There are plenty of arguments on either side of the 'healthy diet' debate, but none of that changes the fact that farming is an inherently cruel and inhumane business. That's why I'm a vegan and it's why others should be too. Of course everyone is entitled to try to be as healthy as they can, but that is no justification to inflict suffering on animals.
John Nicholson’s book The Meat Fix recounts how after decades as a vegetarian he returned to meat, lost weight and saw his health massively improve.
Although about food rather than football, it is very much a book of two halves. The first is a lively, energetic rubbishing of pretty much anything anyone has to say about diets, in a robust knockabout style reminiscent of Jeremy Clarkson and given a poignant edge by the author’s own terrible health problems for many years.
The latter stages of the book are, however, rather more conventional because for all the iconoclasm of the early stages, his advice in the end is not that unusual: eat meat, use organic ingredients and have a low-carb diet. Each of those three certainly has plenty of controversy about it, but none are strangers to the ranks of healthy eating books.
The book is at its weakest when John Nicholson relapses into “but eating lots of calories/fat etc. was good for my grandparents’ generation”, noting that they did have much less obesity then but overlooking other changes over the decades and centuries – such as increasing lifespans and increasing average height – which suggest that not all the changes in diet have been producing worse outcomes.
He is at his most informative when he remembers the occasional caveat, such as that his own personal health experience is not a broad evidence base from which to draw general lessons or when, in amongst all the lively rhetoric, he adds, “I guess the problem is a diet that says ‘this might work but it might not’ doesn’t sell well … Nuanced messages … are not popular with publishers and the media”.
He is at his wittiest when poking fun at the many ways in which healthy eating advice has changed back and forth over the years or ridiculing those pushing dodgy miracle cures and wonder diets. That makes the book not merely a controversial but also a highly enjoyable read.