Midweek Cuckoo: Patrick Holford

Some of you may be familiar with the name Patrick Holford. He is after all “widely regarded as Britain’s best-selling author and leading spokesman on nutrition and mental health issues”.

Would it surprise you then to find that this man has no significant qualifications in the fields of nutrition or mental health, that he has tried repeatedly to get his biographical Wikipedia article edited in his favour, and that he’s been linked to Matthias Rath?

By now, it shouldn’t.

Let’s start with his qualifications. Patrick has a BSc in Experimental Psychology.

Yes, that’s it as far as his formal education goes. He was also conferred with an Honourary Diploma in Nutrition Therapy from the Institute of Optimum Nutrition (ION). This sounds very grand except for three things – it’s an honourary diploma, he founded ION, and he was director of ION at the time. He also likes to add that he’s a Fellow of the British Association of Nutritional Therapists (BANT), another grand title until you find out that in the UK the term ‘Nutritionist’ isn’t protected by law like ‘Dietician’. Anyone can call themselves a nutritionist, there are no educational prerequisites, and the ‘regulatory bodies’ are not bound by law in any way whatsoever.

He also claims regularly to have invented the low GI diet, and implies in his profile that he’s been published in the Lancet. From his bio:

In 1986 he started researching the effects of nutrition on intelligence, collaborating with Gwillym Roberts, a headmaster and student at ION. This culminated in a randomised controlled trial testing the effects of improved nutrition on children’s IQ – an experiment that was the subject of Horizon documentary and published in the Lancet in 1988.

Isn’t it interesting then that the only paper from 1988 to be published in the Lancet that matches this study lists its authors as Benton D. and Roberts G. No Holford P.? I wonder why, especially since I know from my own experience that getting your name on a paper when you have participated in the research in any way is really not very hard, and scientists have raised hell for far less than getting left of the list of authors.

So, we have a man giving mental health advice to people on the basis of an undergraduate degree, and giving nutritional advice to people on the basis of a diploma he awarded himself. Oh, but he’s very quick to point out that he has spent the last 30 years researching, teaching, writing and practising nutrition, so he’s not sure what else to call himself but a nutritionist. Well, I’ve spent nearly 30 years eating, perhaps I will call myself a nutritionist too. It’s not like there’s a law saying I can’t.

So, as one nutritionist speaking about another, how does Patrick’s nutritional advice stand up? Well, his HIV/AIDS advice is pretty poor. He got caught out in a big way when Guardian columnist Ben Goldacre pointed out his claim that “AZT is potentially harmful and proving less effective than vitamin C”. The statement referenced a paper by Dr Raxit Jariwalla, where HIV-infected human cells were exposed to high doses of acetic acid and died. That’s it, no reference to AZT and hardly basis to make the claims he makes. Dr Jariwalla, whose work is highly praised by Holford, is a senior researcher in nutrition and infectious diseases at the Dr. Rath Research Institute. Yes, that Dr. Rath.

Patrick also claims to have miracle multivitamin cures for almost anything. Not feeling mentally acute? Let’s see what his advice is on improving you memory and concentration:

Here are five easy steps you can take now to help keep your mind and memory sharp:
1. Read my book ‘Optimum Nutrition for the Mind’ £12.99
2. Join 100% Health today and you can have this book at a members discounted price.
3. Have a personal nutrition consultation.
4. Attend my 100% Health Weekend Workshop
5. Follow my  Brain Friendly Diet and supplement programme.

He can’t be taking his own advice, or he might have considered swapping steps 1 and 2. But maybe it’s not a trend. Maybe he really isn’t all about sucking you dry of every miserable penny. Let’s see what his advice on avoiding cancer is:

Here are five easy steps you can take now to say no to cancer:
1. Read my book ‘Say No to Cancer’  – £6.99
2. Join 100% Health today and this book can be yours for free.
3. Have a personal nutrition consultation.
4. Attend my 100% Health Weekend Workshop
5. Follow my ‘Say No to Cancer’ Diet and supplement programme.

