Bad Food Goes Good
by Mad Dog
These same scientists, trying not to be total cocktail party
poopers, next sat down and decided that there are foods which are actually good for you.
You know, things like oat bran, rice cakes, and Hostess Snowballs.
become way too complicated. Not only do you have to choose which of the movies at the new
48-multiplex youd rather fall asleep during, stare at the Prevue Guide so long
waiting for all the channels to scroll by that you fall into a trance and never get to see
an actual show, and try to decide which lame imitation of pizza you want to have
delivered, but somehow you have to figure out which foods are safe to eat today and which
It used to be
simpleyou just ate whatever you wanted. Sure, you might end up overweight,
undernourished, or in need of having Roto-Rooter come clean out your arteries, but at
least you were happy. Then doctors and scientists got into the act. They methodically set
up studies, analyzed the data, and before you knew it they accomplished what they set out
to dotake all the fun out of eating.
The list of whats bad for you goes on
and on: coffee, butter, fried food, fat, sugar, red meat, and anything that tastes real
good. After you finish clearing your refrigerator of the offenders all youll have
left is a head of wilted lettuce, some half-eaten pickles, a bottle of Evian, and
something in the back that you cant identify because of the furry green mold growing
on it but you keep it anyway because its still bound to be better for you than that
These same scientists, trying not to be
total cocktail party poopers, next sat down and decided that there are foods which are
actually good for you. You know, things like oat bran, rice cakes, olive oil, any fish
that has less mercury in it than a thermometer, red wine, and Hostess Snowballs,
especially the holiday ones that come in bright green and red.
Mind you, these werent real
scientists that made these discoveries, these were scientists who run around wearing lab
coats poking, prodding, and eating long expense account lunches while getting big weekly
pay checks from the food companies. Real scientists, on the other hand, run around wearing
lab coats poking, prodding, and eating long expense account lunches too, but they get
their big weekly pay checks from cushy government grants.
Now, however, we have
word of the best discovery yet: chocolate may be the Fountain of Youth.
|| The reason the
food companies got behind all this research is that theyre civic minded and have
your best interests at heart. Right, and you go to Hooters for the chicken wings too. No,
the real reason they did this is so they could put labels on products that say salt is
"100% Fat Free!" and Oreo Os cereal "May not promote heart disease as
much as a Crisco, bacon, and mayonnaise sandwich" in order to fool you into buying
the products instead of something thats good for you. And, coincidentally,
doesnt help pay their salary.
Then things started to get real confusing. First they said eggs
were good for you. Then they decided they were bad for your cholesterol and you
shouldnt eat many of them. Now they claim theyre not as bad as they thought,
but only if youre a male over the age of 20 who graduated high school without
cutting a finger off in shop class and scrambles them on the second Sunday of any month
that ends in e. Hell, even Santeria spells arent this complicated.
Now, however, we have word of the best
discovery yet: chocolate may be the Fountain of Youth. This is true, at least according to
scientists at Harvard Universitys School of Public Health (motto: "Youll
listen to us if you know whats good for you."). After studying 7,841 male
graduates they found that those who ate chocolate and candy lived almost a year longer
than those who didnt. Of course, what they neglected to say was that they also had
more cavities, more pimples, and more spare tires hanging over their belts, but the
important point is they had an extra year in which to enjoy it all.
Apparently it took as little as three
chocolate bars a month to cause this increase in lifespan, which is pretty good when you
figure you have to take a vitamin every day just to help the drug companies stay in
business. Dont be surprised if you walk into the store any day now and see
Hersheys bars with a banner across them reading: "A Bar a Day Keeps the Grim
Since salsa is also made with lycopene-filled tomatoes, dont be surprised to see
Taco Bell get into the act with a new ad campaign urging you to "Run for the border
with a reduced risk of getting cancer."
|| As if that
isnt enough good news to hold us until the Y2K bug sends us back to the ice age and
only those who hoarded pencils with erasers survive, now it turns out that ketchup may
help reduce your chance of getting cancer. This information comes to you courtesy of
Heinz, the company which sells 48 percent of the ketchup in the world and is launching a
public-minded ad campaign to promote the health benefits of ketchup.
It seems that aside from tomato concentrate made
from red ripe tomatoes, distilled vinegar, high fructose corn syrup, corn syrup, salt,
onion powder, spice, and natural flavoring, ketchup also contains lycopene, an antioxidant
that not only causes the red color in tomatoes but also protects the body from free
radicals. Contrary to what you might think, free radicals arent the Mideast
terrorists who blew up Pan Am flight 103, but rather sneaky little molecules that attack
our DNA with teeny tiny bombs that somehow get through the bodys security checkpoint
system, proving that what our bodies really need are x-ray machines with sleepy guards at
The fact that ketchup sales have been flat
and salsa has become the number one condiment in the United States has nothing to do with
this campaign. Okay, maybe a little. But since salsa is also made with lycopene-filled
tomatoes, dont be surprised to see Taco Bell get into the act with a new ad campaign
urging you to "Run for the border with a reduced risk of getting cancer."
So the next time youre out having
lunch and dumping ketchup on your carcinogenically grilled hamburger, nitrate-filled hot
dog, and fat-soaked French fries, take heart in the fact that youre helping your
body fight off cancer. Then go eat your months supply of three candy bars and pat
your stuffed stomach, safe in the knowledge that youre doing your bit to prolong
your life. Staying healthy has never been so tasty.
©1998 Mad Dog Productions, Inc. All
These columns appear in better newspapers across the country. Read
them while eating a chocolate and ketchup sandiwich.