Of all the animals of prey, man is the only sociable one.
Every one of us preys upon his neighbour, and yet we herd together.
The Beggar's Opera: John Gay

Friday, 13 June 2014

World Cup ruminations

Remember this from 2010?
"Worried about your waistline while you watch the football? Concerned you might be piling on extra pounds as the tension mounts? Fear not, help is at hand!"
Now once again, spurred on by the 'obesity crisis', Nanny has girded her formidable loins and issued stern warnings to those of you intending to spend the next few weeks wallowing on the sofa in a calorie-induced stupor.

This time her organ of choice is not the Food Standards Agency - they are busy nagging us about the dangers of raw meat - but the spuriously-named NHS Choices website which has helpfully published its 'World Cup 2014 Healthy Snacking Tips'.

The advice is much the same as last time, starting from the interesting premise that British audiences are incapable of watching a televised sporting event without some form of hand-held sustenance.
While you are glued to the TV for a few weeks following the fortunes of Hodgson's men, here are 10 healthy snacking tips to make sure your diet stays match fit.
All the usual hair-shirt suspects are there - oven-baked low-salt crisps, reduced-fat humus and unsalted peanuts, along with some new additions like air-popped popcorn (no sugar, butter or salt, of course) and fat-free yoghurt.

It all rather begs the question of who is the target audience, since NHS Choices is largely preaching to the converted and the worried well. Those who trawl its pages are surely in search of medical advice -the site's valid raison d'être - rather than a condescending lecture on 'Living Well' - unless, of course, they are fully paid-up Puritans seeking tangible approval for their ascetic lifestyle.

Even the most optimistic healthy-eating evangelist could hardly expect that, having discovered the page by accident or design, readers who have eagerly stocked up on beer and Pringles will experience a Damascene conversion and rush out to buy rice cakes and low-fat humus instead.

What is really galling about this is that someone was presumably paid to write this patronising drivel - if write is the correct word to apply to a piece in which 'snack' is used as a verb. It's something to bear in mind next time you hear about reduced NHS spending leading to cutbacks in patient care.


  1. Eat, drink and be miserable.

  2. It is galling. We are living in non-quality time.