I think there might be a pattern here.

But heaven forbid anyone criticize the great Patrick Holford. Recently his Wikipedia article has undergone a slew of edits. First, someone deleted the entire ‘criticism’ section from the article in one fell swoop. The user was eventually traced to his PR firm and blocked from ever editing Wikipedia again. Then, half the article was suddenly taken over by a ‘rebuttal’ from Patrick in letter form, snipped from a bulk email he sent out. This was summarily dismissed by the editors, stating that “a personal statement from the subject of the article has no place in an encyclopaedia”, and rightly so. Then Patrick appealed to his fans in an email sent out to his mailing list, saying:

Weirdness on Wikipedia – Ideally, debates on issues of scientific and medical contention should stick to the facts, but unfortunately those in the front line of paradigm shifts are usually subject to personal attacks, of which I’ve had many. I noticed a few on Wikipedia, which is meant to be the ‘people’s encyclopedia’ meaning that anyone can edit an entry. Unfortunately, some of the people who have been editing appear to be part of the pro-drug lobby. I did write to the moderator to straighten out some facts, but have had no reply, so I’ve decided to stay out of it. Of course, if you think there’s anything said that is wrong, or anything you’d like to add, feel free to do so.

But he’s published 27 books, so you can trust him.

33 Responses to “Midweek Cuckoo: Patrick Holford”

  1. residentRsole Says:

    What makes this guy even more dangerous is that he holds a science degree from a reputable university. Most quacks get their qualifications from degree mills. As science graduate myself, reputation and credibility is everything.

  2. Ah editing your own profile on Wikipedia to make yourself look better. That rarely ends well. Unless you’re Wikipedia founder Jimmy Wales. He got away with it.

  3. residentRsole Says:

    Jimbo Wales is sympathetic to people who edit their own wiki biography if they do it openly and to remove obvious slander. Obvious slander would include childish insults and name calling which is POV, if you think about it.
    Actually the best thing to do for a subject of a Wikipedia biography is to report the matter to the Wikipedia administrators. This happened to someone that I know. The Wikipedia admins then cleaned up his bio and reprimanded the anonymous Wiki editors. Unbelievably, one of those Wiki editors even chose a username to resemble the subject’s full name in order to make the subject look bad. Crazy but true. There are a lot of childish people out there.

  4. Con-Tester Says:

    Not being a dedicated follower of food fashions, I wonder – in an mildly curious sort of way – if Holford eats much of what he dishes up. A cursory flip through two of his tomes suggested to me that Multiple Personality Disorder is a prerequisite for following Holford’s various eating plans. It’s either that, or assume the habits and mindset of a ruminant. Then you’d be able to digest cellulose and perhaps even Holford’s books.

  5. apparently Holford is his own biggest fan, and claims fabulous results. An unblinded, uncontrolled trial with a sample size of one and a biased researcher. I’m gonna trust those results, sure.

  6. On his wikipedia page: “This article may require cleanup to meet Wikipedia’s quality standards.”

    Yeah… how bout they delete it:P

  7. residentRsole Says:

    You can nominate the wiki for deletion. Go for it !

  8. My name is Patrick, and I’ve got an eating plan that leads to excellent mental health!

    Ask anyone who knows me, I’m a well adjusted person with a reasonable sense of humor and no really obvious hangups. So what is my plan, and how much will it cosdt you?

    Well the plan won’t cost you a cent, but following it might.

    Basically just eat anything you want.
    Feel like a burger? Buy one! (I reccomend the beef burger from Kennedys in Long Street, it’s orgasmic!)
    Want another helping of ice-cream? Fuck it, you deserve it.
    Chocolate? Who could say no?

    Trust me, after following my diet plan you too could be a well-rounded person. Not just mentally, but thems the breaks!


