Patrick Holford is a British nutritionist, author and entrepreneur. He has a degree in experimental psychology. Holford founded the Institute for Optimum Nutrition in 1984, and retired as director in 1998. He is a co-founder of Food for the Brain Foundation, a charity for promoting health through nutrition. He has written dozens of books on health and nutrition. Holford endorses alternative nutrition, diet and medicine, which he has sometimes been criticized for. He holds unconventional views on the cause and treatment of autism and HIV.
Patrick Holford’s Diet
Holford has lots of diet advice, including the Low Glycemic Load Diet and the Hybrid Diet. The glycemic index measures what effect foods have on your blood sugar levels, and in Holford’s diet, what you eat should have a minimal impact. In the Hybrid Diet, you combine low GL foods with high fat in order to produce ketones and lose weight by burning fat rather than glucose. Holford recommends doing a month in the ketogenic phase, but 2 weeks is also acceptable as some people do better on the slow carb phase while others burn more with high fat.
- Low Carbs 15% 15%
- Medium Protein 20% 20%
- High Fat 70% 70%
Holdford’s Hybrid Diet allows for 3 meals per day plus one snack. Carbs should come from low-carb veggies and should fill half the plate. One-quarter of the plate can be protein. It should fit into the palm of your hand.
Figure Your Fats
Fats constitute 10 units on Holford’s diet, and should come from quality sources such as nuts, avocados, ghee, eggs and the like. (Thereis a chart in his book as to what a fat unit consists of.)
Go Low On Simple Carbs
Simple carbs are limited to a glycemic load of 15 per day, and should still be high quality, such as blueberries, oatmeal or bulgur wheat.
Holford recommends experimenting with restricted eating, such as having dinner at 6 and then not eating again until lunchtime the next day, although you are allowed a hybrid latte in the morning. You can also alternate days when you eat normally with days where you eat very lightly.
What to Eat
Low Glycemic Foods
Meat in Moderation
What to Avoid
Holford on Diet
‘Food is better medicine than drugs.’
Holford on Diet, Part II
‘If you follow a low glycemic load diet, you will find you are less hungry because it keeps your blood sugar even, so you automatically eat less.’
Holford on Losing Weight Fast
‘While a low GL diet is highly effective for weight loss, you can speed up your weight loss even more by simply eating less every other day.’
Holford on Food Allergies & Weight Loss
‘One thing that can slow weight loss down is if you are eating foods your body is intolerant to.’
Patrick Holford’s Fitness Routine
Make It Doable
Holford recommends a half-hour of aerobic exercise 3x per week, alternating days with 3 quick strength-training sessions that only last 8 minutes each.
High Intensity Interval Training (HIIT) is also recommended for its ability to improve insulin resistance and burn more fat.
If you are not yet able to do HIIT, still do some form of exercise, working on your fitness level with that as your goal.
A Patrick Holford Fat-Burning Exercise Routine
Holford hired the record-breaking athlete Kate Staples to help him come up with a routine that is fast and effective for burning fat. You do 3 30-minute aerobic session per week, one every other day, and alternate with 3 8-minute resistance sessions.
Aerobic exercise can be walking, jogging, riding a bike, or whatever suits your fancy. If you are incorporating HIIT, an interval of 30-40 seconds on, 60-80 seconds off can be used.
For the resistance portion, do 2 rounds of each of these 4 exercise, holding for about a minute each, with a brief rest between sets.
Wall Sit: targets chest, back & core. 45 seconds x 2 sets
If this is too challenging at first, slide up and down the wall for 45 seconds, building your strength until you can hold steady in the sitting position.
Modified box press: targets chest, back & core. 45 seconds x 2 sets
This is a static hold on hands and knees, nose to the floor. If you cannot get your nose all the way down, lower as far as you can and do 10-15 reps until you build enough strength to hold for 45 seconds.
Plank step-outs: targets core & shoulders. 45 seconds x 2 sets
If this is too challenging, you can raise the hips somewhat, but work toward having a level back.
Alternate reverse lunge: targets quads, hamstrings & glutes. 45 seconds x 2 sets
If bending the knees to a 90 degree angle is too challenging, bend as far as you can until you build up strength and can hold the position for the full amount of time.
Holford on Staying Healthy Under Stress
‘I work too hard, and…have had to learn how to stay healthy when the pressure is on…For example, I do Psychocalisthenics, a 16-minute exercise system, probably every other day.’
Holford on the Importance of Exercise
‘The right kind of exercise [resistance & aerobic] with alternative day dieting can double weight loss.’
Holford on breathing
‘Most of us only use a third of our lung capacity…Psychocalisthenics deliver extraordinary results in terms of vitality, flexibility and wellbeing.’
Patrick Holford’s Supplements
Patrick Holford’s Lifestyle
The Importance of Sleep
Holford says sleep is essential to good health, but he also says that if you are one of those who does not regularly get 7-8 hours in a row, don’t lose heart. Just find something relaxing to do to help you get back to sleep, such as meditation.
Food Intolerance Testing
Holford recommends food allergy testing because some 45% of the population has food hypersensitivities.
Holford was one of the strongest proponents of getting rid of mercury in vaccinations because he believed it was a likely cause of autism. He was disproven, but he stands by his conviction. He also questions the usefulness of vaccinations more generally.
Food For Thought
Holford says that what you eat affects your mind, and that specific vitamins, minerals and fats can reduce depression, anxiety and stress.
Patrick Holford on Habits
‘It takes 3 weeks to break a habit, 6 weeks to develop a new habit, and 36 weeks to hardwire this new habit.’
Patrick Holford on a Spiritual Life
‘Psychological factors are vital. We don’t learn how to improve our emotional intelligence…Many people have become disillusioned with religions and…turned away from pursuing anything spiritual. That creates a loss of sense of purpose and a lot of anger.’
Holford on Medicine
‘The medicine of the future will no longer be remedial, it will be preventative; not based on drugs but on the optimum nutrition for health.’
Get Up And Go Breakfast Shake
The Optimum Nutrition Bible
The 10 Secrets of 100% Healthy People
The Low-GL Diet Bible