Eat, drink and be merry - but try not to complete the quote. It is important to do something to mark the first day of the New NHS - and what better news could there be than that pleasure and enjoyment are good for the health? It is a message with which health secretary Frank Dobson can surely empathise.

Associates for Research into the Science of Enjoyment is the brainchild of a small group of scientists - among them, psychologists, psychobiologists, psychopharmacologists and plenty of other disciplines beginning with psycho - dedicated to the belief that a little of what you fancy does you good.

Founded in 1989 and co-ordinated by Professor David Warburton, director of the human psychopharmacology group at Reading University, it is based on the premise that pleasure is 'undervalued and under-researched'.

It argues, for example, that, for all their certainty and prescriptiveness, the dietary guidelines issued by

governmental and other 'authoritative' sources are full of contradictions, discrepancies and even groundless assumptions that do much to throw doubt on some of their stricter strictures.

Take, as one instance, eggs: the Committee on Medical Aspects of Food Policy recommends no more than one a week; the British Heart Foundation says four; the American Heart Association used to advise a maximum of three but now recommends five; the World Health Organisation says 10 is fine.

The abundantly referenced message from ARISE is, essentially, 'Don't let it worry you.' Chocolate, caffeine and alcohol are good for you, they argue, and don't fret too much about over-indulgence, for a study at Dundee University shows we have a built-in regulator to make sure we don't.

ARISE's arguments will surely send health educators apoplectic. But I bet their conferences are more fun. Put me down for the annual dinner.