  9. Hi, signed up to Holfords news letter years ago. I never really read it much but after reading this letter I was intrigued. I looked it up using gmail search (isn’t gmail just brilliant?) and got the letter. The results of my little experiment: You guys have taken a tiny extract out of a witty and well backed up news letter to make him sound crap. To be honest it kinda makes your letter look like a load of mud slinging.
    I agree he’s taking the whole Vit C HIV thing too far. What happens in an otherwise sterile test tube and the human body are two completely different things but from what I can tell Holford believes it will work and wants to get a full scale study done which providing it was ethical I wouldn’t be opposed to, even if only to rule out the possibility or discover secondary effects, but that would be just good science now wouldn’t it?
    As far as titles go I couldn’t give a rats ass if he hasn’t go Ph.dfucku after his name. If the mans got talent, that will show. I’m currently applying for a place in Dietetics in the Republic of Ireland. There are only 20 places in the whole country and even though I hold a first class science undergrad I’m not sure I’ll be accepted this year. It almost feels like there is some sinister force acting against budding dieticians/nutritionists, but excuse me for being cynical. Many of the academics I’ve talked to have told me the nutritionist courses offered by the collages are very good but just not academically recognised. One guy said it was just a matter of snobbery. So get off your high horse!!

  10. I think you are missing a distinction here – “dietitian” is not the same thing as “nutritionist”. Dietetics is a professionally regulated, legitimate field (which includes courses in nutrition with a strong basis in science and medicine), and I am very glad to hear you are applying to study it. Good luck, I hope you are successful in your application.

    “Nutrionist” on the other hand is an unregulated, unrecognised discipline peopled by the sort who prefer the kind of nutrition they can make up for themselves at home. Anyone can call themselves a ‘nutritionist’ and set up practice and start treating people – there are no legally required qualifications and no regulations preventing them from doing so.

    Patrick Holford is a nutritionist, not a dietitian. He has never taken a course in nutrition that he did not make up himself.

    I could decide right now to start calling myself a nutritionist, make up a university and give myself a PhD and start treating people. I’m sure you would agree that it’s not exactly ethical, but I challenge you to find a law or regulation to stop me. If I tried to call myself a “Dietitian” though… that would be a different story. I would get into a lot of trouble for treating people when I had no medical qualifications to do so… and that is exactly why Patrick Holford does NOT call himself a dietitian.

    I’m glad to hear that you want to be a dietitian and not a nutritionist. I hope you understand now that these two words, while synonymous in commong english usage, are NOT synonymous in the field of medicine, and represent two completely different ends of the scale. People like Holford should be making you even more mad than they make me, because it’s the noble field of dietetics that they are dragging through the mud.

  11. Big deal that becoming a nutritionist does not require a qualification. The fact that nutritionists do not have a regulatory body only gives weight to the argument that having a qualification is of absolutely no importance.

    I do not disagree with anything that you say in your article but at the same time you have to give the guy some credit, have you ever read any of his books? Qualified or not, his advice makes perfect sense. With The Holford Diet (what an embarrassing name) he has just tweaked the GI diet. It is still a very well written and compiled book.

    Holford has no doubt exaggerated and taken undue liberties with qualifications and associations, that does not mean that he is not a good nutritionist.

    @schpat – what are you talking about??

  12. Big deal that becoming a nutritionist does not require a qualification.

    hmm, interesting perspective on someone who is charged with your health. I suppose you would also say “big deal that becoming an open heart surgeon does not require a qualification”.

    No, you’re right, that’s facetious. I am certain that if you were in serious trouble, heart-wise, you would want a doctor that someone had checked was qualified to conduct open heart surgery before they cracked open your chest. Why do you accept less rigor from someone telling you what to eat in order to avoid that heart attack in the first place? Is there some defined boundary of safety beyond which it becomes okay for people to charge you money for health advice without being able to back it up? Is there some level of professionalism below which it is okay that you have no legal recourse if they cause you harm? A real doctor would lose his license… but a nutritionist? You could pursue him in the civil court, i guess, and maybe get some money out of him in compensation, but you couldn’t stop him practising and treating others, because he doesn’t have a license to lose. That’s the point of a professionally regulated body – your protection as the patient. But if you’re happy to forgo that, it’s a personal choice. You may also want to go try skydiving without a parachute, since it seems that’s the sort of thing you’re in to. But be sure to cancel your health insurance first.

