New Zealand Listener

Diet to die for

As a professional chemist/molecular biologist, I find that I must comment on the latest “science-based” story on diet and health (“Diet busters”, March 7).

Except for identical twins, no two people are the same. Each individual is the unique end-product of thousands of years of evolution. For example, consider the difference between an Inuit and an Aboriginal Australian.

This means that we might not all react in the same way to some treatment or substance. Therefore any health study has to be made on a large number of individuals to obtain a meaningful conclusion.

The population of Italy is about 68 million. Italians are known to consume large amounts of pasta, processed meats, cheese, red wine and coffee and flavour their food with herbs such as oregano. Their life expectancy is about 83 years.

The population of India is about 1.36 billion and has a much more plant-based diet with rice, lentils, beans and not much meat. They drink weak beer and lots of tea and use a wide variety of spices. Their life expectancy is about 69 years.

Sure, there are social and health-facility factors to consider, but it does not appear that pizzas covered with salami and cheese are killing off the Italians early, nor does it seem

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