Archive for June, 2008


June 28, 2008

It is now Summer. Hurrah. You know what that means readers the Summer edition of Optimum NutritIon magazine is now with us. To save you the trouble of purchasing it I picked up a copy this afternoon. It is published by the Institute for Optimum Nutrition and comes with 52 pages of cutting edge analysis from the frontiers of nutritional knowledge, along with about ten pages of advertisements as well. Interestingly there is no mention of the ION’s founder, Mr Patrick Holford. Most of the articles were fairly uncontroversial, but a few stuck out. I have not got the time, inclination or scientific expertise to analyse the whole magazine, but perhaps you would allow me to share two articles with you.

Columnist Valerie Morant courageously investigates colonic irrigation: “But what exactly is colonic irrigation? (…) With some apprehension, I approached [a] colonic specialist (…) to find out.” Why exactly Ms Morant felt the need to be cleansed we are not told. However, apparently “by observing what waste material passes down the tube, the therapist can tell a lot about the state and health of the colon.” Now I am not a nutritionist, but I would imagine the reason our body discharges certain things as waste is because it does not need them. If anyone reading this column does know a thing or two about nutrition it would be interesting to have your comments. Our intrepid explorer of new detoxification techniques reports that she felt exhausted for two days afterwards. However, she goes to say that her digestion now feels more efficient and she will be returning for more of the same in two weeks time.

You will doubtless not be surprised to learn that colonic irrigation is not recommended by the so-called orthodox medical establishment. The Wikipedia article on the subject is very informative.  See:

It would appear its “use is not supported by mainstream medical practitioners and governing bodies, who recommend the use of enemas only in cases of constipation, though its use to treat a variety of ailments has persisted in popular use despite lacking scientific support.”  See for example, and

However, readers of Optimum Nutrition magazine are not made aware of the modern medicine’s skepticism of colonic irrigation.  The magazine merely adds the following rather weak disclaimer: “A word of caution. Colonic irrigation can be damaging to some people. ION does not recommend anyone to undergo this procedure without first consulting a fully qualified medical practioner.”  Who would that be?  If you consult a doctor or nurse they would probably advise against the procedure. I wonder what the holder of a Dip ION would advise?  If you do have problems with your digestion I would recommend asking  your GP to refer you to a state registered dietician.

(The full article can be found on page 50 of Optimum Nutrition magazine, Summer 2008 edition, published by the ION.)



June 27, 2008

In the last episode of The Day of the Nutrionista Captain Bellodi recruits an assistant. Before they can discuss their mission they learn of the death of Sir Montgomerie Scott-Wilson, the MP for Basingstoke.

Sir Montgomerie had never been a believer in optimum nutrition. In fact you might say his life was about proving the healthy eating lobby wrong. He loved his wine, salt, sugar and saturated fats. Unfortunately this led to him being rather overweight. So there he was sitting lifeless in his study with a bottle of wine at his side. Actually he looked pretty much like he did when he was doozing in the debating chamber of The House of Commons.

“Hmmm, he was drinking some Nettlay claret,” said Sergeant Sexton. “He obviously went happy. What do you think of this optimum nutrition lark, Sir? Is it all controlled by Gillian MacKeith and Patrick Holford?” “No, no they are just the fall guys. It is like when I was investigating the Mafia there was the ones who did the crime, but a shadowy boss behind the scenes organising it all.” “So,” gasped Sgt Sexton, “You think there is a controlling mind behind it all?” “Definitely, but would they kill for their ideas? Difficult to say.” “Yessss, well it is not as though anyone is against Optimum Nutrition is it? I mean has anyone ever written a book called the Sub-Optimum Nutrition Bible? Even Macdonalds are putting nutritional labels on their products.” “How do you know that Sgt Sexton?”  At that point Captain Bellodi’s phone rang saving Sgt Sexton having to explain her lapses in to sub-optimal nutrition.  “No, no Prime Minister it looks like his diet killed him rather than any third party.  Yes, that may well be what THEY want us to think. Umm … but that’s what has happened. Okay, you have got to be off to see the chairman of Nettlay. We’ll keep you updated.”

