Well, umm, yes


Children who eat five or more portions of fruit and vegetables a day have the best mental health, according to the first study of its kind.

Higher intake is associated with better mental wellbeing among secondary school pupils, and a nutritious breakfast and lunch is linked to emotional wellbeing in pupils across all ages, the research shows.

It’s just that yesterday the same paper reported that 70 years worth of public health statements on nutrition are blindingly wrong.

The grave effects of this relatively recent departure from time-honoured eating habits comes as no surprise to those of us who never swallowed government “healthy eating” advice in the first place, largely on evolutionary grounds.

Is mother nature a psychopath? Why would she design foods to shorten the lifespan of the human race?

And time is vindicating. This bankrupt postwar nutrition paradigm is being knocked for six, time and again, by up-to-date, high quality research evidence that reasserts how healthy traditional ingredients and eating habits are.

26 thoughts on “Well, umm, yes”

  1. The kind of parents who care about their children’s diet also care about the many other aspects of child rearing. I expect it is this second part which contributes substantially to the child’s happiness, rather than a few extra carrots.

  2. What Noel C said. There’s absolutely no way of knowing if the eating of fruit and veg is correlated with happiness, or rather correlated with some other family characteristic which itself is correlated with increased happiness, such as having a middle class yummy mummy.

    Now if they’d measured the happiness and the fruit and veg intake, stuffed all the refuseniks with fruit and veg for 3 months and discovered happiness had risen, then they might have a point. Even then there could be an element of kids enjoying being the centre of attention, but there could be the core of a truth revealed.

    Garbage ‘science’ of the “This activity is something all right minded people agree is a good thing, lets try and engineer some evidence ‘proving’ it is” type.

  3. “Five a day” is just marketing guff anyway. Like “Go to work on a pinta ” or something.

    Amgela Rayner was brought up on shaving foam and Pedigree Chum, never did her any harm.

  4. Cause: “better mental health” = being normal. Effect: sensible diet.

    Cause: “poor mental health” and/or unhappiness. Effect: eating an excess of comfort food: sweets, chocolates, kentucky fried chicken …

  5. If someone goes to the bother of cooking a family meal and getting the family to sit down and eat it the result is likely to be a varied and nutritious diet.

    If people graze from the fridge, get takeaways and snacks the result is likely to be of lower quality, less varied and less nutritious. But it does not necessarily condemn the consumer to poor mental health.

  6. It’s well-known that you need to be happy to enjoy vegetables. That’s why every weekend, at playgrounds around the country, kids’ ears prick up when they hear the merry melody of the veg van.
    “Mum, can I have a pound for a 99 carrot stick please?”

  7. What happens when you have dieticians. For a dietician to have a job, whatever you’re eating now must be wrong to enable the dietician to recommend a different diet. Add “dietary science” constantly changing what’s “good & what’s “bad” & you have a recipe for constant well paid employment.

  8. Mother Nature didn’t design food for us. She/he (in an evolution mode) designed us to digest the food that’s around us.
    And to cope with scarcity by binging on food when it’s plentiful.
    We’re also designed to eat meat. If your hungry, a pound of beef will keep you going longer than a pound of lettuce.
    (NB “Design” is used metaphorically, throughout. In case anyone wondered. )

  9. “’Five a day’ is just marketing guff anyway. Like ‘Go to work on a pinta’ or something.”

    Exactly like that. Invented by the California Fruit Growers’ Association or some such. I’m quite prepared to accept that a bit of fruit and veg. is good for you. I’m partial to some myself. But five is not some kind of magic number; it was plucked entirely from thin air (or the Los Angeles smog, at any rate).

  10. When I was at university 50 years ago my then girlfriend was reading biochemistry and had lectures on nutrition from an elderly Nobel laureate. What stuck in everybody’s minds from his lectures was “a couple of pints of real ale and a plate of chips contain 95% of your nutritional needs. The rest you’ll pick up unless you’ve got weird eating habits.”

  11. When it comes to telling kids the world is doomed because of them leaving the telly on standby, I suppose that doesn’t contribute to mental ill-health*?

    * We used to call it worry, but it wasn’t as fashionable as mental illness has become.

  12. “When I was at university 50 years ago …”: the big decision at lunchtime was what to have with your chips – Forfar Bridie, Cornish Pasty, mutton pie, steak pie, haddie in batter. And should you have beans or peas or carrots? For pud – apple pie and custard was popular, or yoghurt – which was not then a sickeningly sweet food for infants.

    The daily diet would be balanced at dinner. At dinner early in university days one of the chaps went in to see the cook: “Cook, the beef tastes off.” Cook: “It’s venison.”

  13. allthegoodnamesaretaken

    “a couple of pints of real ale and a plate of chips contain 95% of your nutritional needs.” Calorific needs perhaps, but that’s not going to keep you going indefinitely.

  14. Chips = “empty calories” – one needs protein and vitamins, which don’t come in a pint of ale either [real ale may have some, but not commercial bottled beer]. I cannot remember eating chips at university (although I almost certainly did so a few, maybe even half-a-dozen, times).
    [If you’re training for a marathon you needs loads of calories so chips and/or pasta are fine, but I only started marathons when I was 37.]

  15. Classic student pre-beer restaurant meal: curried spaghetti on rice with chips. Not that I ever tried it. That I remember.

  16. A memory of childhood that only came back to me recently was that at the end of a meal, we children asked “please may I get down from the table”

    Don’t suppose there’s much of that these days. Families eating together at tables and children being taught politeness.

  17. @ Ottokring
    Good point!
    [albeit I never had a skinful of real ale, and certainly would not have eaten anything, let alone a plate of chips, after a gallon of cider]

  18. Chips ie potatoes have plenty of vitamins. All they lack is protein.

    From t’internet: “The potato is a moderate source of iron, and its high vitamin C content promotes iron absorption. It is a good source of vitamins B1, B3 and B6 and minerals such as potassium, phosphorus and magnesium, and contains folate, pantothenic acid and riboflavin.”

    Potatoes are also less processed than rice or pasta.

  19. Pre famine Irish peasants lived on a diet of spuds, greens and buttermilk. In fact old cartoons of the period identify an Irishman because he is carrying a pail of buttermilk.
    Not ideal, I dread to think what their digestion was like, but all types accounted for.

  20. Best mental health and emotional wellbeing are subjective concepts, unless we are talking about actual mental illnesses. And my bet is these are averages, which have little or no place in actual science. Either show a dose dependent curve or go away with this nonsense.

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