    Holford has no doubt exaggerated and taken undue liberties with qualifications and associations, that does not mean that he is not a good nutritionist.

    Ethics. Go look it up.

    @schpat – what are you talking about??

    Schpat is making a joke about his rotundity. Eat everything and become a ‘well rounded’ person. Send him money. You should be willing to – his advice makes perfect sense and he is just as qualified a nutritionist as Holford. Schpat may be exaggerating and taking undue liberties with his qualifications, but you’ve already pointed out that this doesn’t bother you.

    Seriously, your comment astounds me. Do you honestly not wonder why dieticians are so carefully regulated? Why they have to try so hard to get into courses? You think it’s a good idea for someone with no medical background and no training to prescribe a diet to a diabetic? You really think it’s okay to deceive your patients? You really think that a very well written and compiled book is the sign of someone who knows what they’re talking about?


  13. Comparing a nutritionist to an open heart surgeon? Really…

    A nutritionist does not have a license to lose because your very own government has decided nutrition advise isn’t quite the same thing as open heart surgery, and I agree.

    Do you ever read some of the crash/detox/fashionable diets in thrashy mags? It is not illegal to publish any of these, why should it be any different for Holford?

    You are saying that he could be sued for giving incorrect advise. What exactly is this advise that is incorrect?

    Your problem seems to be more with his money making, shameless self promotion and lack of qualifications (DR. Atkins – we should all listen to him because he has a PHD), than his nutritional advise.

    I understand schpat’s “joke”, but it was so exagerated it lost any meaning. Holford recommends a varied diet and to not deprive yourself of any food (like Atkins keeping you off carbs). He certainly does not recommend carte blanche on what you want, when you want and as much as you want. Although being avid critics of his work I’m sure that you know this??

  14. are you actually saying that until a case comes along where his advice turns out to be bad, we shouldn’t bother with the fact that he’s a shameless money-grubbing, unethical liar? That if we can’t prove that his advice is bad, his qualifications shouldn’t matter?

    And how exactly do you know that his advice isn’t bad? Can you point me to his clinical studies in a journal of dietetics? Are you, yourself, a registered dietician? Because if you’re not, then your entire argument pretty much rests on your own personal uneducated opinion that his advice is worth the paper its written on and somehow that transcends any need for basic honestly in his work.

  15. UK dietitian Says:

    I am a Registered Dietitian in the UK, and like my RD colleagues in Australia, America and Canada we are increasingly concerned about the inaccurate and misleading information proscribed by self-styled nutritionists such as Patrick Holford.
    Holford and his ilk exploit peoples ignorance regarding nutrition and physiology, most cruelly targeting the most vulnerable in the community – often at great expense to the victim. It is unethical, and immoral for someone without the skills and knowledge in the subject to ‘prescribe’ a restrictive diet and expensive supplements to those desperate enough not to see past the faux bonhomie and the paternalistic, vicious, and grossly inaccurate dietary information.
    Self-styled therapists are nsiduous and malevolent practitioners, either unconciously incompetent in the subject (because their nutrition-lite course didn’t really teach them much about serious nutritional problems) OR are aware, but are willing to exploit the client anyway.
    These individuals debase the science of nutrition and its bona fide RD and RNutr practitioners. We don’t permit ‘self-styled’ dentists or surgeons – so why accept ‘pretend’ nutritionists?

  16. There you have it, folks, straight out of the horse’s mouth. Thank you, UK Dietician, for your words – no one is in a better position to judge the veracity of Holford’s nutritional claims than those who have actually bothered to get a real qualification in the field.

