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Home / Tim Worstall /If you’re calorie counting lettuce then you’ve a severe problem there

If you’re calorie counting lettuce then you’ve a severe problem there

Summary:
We’ve muttered the odd bit and piece about how we tend not to trust many new measurements. Not just £ s d or the way in which a silver dollar actually had some value, nor this newfound again freedom to use lbs as the French continued to use livres. Those old ways were probably just more culturally comforting than anything else. We take issue rather more with some of the newly constructed measures of things. For example, once it became obvious that actual poverty was conquered in Britain the concept of relative poverty was brought to the fore. We’ve whine about how people adamantly refuse to note that the age profiles of the varied ethnicities are different - it’s therefore no surprise at all that ethnic representations in populations where age is a factor differ from the portions in the

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We’ve muttered the odd bit and piece about how we tend not to trust many new measurements. Not just £ s d or the way in which a silver dollar actually had some value, nor this newfound again freedom to use lbs as the French continued to use livres. Those old ways were probably just more culturally comforting than anything else. We take issue rather more with some of the newly constructed measures of things.

For example, once it became obvious that actual poverty was conquered in Britain the concept of relative poverty was brought to the fore. We’ve whine about how people adamantly refuse to note that the age profiles of the varied ethnicities are different - it’s therefore no surprise at all that ethnic representations in populations where age is a factor differ from the portions in the general population.

We think we’ve found a new one to shout about:

Given that poorer UK households would have to spend nearly 40% of their income to buy food for a healthy diet, according to recent data from the Food Foundation,

That strikes us as being an absurdity. Just on the mere face of it. Median household income is £30,800, poverty is less than 60% of that, so say the edge of poverty is £355 a week. 40% of that is £142 a week. And given that the average weekly food bill for a household is £60 we do not believe for a moment that original calculation. It’s nonsense, but why is it nonsense?

The answer being that the Food Foundation is using a method stupid even by the gormless standards of the usual wokeist campaign groups.

They measure the price of foods by their calorie contents. So, lettuce is a bad way to get calories - however good it is in other ways - therefore it’s expensive by the calorie. Potatoes are cheap by the calorie. OK, that’s fine in real life as we go gain our calories from those cheap and calorie dense foods and eat the other stuff for the other things in them, minerals, vitamins, flavour and so on.

The Food Foundation only measure food costs by the calorie. And then says that because calorie light foods are more expensive by the calorie then so is a balanced and healthy diet. Entirely missing that balanced part of course, where we get calories from where calories are good to get from and vitamins equally and so on. They really do price their diet as if we eat the lettuce (or broccoli, cabbage, whatever) as a calorie source.

Actually, that’s not just stupid or gormless that’s mad. But that’s where that expense of the healthy diet number comes from. An entirely insane calculation of the cost of that healthy diet. One in which they are calorie counting lettuce - and if you’re doing that you should realise there’s something severely wrong.

But here’s what really worries us. As we can see here this is being referred to as reasonable by others. It’s now that we should be objecting, before this becomes a commonplace. So, we’re complaining.

The Food Foundation’s calculation of the cost of a healthy diet is flat out insane. Stop using it.

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Tim Worstall
Tim Worstall is a British-born writer and Senior Fellow of the Adam Smith Institute. Worstall is a regular contributor to Forbes and the Register. He has also written for the Guardian, the New York Times, PandoDaily, the Daily Telegraph blogs, the Times, and The Wall Street Journal. In 2010 his blog was listed as one of the top 100 UK political blogs by Total Politics.

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