(Occasionally I just have to point out silly nonsense…)

Being such a short piece, I hope the NZ Herald can forgive my quoting most of the body of Top five: Foods matched to your body in full, which advises that readers should “Match foods to parts of the body for optimum health benefits”, going on to suggest:

1. Healthy Bones: Bony-looking foods such as rhubarb, rich in vitamin K, and celery, rich in silicon, are both good for bones and healthy joints.

2. Heart to Heart: Tomatoes have four chambers and are red, just like the heart and they are proven to reduce the risks of heart disease. Unlike many other fruits and vegetables, they are even better for you when cooked.

3. Sight for Sore Eyes: Slice a carrot and the round circle will show a likeness to an eye, complete with pupil and iris. They contain beta-carotene and antioxidants, both helpful for eyesight issues.

4. Brainy Food: Walnuts resemble tiny brains, with left and right hemispheres. It’s no surprise then that they’re good for brain function and contain serotonin, believed to increase a feeling of wellbeing.

5. Round Fruit: Lemons and grapefruit with limonoids and vitamin C are believed to be helpful in preventing breast cancer.

I think we can all see the problem here, right? The idea that similarity of the shape of a food relates to what it might do for a person… is daft.

Rather than address these myself, I’ll give a shout-out to Auckland University Professor of Biostatistics, Thomas Lumley, who has already done the honours.[1] Do read it.


To be fair, while the similarity link to function notion the NZ Herald piece is resting on is clearly daft, it’s also a bit obvious.

1. Great to see another senior scientist blogging, hence the shout-out.

Other articles on Code for life:

Carrots for my neighbour 

GMOs and the plants we eat: neither are “natural”

Sales-fest or science? 

Message to Otago Daily Times: homeopath is not a sound career option*

A course for all degrees: PHIL 105, Critical Thinking