Tag Archives: nutritionism

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


Filed under dietitian, nutrition, patrick holford

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

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

Patrick Holford Advises You to Remove Mercury Fillings and Undergo Chelation But Is Still Silent About Andrew Wakefield?

Former Visiting Professor Patrick Holford never fails to disappoint. The other day, I had noted that although he cleaves to his over-hyped enthusiasm for chromium supplements, the hyperbolic claims about cinnamon although still excessive were comparatively more nuanced than previous occasions – still wrong, but some useful nuance. I had hoped that this was the first green shoots of an improved approach to evidence.

However, Holford is now back to his usual form. He ignores the opportunity to update his advice for the ‘treatment’ of autism following the public revelations about the fraud and deliberate manipulation that irreperably taint Dr Andrew Wakefield and his research. He clutches instead for the topical subject of mercury fillings on Tonight with Trevor McDonald because it allows him to shill for his Alzheimer’s Prevention Plan. Patrick Holford displays no sense of taste or decorum – presumably he takes special supplements that confer the protection of a brass neck on him. Continue reading


Filed under Alzheimer's, Andrew Wakefield, chelation, heavy metal toxicity, mercury, nutrition, nutritionists, patrick holford, supplements

Patrick Holford Is Selling Gluten-Free Rice – Eh?

Totally Nourish Misleading text for Maharani Rice
Former Visiting Professor Patrick Holford is Head of Science and Education at Biocare so, presumably, they believe that he enhances their reputation and scientific credibility despite his recent egregious claim that “conventional medicine doesn’t have a very good track record“. However, he and his crack team of IONistas have been making some remarkable errors lately that are undermining the public understanding of even basic nutrition. It is difficult to know what Biocare makes of the recent claim in Patrick Holford’s 100%health newsletter that chicken drumstick and thigh are leaner than chicken breast and that the latter has a lower glycaemic load (both claims are best characterised as nonsense on stilts). We thought that the misinformation about chicken presented a new low but we were mistaken. Patrick Holford and mega-dosing, fish-oil replete, antioxidant-abundant team of IONistas[a] want to sell you rice. Not just any rice, Maharani rice that can justify its £5.99 per kg price tag because it is gluten-free and has a glycaemic index (GI) of 52. Excellent. Except that rice is already gluten-free unless you have added something to it and basmati rice has a GI of 58 which is not dramatically different. Continue reading


Filed under patrick holford

Working Lunch, Skinny Candy and the Implausibility of Sugar-Free Sweets

Wednesday 7 January, BBC’s Working Lunch has just run an interview with Sahar Hashemi of Skinny Candy. It wasn’t the point of the interview but along the way, we were treated to some credulous acceptance of the claims being made for the company’s products and the assertion that eating these is “guilt-free” at several points. Now, “guilt” is an subjective experience and cultural artifact in many ways and its association with food is tiresome and has possibly led to personal discomfort relating food issues for too many people. However, looking at the ingredients list and the calorie count for Skinny Candy products, the claims not only border on the nonsensical but both Sahar Hashemi and the interviewers failed to give the standard, “Children have a low tolerance for polyols so they should eat these with caution. Even adults probably can’t eat more than a restricted amount of these without experiencing a laxative effect and we should remind you that sugar-free does not mean calorie-free or even particularly low-calorie or low-carbohydrate”. Plus, there was a heavy emphasis on how these ‘guilt-free products’ were free of artificial sweeteners such as aspartame. Working Lunch is a business programme but that is no excuse for promoting nutritional wibble. Continue reading


Filed under nervology, nutrition

Seriously, What Do They Teach at the Institute for Optimum Nutrition Judging by the IONistas in the Public Eye?

What do they teach people at the Institute for Optimum Nutrition? When the founder of one’s alma mater is Former Visiting Professor Patrick Holford this might, occasionally, give one pause as to exactly what is taught to the aspiring cohorts of students of nutritionism. Patrick Holford set up the Institute of Optimum Nutrition as a limited company, back when he was in such a state of despair as to the disparity between his own auto-didact expertise and that of people who had actually studied the topic for several decades and researched it in rigorous detail, that he felt that he had no option but to set up his own institute of learning to spread his own special take on nutritionism throughout the tranche of gullible like-minded, well-heeled seekers after knowledge. Continue reading


Filed under Ben Goldacre, Holford, institute of optimum nutrition, ION, nutrition, nutritionists, patrick holford

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


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


Filed under patrick holford

Food for the Brain, Russell Partnership and Universities That Should Know Better: Updated

The Economist recently carried an article that reports a Food for the Brain conference and it linked to the charity, lending it some share of respectability. So, it is with bassoon notes of incompetence and inevitability that we learn of some Food for the Brain literature that has made its way into a café in Imperial College, London. Our sources tell us that, to date, no students have complained about the leaflet although there are 300 medical students, 200 biology students and many students of other science disciplines. So, either they thought it was an elaborate po-mo joke and they weren’t rising to it (if you’re at Imperial, there’s probably a good chance that you are already doing something right, vis-à-vis, using the brain well, studying efficiently) and dismissed it as yet another badly-written polemic by some interest group or other (actually…). Continue reading


Filed under Ben Goldacre, Food for the brain, Food for the brain foundation, Holford, Jerome Burne, patrick holford