Patrick Holford and Scientology: the Church of Optimum Nutrition?

Here is an odd one. Why would Patrick Holford’s Food for the Brain charity have associations with a Scientology linked organisation? His charity is working with schools to improve the ‘mental health’ of children. Should we be alarmed by this? What on earth has Scientology and Patrick got in common?

My last rather large post concentrated on the philosophy of Patrick Holford, Optimum Nutrition and Nutritional Therapy. I made a comment that “Optimum Nutrition has more in common with Scientology than science.” I want to explore that thought a little more, because it highlights the similarities between the strange cult of L Ron Hubbard and the thinking of Nutritional Therapists. More worryingly, is how the Scientologists appear to have taken a significant interest in Patrick and his disciples, and how the two worlds overlap.

Now, most people know Scientology as a rather strange cult that appears successful in attracting Hollywood megastars to its fold. However, its religious status is disputed in many countries (it is not recognised it the UK) because it has a number of peculiarities that appear rather odd for a religion. It does not really have a concept of ‘god’ and has been described as a ‘pay-as-you-go religion’. The more you give to the ‘Church’, the more it will reveal to you of its teachings about psychology, aliens and other sci-fi stuff. $100,000 gets you quite high up in the church hierarchy. It is as if the Church of England did not tell you about the resurrection until you had pretty much re-mortgaged your home. A tenner in the collection plate will give you teaser stories about talking snakes and whales swallowing people.

This wierdness is much more understandable when one looks at the history of the cult. Scientology did not really appear to start off as a religion at all, more of an alternative psychology. In the late forties, L Ron Hubbard, the founder and former science-fiction writer, published a book called “Dianetics: The Modern Science of Mental Health“. Hubbard, like many people of the time, was shocked at what appeared to be the brutal practices of the psychiatric profession. The care of people who suffered from severe mental illnesses, such as schizophrenia, was at best, basic. Locked in asylums, rarely seen by a doctor, sufferers from mental illness were left in often appalling and inhumane conditions. Their desperate carers often turned to desperate measures to try to help, such as lobotomy and electric shock treatment, and often with terrible results. Abhorrence at such tragedy led Hubbard to conclude it was the psychiatrists themselves who were to blame and that mental illness was a product of other physical causes, rather than brain malfunctions. Dianetics is very much a product of the time with its emphasis on psychometric-like testing, ‘scientific electropsychometers’ with dials and flashing lights, psychoanalysis-like thinking, and a preference for lifestyle explanatory factors in illness, such as exercise and (importantly for us) nutrition. Dianetics was claimed as a cure for all sort of ‘problems’, such as schizophrenia, depression, atheism and homosexuality. Not only could these ‘illnesses’ be cured, but IQ could be raised by 50 points too. Only later did Dianetics start taking on religious qualities, and Scientology was born. By then the ‘science’ of Dianetics had turned into the unchanging and unchallengeable dogma of a new religion.

Now, as we have seen, Patrick also started out studying psychology, and also quickly became interested in how nutrition could help solve mental health problems. This conviction led Holford to set up his own Institute where he could train his followers and also set up his vitamin supplement businesses. L Ron Hubbard also got into the supplement business too, selling his own multivitamin which he called Dianazene, a mixture of iron and Vitamins C and large quantities of niacin. This concoction was supposed to drive out radiation from bodies and cure cancer. (The Cold War was setting in, and radiation was the scare; now we have mobile phones and Wi-Fi). Hubbard used the technique of a questionnaire to diagnose ‘problems’ that Dianetics could cure, an approach that survives as a major recruiting tool today for Scientologists. Patrick is also keen on the use of questionnaires to diagnose mental health problems and the required vitamin regime to solve problems on sites like Food for the Brain and its daughter site, the Brain Bio Centre.

Now, despite the philosophical similarities, it would be silly to say that there are not big differences between Holford and Hubbard. In particular, Hubbard went on to declare Dianetics a religion and to set up the Church of Scientology. It was a very profitable move; religions have certain tax-exempt statuses around the world. But, still at the core of the religion was a rabid hatred of psychiatrists and their methods. A principle recruitment technique was the promise of clearing psychological problems for recruits, to give them a higher IQ and a better life. The Church houses a museum of ‘psychiatric crime’ in L.A. called the Museum of Psychiatry: an Industry of Death. The Church preaches that allergies and vitamin deficiencies are a major component of causing mental health and that drugs are an evil inflicted upon patients.

Patrick has not set up a religion, but he does write books with titles like, ‘Food is Better Medicine than Drugs’, ‘Optimum Nutrition for the Mind’ and ‘Mental Illness – Not All In The Mind’. He goes into schools to improve IQ’s, rid children of mental health issues through providing allergy testing and food supplements, and betrays his dislike of mental health professionals by describing medication as ‘mental straitjackets’ in his emails to parents. This is not surprising as both Holford and Scientology rely on ideas from Orthomolecular Therapy and the research of people like Dr Carl Pfeiffer. Where Patrick differs most markedly is that he does not tell his followers that psychiatrists are aliens that were present at the dawn of time and have piloted space ships throughout the cosmos to destroy our souls. At least, I can’t find reference to this on his website.

