The Holford Diet

By Jim F

i-a1f59eb9f5f7d53cd10b44967e2cd81f-holford.jpg>a href=””>The Holford Diet (named after author Patrick Holford) is a book that focuses on the glycemic index. Patrick Holford is a prolific nutritional writer, and brings a lot of knowledge into the area of fat loss.

UPDATE: Book can be ordered in the US here via Abebooks.

I had the opportunity to browse through the book. At a hefty 320 pages there is a lot of impressive information in this book. Holford’s concepts of fat burning diets revolve around Glycemic Load (which in my opinion is a far better measure than Glycemic Index alone). The diet basically consists of quality lean proteins, the right fats, and low GL carbs – such as whole wheat breads, oatmeal etc. He advocates exercise – not just as a fat loss exercise – but as a good appetite suppressant.

– Glycemic load builds on the GI to provide a measure of total glycemic response to a food or meal
– Glycemic load = GI (%) x grams of carbohydrate per serving
– One unit of GL ~ glycemic effect of 1 gram glucose
– You can sum the GL of all the foods in a meal, for the whole day or even longer
Quoted from

It’s hard to do justice to this book in a few paragraphs. The book expounds what many fitness trainers and bodybuilders know. The same information seems to be coming out again and again. Maintaining balanced blood-sugar levels, getting enough good proteins and fats seem to be the common threads that are tying many successful diets together. This is the same nutritional basis as Body For Life, Burn The Fat Feed The Muscle, and even The Abs Diet.

However The Holford Diet is written from a more nutritional perspective that adds considerable credence and science to the diet.

Click here to purchase this book for a discounted price (Amazon).

Are we finally coming up with a balance? Lean proteins, whole carbs, essential fats, and exercise (and weight training). No extremes, no dropping of entire food groups. I believe extremes do have a place – but only for a small section of the population. Each of us will have our own variation because of our unique genetic makeup.

Filed in Diet Reviews


  1. Clemmie

    I’ve tried many different diets since my age has caused my metabolism to slow and I have gained weight. I didn’t have a lot to lose, but several attempts at Weight Watchers and similar diets helped me to lose a maximum of 5lb, but it always piled back on again plus more. I had really begun to despair of ever losing my flabby belly, and then someone told me about Patrick Holford. I just thought ‘here we go, another faddy diet’ but I got the books and read them thoroughly and have been doing the diet for 4 weeks now. In that time, I have lost 6lb, an inch off my waist, and I have never felt better. No matter what people say about Holford not being properly qualified and selling his own expensive supplements etc, I’m really not interested. I don’t buy his supplements, I get them from Tesco and health food shops, and I’m not bothered about what people say about him being a quack. For me, the evidence is in HOW I FEEL. I have seriously never had more energy, my skin has cleared up, my hair is shiny, people have begun to comment on how much better I look, and I’m sleeping better. I’m just generally happier and healthier, and I can’t imagine going back to eating sugary crap like I did before. And it’s absolute rubbish that you can’t do this diet with a busy lifestyle. I commute 4 hours a day, and work an extremely busy job in television, but I can still do it. It’s just plain common sense. Eat fruit, vegetables, lots of oats, minimal meat, lots of fish, take supplements, combine protein and carbs with every meal, and just watch the weight drop off.

    Bottom line: this diet works, and for me, it’s a long-term solution, not a fad. I will probably eat this way for the rest of my life.

    • l.A.

      I would be very grateful if you can help me. I am very interested in the Patrick Holford diet and have his book. The breakfasts are pretty easy and I understand the list of starchy veges which are 7 GL.I see the list of free veges but don’t understand why when I look at the table at the back of the book the same veges have GL points.
      Lastly I find it difficult to understand if there are GL points for the protiens. Please help.

  2. raima

    Hi. My daughter has been diagnosed with PCOS. The doctor has strongly advised eliminating all refined carbs. I know the Holford GL diet will help. However the problem with this diet is that it is more suited for the british population rather than the asian /indian types. Is there any diet book that is based on the low GL principle but utilising indian recipes?

  3. Mike

    I have recently started this diet, but find that the high fibre content makes me very bloated and uncomfortable.

    Has anyone else had this experience, and if so is it temporary?

