So You Think It’s Good for You?



Unfortunately, we Americans tend to pay far too much attention to the news media, not only when it comes to straight news, but also feature stories about food and health. We’ve all seen the stories: Avoid ill health by drinking sugarless sodas, followed by how artificial sweeteners are worse for you than sugar. For decades, articles are trumpeted the benefits of protein from soybeans. Now there are an equal number of articles blaming soy for feminizing men by giving them man-boobs.

The number of news villains in our diet have included eggs, fats, tomatoes (long ago thought to be poisonous), cheeses, and smoked meats. I am reminded of the scene in Woody Allen’s film Sleeper (1973) in which two doctors are discussing Miles Monroe (played by Woody):

Dr. Melik: This morning for breakfast he requested something called “wheat germ, organic honey and tiger’s milk.”

Dr. Aragon: [chuckling] Oh, yes. Those are the charmed substances that some years ago were thought to contain life-preserving properties.

Dr. Melik: You mean there was no deep fat? No steak or cream pies or… hot fudge?

Dr. Aragon: Those were thought to be unhealthy… precisely the opposite of what we now know to be true.

Dr. Melik: Incredible.

Maybe deep fat, steak, cream pies, and hot fudge are bad for you, but I have my suspicions about wheat germ, organic honey, and tiger’s milk—which may be no better.

I have come to the conclusion that the best thing to do is to not get into a food rut. A bad food rut can include salads just as much as it could include cheeseburgers and fries. Eat meat. Eat eggs. Eat fruit. Eat vegetables. But know this: There are no magic foods that will cure what ails you. That is pure snake oil.