Now, if one is familiar with the techniques of Scientologists, you might think that nutritional therapists, who have been trained by Patrick’s Institute of Optimum Nutrition, or people who have just bought into his books and ideas, might make rich pickings for church recruits. After all, no need to convince them that psychological problems can be cured by vitamins and that doctor’s should be distrusted. There is at least one interesting documented case of this happening.

Melanie Herff was a German from Hamburg who studied Nutritional Therapy in London. She returned home to Germany, fresh with her diploma in hand, only to contacted by a group called Safe Harbor. This organisation runs a web site called alternativementalhealth.com which claims to be the ‘world’s largest site on non-drug approaches for mental health’. Its approach rang true for Melanie, and being so well qualified, she was quickly elected to the position of chairwoman of the local group.

However, Melanie started doing some research and ‘became alarmed’ at a few things. Melanie became worried that Safe Harbor was nothing but a front for Scientologists. Funding and supporting front organisations is a technique used to full extent by the Church. There are web sites out there dedicated to exposing suspect organisations. The approach is good for the Church, in that it can it expose people to its ideas without frightening them about evil spirits trapped in volcanoes, or something. Safe Harbor was set up by a very prominent Scientologist called Dan Stradford who apparently has reached the level of Operating Thetan – Level VIII. This is as high as it gets (unless you believe there are secret levels…) You have to have paid a lot of money to get that high up. It is archbishop level for Scientologists. You get to read the last part of Hubbard’s science fiction. (Imagine if you had to pay over $100,000 to read the last Harry Potter book?)

So, Melanie left the group, a bit frightened by what she thought was going on. Scientology in Germany is very controversial. There have been lots of attempts to curtail their activity and limit their status. The Germans are understandably cautious, given their history, of semi-religious, irrational and secretive organisations. In the UK we appear to care a little less.

Now, what is not understandable is that Melanie has been back in the UK and has worked for an organisation with links to Safe Harbor. That organisation is none other than Patrick’s charity, Food for the Brain. Melanie has been involved with the schools project, the initiative that Patrick has been promoting on Trevor MacDonald’s TV programme. The Food for the Brain web site links to Safe Harbor and describes it as part of its Global Affiliations network. It is not clear what ‘Global Affiliations’ means. Is it just a link for further information, or is the affiliation deeper? Maybe Patrick and the charity trustees do not know about Safe Harbor’s links with prominent Scientologists, even if one of his colleagues was so alarmed by this she apparently left the organisation.

But, what is even less understandable is that Patrick appears to have deeper ties to the organisation. On the Advisory Board page of the Safe Harbor site, the first name that appears is that of Patrick Holford. Maybe it is just the similarity of opinions on mental health that has lead him here, but one would have thought that a schools charity would not want to be associated with such a controversial organisation and that the charity would have done its homework.

It is maybe not surprising that Scientologists would endorse Patrick’s thinking on vitamins, and even, he, theirs. Whilst avoiding the venomous hatred that Scientologists display towards mental health workers, Patrick’s advice on sites like Food for the Brain is not exactly a ringing endorsement of the medical profession. His advice for conditions such as schizophrenia would be strongly disputed by doctors and has more in common with Scientologist ‘Dr’ Tom Cruise’s advice to Brooke Shields over her depression. To talk about such a dangerous and destroying condition with advice about niacin and Vitamin B, without prominent and unequivocal instruction to follow the advice of your GP and other qualified medical professionals is an action that should be condemned. Mental illness kills. Even moderate problems can be very dangerous and make lives a misery. The teachers and governors who allow these messages to be taken into schools need to know that this advice is, at the very least, widely disputed.

Some Scientology front organisations are particularly violent in their hatred of psychiatrists. One in particular stands out, the bizarrely named Citizens Commission for Human Rights. The message of this group, explicitly funded and run by the Scientologists, is that giving drugs to people for mental health problems is a denial of their ‘human rights’. The group spreads misinformation about the nature of psychiatric drugs, highlighting their side-effects and denying the benefits of such treatments. It promotes a Holford-like approach to recovery through exercise and nutrition and it accuses a whole profession of dastardly crimes including fraud and murder. The CCHR gives awards to people who are promoting its message, for example, to singer Isaac Hayes, the scientologist who quit South Park for their piss-taking about the cult.

It is therefore no surprise that the CCHR also says it has given an award to ‘GMTV’s nutrition expert Patrick Holford’.

