Someone with more foolhardiness than sense once tried to replicate a particularly risky feat he’d seen in a TV commercial – with predictably disastrous results.

 That led to a statutory warning – “The hazardous acts depicted in this commercial are carried out by trained professionals, using specialized equipment and under expert supervision. Viewers are strongly advised not to try doing so on their own, at the risk of severe injury and even death.”

 Such a disclaimer might also be applied in modified form to the novels of Ian Fleming and his famous creation, James Bond. Said to traffic heavily in “sex, snobbery and sadism” and often decried as cold war lifestyle chic; these thrillers should come with health warnings too.

 The Bond-ian lifestyle is downright unhealthy. The exhaustive descriptions of meals consumed in Fleming’s novels indicate that 007’s intake of fresh fruit and vegetables is well below that recommended by the British Medical Association. As everyone now knows, an excess of eggs and red meat is a surefire way to dangerously high levels of cholesterol.

 And then there’s the matter of the 60 to 70 cigarettes chain-smoked daily by Her Majesty’s top gun. Agent 007 athletically wreaking mayhem on a succession of villains and their henchmen with lungs degraded by regular use of these cancer sticks defies credibility.

 What about drinking?  Bond likes his Vodka Martinis “shaken, not stirred” –  probably due to alcohol-induced tremors that would preclude stirring. After charting 007’s drinks throughout Ian Fleming’s entire series – excluding 36 days Bond spends in prison, hospital, or rehab – researchers found that the spy downed an average of 92 units of alcohol a week. (A unit is defined as about 10 ml, or 0.3 ounces, of pure alcohol.) That’s more than four times the safe amount recommended by British government health advisories.

This alcohol  intake puts Bond in the highest risk group for malignancies, depression, hypertension and cirrhosis of the liver. He also risks sexual dysfunction, which would considerably affect his womanizing.

A heavy smoker and drinker, Ian Fleming indulged in the same lifestyle as his creation despite doctor’s warnings. The difference was that he died at the relatively young age of 56 years – of highly avoidable heart disease.

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