The couch potato's charter
April 7th 2010, 10:36 | Bryan Hubbard
Couch potatoes rejoice! As of today, you don't have to eat those five portions of fruit and vegetables every day in order to ward off cancer. Researchers have discovered that the advice of every government has, all along, been wrong. The beneficial effect is modest, say researchers from the Mount Sinai School of Medicine, after they profiled the lifestyles of 500,000 participants around Europe.
As the average couch potato never even got close to consuming five portions of fruit and vegetables anyway, the news represents more of a salve to his conscience than a rethink to his diet. And those who eat healthily will continue to do so, irrespective of this latest piece of research.
And the reason why nothing will change is because it's mass consumer advice from the world of medicine that still works on the concept of mass production. One drug suits all; one piece of advice works for everyone.
The truth is more subtle, and more interesting. Cancer isn't one disease, it's around 200. Not all fruits and vegetables are created equal as cancer fighters; some, such as broccoli and the berries, are very effective, some are ineffective. And if they're not fresh, if they've been plastered with pesticides, and then if they are boiled beyond recognition, any health-giving qualities that the vegetables and fruits might once have had have been reduced to almost zero.
But did the researchers actually ask these questions? I suppose not, so it's back to the burgers and fries for those who never stopped eating them in the first place.