So, should we be alarmed? Of course, Patrick does not appear to be a paid-up Zenu-loving OT-VIII Scientologist. But the messages he gives out are highly similar to the cult, and it does look like there is some mutual appreciation going on. As I commented previously, the message that mental health problems should be addressed through the wishful thinking of vitamin therapy is dangerous, and that badly behaved school children can be turned into little-angels though fish oil supplements is disputed and unproven. More worryingly, the idea that science and medicine should not be trusted and might even be malevolent forces in this world will lead to kids growing up with dangerous health delusions, and may even lead them into the arms of cult organisations.

The overall aims of the Food for the Brain charity should be encouraged – improve kids’ school experiences and health through good nutrition. However, it appears to be seriously letting its mission down through failing to stick to sound science. The web site HolfordWatch is documenting many concerns. The charity has decisions to make. It should drop its links to questionable organisations and philosophies, give unequivocal support for mental health professionals, restart unscientific schools trials, forego needless and expensive supplements, abandon misleading allergy tests, and embrace mainstream diatary advice.

In short, make the choice: science or Scientology?

37 comments for “Patrick Holford and Scientology: the Church of Optimum Nutrition?

  1. Shinga
    May 15, 2007 at 1:06 am

    Another disquieting, thoughtful and thought-provoking piece.

    I had no idea that Scientology emphasised the role of allergies and the need for supplementation for mental health issues etc.

    I notice that there seems to have been a marked decrease in the number of people on the FFTB Scientific Advisory Board.

    Regards – Shinga

  2. pv
    May 15, 2007 at 7:32 am

    You’ve done a lot of work here and written a very interesting, thought provoking piece. Well done. Should people be worried about Holford and such like? Probably yes, I’d say.

  3. Shinga
    May 15, 2007 at 1:49 pm

    “This science, also known as the mainstream science, reveals only the material part (4%) of the overall reality. In a way, materialism is the religion of the mainstream science and the materialistic experiments its rituals. The countless experiments (rituals) that are performed to validate the mainstream theories are nothing but to worship the goddess of matter. The material benefits of the mainstream science are considered to be the Prasad or the holy gift from the goddess of matter. Like an orthodox priest preaches the belief in God, a mainstream scientist propagates his/her religion of materialism and belief in the goddess of matter.”

    Orac is addressing the above quotation and other claims that science is only another religion.

    Regards – Shinga

  4. Toni B
    May 27, 2007 at 9:30 pm

    Thanks for this piece. I recently attended a Patrick Holford seminar called ‘Schizophrenia can be cured’ because I wanted to check out just what he is telling people at these events. I am obviously worried about the ethics of such a message and even wondered whether this could be considered false advertising. Interestingly, when I arrived, I was greeted by gushing disciples and I actually thought ‘this feels like a scientology convention’. I find it chilling that this guy is becoming so powerful. He appears to know nothing about mental illness…

  5. Anonymous
    August 23, 2007 at 8:51 pm

    I have to say this all seems to be a case of adding one and one and getting 42. Patrick Holford is a nutritionist. I’ve also been to one of his workshops. He discusses truly radical ideas like eating more vegetables and fruit, lowering the GI of carbohydrates in your diet and drinking more fluids whist giving up high sugar, high fat foods. He suggests that eating fewer colours, flavours, sugars etc can make a person healthier and better balanced. he sells a few supplements which he openly admits are very similar to most on the market. I can’t see for the life of me what is disturbing or cult like in any of this. It’s hardly on a par with trying to get people to devote the majority of their incomes to a religion that preaches utter nonsense.

  6. Bill
    October 25, 2007 at 12:42 pm

    I agree with the ‘Anonymous’ comment just above this one. The article, while interesting, seems almost to be implying that anyone who believes that they need to eat healthily to avoid a lot of health problems must be a scientologist?

    There are NIH Workshops showing the improvement of mentally ill people on Omega 3 supplements
    (http://videocast.nih.gov/ram/omega1.ram to http://videocast.nih.gov/ram/omega7.ram ), surely they are not scientologists.

    As for understanding schizophrenia, I doubt anyone understood it as well as the late Dr Loren Mosher, former Chief of the Center for Studies of Schizophrenia, National Institutes of Mental Health, given that he seems to have had enviable success at Soteria (http://www.moshersoteria.com)in successfully treating schizophrenia without using antipsychotics.

    Quacks are everywhere. Isn’t practicing misconduct in science quackery? Aren’t those who misrepresent and/or suppress negative clinical trial data which leads to the deaths of thousands annually as much Quacks as in any other field? Vioxx springs to mind as just one recent example amongst many.

    If Holford helps schizophrenics to recover without falling into the profitable pitfall of taking antipsychotics such as Olanzapine (where documents of long-suppressed risks were recently highlighted) then good for him.

    If Holford is working to help in getting schoolchildren to eat healthier food and avoid the type of junk which SCIENTIFICALLY is no good for them, good for him.