  4. sue

    You asked about gout and the Holford diet. It doesn’t create a flare-up – even though it recommends oatmeal which can be a trigger. If you compare the Holford diet with Leslie Kenton’s Syndrome x diet (both written and published in the UK in 2005) you will see that the Holford diet is the better of the two. Leslie’s brought on an immediate attack of gout – whereas Patrick’s calmed it.

  5. Les Busse

    Do you have any suggestions / comments with regards to Gout. Will this diet help?


  6. Alex

    Does anybody know of a product with the same ingredients as Get up and Go available in Australia?

  7. sue

    I just bought the Holford Low GI Diet book. I am gradually getting into it. I am having trouble giving up some foods. Anyway, I was wondering if anyone had some tips on pre-packaged snacks. That would be really handy for work. Does anyone know of any online websites where people share what worked for them; tips and things. One last thing. I’m in the US and can’t find “Get up & Go”. Does anyone know where to get it here or better yet, an equivalent (or similar product) sold here in the US. I found a UK website that will ship it, but the cost is prohibitive.


  8. noelle

    I am so so pleased to find a book confirming all the information about food that I know to be true. For years I have been saying to my friends “I wish I could find a book which tells me exactly what I should be eating in any one day in order to get all the correct oils, vitamins etc.”- you are very clever to write this book in this way, and you have made me a very happy mother and wife. Now I plan my meals around your recipes knowing my family and I are receiving a very healthy diet, yes we are loosing weight, but that is only a – by the way, as my main interest is in healthy eating and thanks to you Patrick I now know which foods to eat in order to receive the correct nutriants in every meal. It is a wonderful feeling going to bed at night knowing your family are eating all the right foods for a healthy life. Thank you from the bottom of my heart.

  9. Pat Burton

    I bought the book; read it from cover to cover several
    times. I am 52 with 40 lbs of excess weight. All the
    weight was in my belly!! I purchased lots of fresh fruits,vegetables and fish and chicken. I feel soooo much better. My body was overfed and undernourished! This book has taught me how to nourish my body while losing weight. I have lost 8 lbs in 2 weeks. Praying for persistence!!

  10. Aisling

    I have just finished my first week on the Holford diet and have lost 6lbs already. I feel incredible and have only felt a little hungry on the odd occasion. I am keen to keep it up for 3 months, as I think it will take that long to achieve my 30lb goal loss. How is everyone else getting on?

  11. Liam

    I’ll keep this brief.

    I followed this diet just under 2 years ago. Similar to what someone else said above, I was very overweight when I was young by about a 120 pounds. I have since lost most of this over the years, but had never been able to get rid of the final 15 – 20. For the first time after many unsuccessful attemps, I achieved my original target weight on the Holford diet by losing about 15 pounds. I have to say that the weight came back quite quickly, but this was a result of me not sticking to the diet. I lost it again following the same diet afterward and am about to start using the same principles again more permanently. How could it not be healthy? It’s basic premise is balancing blood sugar and eating natural foods.

  12. mary

    I have started reading this book and it seems very very interesting. However I am wary of the fact that Holford promotes his own brand of vitamin & mineral supplements a lot. I’ve been browsing the internet and have only come across one comment which voices the same concern. I want to improve my diet and the benefits Holford proposes (&all those who’ve written in this forum) sound great – but I do not wish to fall victim to any scam. Any advice?

  13. Colette

    Can you help?

    I have just been getting to grips with the book this weekend. The comments about blood sugar are the key to a lot of my health/weight problems. So I am giving it a go.

    Just one thing confuses me a bit. Half the plate is supposed to be filled with veg, do we need to count this veg in the daily 40GL? He mentions many vegetables in his unlimited veg list, do we need to weigh/count these?

  14. Cassandra

    I really like this diet. I’m in Virgina in the US and am unable to get a hold of any Get Up & Go? Is there anything close to it I can use?

  15. Beth

    Holford has just recently published a new version of this that is widely available (see Amazon for instance).

    I agree with your review…this diet looks pretty good.

  16. Oliver

    I bought this book with the intention of leading a healthy lifestyle. So far what I’ve read makes a lot of sense and will start putting it into practice soon. I’m 26 and in good shape but suffer from anxiety and stress so am hoping there’s something applicable for me. Good luck to all with the Holford diet..

