Jon Henley: Might repetitive eating actually be good for you?

On Tuesday September 9 2001, his diary records, Tony Benn went shopping. Specifically, he went looking for his "favourite triple-cheese pizzas", which had inexplicably disappeared from the shelves of his local supermarket. "I have," he notes, "eaten two of them every day for years."

At first glance, this revelation may appear to raise important questions as to the continued health of our treasured Last Living Socialist, the only triple-cheese pizza commonly available from UK supermarkets being, as far as I can see, the Chicago Town Deep Dish Triple Cheese Pizza, which costs £1.65 for two at Tesco and contains, according to the Food Standards Agency, a healthy 30% of a person's recommended daily fat intake per portion.

But could it be that such fears are unfounded? For the past 4,500 weekday mornings (or 17 years), for example, Lee and Mary Humphrey, both 84, of Eastbourne, Sussex, have walked into their local McDonald's and proceeded to eat a double hamburger each plus a shared large fries. No harm done. Likewise, young Craig Flatman from Suffolk, you may recall, grew into a strapping 6ft 1in, 11-stone teenager on a diet consisting exclusively of five rounds of jam sarnies a day since the age of four.

Similarly, perhaps, former US secretary of state Madeleine Albright's usual supper, when she's at home, is reportedly "cottage cheese with ketchup". Crime queen Ruth Rendell has confessed that she will probably eat "bread and gruyere cheese, a salad and fruit" for lunch "every day for the rest of my life". Geneticist Steve Jones has munched on "a boring vegetarian salad" in his university canteen every day for 30 years. And no less a deity than actor Rupert Everett has not cooked since 1981, far preferring to "go to the same restaurant every day and have exactly the same food".

So might repetitive eating actually be good for you? It was Wittgenstein, after all, who once remarked: "I don't mind what I eat, as long as it's always the same thing." Though he was also partial to playing chess without a board or an opponent, "staring moodily at objects, moving them in relation to one another, laughing to himself and shouting 'Check!'" So on balance, maybe not.

Thanks to guardian.co.uk who have provided this article. View the original here.