Where does your favourite Christmas movie rate on the MINCE PIE microbiota scale?

Thursday, 15 Dec 2022


The Christmas dinner in The Muppet Christmas Carol movie has received the highest score of any Christmas movie food scene for its beneficial microbiota effects.

Scoring a high 4 on the Microbiota INdex of Comparative Evaluation for Pictorial Infographic Evidence (MINCE PIE) scale, the muppet’s dinner outranked the Christmas pudding from A Christmas Carol and mulled wine from It’s a Wonderful Life which both scored 2 on the MINCE PIE.

The MINCE PIE was calculated by subtracting the numbers of microbiota‐detrimental food groups from the number of microbiota‐enhancing food groups in the main constituent of featured food items.

The observational study, published in The MJA [link here], comprised a food analysis of 14 festive films.

Sadly, for our gut and mental health, “foods with negative values (ie, detrimental to the microbiota) outnumbered those with positive values (ie, beneficial for the microbiota).”

“We identified a marked pattern in the processed foods seen in the top festive films: according to their MINCE PIE scores, most would have mild, but often negative effects, on the microbiota,” the study said.

The muppet’s Christmas dinner scored highly due to its high vegetable content, resistant starch and relatively low sugar and fat content.

“Evidence for the effect of turkey itself was not available, but animal protein from white meat, such as chicken, has beneficial effects for the microbiota, increasing the abundance of Bifidobacterium species, for example, which strengthens the gut mucosal barrier,” the study said.

Eggnog featured in National Lampoons’ Christmas Vacation received a zero score, indicating a neutral impact on gut microbiota.

Movie foods which bombed in favourite Christmas films were the 5lb veal in Scrooged, candy corn in Bad Santa, and cheese pizza in Home Alone.

The Twinkies in Die Hard scored the lowest on the MINCE PIE due to their high sugar content, prompting a warning from the authors that excessive consumption of Twinkies is not advisable.

The authors noted that there was limited evidence for whether food preferences were influenced by movie viewing.

“None of the meals we discussed should be eaten all the time, and five pounds of veal is unlikely to be received with joy at Christmas, no matter how microbiota‐friendly.”

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