    Even if it turns out that he is a scientologist.

    If only all physicians, particularly those such as Key Opinion Leaders who influence the views of other physicians,would apply themselves to the principle of the Hippocratic Oath “ABOVE ALL, DO NO HARM”.

    Should people be worried about quackery? I would say yes, but they need to rethink the definition of quacks, recognise where much of the most harmful of the quackery comes from and address that quackery before people will stop dying by the thousands.

    • February 3, 2012 at 4:41 am

      Get a job? Who has the time? I spend my life standing in line. Waiting to be clothed or fed, not knowing tonight where I’ll lay my head. What was that? What did you say? Nothing to spare & I’m in the way? I’m begging as humbly as I possibley can, it’s been a long day, please understand. A million times my feet slap the ground. No reason to stop, no place to slow down. I pound the pavement from morning to night, easily spotting those with my plight. Sleeping bags are a sure way to know, that they haven’t any real place to go. Backpacks are always a dead give away, that they’ll be standing in some line today. Give them a nod, a laugh or a smile because if they’re standing in line, they’ll be there a while. I just need a voucher or dollar or two, to wash my clothes so I won’t offend you. Three hours spent standing in line for 5 minutes to wash off the filth & the grime. I look to strangers for kindness each day, I need your help please don’t walk away. If you must keep walking, just pass me by, but don’t try to peek from the side of your eye. I search all day to find a safe place, any hovel will do even the smallest of space. Where I won’t be told to “get up & go”, where I won’t be froze & wet head to toe. With the curb as my pillow & the steet as my home, I’m surrounded by people but I’m always alone. I know that sometimes I may not seem “right”, please don’t be rude it’s been a long night. If I bum a smoke or ask you your name, please don’t ignore me, my needs aren’t a game. Poverty kills all hope & all dreams & being homeless is worse than I make it seem. No hope for a mate, a family or life, just me & the streets paved with heartache & strife. I keep on moving while tragically knowing, I’m headed nowhere with no place to be going. I can escape to the mall or the airport sometimes & pretend for a minute this nightmares not mine. Sheltered for a night, a moment not more, knowing the morning has nothing in store. I’m not ungreatful, don’t get me wrong, it’s just been a long month, it keeps dragging on. Trying to search my way out of this hell & forgetting that once my life was well. All my lifes effort came crashing down. I lost my house & my life without a sound. If my house had burned down or a tornado had hit, it would’ve been easier than my notice to quit. All I want is a place of. My own, nothing great just a spot to call home. I don’t mean to sound trite when you have to say no, it’s just been a long life & I’ve nowhere to go. So please be kind it’s been a long year, one of these days it could be you standing here. I pray to the lord it’ll all end in time, and I will finally reach the end of this line.

    • February 6, 2012 at 10:26 am

      zxr1Gp bmnylcvoblvf

  7. bill
    October 25, 2007 at 1:04 pm

    On a lighter note, the online quackometer must be on strike :)

    It clearly didn’t recognise the quackery that went on during the suppression of life-endangering negative data and the off-label marketing of Olanzapine (Zyprexa) as it failed to hit those ducks after casting its eye over http://www.zyprexa.com/index.jsp

  8. bill
    October 27, 2007 at 11:22 pm

    Now that I’ve worked out how to post links onto blogs, here are the NIH (National Institute of Health) Omega 3 workshops I failed to make easy access links to in the post above.

    http://videocast.nih.gov/ram/omega1.ram (introduction)

    http://videocast.nih.gov/ram/omega2.ram

    http://videocast.nih.gov/ram/omega3.ram

    http://videocast.nih.gov/ram/omega4.ram

    http://videocast.nih.gov/ram/omega5.ram

    http://videocast.nih.gov/ram/omega6.ram

    http://videocast.nih.gov/ram/omega7.ram

    These videos are amazing. You all have a brain, use it. You may not agree but at least WATCH the videos. They are not homeopathic, not scientologist, not alternative medicine. The workshops are studies by ORTHODOX researchers.

    The science behind them is amazing, the results of the research are amazing, and you DO NOT NEED anyone, whether orthadox or homeopathic, to tell you how to assess evidence.

    You have a perfectly capable brain of your own – don’t you? Thats what nature gave you. So watch and judge for YOURSELF – question, argue, debate. Don’t rely on anyone to ‘think for you’. YOU count.

    Its YOUR intelligence and YOUR understanding that matters and will make a difference – either way.

    Debate. Openly as genuine science demands. :)

  9. Anonymous
    November 2, 2007 at 9:53 pm

    Frankly, I don’t have a very healthy diet myself but I really haven’t given it much thought. The photo of Ron with the tomato plant brought to mind the work of Jagdish Chandra Bose. He also used some kind of instrument to study the emotional response of plants.

    If you want to eat healthy, you don’t have be a Scientologist. Do avoid logical fallacies (like ad hominum arguments) you do need to study logic.

