My Sunday Age column this week is on the National Health and Medical Research Council’s new dietary guidelines:
[W]hat is the point of providing ”guidelines” that are so far removed from the experiences of Australian eaters? Surely health tips should not simply be scientifically accurate, but also socially plausible.
Advice is pointless if it’s going to be ignored. If our best medical minds have decided that drawing any pleasure from food is too risky, perhaps they should rethink their goals.
In 2008, the NHMRC decided any more than two glasses of wine in a single session constituted ”binge drinking”. This decision turned the previously benign cultural practice of sharing a bottle of wine into dangerous hedonism.
But ”binge” is a moral concept rather than a scientific one – it’s just a synonym for ”bad”. Since risky behaviour exists on a continuum, this redefinition was little more than an attempt to berate people into changing their behaviour.
That was five years ago. Now public health activists are pushing the message ”there is no safe level of alcohol consumption”. Another banality pretending to be insight. There’s no totally safe level of doing anything. But expect to find ”no alcohol” on official recommendations soon.