“So there’s going to be a by-election now, Sir. I do love a good by-election. They are quite a treasured feature of British politics you know allowing students and political junkies the opportunity to stay up all night. Boy we have had some exciting by-elections over the years. Oxford in 1938 on the issue of appeasement – vote for Hogg and save your bacon!  Torrington in 1958, the first sign of the revival of the Liberal Party. Bringing things right up to date we have the Crewe and Nant-”  “Yes, yes sergeant but what exactly is going to happen next?”  “Well there will be a by-election in Basingstoke of course!  Still I can’t see it being a major political upset as it’s a safe Conservative seat.”

At that point the news came on:  “In a development that has shocked the established parties. A new political force has announced its intention of contesting the upcoming Basingstoke by-election …”

To be continued ….


June 17, 2008

As many of you will know there has been a lot of controversy regarding Patrick Holford’s 2007 appointment as a visiting Professor at the University of Teeside. (In what exactly he was a visiting we never found out as Teeside did not seem very keen on letting him call himself a professor of nutrition.)

According to Holford Watch he has resigned. This is rather puzzling as his website still mentions his visiting professorship. Moreover as far as I am aware, Teeside has not made any official announcement about his departure. Now I have no reason to doubt Holford Watch as they are usually very good at checking sources so what exactly is happening here?

My guess is that senior management at Teeside have got rather fed up with the trouble Mr Holford is causing them. They would like him to go, but have not really got the stomach to get involved in a long and drawn out legal dispute with him.  He realises he is not welcome so has offered his resignation. However, in return for departing quickly he wants some compensation. Both sides will doubtless want a confidentiality agreement.  They are probably hoping none of us have noticed what is going on, though I have a sneaking suspicion some one has already briefed Private Eye magazine. Oh dear.



June 17, 2008

Often, as one is strolling through the supermarket one finds rather bizarre claims on labels. That is of course assuming you are not in a hurry and have the time to read the labels.

Professor David Colquhoun coined the excellent description of nutri-bullocks with regard to products with exaggerated or just plain daft claims about them.

This week’s product is Golden Lay eggs as recommended by our friend Patrick Holford.  Now they are rich in omega 3 due to the seeds the chickens have been fed on. The label is that the best sources of omega 3 are oily fish, but that lots of people don’t know how to cook mackerel.

Now let me give our friends at Golden Lay a basic cookery lesson. Turn the grill on your oven to a moderate setting. Place a mackerel fillet under the grill and leave it there for a couple of minutes. Then turn it over and do the over side.  While this is happening spread a slice of rye bread with a thin scrape of margarine. Place the fillet on top and serve with some lettuce and tomatoes.

There you have it – omega 3, fresh vegetables and a portion of wholegrain. Not to difficult ehhh readers?


The Day of The Nutritionista Part I

June 15, 2008

As the minister for food drove through Whitehall his car was pelted with fish oil supplements. Of course the event could have been a coincidence totally unrelated to his statement in the House of Commons the previous day that there was no proof of the effectiveness of supplements. Perhaps it was young hooligans or perhaps ….. it was an assassination attempt. The government knew what it had to do.

Captain Bellodi was a senior officer in the Italian police force. Due to his success in combating the Mafia he had been appointed to the European Union’s Bad Science Task Force charged with routing out and investigating nonsense.  He arrived at Heathrow on a bright sunny day.  “Could this be the home of optimum nutrition?” he asked himself. “This sceptred isle. Land of the free. Home of John Locke, Bertand Russell, John Stuart Mill, Florence Nightingale, Winston Churchill and Monty Python.”  Yes, he knew the people of Britain and found it difficult to believe they were falling for nutri-bullocks in large numbers.

Apparently it was all centred on a shadowy organisation known as Basingstoke Nutritionists. Who were they and what they was doing was something he had to find out and fast before some one got hurt.

First though he had to find a local to help him out some one familiar perhaps with nutrition?

“Yes sir, I come from an multi-ethnic background in a cosmopolitan city. What is more I have done postgraduate training in dietetics at Kings College, London. What I don’t about anything isn’t worth knowing. What is more I do like food. It is much nicer than supplements ehhh?  Anyway, my name’s Sgt Sexton. Pleased to be working with you.”

“Look,” replied Capain Bellodi, “This is a serious endeavour. The fate of western civilisation could be at stake.”  “Il mio capitano, I am very serious.”