  17. […] favourite of mine is Moonflake who wrote this: Patrick also claims to have miracle multivitamin cures for almost anything. Not […]

  18. To answer the 3 posts seprerately.

    Of course you can prove if someones advice is incorrect. Dieticians can do exactly that. You on the other hand have not given any evidence whatsoever that any of his advice is bad. You have only attacked his character. Now you are either saving your critisism for later in these posts or you have no knowledge of the actual advice he provides and are just a bandwagon critic.

    I know his advice is good because i have read several books on nutrition. Reading aside, it is pretty basic if not blindingly obvious. Eat protein with every meal, reasonable portions, slow releasing carbs, plenty of fruit vegatables and water, stay away from stimulants and sugary foods to keep your blood sugar balanced, excercise at least 15 mins a day. Exactly what part of this nutritional advice do you have a problem with?

    I am not a dietician, but then again I am not trying to libel someone. I have nothing to prove.

    @UK Dietician. Elaborate on how Holfords diet is restrictive? If nothing else this directly contradicts what schpat mentioned above. Expensive supplements – care to name a few? The only supplements recommended is cheap as chips Vit C. As for qualifications – DR Atkins diet has been proven to be ineffective at sustained weight loss as well as contributing to liver problems. Restrictive diet – Atkins is number one. Qualifications has no correlation to useful advice, research or effectiveness.

    @Moonflake again. From the horses mouth – I doubt it. You complain of Holford being a fake but when someone (on the internet of all places..) posts anonymously claiming to be a dietician you take their rantings as gospel.

    Not one poster in here has directly criticised any aspect of Holfords advise. Cheap jibes and rantings is all there is to read. I would be very surprised if any of you have read a single book written by the man you so relentlessly hate.

  19. firstly, it’s not my responsibility to prove a negative. Burden of proof lies with the person putting forward the positive statement i.e. that his advice is good and that this somehow exhonerates him. Just so you have somewhere to start, maybe you could take a look at this piece of advice and justify how it is good: “AZT, the first prescribable anti-HIV drug, is potentially harmful and proving less effective than vitamin C”. Please back this up with reference to scientific studies supporting this claim (free clue: there aren’t any).

    secondly, as i have already said, schpat’s post was said in sarcasm and the references to overeating are a self-deprecating joke about his weight (schpat is a big guy), and not holford’s diet. The fact you can’t seem to get this makes me wonder about your critical thinking skills. And your sense of humour.

    thirdly, i find it very interesting that you doubt someone who claims that they are a dietician, when you have no reason to doubt them, yet you believe holford’s claims, when you have been given several reasons to doubt him. Cut the double standards.

    Lastly, at what point did i claim to relentlessly hate Holford? One can be critical of someone without hating them. I have simply put forward several facts about holford’s ethics and behaviour and commented on them – all of these are actual facts that you can check for yourself if you were so inclined. If you honestly consider that pointing out that the man’s qualifications are a sham, that he lies about his publications, that he promotes deception, and that he supports people who are causing active harm to HIV sufferers, are “cheap jibes and rantings” then I would suggest that you seriously assess your own moral and ethical standards.

    Seriously, go sell your poor attempts at mindless, soulless defence of your fake hero elsewhere. Here are a few suggestions:

    Bad Science: Tag: Patrick Holford

    Action for Autism

    NHS Blog Doctor – yeah, this guy is a real doctor

    and last but not least…

    Holford Watch – would you look at that! An entire site dedicated to pointing out what a quack Holford is!


  20. Hi, I’m not a dietitian or nutritionist (I do have a MA in design though!) but I do work with a team of dietitians.
    Why do these questionably qualified experts create/buy ‘qualifications’ in the first place… the simple, cold hard truth is to lend legitimacy to their claims, in other words its commercially beneficial to appear to be qualified. And that’s what this is about, qualified advice.

