I stay in a constant state of confusion. Turn on the television set or open a newspaper and there it is. The latest “Nutrition Study of the Week” is contradicting last week’s “Nutrition Study of the Week.”
Eggs are bad, then eggs are okay; fat is evil, then something called “good fat”
comes along, and the sun peaks from behind the clouds. Caffeine is identified as a killer and the sun disappears behind the clouds again. We are left to drink decaf which puts us to sleep.
Just when you think you’ve gotten to the bottom of the whole vexing question of food and health, you get blown away by winds of the latest study which usually reverses traditional thinking. I’ve probably taken a thousand bottles of calcium supplements in my lifetime only to learn last week they may cause heart disease. So, I wander around like Fred Sanford expecting “the big one” any minute.
And diet? Back in the 60s, they told us low-fat was the way to go. We began counting calories, eating low-fat products and scowling a lot. Now, I read that as a nation we have only gotten fatter – obese even. One study reports that during that same period, women’s waist sizes grew by six inches – from 28 to 34. (Why do they pick on women on the time, and where were the men?)
Has anyone thought of doing a study of people who do the studies? I have this vision of a room full of evil people wearing lab coats and armed with clipboards trying to decide which substance will be on their hit list next week. Things like caffeine and sugar are their favorite targets – probably because people actually like them.
Why don’t they target icky things like Brussels sprouts or English peas? If you like these two vegetables, I’m sorry, but they taste like dirty socks smell to me.
I’m still angry about the way chocolate was treated back during my adolescence. Studies said it caused acne so it was banned from my house. I saved up my meager allowance and sneaked Hershey Bars at the movie theater, and frankly, I didn’t have any more blemishes than anyone else.
Today, studies show that chocolate is the elixir of life and we should have some every day. I wouldn’t be surprised if a study comes along touting nicotine and DDT as desirable substances, and we can all begin dipping snuff and buying poison on the black market.
Here’s my new rule of thumb. Don’t ingest anything your great grandmother wouldn’t recognize on the supermarket shelf. That would include Fiddle Faddles, Funyuns, Go-Gurt (those portable yogurt tubes she would have figured was toothpaste); or any cheese in a spray can.
And, be suspicious of any food you see advertised on television – chances are it started out as real food, then became altered by ingredients you can’t identify, much less spell. Bet you haven’t seen any ads for spinach or onions lately, have you? If it came from a plant, eat it; if it was MADE in a plant, don’t!
Grandmother would be serving up a big platter of fried chicken, mashed potatoes and gravy about now. She lived to be 97 and never worried about studies. The next time you shop, ask yourself, “Did my great-grandmother eat this?” If the answer is “no,” pass it by.