Medicine And Books

Western Diseases: Their Dietary Prevention and Reversibility

BMJ 1994; 309 doi: (Published 26 November 1994) Cite this as: BMJ 1994;309:1449
  1. Roger Smith

    Ed Norman J Temple, Denis P Burkitt Humana, £49.50, pp 480, ISBN 0-89603-264-7

    A childhood in the “five towns” of the potteries was my practical course in environmental disease: universal smoke, tuberculosis, silicosis, fatness equated with fitness, and cooked breakfasts. Now all is changed. You can see for miles—on a clear day; cigarettes are antisocial and tuberculosis treatable; thinness equals fitness; some are on muesli and orange juice; and in theory you can live forever. But it hasn't quite worked out that way. What causes “premature” deaths before our allotted span of three score years and ten? Sir Richard Doll—in his foreword to Western Diseases—tells us that tobacco and road traffic accidents have a lot to answer for. Is it possible that the diet of economically developed countries, with its excess of energy and saturated fat and lack of dietary fibre, is the important remaining cause? Are the so called diseases of affluence (or extravagance), …

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