The Third Leader: Get stuffed

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Dear, oh, dear. New data from a long-running study in the United States shows that a low-fat diet on its own is little help to health. A commentary responding to the finding concludes that the role of nutrition in preventing disease "remains murky". Excuse me for a moment while I chew this over with a celery stick.

Excuse me, too, if I forbear to rehearse the latest revision vis-a-vis cholesterol, carbohydrates, protein, retention, combination, irrigation, baked beans, cabbage soup, Mediterranean habits and drinking carrot juice, red wine, beer or your own urine. I do wonder, though, if there's any research on stress caused by research.

Eating and drinking, as Voltaire had it, would be extremely tedious if God hadn't made it pleasurable. If the stuff that you find pleasurable is bad for you, this is either an example of God's mysterious planning or Evolution's way of breaking the news that you haven't been selected. Whichever, I shouldn't feel the need to pay too much attention to these discussions of the feasibility of surviving to 150, if I were you.

And I'm certainly with you. So at least let's go smiling. I've always liked JM Barrie on George Bernard Shaw's healthy vegetarian salad: "Tell me, have you eaten that, or are you going to?" And Handel sending word to a local tavern for dinner for two, and telling them on arrival that he was the two. Or Caruso being asked if he was going to eat a vast steak alone. "No, with potatoes." AA Milne would have understood: "What I say is that, if a man really likes potatoes, he must be a pretty decent sort of fellow."

Amen to that (with butter).