Sunday, February 20, 2011

Large bacon sandwich, please...

Regular visitors to the Throne may recall that I entertain a healthy scepticism as regards the opinion of certain ‘scientists’, as they always seem to be described, as to what is ‘good’ or ‘bad’ for our health.

That scepticism has been significantly reinforced this weekend by the publication of two wholly contradictory reports (here and here) as to the possible health risks – or otherwise - of eating too much red meat.

Why on earth should we entertain the opinions of the merchants of doom, who claim that eating more than one bacon sandwich a week will result in colorectal cancer, if heart disease doesn’t kill us first? Weren’t they saying the same things about the cholesterol content of eggs a decade ago, (don’t eat more than two a week or you’ll have a heart attack!) only to see that ill-founded scare story comprehensively repudiated?

And what about the campaign to get people to eat five portions of fruit and vegetables a day? I actually do so because I happen to like them, but other countries recommend eating far more – the Japanese for instance recommend the consumption of quantities in the teens; so who’s scientists are correct, if any?

We’re also told, at interminable length, that drinking more than a thimble full of alcohol a week will leave us with livers resembling a use teabag, whilst simultaneously urging us all – but especially middle class, middle aged wine drinkers, for some reason - to sign the pledge or face a slow, painful death. At the risk of repeating myself for a third time, the much-vaunted numbers of ‘Units’ of alcohol we are ‘allowed’ to drink each day or week (without supposedly catastrophic consequences for our health) were the result of completely unscientific, finger-in-the-air guesswork by people who should (and probably did) know better.

Moving on, I am not and never have been a smoker; in fact, I have never held a lit cigarette to my lips, let alone suck on one. But whilst acknowledging that smoking cigarettes is very likely to damage the health of the person doing it, I utterly reject the hysterical nonsense surrounding the issue of second-hand smoking and even more ludicrously, third hand smoking: I simply don’t believe it.

I am a firm believer that there is no such thing as a ‘bad’ food, only bad diets and in closing, can anyone tell me why, if we are eating and drinking ourselves towards ill-health and an early, painful death, we are now living longer than we have done in the history of mankind?

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