Tag Archives: nutrition

Patrick Holford, Shark Liver Oil and Walnuts

Patrick Holford on ITV Lunchtime 16 April 2008
Former Visiting Professor Patrick Holford is Head of Science and Education at Biocare. From time to time Holford has nothing but harsh words for randomised controlled trials and the perceived iniquity of systematic reviews or meta-analyses. Unless they confirm a point of view that he already holds, of course, or that he can adapt to the self-aggrandisement of his opinions. And so it is with some delight and no obvious trace of irony that Holford welcomes the release of a systematic review and meta-analysis that evaluates the impact of incorporating walnuts into the diet and outcomes for blood lipids as a proxy for a risk factor for cardiovascular disease. Or, as Holford so pithily phrases it, Go (wal) nuts this summer – walnuts lower your cholesterol (as ever, you need to go to the home page to read the first paragraph but Holford is handily re-cycling his blog posts as email newsletters which must be value for money). Continue reading

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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

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What Prevents People From Eating a Healthier Diet?

I’ve been wondering what it is that so irritating about a certain type of food and health writer, the sort that moralises and pontificates about the food that the population should be eating. Media-hyped examples would be Gillian McKeith and her Abundant Foods list that includes vinegars and Tamari (who considers them to be food rather than ingredients?), or Patrick Holford and his low GL recommendations that can involve about £9 worth of berries per person, per day. Holford claims that people who are optimally nourished don’t become ill and don’t need medicine.

McKeith and Holford both stress that people should eat organic fruit, vegetables, meat or eggs.  Given that they target a comparatively affluent market demographic and recommend a diet that is studded with supplements, it is possibly irrelevant to them that this is neither affordable nor sustainable for much of the population. Continue reading

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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

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

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

Holford on Kim Hill’s Radio New Zealand show

We were concerned to hear Patrick Holford featuring in a truly disappointing interview on Kim Hill’s Saturday morning radio show: he was given over 50 minutes, almost unchallenged, to assert a whole manner of dubious claims. Patrick Holford – introduced as a “British nutritionist” – was allowed to share his wisdom on such things as addiction, HIV/AIDS, Alzheimer’s Disease and cancer. I can’t deal with this all here – you really need to listen to the show in its entirety to fully appreciate how often it hits you round the head with the stupid stick – but I will note a few low/highlights. I should also say that we did e-mail the show before broadcast to raise some concerns; however, they chose to give Holford the opportunity to share his wisdom with their listeners, almost unchallenged. Continue reading

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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

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The Curse of the Monkey’s Paw Lives On – Poor Dr John Marks

Patrick Holford on ITV Lunchtime 16 April 2008
Former Visiting Professor Patrick Holford is Head of Science and Education at Biocare so, presumably, they would find it comforting to believe that well-respected medical authorities and scientists endorse Patrick Holford’s work and lend it scientific credibility by association. What does Biocare think of Patrick Holford clinging to endorsements from Dr John Marks and Professor Andre Tylee, so long after they have made it clear that they wish him to stop trading on their names? Continue reading

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Daily Record Promotes Nutritionism Nonsense: There Is A Patrick Holford Connection, Of Course

Former Visiting Professor Patrick Holford and Head of Science and Education at Biocare has an outstanding PR and marketing team. A recent wheeze is to offer newspapers some free editorial in exchange for some promotion of Holford’s 100%health subscription service. Now, we’ve commented on the quality of this service on several occasions and questioned whether it represents value for money. However, in these times of repeated laments about the economic downturn and the need for belt-tightening, the Daily Record nonetheless decided to take advantage of this dubiously useful offer: Make Nutrition Your Mission. It’s sadly predictable than in amongst the stuff that your mother and grandmother have been telling you for years, there is some nonsense that is so egregious that it would make your eyes bulge if this were not par for the course with a certain sort of nutritionist. When their work is reproduced online, it needs to be accompanied by a sound file of the bassoon notes of incompetence so that irritated readers have a ready outlet for their feelings. Continue reading

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Filed under Food for the brain, glycaemic load, institute of optimum nutrition, ION, nutrition, patrick holford

How to Make Science Entertaining: Neuroskeptic on Science Journalism

When I was very young (but old enough to have cooperative siblings) I used to write elaborate stories and adapt them for public performances. I was slightly hampered by the lack of props and improvised with whatever was to hand (my bricoleur years). Some of the props weaved a certain theatrical magic but others didn’t have quite the impact that I had intended.

One of the more notable failures was my recreation of the view from a hot-air balloon: my sisters’ constant requests for stories that involved fairies over-taxed my costume design and creation skills as well as resources and actual interest in fairies. Instead of fairies, I decided to include an element of high-rise excitement by offering a bit-part as Madeleine Sophie Armant Blanchard. Everyone got to share in the hot-air ballooning experience by queuing up for their turn to kneel on my grandfather’s somewhat wobbly saw horse to which I had tacked a basket weave of cardboard strips that I had stained with tea (both sides for the full illusion); Continue reading

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