    I think much of problem stems from the fact that so much (general) information is in public domain, therefore anyone could take the basics of a healthy diet and spout it off to all who’ll listen (or pay). I could also sit in my garage with a Haynes manual (it offers good advice) and fix my car, however I prefer to take it to a mechanic! If you had an electrical fault with a car you would without question consult an expert… but if you needed a tyre changing you’d probably go to the most convenient place.

    And that’s why I think people readily place there trust in any ‘expert’, like a tyre we’re all familiar with food, its not an alien concept, but the impact that your diet has on your body can be much more dramatic than most ‘lay people’ have previously thought. The reality is that as a society that we’re just starting to wake up to the fact that diet does have a big factor on your health, consequently we now seem to be in a ‘diet gold rush’ where there are huge amounts of cash up for grabs. Everyone has to make up their own minds, but don’t kid yourself that this isn’t simply about cash, these ‘experts’ are working in a poorly regulated cash making machine.

    I’ve seen a comment that ‘qualifications have no correlation to useful advice, research or effectiveness’ well in my humble opinion this is incredibly dangerous and naive comment. How on earth can we trust any research compiled by an unqualified source it just undermines the whole academic basis of research. Would you trust me if I said I’ve researched (on the internet) and a ’bought’ degree has equal academic merit to an approved course of study degree at a recognised university? (Maybe you would!!)

    A dietitian doesn’t have a set agenda (which invariably involves you buying their products) and will offer unbiased and objective dietary advice. I live in Spain and here we have a situation where the title ‘dietista/dietitian’ isn’t enforced as it is elsewhere. A visit to a dietista could mean you consult any Tom, Dick or Harry and be sold supplements or worse. Think yourself lucky that there are countries that have a profession that’s strictly regulated and controlled, one day you may find you need real dietary help for an illness and you’ll be very grateful for the support a dietitian will offer.

  21. Firstly, @ Moonflake,

    You have only chosen to answer what you feel you can while still appearing to have knowledge of the subject. You have loosely answered some of the smallest points of my previous post.

    “Its not my responsibilty to prove a negative” You are not trying to prove a negative. You have wriiten a libelous article, you do have a responsiblity to supply some evidence.

    About Schpats joke… I am well aware of the sarcasm used. What I was looking for is an explanation. “My name is Patick and” implies that he is summarising Holfords diet. If Schpats name is actually Patrick, well that is some coincidence and certainly clears things up.


    With regards to your 2nd last paragraph, you misunderstood. What you quoted me on saying relates to Dr. Atkins.

  22. You asked me to show that his advice is bad – that is the negative i do not have to prove. Rather, you have to prove his advice is good to prove the value of your statement that his immoral shenanigans can be ignored.

    As to evidence, i gave plenty of links, i can’t help it if your irrational devotion to Holford prevents you from looking into them. Unfortunately, the same cognitive dissonance that prevents you from accepting these facts also prevents you from having a logical exchange of ideas regarding them. Until you can sort this out for yourself, there is really no point in me continuing to repeat myself on the subject.

    Schpat’s name is Patrick.

  23. Panic Away Program

    This helped me out of those DARK PLACES.

  24. This an interesting blog. There is a discussion going on the Holford Watch blog you mentioned above on the subject of Vitamin C/HIV AIDS –

    In that discussion I posted a link -http://www.news24.com/News24/South_Africa/News/0,9294,2-7-1442_2074699,00.html – about Patrick Holford’s February visit to South Africa. Patrick Holford says he has no connection to Dr Jariwalla who in turn says he has no connection to Dr Rathman.

    It would be great if you or another South African could post a comment on Holford Watch about Holford’s visit to South Africa and the connection between Holford, Rathman and Jariwalla.

    Hope to hear from you!

  25. Sorry that should read “Dr Rath”

  26. FYI the Rath Foundation website lists Dr Jariwalla as senior researcher in nutrition and infectious diseases at the Dr. Rath Research Institute in California, USA.

    You should go to badscience.net and click on the Patrick Holford category for a lot more information on the topic. Ben Goldacre spends a lot of time on the topic of the AZT claim and Holford’s subsequent backpeddling.