  17. Ashley Eatly

    At end of December 2004 I weighed 117Kg with the associated problems of high resting heart rate and raised blood pressure and then in February 2005 I decided to look at the GI diet – I did not have Holfords book at that time but found that I was soon losing the weight and by Mid Summer I was down to 84Kg – and I hadn’t made time for the exercise and fitness side at that time. This was achieved without the cravings associated with all other diets.
    Sometime during the early part of diet, I discovered the holford GI book and now the GL book – and started following the other aspects – seeds,supplements, oils etc. I do not believe that there can be any criticism of these books as to do so would mean that all the healthy lifestyle books based on the sensible GI/GL principle are also to be criticised. I now eat healthily following all or most of guidelines and since October 2005 – sensibly take all the exercise I can reasonably achieve with job and home.
    Follow the guidelines, do your best and it will work – no other diet worked for me – and many made me ill.
    This lifestyle change seems sensible – My optimal body weight is still some way off and as I am starting to build muscle probably will take some time to re-balance weight gained through muscle vs fat loss.
    Anyway Good inspiring book but my advice is read others and if necessary read around the subjects – I think however you will find that they do support the Holford principles.

    Good Luck and don’t forget even if you can’t do it all – any small change for better is beneficial.

  18. Liam

    Going to be as brief as possible here…

    Had to lose a lot of weight when I was young, about 80 or 90 pounds. In the last four years I’ve made quite a number of attempts to lose the remaining ten or fifteen pounds. The Holford diet is really the only one that I had any kind of success on. I also lost about a pound a day and felt really really healthy. For the first time in my entire life I reached my optimal body weight with this diet. It felt amazing. I have since slipped a good bit but am back on it now…

    Good luck all.

  19. margery cullinan

    hello there,my daughter and i are both on the holsford diet and in just ten days we have both lost over 5kgs each.ijust could not believe it,thinking that our scale had was out of sorts i called over my taiwanese friend and asked her to step on the scale,she looked at me and said “whye mee i no put on weight” i replied “no no no i think the scale is kaput broken”she replied “no is collect” so a hearty big thankyou to MR HOLFORD and we are both going to continue eating healthy food.

  20. Moira Singh

    I am Asian (of Indian origin) I have been on the Holford Diet for four weeks and have lost half a stone, my husband is the same ethnicity and has lost almost a stone.

    However, i would like to point out the the recipe section of the book is full of typographical errors and unless you are quite a good cook already and able to recognise these errors you will soon run into trouble.

    I think it is a pretty poor show when a “nutritional expert” allows a sub-standard text to be published in his name.

  21. Jim

    Patrick Holford is unashamedly British, and the book is written very much for a UK audience. Your question is an interesting one, given than Asian body types are more prone to being ectomorphic.

    I think many of his principles could be followed, but he may not be the best source for info on Asian weight loss.

  22. kenny tan

    Patrick Holford was on the news in Singapore recently. Judging from the way he talks about shedding the fat, I wonder if his book, The Holford Diet, applies ONLY to the Caucasions? Does it apply to Asians like me? (PS: The BMI Index in Singapore has recently been modified because an Asian with a similar BMI as a Caucasion has more body fat than the Caucasion.) Can anyone please address this matter?

  23. simon

    … This guy?s only recognised nutritional qualification is one from his own institute (part time courses in nutritional therapy). His book merely follows findings from qualified academics in the field of nutrition.

    Unless someone is a qualified dietitian (SRD RD) or a qualified nutritionist (been to Uni and studied for 3 years)i really wouldn’t bother… and this ‘Holford’ diet is next to near impossible to fit into any busy lifestyle…

  24. vaughan

    do you have a diet for eliminating or controling

  25. Jim

    I spent some more time looking at the The Holford Diet. I must admit, there is a lot of real meat (no pun intended!) in the book. Patrick Holford already has a string of quality nutrition books under his belt, and it seems like this book is no exception.

    Expect to see more of the Holford Diet. I don’t know if I would call it ‘revolutionary’ – but very balanced and well researched. Will it appear in the US?

  26. Barbara

    I hear an extensive interview with Patrick Holford early hours of today and feel the principles and theories of his diet may be revolutionary.
    I am going out today to buy the book!!