  10. Anonymous
    November 25, 2007 at 9:29 pm

    I am not a Patrick Holford follower but someone who through changing my diet, cutting out alcohol and most sugary snacks, eating plenty of healthy fruit, seeds, protein and veg and taking higher quantities of b and other vitamins when needed have improved my mental and general health and well-being enormously. I am currently 36 weeks pregnant and have had no need for the antidepressants I was on 6 months before I was pregnant. I think it is better that people educate themselves in exactly what Holford and nutritional therapists say and also to actual people like me who can vouch for the real and beneficial effect of educatiing yourself into having a good diet on health and general well-being. The premise on which this article is based is completely flawed and they seem to ignoring the actual evidence behind the claims of Holfors and people working in the nutritional field .Like all things you can take all health messages too far but there is plenty of scientific evidence to back up claims of the medicinal benefits of food on health. It is incredibly naive to dismiss these potent benefits and just as dangerous to dismiss Holford as a quack as it is to believe what the writer of this article has written without looking into it yourself.

  11. Le Canard Noir
    November 25, 2007 at 9:45 pm

    Anonymous – did you actually read anything I said?

  12. Jonathan
    February 27, 2008 at 9:21 pm

    What a load of old rubbish, I really wonder where your mind is saying all that stuff. Food and food sourced supplements are completely natural and safe.Though perhaps a huge threat to the big chemical boys out there trying to discredit nutritional and alternative therapies for profit to the detriment of our populations health. I defend Patrick Holford and all nutritional therapists alike for educating people towards a natural way of sustaining the systems of the body and preventing and treating dis-ease,what on earth could be wrong with that I wonder? tried and tested myself it has done absolutely no harm to me and has never had any negative effects and I did previously suffer with alot of quite severe illness. I have been healthy for years with no need for any pharmaceutical medications or drugs after reading Patrick Holfords books and consulting a nutritionist and am now no longer a statistic of bad health nor a drain on the nhs!You dont understand what youre even writing about here, your scepticism leaves me suspicious of an underlying motivation you have for writing such irresponsible rubbish, why would you and any of the other people who attempt to verbally assault Patrick Holford be irresponsible enough to advise the general public against a natural organic way to stay healthier when it clearly works better,in most cases for most people I know of certainly,than the old lazy, expensive yet so profitable way of conventional medicine where we treat the symptoms and never eradicate the cause, a vicious cycle of popping pills and staying ill, its disinformation, we are vastly uneducated and trusting yet we never get any better do we, until, aha, fresh, organic foods, nutritional education and self advocacy for optimum health, oh dear, now does that sound like something we should avoid? You might as well get a banner with BAN HEALTH,STAY ILL the way youre talking. However, I do wish you the best of health, its our birth right afterall and most essential for passing down to healthy generations. I am so glad that so many more people are getting wise and looking to safe and nutritious options for living every day and I dare those big chemical boys to test and take their own concoctions and stop plugging them to the now diminishing vulnerable and uneducated members of the public and innocent animals before filling our bloods full of toxic manmade get me bys. Surely thats one cult we want to avoid, come, come, eat our chemicals and our chemical and hormone laden fruits,our genetically modified soup,fill your life with additives and preservatives, follow us and pay with your body, live a shorter life filled with dis-ease so we may be rich! NO THANKS, open your eyes, that what you have em for afterall.Or you could actually read Patrick Holfords books, and decide for yourself now educated rather than listening to the word of a few crazies like ben et al and the folks who read one article and are convinced they know it all. Thats what a brain is for too!

  13. Le Canard Noir
    February 29, 2008 at 9:35 am

    Jonathan – “food sourced supplements are completely natural and safe”

    I have never heard anything so ridiculous! What is natural about using chemical processes to extract individual food nutrients and then process them into little pills and sell them in bottles at huge prices? I look into my garden and do not see any of the sparrows doing this.

    Food supplements are the most unnatural way of having a healthy diet and they exist only to make vast profits for businesses that sell them, like the one Patrick works for. Science is increasingly showing us that the best way to obtain a good diet is through eating real food, with variety, not too much meat and plenty of plat stuffs. Simple things. Not the over technical, over produced, sciencey sounding Buck Rogers nutripill approach of Patrick Holford and his like.

    I think you have really fallen for the sales pitch hook line and sinker.

  14. Jonathan
    February 29, 2008 at 10:25 pm

    Just to clarify something I left out in the last piece.

    Patrick Holford and any nutritional therapists who are also worth there salt always advocate as I have read on several occasions that the basis to optimum health is a fresh,organic chemical free natural diet rich in variety and content. Advising foods that are most nutrient dense and slow releasing to sustain the bodys functions and the brain.

    What they advise it that because everybodys make up is different and that we are all exposed to differing levels of free radicals etc etc that alot of people require extra supplementation in the purest form possible to avoid dis-ease.

