A fellow radio presenter, the late, lamented Ray Moore, would refer to me on-air as "polyunsaturated fat-face". How my dear friend would have gloried in the recent "research shows" that saturated fat, otherwise known as "best butter", not only has little impact on the risk of heart disease or a stroke, but may even protect against them. So, in the words of one advertisement, "a better bit of butter on your knife" may well, in the telling phrase of yet another, "prolong active life".Someone break it gently to Gwyneth Paltrow, and all those to whom dairy foods are anathema. Oh, those wasted years of low-fat diets, in the pursuit of a healthier lifestyle, that is but a mirage on the shifting sands of scientific knowledge.There has been an erosion of faith lately in the fondly held beliefs in the efficacy of health foods and extra vitamins. However, the more science investigates the claims of fish oils, green-lipped mussels and tiny tinctures of homoeopathic herbs, and the greater the advances in medical knowledge, the more some want to revert to the cures of Druids and faith healers.
Nobody wants to be caught shouting, "The king has no clothes!" not just because the heir apparent himself appears to be a believer in "alternative" medicine. It's easier to avoid argument by smiling in a superior manner, with the words, "Oh well, I suppose if you feel it's doing you good".And now, as if to give credence to these beliefs, comes further "research" that appears to vindicate the homespun medical remedies that our grannies practised. Forget that podiatrist for your painful verruca! Nip down to your local ironmongers for a roll of duct tape, wrap it tightly around the offending toe, and Bob's your uncle. Worried about a skin condition? Leap smartly into a bath of porridge. Travel sickness? Try a little ginger. A listener once wrote to me that her granny was convinced that a cold, or any chest complaint, could be easily cleared up by a brisk rubbing with a brick. Another's father would blow sulphur powder down his children's throats as a deterrent to infection or any soreness. A stiff neck was treated by ironing with a flat iron, over brown paper.
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