The Myths of Holford Myths

Patrick Holford now has a section of his website devoted to answering his critics:

In less than an hour I was able to demolish four of the myths. Goodness knows what some one who understands the science could do ….. Only the need to iron this week’s shirts prevented me continuing. Here we go:

Myth: Anyone can call themselves a nutritional therapist

Well, no Patrick what’s to stop me calling myself a nutrition therapist. I am not a member of BANT so am not bound by its “strict code of ethics.”

Myth: Only dieticians and doctors are qualified to give diet advice

Patrick Holford appears to think dietitians are regulated by the British Dietetic Association. Actually, the BDA is a professional association and trade union. The body that polices them is the Health Professions Council. It is odd that he or whoever wrote the website was unaware of that fact. He claims that the Dip ION qualification “provides considerably more qualification [sic – a strange way of putting it] to advise an individual about their nutritional needs.” This is a rather odd statement given that dietitians train for four years and nutrition therapists train for what is the equivalent of two full-time years of study.

He claims nutrition therapists are regulated by the Nutrition Therapy Council. As far as I can see this is not currently the case. The NTC has been given about £900K of taxpayers cash to set up a regulatory framework, but as we saw a few weeks ago this is very much a work-in-progress with Dip ION therapists being asked to get up to speed on pharmacology:

Moreover, they do not seem to be doing much regulating at the moment: It seems that whilst transitional arrangements are in place any member of the public wishing to complain should get in touch with the Ethics Committee of the practitioners’ professional body. Strange then that on their homepage the NTC says: Practitioners do not need to be members of an association to apply for registration with the NTC. So to sum up the NTC are not regulating anyone at the moment and they are happy to accept members who not members of any professional association. I wonder if having having read Nutrition for Dummies would qualify me for membership of the NTC. Certainly, if Barbara Nash had read the chapter on electrolytes it would have saved her some problems.

Let’s remember when the regulatory framework is finally set up and in place it will be entirely voluntary. Statutory regulation of doctors began with The Medical Act 1858. Therefore doctors are 150 years ahead of the NTC! There is an interesting article about regulation of doctors here:

He claims nutrition therapists are able to micro-manage an individual’s nutritional health. However, as I discovered to my cost (about £70 actually) this is not possible in practice.

Myth: Patrick Holford has no qualifications

He, “is Visiting Professor at the School of Social Sciences and Law at the University of Teesside.” Ummm, no you are not Patrick. You really need to read another section of your website to remind yourself about your current responsibilities: Your CV clearly states “-2008” against the University of Teeside.

Myth: Patrick Holford owns a vitamin company and/or is a vitamin salesman

Earlier this year Neautrahealth issued the following information to the London Stock Exchange: They went on talk about their purchase of Health Products for Life: “The acquisition also saw us agree a licensing arrangement with Patrick Holford that has resulted in the launch of a product range, consisting of 20 products that are co-branded Patrick Holford and BioCare.”

Clearly BioCare see Patrick as some one who will help them sell vitamin pills. I suppose if one were being rather pedantic one would say that Patrick was marketing pills he had produced in association with others rather than merely selling them.  His first association was with Higher Nature. I note he is no longer publicizing their products on his website.  Presumably the licensing agreement prohibits him from doing so.



4 Responses to “The Myths of Holford Myths”

  1. dvnutrix Says:

    Gosh – as recently went through quite a considerable revamp, one might imagine that they had seized the opportunity to update parts of it.

    And, that now-defunct Visiting Professorship had nothing at all to do with relevant qualifications (as you know).

    Still, what’s accuracy when you are ostensibly setting the record straight.

  2. LeeT Says:

    Being charitable I am just wondering whether he had actually wrote the information up himself. One would have hoped that Patrick Holford actually understood how dietitians were regulated and how long it took to train one.

  3. jdc325 Says:

    Nice work LeeT, some interesting stuff there. I like Patrick’s “myths-that-aren’t-myths”. We need a word to cover that sort of thing – something along the lines of an antonym for ‘unfacts’ and ‘counterknowledge’. Amyths? Antimyths? Hm, perhaps I need to put a little more thought into this – “He’s undebunked some antimyths” doesn’t quite sound right.

  4. Jack of Kent Says:

    A tip of Jack’s Hat to this. Well done, Sir.

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