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Customer Review

on April 9, 2007
My first impression was that this is a well-put together and practical guide to nutritional health. The recommendations and diet advice seem more realistic than in some other comparable books, which is good.

I also liked the wide scope and open-minded approach of Patrick Holford's book. Other authors in this field can verge on the fanatical in their advocacy of particular (often rather extreme) diets, like Joseph Mercola's No Grain Diet, to give one example.

However, like some other reviewers I was concerned about the accuracy of some of the information, and the scientific standards applied. I have not been so diligent as to check particular facts, but just from having looked through the book in some detail, I picked up on vague and sometimes contradictory statements (the percentage of water of the human body is variously stated to be 62 or 65% - while this is not crucial and may vary, it reflects a sloppiness and cavalier attitude to presenting information (implicitly as scientific fact) that worried me. Information about required water intake is similar vague and contradictory.

The health/nutrition advice on various medical conditons may be handy but I strongly suspect that the 'supplement recipes' are based purely on generally known facts with a dash of Mr Holford's intuition and common sense - unlikely to do harm but far from proven to work.

At a glance, and without having read the book in full, the worst section appears to be the one about blood types, which uncritically summarises and even recommends Peter D'Adamo's scientifically unproven claims about dietary types. It seems a very slap-dash and frankly irresponsible chapter that's been quickly knocked up for the new edition. Even without being an expert or doing any research, its suggestion that early humans were primarily carnivorous hunters appears to in contradiction to the widely-accepted theory that they were omnivorous hunter-gatherers. I think the chapter also contains a factual error on blood type compatibility (Type A does not react against type O donor blood as stated, as type O individuals can donate blood to persons of any other blood type as far as I know). Bad science indeed.

This may be a too useful and practical guide to healthy eating to miss - I am well informed on nutrition but learnt quite a few new things and clarified areas of previous knowledge. But double-check the facts elsewhere before you go supplement shopping, and definitely skip the chapter on blood types!
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