Accept that risk is part of grown-up life – have that bacon buttie


The other week MSM scared the bejesus out of Kiwis with the title ‘Avoid bacon and sausages…they’re as bad as cigarettes’.

Readers will know I’m no fan of troughers, especially those who try to tell us how we should live, and what’s good for us and what isn’t.

Here’s an article from the Guardian that the PM’s Chief Science Advisor Sir Peter Gluckman should take a gander at – ‘Enough of modern health scares – we should be trusting our instincts’.

It talks about risks and putting perspective on so-called experts’ claims particularly around health issues.

‘On booze, sugar, bacon butties, salt, fat and tobacco, percentages are tossed about, fear stoked and guilt heightened by headline after headline that, too often, misread research findings and fail to correctly interpret levels of risk.’

Makes you wonder who is guilty of this in New Zealand. Here’s a hint – Otago University’s Wellington School of Troughers.

‘In the face of this, and hypochondria aside, we have two clear choices. We can become modern monks, teetotal, gluten-free, cleansed of all vices, doing as the doctor says, shutting our ears to all the other medics who say something different – some in the pay of the companies that want us to swallow their products, preferably for a decade or several – or we can accept that risk is part of grown-up life and trust our gut instinct.

Intuition is cost free, in plentiful supply, improves with age and, allied with common sense, should be invincible. So how and why have we allowed it to be so utterly sidelined in deciding how to live our lives, and at what cost?’

‘Sir David Spiegelhalter is professor of the public understanding of risk at Cambridge University. In one answer, he has skilfully taken apart the threat of the bacon sandwich. Eat one regularly, headlines told us, and your chance of bowel cancer goes up 20%. Most people would assume that means 20 more people in every bacon-eating hundred. A correct interpretation is that six in 100 people are diagnosed with bowel cancer; that rises to seven in 100 among dedicated bacon eaters. Is that too high a risk?’

Have a look at the video to give you a clear simple explanation about the risks of munching on a bacon buttie.

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