At that moment a breathless police officer arrived in the room: “Excuse me for interrupting you captain, but we have just had some breaking news in. Sir Montgomerie Wilson-Watson, the MP for Basingstoke has been found dead.”

To be continued ……


Going to see a Dip ION Nutrition Therapist

June 15, 2008

Some years ago now I met up with an old friend I had not seen for some time. She was off on a date. It turned out that she had met a charismatic and intelligent person on an internet dating site. “Wow,” I said, “what does this person do?” My friend was a little hesitant as if she did not really know what her date did for a living. “Well he is not a dietititan as they take orders from doctors. He spent a number of years feeling a little ill and constantly bothering his doctor. He then discovered a book by Patrick Holford which revolutionised his life in an unimaginable way. He is now full of energy, needs very little sleep and feels he can tackle anything.  The ideal boyfriend really!”

My friend suggested I purchased a copy of the Optimum Nutrition Bible by Patrick Holford. It was a little long. I can’t really say I understood it all and – between you and me – I only read about half of it. Still there seemed to be lots of impressive foot notes and references.  It seemed just what I needed. Once I had fully grasped the concepts of optimum nutrition I would be able to have the brilliant life I truly deserved – a brilliant job, glamorous women chasing me and a never ending stream of invitations to parties. [Okay, okay I admit it in my younger days I was rather shallow and superficial.]

Fortunately, the book offered a guide to help me make sense of the world of optimum nutrition. By logging on to Patrick Holford’s website I could find out the location of my nearest nutrition therapist. As luck would have it there was one practising in my local town so I asked Mr Holford to send my details to him. Within 24 hours I received an email inviting me to a consultation with the renowned Basingstoke Nutritionists.  Prompt service or what??  My life was about to change!

Before Basingstoke Nutritionists would agree to meet me I had to fill out a long and detailed questionnaire. To be honest with you, dear readers, like the aforementioned book the form was a little difficult to understand. It asked me about my bowel movements, whether I ever had headaches, felt tired or depressed. In short did I ever have any problems?  Well, I had to answer in the affirmative, but it was impossible for me to know whether to indicate on the form whether my problems were serious or not. Never mind a 1 1/4 consultation was surely all that was needed to set myself on the path of optimum nutrition and live the life that I truly, truly deserved. Anyway I sent off the form together with a record of the meals I had eaten over the last few days.

I expected the consultation to be at a health clinic, but surprisingly it turned out the address I was going to was a private residence in a reasonably posh area of Basingstoke. However, my therapist took me to a consultation room upstairs. I had to remove my shoes first though, obviously an indication that we were about to set foot on hallowed ground.

We then started the consultation. We discussed my meals of the last few days. The previous Saturday I had missed lunch whilst rushing about. This, apparently, was not a good thing. “How did you get through the afternoon with only a packet of peanuts to eat? Weren’t you short of energy?”  I had no answer to that and considered myself suitably admonished. My father had generously cooked me dinner the previous evening.  It was a Sunday roast with beer, followed by a chocolate and a coffee. I was going to apologise for the red meat, but to my surprise he did not disapprove. It turned out a bit of red meat in one’s diet was not a probelm.  I was sure Patrick Holford had once claimed to be a vegarian who ate fish, but who was I to argue?  Unfortunately, having chocolate, coffee and alchohol at one sitting was not a good idea. Not sure why, but again who was I to argue.

I then confessed to feeling a bit stressed in my job. He said dietary changes might help, but essentially we could not change the person I was, but then we would not want to would we?  At this point I felt extremely disappointed.  What about the new, exciting and glamorous life that Patrick Holford and my friend’s date promised me?  Not to worry as it turned out there was a glimmer hope for me. Citrus fruits caused stress so therefore I was advised to avoid them.

We then turned to my shopping habits. It turned out I was visiting the wrong sections of the supermaket. I hoped to earn some praise with the fact I had recently bought some of Prince Charles’ organic lemonade.  This did not impress him. “But it IS organic,” I protested. It turned out this was all a marketing ploy by manufactuers of ill repute. Moreover, chocolate and crisps were also out.

There was a final part to our consultation. He suggested I might like to try some vitamin and fish oil pills. Perhaps this could be a means of procuring the glamorous life that I so richly craved and deserved? Alas, the pills were extra, but what price happiness ehhh?

So with my wallet £70 or so lighter I left to start my new life ……