appear to benefit, results have not been great in the longer term.
  • A slightly leaky gut may lead to an IgG response to various proteins. It is erroneous to tie this response to specific proteins.

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Filed under food intolerance, patrick holford, yorktest

Allergy UK Wants YorkTest IgG Food Intolerance Tests Available on NHS

I am constantly in awe of the resilience of people and companies: their nonsense can be exposed in the most public of fora and yet they bounce right back with their marketing message unchanged or tactfully edited but still ignoring the point that it is underpinned by nonsense. Former Visiting Professor Patrick Holford comes to mind as does Nas Amir Ahmadi of Detox in a Box. YorkTest (so beloved of Patrick Holford, Allergy UK, and a slew of self-declared experts as well as TV doctors) is another such company. YorkTest offers a food intolerance product that has been declared irrelevant by clinical allergists and immunologists and publicly deprecated but manages to garner pages of laudatory press coverage through its attractive press releases and to win customers because it ‘sounds science-y’. Recently, YorkTest piggybacks onto Allergy UK‘s Blossom Awareness Week to highlight the issue of allergies in children. Continue reading


Filed under food intolerance, home test, IgG tests, patrick holford, yorktest

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


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

Totally Nourish using Food Intolerance Week to advertise Maharani ‘gluten free rice’

cat looking at hedgehog

Although Holford is currently hoping to collaborate with an (as yet unknown to us) university – to (try to) research treatments for schizophrenia – we are not impressed by his learning. Given that we pulled apart the advertising of Maharani rice as “gluten free” almost a week ago, it is now disappointing to be forwarded an e-mail from Biocare’s Totally Nourish urging readers to:

Try Maharani rice this Food Intolerance week…Originating from Karnal in Northern India, this best kept secret has a wealth of benefits…Healthy. With a low Glycaemic Index (52) and no gluten, this rice has all the goodness normally associated with brown rice.

As we have said, rice is naturally gluten-free (this is why rice flour is used in some gluten-free products). Rice will only contain gluten if this is deliberately added during processing, or if there is accidental contamination. It is, already, difficult and expensive enough to eat a gluten-free diet: the last thing that people on this diet need is to be convinced that they need to eat special rice which sells for £5.99/kg.

The low GI of the rice is definitely interesting (although not massively different from basmati rice).  52 is impressive for something which only needs 20 minutes of cooking: GI sometimes increases with the duration of cooking. We have contacted Maharani Rice to ask which lab they used to test this, and will await the response with interest.


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Holford gives poor advice about dietary restrictions for children. Again

Last year, Food for the Brain modified some advice on dietary exclusions for children – when we pointed out that such changes should be implemented under medical and/or dietetic supervision. We were therefore disappointed to see iAfrica reporting Holford’s advice that “in order to maximise your children’s potential” you should:

Take your child off foods with additives or added sugar [and] Eliminate allergens from the diet…If you suspect your child is intolerant to a particular food, eliminate it from their diet and monitor the difference/reaction. If after two weeks if you see no difference in the behaviour or symptoms, reintroduce it and see if there’s a reaction. The most common foods that cause problems are wheat, gluten (the protein found in wheat, barley, rye and to a lesser extent oats), diary foods and eggs.

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Filed under allergies, elimination diets, Food for the brain, Food for the brain foundation, intolerance, patrick holford

Ian Marber, The Food Doctor, The Mail and The Curate’s Egg

Ian Marber recently contributed an article to Mail on Sunday: The Food Doctor: How to beat the bloat. Like the curate’s egg, it is good in parts but clearly shows the long-term after-effects of taking one’s education at the Institute for Optimum Nutrition. It was good to see an IONista acknowledge that the blood tests that measure IgG levels to diagnose food intolerance have little utility. However, with a heavy heart, it was with a degree of incredulity that we read Marber’s explanation for bloating – yeast. Yes, although Marber disdains the relevance of IgG food intolerance tests, it looks like he is still promoting yeast as a villain. Yeast, the stalwart income-earner of nutritionists everywhere: the bloat by any other name that smells so foul. Continue reading


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When Constipation Becomes a National Pastime or Why Japan Is An Awful Warning to Us All

It is a cliché that certain generations and demographics in the UK are obsessed by their bowel movements. However, for what probably seem like tremendously good reasons of public health, Times Educational Supplement has revealed that Japan Toilet Institute has successfully introduced a campaign about their special interest into schools in Japan. Continue reading


Filed under children, Holford, patrick holford

You and Yours on Which? Investigation into Food Intolerance Tests

Listen again while you can: BBC Radio 4’s You and Yours on Which?‘s Investigation into Food Intolerance Testing with participation from Dr Mike Walker of Cambridge Nutritional Sciences Ltd.

One note that should be of particular interest to Patrick Holford, given his claims for IgG testing in the diagnosis of food intolerance, is a significant change in stance by the companies who promote, distribute and carry out such tests. We shall write more about this at a later date but Walker was at pains to stress that the Cambridge Nutritional Sciences’ IgG test is indicative of food intolerance but not diagnostic of food intolerance. The tap-dancing on this point was painful and brought a similar episode to mind involving Patrick Holford and his qualifications. Continue reading


Filed under allergies, food intolerance, patrick holford, yorktest

Update on Which?, YorkTest and Selective Quoting in Google Sponsored Links

YorkTest claims that Which? describes IgG as "validated scientific test"
Today’s Google is remarkably free of YorkTest sponsored links such as the one that we highlighted in our discussion of Which?, YorkTest and Cambridge Nutritional Sciences. The Google ad claimed: “Which? Magazine Report Says “Validated Scientific Test”” which is as blatant an example of quote mining as most people will ever encounter. The sponsored links have switched back to highlighting “Endorsed by Allergy UK”. Continue reading

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Filed under food intolerance, IgG tests, yorktest