In the course of one lifetime the arguments over the relationship between diet and health has been constant. I suspect in the next lifetime those same arguments will remain.
Concerns about cholesterol, BMIs,obesity,heart disease,protein and carbohydrate balance will undoubtedly continue to fuel discussions over the merits of meat, fish, vegetable and fibre intakes, and the extent to which manufacturers like McDonalds bear responsibility for persuading the public to consume in a manner that best serves their commercial interests.
One of the most maligned products in this ongoing debate is butter. For the past generation butter has been slated as the villain in the war against cholesterol and its association to heart disease.
Most recently however studies conducted at Cambridge University published by Time magazine suggest that the real culprits are carbs, sugars and processed foods.
In another recent admission, broadcast through the TED network, an American psychologist admitted that for the past twenty years she had been incorrectly advising her clients as to the cause, effects and remedies for stress. Previously she had advocated that stress was a significant contributor to our health statistics and that she would recommend measures to avoid those factors impacting her clients lives. Now however research had found that it was not stress, but how people reacted to stress, that was the most significant factor to the medical outcomes.
A case study of 1000 people having identified their lives as having significant amounts of stress were studied for a period of ten years. Half of the group believed that stress was harmful to their health and the other half believed that stress helped them to achieve.
The study found that of those who felt stress was detrimental to their health 43% suffered significant health conditions whereas those who believed stress was helpful only suffered health issues in 1% of cases.
The psychologists response was to offer an apology to her former clients and an acknowledgement that she was now advocating that everyone just adjust their ways of thinking.
The examples about butter and stress seem to indicate the frailty of the human condition. We seem to have a need to create fads, to jump on the bandwagon of any new idea that convincingly suggests that our longevity can be enhanced.
I don't doubt that our obsession with health remedies will continue but we shouldn't overlook our past experience and acknowledge that there are no silver bullets.
I may be risking my life by continuing to eat red meat but I'm equally certain that there's no way I'm going to inhale smoke deliberately.
Whatever choices we make, there is no doubt that life expectancies are rising.
Whilst our obsessions will change over time we should continue to encourage their debate because it is as likely that it is the very thought of finding ways to extend life that has kept us healthy?