The bag of nuts I have in front of me has a Health Star Rating of 5. The back of the packet tells me the nuts contain vitamins B1 and E, are a source of monosaturated fats and a source of fibre. With this good news I am invited to enjoy ‘happy snacking’. But I’m sure that ‘snacking’ in itself is not good for me. Snacks in between meals can only add to my overall calorie intake and hence increase my weight. I might join the stream of overweight New Zealanders (if I’m not already swimming in it) threatening to overwhelm our health services.
Dr Muriel Bell spent her life dedicated to thinking about nutrition and its effects on New Zealanders’ health. Diana Brown’s recently published valuable biography of this pioneering medical researcher, The Unconventional Career of Dr Muriel Bell, charts Bell’s life from her childhood, when vitamins were a little-known entity, to her death in 1974, by which time she had played a major role in nutrition research and education in New Zealand.