THE general vision of Good Food Nation Bill is superb, with its commitment to getting us interested in good food, whether producing, serving, selling or eating it (Plan for junk food to carry health warning, April 4).

Perhaps one could add that as much as possible should be locally produced and organic – ideally a self-sufficient Scotland. Even a return to more seasonal food? Encouragement to grow our own plant food, whether in our back gardens or even on our kitchen windowsill and in school gardens or community plots?

The function of a vision is to keep in mind our aim, and therefore the direction in which we want to travel. Let us keep and flag up our vision, whilst making sure we check each proposal of the Good Food Nation Bill against each of its tenets before supporting it.

The vision is fine but I question some the proposals for its implementation. Surely, for food to do us any good, we must digest it well. Fear upsets digestion.

Yet some of the proposals for improving the Scottish diet are based on the use of fear as a deterrent, for instance traffic lights on restaurant menus and health warnings on every bottle of wine. Warnings (and so implicit blame) do not educate, nor do we carry calculators in our pockets when we shop.

We must remember that many people in Scotland are trying hard to eat well: ordinary people diligently following guidelines but still getting ill.

Think of going out to eat once a year and gloomily reading health warnings on your birthday celebration bottle!

We must also remember that red lights are meaningless as they cannot know how much, say, fat the person has had that day, nor if they have remotely reached the amount set in the guidelines.

Surely it is incumbent on the Food Commission not to bully or frighten us? I would therefore especially urge that the Good Food Nation Bill should add to its vision the fearless enjoyment of food.

Furthermore, the implementation of such a vision is necessarily fraught with practical difficulties. Leaving aside the huge problem of affordability and inequality of spending power, we must also ask basic questions: 1) Are we quite sure what constitutes junk? 2) Is it just possible that the prevailing nutritional guidelines need to be reviewed? 3) Have we got the balance of a “balanced diet” correct?

Here we come across the vast problem of belief systems and the validity of our dietary guidelines.

The American Food and Drug Administration is seriously thinking of amending its current guidelines, for example on saturated fats and low-carbohydrate diets. I cannot unravel all this here, but would commend A Doctor in the Wilderness by the late Scottish doctor Walter Yellowlees as a good starter for the first two questions.

For the third, I would commend the insight of the late Dr Wolfgang Lutz, who spent 50 years pioneering with his patients a good, non-extreme, health-enhancing diet, which he found did not encourage gut problems, obesity, diabetes and other modern ills.

In 2014, Scottish publisher Just Perhaps issued a very readable book on his life and work: My Life without Bread: Dr Lutz at 90 by Valerie Bracken, now available on Amazon. (By “bread” is implied not just a restriction on sugar but a better dietary balance between proteins, fats and carbohydrates generally.)

Just Perhaps have 30 remaindered copies, which they would like to offer free of charge to interested National readers.

Mark Waters
for Just Perhaps