Optimum Nutrition Bible Review

The Optimum Nutrition Bible has first published quite some time ago but has been updated with new research and new information from time to time since then.

Patrick Holford has now written many books on nutrition and its impact on the mind, the athlete etc. But you’d still be hard pushed to find a better, more comprehensive overview of nutrition, how it affects our health and well-being, and how to incorporate good, healthy eating practices into our everyday diet.

Optimum Nutrition Bible

His later books deal with specific aspects of nutrition and tend to become more extreme and more difficult to incorporate into normal daily life, no matter how valid and worthy they may be. But the Optimum Nutrition Bible remains a book that anyone can benefit from. So with all of that being said let’s continue with my Optimum Nutrition Bible Review.

My Detailed Optimum Nutrition Bible Review

At a meaty 560 pages, there’s a large amount of information in the Optimum Nutrition Bible. Yet it’s not heavily academic. It’s written in a straightforward, accessible way that anyone can understand. But at the same time, it is packed with interesting and thought-provoking research, explanations and science.

Optimum Nutrition Bible Review

Personally, with my fascination with nutrition and health, I did sit down and read it from beginning to end when it was first published around the millennium. But it’s structured in a way that most people would be happy to dip in and out of, looking for specific information on a particular health condition, symptom or nutrient.

The book is structured in clear sections. Parts one and two are the parts most likely to cause controversy or disagreement.

Let’s Examine The Different Parts of The Optimum Nutrition Bible

Part 1 looks at the concept of Optimum nutrition, rather than simply trying to avoid malnutrition, and includes a section on Nutrition and Evolution which may cause problems if you have creationist beliefs.

It also talks about how we are all unique and may have unique nutritional requirements. This is something I have increasingly been convinced about over the years, and for me, the individual approach to nutrition advocated in this book is one of its most valuable characteristics.

Part 2 goes into detail about what the Perfect Diet might look like. What’s great about this section is that on top of lots of other information, including the real danger that lurks in our love affair with sweet things, it incorporates and evaluates several eating “fads” or plans, with convincing evidence for or against so-called “well balanced” diets, high protein diets, food combining and metabolic typing.

He does sometimes talk about saturated fats as though they are a “bad thing” but in general his information is in line with the latest views, in that it is sugar and refined carbohydrates that are seen as the major problem in our modern western diet, along with trans-fats.

Meanwhile, certain saturated fats, such as Coconut butter and oil are recognized as healthy choices, no matter what the pharmaceutical industry and “unsaturated fat” health brigade might like us to believe.

Part 3 looks at ways of boosting your health through nutrition, while part 4 looks at the wide-ranging benefits of optimum nutrition as opposed to generally healthy eating.

Healthy Nutrition

Part 5 gives a really valuable overview of how our nutritional needs vary at different ages and stages of life, and there’s a great section about avoiding many of the problems we associate with old age.

Then comes Part 6, which I find the most valuable part of the whole book. With a series of simple questionnaires and forms to complete about various aspects of your life, including your day to day environment, how well you’re sleeping and your general lifestyle as well as any less than optimum symptoms you may have, Patrick Holford makes it easy to work out what aspects of your diet may need boosting or adjusting, and exactly what your own, personal optimum nutrition plan would look like right now (because of course, it can change if your lifestyle and other factors change).

This is also a section that some people criticize because although he indicates the nutrients you may be lacking in, he also suggests that you may need to take supplements in order to get the very best out of your diet. Some people view this as just a way to sell a range of high quality, relatively expensive nutritional supplements.

However, I personally have no problem with this. He makes no bones about the fact that the “best” diet for you would involve getting all your vitamins and minerals from the food you eat. But he’s also realistic about the way in which we have depleted the nutritional value of our soils, the number of pesticides and antibiotics used in conventional, intensive farming etc.

So yes, he does advocate the use of supplements in order to achieve optimum nutrition.

However, the idea that he is writing this only in order to sell a load of supplements is flawed. It was many years after he had written this book (in which he suggests what to look for and how to judge the best quality, most worthwhile supplements) before Patrick Holford was persuaded to create his own range of supplement which matches the criteria he suggests.

Optimum Nutrition Bible

Part 7 then looks at Nutrition Healing, taking various symptoms and conditions, and suggesting how nutrition might be used to help with each of them.

Part 8 is an invaluable ready reference for nutrients – an A to Z of essential information about each vitamin and mineral.

Part 9 is another exceptionally useful section, termed the “Food fact file” it looks at various types of food – eg. Which are the best sources of protein? Which are the healthiest fats and oils? What carbohydrates is it good to eat?

A comparison of the Glycemic Index (GI) and Glycemic load (GL) of foods, and why GL is way more important than GI. Balancing acid and alkaline forming foods.  Which foods are high in phytoestrogens and why it matters, and a variety of really useful tables and charts to dip into depending on what you’re looking to do with your diet.

The Optimum Nutrition Bible then comes to an end with a list of recommended reading, useful resources and a wealth of references for the research and information included in the earlier chapters.

The Pros and Cons of the Optimum Nutrition Bible by Patrick Holford

You can probably see from everything I’ve written above that I rate this book very highly. But it’s not perfect. While it is comprehensive, well researched, yet accessible, I think the jury is out on whether the generally high (complex) carbohydrate diet which is his default recommendation is necessarily the healthiest diet around.

That said his emphasis on individual variation does compensate for this.

There’s also the fact that he does lean heavily toward a vegetarian diet. He has very good reasons for this, but not everyone (myself included) necessarily believes that a vegetarian diet is, without doubt, the way to go.

In spite of this, he does include information about the best meat and animal sources for various nutrients, so while his suggestions for absolutely optimum nutrition may be challenging for the best of us, we could all feel healthier and more energetic if we incorporated just some of his suggestions into our everyday eating patterns.

My Optimum Nutrition Bible Review Conclusion

I really enjoyed this book and I personally believe the latest version of the Optimum Nutrition Bible is worth the purchase price for the personalized nutrition plan and nutritional healing sections alone.

So, not perfect (what book is?) but about as good as it gets in my opinion.

One word of warning – I have read reviews that indicate that the Kindle/e-reader version is poorly formatted, negating the great benefit of being able to easily dip in and out and go straight to the specific information you’re looking for.  Hopefully, in later versions, this has been resolved, but choose carefully!

I hope you enjoyed my Optimum Nutrition Bible Review. If you’re interested in purchasing the book you can find it HERE.