Legal, decent, honest, and truthfulBMJ 1995; 311 doi: http://dx.doi.org/10.1136/bmj.311.7017.1442 (Published 25 November 1995) Cite this as: BMJ 1995;311:1442
- Gill Langley, scientific consultant and freelance writer
Popeye, “strong to the finish, ‘cos he eats his spinach,” and Jack Sprat, who would eat no fat (and his wife would eat no lean), seem to have inspired the Meat and Livestock Commission's campaign Meat Matters, which is aimed at consumers, health professionals, and journalists.
One of the eye catching national advertisements compares the dietary iron contained in a huge tower of raw spinach on one plate and a grilled steak on the other. A great photo opportunity, but not quite the “rational” approach boasted by the commission. Although steak ranks highly among meats in iron content, spinach is not the front runner among plant sources. Indeed, Popeye might have done better to take a spoonful of black molasses since, gram for gram, molasses, cashew nuts, soya beans, wholemeal bread, and even popadums provide considerably more, and better absorbed, iron than does spinach.
A more equitable approach, although less visually striking, would have compared similar portions of cooked soya …