Patrick Holford’s feel-good quackery

As submitted to The Daily Maverick.

At times it appears alarmingly easy to be considered an expert in any given field. This is sometimes the case even when objective criteria for expertise are available, and you manifestly fail to meet them. Granted, there are some fields of knowledge where consensus is difficult to reach, and where equally qualified people can have opposing viewpoints. But this is rare, and (thankfully) becoming steadily more rare.

Patrick Holford supports Malema!

No, not really. I was just trying the TimesLive and Sunday Times strategy for getting hits, whereby you headline a piece with something very misleading, perhaps even false. But it is at least partly true that Holford supports Malema, because Holford cares about all of us – especially our health, which he believes he can improve via dietary advice, and of course via your purchasing of his various branded products.

Unfortunately for some of us – particularly the ones with HIV, Holford also endorses the notion that “AZT is potentially harmful and proving less effective than vitamin C” – a notion which comes from Dr Raxit Jariwalla, who works for the Matthias Rath Foundation. I’ll write more about this next week for The Daily Maverick, but in the meanwhile, here are the places to avoid if you don’t want to hear Holford giving bad advice, or run into any his cultish supporters. Or, the places to flock to, if you intend to heckle.

Though, if you do intend to heckle, you should know that you’d be disagreeing with at least some experts in dismissing Holford’s credentials. On his website, in the section on “What the experts say”, there’s this:

Patrick Holford is one of the world’s leading authorities on new approach to health and nutrition.

The expert in question? The Daily Mail.

Thanks to Twitter user ORapscallion for alerting me to the visit of this quackmeister, and of course to Radio702 / CapeTalk567, who I hope are spending this ad revenue on AIDS-related charities. I mean, surely they must be, being behind the #LeadSA campaign and all.