    The reason that foods do not always provide us with the whole of natures goodness as that they are now overfarmed, treated with chemicals and hormones to speed up the growth process, genetically modified, transported to sit on supermarket shelves under bright lights etc where they lose most of their nutrients or processed and preserved with fats, sugars and chemicals.

    you are correct to a point, we SHOULD recieve all we need nutritionally from our foods, but, we often dont as stated above.

    Vast majority of foods now fail by a long shot and hence the need for supplements.

    I eat a mostly organic diet, I eat small meals regularly, I do not believe in faddy diets and do not believe in taking only supplements

  15. Jonathan
    February 29, 2008 at 10:54 pm

    ….continued…

    in place of a food.

    I fell for nobodys sale pitch, I was extremely ill and saught out a nutrional therapist as doctors had not been able to resolve my health issues and I was fed up trying one medication after another.

    I fell for good health, energy, good body function, a healthy mind, exercise and consistent good moods.

    What I have spent in fresh organic food and supplements specific to myself allow me to live the life I want to live…I see it as an investment in my health.

    My family no longer suffer worrying about my health, I have studied to do the job that I love and am achieving the things I want to do in life.

    Perhaps we should be discussing who to target in relation to food standards so we would no longer need to supplement and get all we need from natures larder, mmmm, cant see that happening in a hurry. Again, its all maximum profit and Id rather line the pockets of some guy who has dedicated his time to bring us the best natural options available than the guys who dont care if we are rotting our organs with dangerous chemicals cuz they will only find another drug to plug to us to treat the symptoms of the last one.

    Patrick Holford et al is known to list any containdication where there is any, very little compared with the lists of side effect from pharmaceutical drugs, also known to endorse you check with your doctor before embarking on coming off meds and replacing with supplements.

    I myself believe also that for life threatening conditions the conventional medical profession are the first people to contact, I just dont believe that people should be prescribed long term drugs at the slightest opportunity without looking at other safer long term options where possible, as is often the case.
    I am not, and dont feel Patrick Holford is against the medical profession at all, just that htere is often a shortfall to be filled, in situations where nutritional therapy can do wonders where conventional treatment fails.
    Perhaps we should be concentrating on a meeting of minds and a mutual respect and meeting of minds towards healing dis-ease.Both have a part to play and expertise and experience combined.

  16. Jonathan
    February 29, 2008 at 11:00 pm

    PS; sparrows have completely different dietary requirements, as do cats, as do dog as do……….you get my point?

  17. Le Canard Noir
    February 29, 2008 at 11:24 pm

    Sometimes the most obvious things are staring you in the face. PH and his like do not sell healthy diets, they sell pills and books and tours that tell you to eat pills. Does Patrick sell fruit and veg? No. It is quite clear what PH profits from.

    And is people like PH that give the impression that real food is not good enough. And where is the evidence for this? The concept is ridiculous. If fruit and veg were nutrient defficient they could not grow. There is nothing ‘natural’ about what PH talks about.

    Do you not have a smidgeon of doubt that this could all be sales pitch?

    I would suggest you read this – Unhappy Meals – for a more balanced look.

  18. Anonymous
    July 11, 2008 at 3:19 pm

    Reading your comments, I would like to add that doctors and pharmaceutical companies make money from selling and manufacturing chemically enhanced products.

  19. michelle
    July 29, 2008 at 8:32 pm

    the food that is presented to us in supermarkets nowadays is not ‘real food’ as you put it. it lacks the nutrients needed because the companys pump it full of chemicals to make it look nice and pretty and suit our tastes of unnatural food, even organic ranges are dubios, unless you grow your own and eat your RDA and more then suppliments can help you reach a balanced diet. We spend more in the UK on fighting obesity than we do on Cancer yet would you debate on smoking 60 a day? I’d find something else to occupy your mind rather than speculating and putting down a pratice that is making people feel better.

  20. Le Canard Noir
    July 29, 2008 at 8:59 pm

    Wow michelle. You really have swallowed the vitamin pill maker’s message. All you need to do is find some evidence that real food has to be supplemented with pills and you will be there. Do you have any?

  21. michelle
    July 29, 2008 at 10:20 pm

    In spite of what Mother taught you about the benefits of eating broccoli, data collected show that the nutritional content of vegetables and fruits has declined during the past 50 years — in some cases dramatically.

    Donald Davis, a biochemist at the University of Texas, said that of 13 major nutrients in fruits and vegetables tracked by the Agriculture Department from 1950 to 1999, six showed noticeable declines — protein, calcium, phosphorus, iron, riboflavin and vitamin C. The declines ranged from 6 percent for protein, 15 percent for iron, 20 percent for vitamin C, and 38 percent for riboflavin.

    “It’s an amazing thing,” said Davis, adding that the decline in nutrient content has not been widely noticed.

