Tag Archives: health

Joanna Blythman: Please Read the Data Appendices About Organic Food Before Conjuring ‘Cancerous Conspiracies’: Part 1

Dear Daily Mail Editors: congratulations on a very dramatic headline. A cancerous conspiracy to poison your faith in organic food: that is pure genius, building nicely on the recent reprimand to ‘the authorities’ for making us Scared to death? The REAL worry is today’s culture of fear. You will understand how many readers chuckled to read that the Daily Mail, of all newspapers, is accusing others of scare-mongering. Continue reading


Filed under Current events, nutrition

FSA’s Low Income Diet and Nutrition Survey: Some Snippets

The Eating within recommended dietary guidelines and on a budget project is having some difficulties. Not, oddly, on the actual shopping, cooking or budgeting fronts but the dietary analysis that I want to perform. On the upside, I have located some useful figures relating to low income diet, nutrient intake and food spend budgets. Continue reading

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Filed under health

How To Compile an Affordable Diet that Includes Recommended Vitamins and Minerals

Washington Post carries a thought-provoking and slightly depressing article: Even a Dietitian Can Find It Hard to Craft a Diet That Covers All the Bases. Essentially, even a very experienced Registered Dietitian found it difficult to design a diet that met all the dietary guidelines within 1800 calories (day’s menu for a hypothetical 35-year-old, 5-foot-4-inch woman who weighs 130 pounds and exercises three times a week) and that isn’t taking issues such as affordability into account. Continue reading


Filed under dietitian, nutrition, supplements, vitamins

People Successfully Convinced that Healthy Food Is Expensive So Resorting to Supplement Pills: Patrick Holford and Vitazyme

Patrick Holford on ITV Lunchtime 16 April 2008
Former Visiting Professor Patrick Holford is Head of Science and Education at Biocare so he has a substantial and understandable interest in selling supplements. Creating a large-scale market for supplements depends upon several factors. The factors include convincing people that:

  • they have clinical or ‘sub-clinical’ vitamin or mineral deficiencies
  • the food that is commonly available and forms their regular diet is deficient in vitamins, minerals and other micro-nutrients
  • there is good evidence that supplements improve health or are adequate prophylactics.

All of these claims will be familiar from regular media items or the work of those with self-conferred expertise in nutritionism. Continue reading


Filed under patrick holford, supplements

Patrick Holford Promotes His Apocryphal Homocysteine Gospel in The News of the World

Patrick Holford on ITV Lunchtime 16 April 2008
Former Visiting Professor Patrick Holford is Head of Science and Education at Biocare who display the indulgence of peculiarly fond family members in declaring him to be an innovative thinker and expert despite the many faux pas and errors that have been highlighted in his work. Biocare must be delighted to have their most high profile media nutritionist’s work featured in News of the World (NotW): Look 10 Years Younger with the H-Factor. Continue reading


Filed under cancer, H Factors, health, homocysteine, patrick holford, supplements

Daily Express, Better You, The Leadership Factor and Laura Clout: the Yes Minister approach to market research

We were shocked to see a Sunday Express story by Laura Clout, stating that:

Research by natural health firm BetterYou [which sells nutritional supplements] found that more than eight in ten of us do not eat fruit and vegetables in our daily diet.

These is a really striking figure, so we asked BetterYou for the research behind it. They, and their PR agency Lucre Communications, were very helpful with our questions: the research was carried out online by The Leadership Factor, with a total sample of 1,000 adults. However, we found a number of issues with this research. As you’ll see in the above Yes Minister clip, there is a noble British tradition of surveys which reliably give certain answers and – while this may be entirely accidental – The Leadership Factor and BetterYou appear to have followed this great tradition. Continue reading


Filed under Current events

Daily Mail, Jerome Burne Want to Scare or Mis-inform Readers About the Chickenpox Vaccine

Distressed child receives a vaccination

Distressed child receives a vaccination

Every day there are important and essential discussions about the UK vaccination schedule. These discussions take place in Well-Baby Clinics, with doctors and nurses, with family members and friends, queuing in the supermarket, on message boards and blogs and the pages of newspapers. The common thread to all of them is the need for good quality, appropriate information.