  27. Thank you, that’s excellent. I am familiar with Ben Goldacre, but was looking for more information about the links between Dr Jariwalla and the Rath Foundation. It seems a bit silly of Mr Holford to say – as he did when he was in South Africa – that he had no links with Rath, but to use Dr Jariwalla as his main source for his ideas about HIV and vitamin C.

    Holford is the patron of the South African Optimum Nutrition Foundation. How influential an organisation are they within South Africa?

  28. There is no South African Optimum Nutrition Foundation as far as I can find – do you have a link? The closest I can find is a company called Optimum Nutrition SA which sells bodybuilding and sports nutrition supplements, and does not appear to be connected to Holford in any way. Holford is a partner in the South African supplement company Bioharmony, which sells a range of supplements called the Patrick Holford Range, but they’re just one of a number of supplement companies making a quick buck in today’s hypochondriac market.

    However, I know for one my boss is an enormous fan and will listen to anything Patrick Holford says, no matter how outrageous.

  29. If you go to Patrick Holford’s profile on his website you will discover he was made “Patron of South African Association for Nutritional Therapy” earlier this year: http://www.patrickholford.com/content.asp?id_Content=1279

    You can find their website at http://www.saant.org.za/ The first AGM was held in August so they are in their very early stages at the moment. The office bearers on the council seem to be a group of people who have practiced as nutritional therapists in the UK. Presumably Mr Holford’s visit back in February was partly to do with helping them get going. When I have got a moment I’ll email them and ask for their views on Dr Rath. Given how dependent they are on the work of Rath researcher Jariwalla for their views on vitamin C/HIV it is difficult to see how they can distance themselves. However, Holford and his friends do seem to get ever so sensitive when the matter of Rath is raised!

  30. ah i see. It looks like they’re trying to establish a BANT/NTC arm here in SA – I note that the courses they accredit are only UK courses, and oddly enough a similar list to those accredited by the NTC in the UK. No list of accredited SA courses, and no list of registered nutritionists yet, so I would say they’re still in the preparatory phases.

    Here’s the thing about nutritional councils – they are about as meaningful as a council for the professional regulation of astrologers or faith healers or dowsers. At the end of the day, there is no legal meaning for the term ‘nutritionist’, like there is for ‘dietician’, which means the councils are free to define what makes you a registered nutritionist in any way they please. Given that these councils are also generally run by nutritionists, what you have is a self-congratulatory, self-reinforcing circle-jerk that pretends to be a professional board. The sad thing is, people see a structure like that and they think it lends some level of authenticity to what they do.

    Dieticians, on the other hand, are required to register with the Health Professionals Council of South Africa, just like every doctor, dentist, psychologist and real medical professional in this country. They are subject to the same laws as doctors, you can lay malpractice suits against them, and they have to take the hippocratic oath.

    I doubt you’ll get a sensible response out of them regarding Rath/Jariwalla – as you say, they get ever so sensitive about the topic. You should also write to them and ask why they are bothering to set up their council if SA already has an association for dieticians, the ADSA, which works in conjuction with the Board for Dietetics at the HPCSA – i mean, nutritionists and dieticians are the same thing right? – or perhaps ask them if they are planning to require that their registered Nutritionists also register with the HPCSA… I bet either question will get an evasive response!

  31. No reply yet. Perhaps some one else would like to have a go.

  32. They did get back to me after my email was forwarded to the National Council! They have no connection with The Rath Foundation and do not yet have any official policy on vitamin C/HIV. However, they did refer me to the following two sites regarding vitamin C therapy

    Linus Pauling Institute – http://lpi.oregonstate.edu/

    Vitamin C Foundation – http://www.vitamincfoundation.org/

  33. […] The blog moonflake.wordpress.com/2007/02/28 put an intriguing blog post on Midweek Cuckoo: Patrick Holford moonflakeHere’s a quick excerpt […]

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