    Davis, who discussed his findings at a recent meeting of the American Association for the Advancement of Science meeting in St. Louis, suspects the trend in agriculture toward encouraging crops that grow the fastest and biggest is a reason for the decline. The past five decades have been marked by the “Green Revolution,” which has seen a marked increase in production and yields as farmers have turned to the fastest-growing and greatest-producing plants.

    The tradeoff is that the faster-growing plants aren’t able to acquire the nutrients that their slower-growing cousins can, either by synthesis or from the soil. He said there also are differences in the amounts of nutrients lost in differing varieties of wheat and broccoli.

    The use of supplementation is an ‘insurance policy’ with the aim of ensuring we obtain a correct level of nutrition at all times.

    Do you believe in god?? where is the scientific proof that god exists yet countries have been torn apart because of it. Do your beliefs have some bearing on your post above?

    we all have religious beliefs but this does not necesarily have an impact on our nutritional beliefs.

  22. Le Canard Noir
    July 29, 2008 at 11:18 pm

    Michelle – what you have done in quoting the Davis paper is exactly the sort of overstatement and misinterpretation that makes nutritional therapists so unreliable.

    The Davis paper is here. (always good to give references – have you read the paper?)

    Most noticeably, Davis makes it quite clear – “our study is not useful for estimating possible effects on dietary intakes”. This is exactly what you have done by being selective and over-interpretive.

    The study has severe limitations. For example, it is stated that “We focused on one class of foods and an interesting biological phenomenon, without selecting foods based on their national consumption or contribution to nutrient intakes.” And so any comment on the consequences of nutritional intake is futile.

    More seriously, their analyses only take into account random errors. No corrections for systematic biases are made – and this is made clear. Over fifty years – you might expect some big biases to creep in in analytical measurements. They suggest their results may well be best explained by different cultivars used 50 years apart.

    Cautiously, they add that if there are real differences in staples being depleted, then a change in diet may be the best course – not vitamin pills. Reassuringly they close with a statement showing how implausible severe depletion of nutrients is: “Plant cells require most human nutrients for their own functioning. They cannot grow, much less be viable commercial food crops, without synthesizing or acquiring their own needed levels of a broad range of nutrients. Thus, no whole plant food can be as broadly depleted of nutrients as are refined sugars and separated fats and oils.”

    In summary, the evidence from this paper that there is a serious depletion in the nutritional content of food is very weak and there are better explanations for the results than an implausible catastrophic reduction.

    You conclude with some bizarre reference to religious belief. Not everyone is superstitious you know. My post above shows that nutritional therapy has much in common with daft superstitious belief. Both are selective in their view of evidence and unable to respond to criticism and scientific scrutiny.

  23. Anonymous
    August 1, 2008 at 6:37 pm

    Hooray, I’m thoroughly enjoying this debate. As a qualified nutritionist, I’m sick and tired of listening to the disciples of Patrick Holford who just regurgitate his words without actually understanding or trying to do a little research on what he says.

  24. Anonymous
    August 18, 2009 at 11:50 pm

    This sounds like poison pen / back biting to me who are you? what are your credentials? If you are so sure and so secure go to his meetings with the Press and face him out. I am not impressed by his use of supplements either but his recipes using fresh foods and recommendations for healthy eating all seem very sensible from a diabetics perspective. In reality the really Big Money is behind the sale of sugary and fatty foods are you one of their minions perhaps? Are you trying to save their profit margins by casting doubts on what Holford says by spuriously linking him to Scientology you sound very bitter is Holford upsetting the multi national's profit margins selling obesity inducing products?

  25. Le Canard Noir
    August 19, 2009 at 6:07 am

    That is the first time I have been accused of working for the 'Big Fat' industry!

    If you are interested in Holford and what he say about diabetes then I would suggest you read here and watch the video.

    http://holfordwatch.info/holford-myths/myth-the-scientific-support-for-chromium-and-cinnamon/

  26. July 29, 2010 at 9:52 pm

    It’s sad to see who the devil has convinced that there is no God. I would also have to say that Scientology fell off there rocker a long time ago

  27. Louise
    October 2, 2011 at 2:43 am

    Patrick is a sensible man who has discovered that many of today’s illnesses can be helped (or cured) by vitamin therapy. I’ve read many books in this field and his stuff makes sense and it worked for me.

    So many people today eat food which is nutritionally deficient – it’s possible, for the first time in history, to stuff your face all day and yet to consume ZERO vitamins or minerals. Many people are totally malnourished and – guess what – this severely compromises their health! Depression, diabetes, obesity, heart disease, eczema, asthma etc. etc. – look around you folks! Are we healthier than we used to be or not?

    • lecanardnoir
      October 2, 2011 at 7:28 am

      Louise,

      If you wish to get a better understanding of he rigour of Patrick Holford’s work and how many food myths are perpetuated by vitamin pill entrepreneurs then I suggest you read the book Bad Science by Ben Goldacre.