So, what were the Daily Mail and Jerome Burne thinking when they put together this latest compilation of innuendo framed by the emotive photograph of a distressed child who seems trapped between two uncaring, faceless white coats? Continue reading


Filed under Jerome Burne, patrick holford

Holford: chromium “is well known to help stabilise blood sugar levels in diabetics at daily doses of 500mcg or more”

Another Holford blog entry argues that chromium

is well known to help stabilise blood sugar levels in diabetics at daily doses of 500mcg or more.

We think that it’s a bit more complicated than that. This issue is a favourite of Holford’s who cleaves to his opinion arguments that chromium supplementation should be focused on those who are known to be chromium deficient.

We posted a detailed discussion of this here, some time ago and as recently as November we suggested that it was time for him to update his recommendations. We would be pleased if Holford would take this on board. However, the restrictive comments policy on his blog does not allow us to post a comment to remind him of this interesting, important detail.



Filed under patrick holford, supplements

Patrick Holford and Zeitgeist Addendum

Patrick Holford’s latest blog post advises readers that:

If you are suffering as a result of recession, and under the immense stress of real or pending debt; if you are confused about how countries can pump billions of currency into the banking system, or go bust; if you have effectively become enslaved, working harder and harder, to cover your own costs; then you might be interested in knowing how money is made – why all money is debt – how the ultimate control over people, the modern day equivalent of salvery, is achieved through money. If so, I would strongly recommend you see the film Zeitgeist Addendum.

For an holistic understanding of health and illness (I refuse to write about ‘wellness’) it certainly is important to understand the complexities of human societies. Recession – and its consequences, such as rising unemployment and financial uncertainty – can have significant health impacts. This is a serious topic, and it is therefore unfortunate that Holford’s expertise here is on a par with his knowledge of the field of nutrition: Zeitgeist Addendum is an unfortunate choice of video to recommend. Wikipedia on Zeitgeist Movie and Addendum gives a flavour of the horrors of the Addendum. The Irish Times was one of the few papers to review the Movie: Zeitgeist: the nonsense.

These are surreal perversions of genuine issues and debates, and they tarnish all criticism of faith, the Bush administration and globalisation – there are more than enough factual injustices in this world to be going around without having to invent fictional ones.

One really wishes Zeitgeist was a masterful pastiche of 21st-century paranoia, a hilarious mockumentary to rival Spinal Tap. But it’s just deluded, disingenuous and manipulative nonsense.

Sadly, practice does not make perfect and Zeitgeist Addendum is not an improvement.

Rather than offering an holistic account of the effects of recession on public health, Holford simply recommends a conspiracy theory video. Of course, a single credulous reference to a largely worthless source does not make a Holford text: Holford shows how much he cares by bringing his own special touch, over-extrapolating from this film to fit his own special agenda Continue reading


Filed under patrick holford

The Daily Record on Holford’s “Online Guide To Complete Health And Happiness”

The Daily Record have learned nothing from their previous gaffe in which they allowed an IONista to dispense erroneous information about food. Not content with that previous free advertising for Patrick Holford’s subscription service, they now argue that

YOU can now take the guesswork out of getting healthy with a leading nutrition expert [Patrick Holford’s] new online programme and website…The huge benefit of this programme is it gives clear and practical advice based on the user’s relationship between what they eat, their lifestyle and their everyday symptoms.

Readers can judge for themselves if Holford can correctly be described as a “leading nutrition expert”. However, that aside, we would argue that things are inevitably more complex than this. Many factors are involved in health and happiness, and is always a strong element of chance – for example, a healthy lifestyle may not help if you are hit by a bus. The idea that one can reduce health and happiness to an answer produced by an online programme is hideously reductive and simplistic. Readers with a good memory may recall how much Patrick de [sic] Vinci Holford loathes reductionism, much as it uses it to sell his pills. Continue reading


Filed under patrick holford