  28. James D
    February 12, 2014 at 8:43 pm

    A balanced diet & good intake of necessary vitamins can lead to a healthier life and aid prevention of certain illnesses, in some cases it can even cute illnesses. Patrick Holford explores and teaches these more natural methods of good health, rather than advising you to ‘take a pill’ which you have no idea how is made! Fair enough, the article writer has done their research and shown that he’s affiliated with Scientology, this doesn’t mean Patrick Holford is a Scientologist! It just means that PH & Scientology share some common ground… that ‘drugs’ are not the answer… Good health is!

    We should embrace this new age, where we have nutritionists to help us eat and live healthier, rather than write articles slandering their name!

    I am not a Scientology, I am just a strong believer of living a healthier life without Pharmaceutical companies pumping out drug after drug for us!

  29. St. Simian
    February 13, 2014 at 2:30 pm

    When I was at school teachers would often say something like “did you actually read your homework before handing it in, John”. My usual response was an embarrassed mumbling “errr, I think so, I may have been in a hurry, errrr, probably not, well, no actually”. Their response was generally more one of sadness than anger.

    I sometimes wonder if people like James D perform the modern equivalent by reading their handiwork before pressing enter.

    Sentence analysis:
    1) First half is glaringly obvious. Unsure about the second bit as I am unaware of any cute illnesses – most of them lie between slightly uncomfortable and painfully lethal.
    2) PH is one of the biggest pill peddlers around. You can probably find out (show your workings) how most pharmaceuticals are derived and manufactured. Ironically TQM is virtually absent in quack pill manufacture (an example being herbal supplements varying between 0-700% of the stated dose – do not try this at home with ibuprofen).
    3a) Damning with faint praise. Also it is extremely unlikely the “article writer” is affiliated with Hubbardist SF.
    3b) Drugs are the answer if the question is “am I ill”. Drugs restore good health, or at least alleviate the illness. There are no quack pills that do this (and I know there are some useful herbal derivatives, all very highly processed and codified by Pharma).
    4) New age indeed. One of fraudulent millionaires committing legalised banditry on the sick. Enjoy it whilst Aquarius is ascendant.
    5a) You probably aren’t “a Scientology” – that is a fraudulent pseudo-religious movement whereas you are a nitwit.
    5b) Who do you imagine pumps out the 50,000+ nutritional supplements available. It is not artisanal alchemists working from the Magic Text – it is Big Pharma. This is probably just as well as they are at least legally obliged to supply what it says on the tin.

    Do not see me after class.

  30. Gravey
    July 11, 2014 at 12:48 am

    I suspect the article is merely designed to freighted people away from looking at the results and benefits of nutrition and PH work by linking it to an arganization that rarely gets a good press.

    He has not mentioned the unreported side effects of these drugs on every level of society. Nor their continuing links to mass killings and shootings. The lack of actual science behind them, lack of cures etc.

    Clearly he has not done his homework on PH research or spoken to any of his clients or looked at the statistics for patients in the field of nutrition and compared them to those clients being pumped with drugs and filling the coffers of big pharma.

    Regardless of the mans faith I would not worry if he can provide me or my child with a healthy route to mental and physical well being.

    In my profession as a social worker I have seen the destruction of these medicines which are themselves destroying lives.

    Andy Lewis bangs on about the money members of the church reportedly spend on Scientology. My immediate thought is that I would assume they do so out of choice.

    What about the £50 spent on drugging our children with harmfully psychiatric drugs for ADHD in 2013. A disorder which many eminent health professions say does not exist. Children as young as 3ys. They do not have a choice and would choos not to take these drugs such a Ritalin

    What about the 500% increas in drugging our children with these medications which are similar to cocaine and speed since year 2000.

    I could go on and on …….

    There a many more like PH providing real not imaged or dangerous solutioons to mental and physical problems.

    Guess who’s contributions are most valuable to the community. I suggest people find out for themselves and wish people like AL the contempt they deserve.

    • July 11, 2014 at 9:34 am

      Thank you Gravey for your thoughtful response.

      Perhaps you could answer one question (out of the many that arise from your contribution.)

      You claim that the “unreported side effects of these drugs ” are somehow linked to “mass killings and shootings”. Since European countries use the same drugs as the US. Why is it we see so many more mass shootings in the US than in, say, the UK?

      In the UK in recent years, we see about 0.25 gun deaths per 100,000 people. In the US that figure is about 40 times higher. In 2010 there were 58 gun murders in Britain, whereas there were 8,775 in US.

      Please back up any answer with evidence.

  31. Gravey
    July 11, 2014 at 12:51 am

    That was £50 million spent on ADHD drugs in 2012 In the uk drugging children as lung as 3yrs

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