- The Washington Times - Friday, July 6, 2001

Where are the food police when you need them? This week I read that eating too much red meat causes colon cancer. This latest study from England claims red meat eaters were more likely to develop cancer than those who abstained or ate very little red meat. They do not say if it takes 50 years or 80 years to develop the tumor, only that red meat makes it more likely. I have to believe there are some vegetarians behind this latest scientific discovery.
Also, it seems we are in the midst of a plague of obesity. Too many of us are pounding the streets with too many pounds. Never mind studies that show fat people who are fit live just as long as a skinny scientist who feels being fat is ugly. Someone wants all of us to look alike. I suppose the health-care people are behind the attack on fat. I think it's all Mom's fault. She's the one who kept telling us to clean our plates because there were thousands of people starving worldwide.
Back to the food police. There are new energy drinks on the market aimed at those who participate in all-night parties. These new drinks are composed of stimulants and herbs, and allow those who consume alcohol to stay wide awake and drink enough to put them in intensive care (rather then passing out, which is nature's way of telling you you've had enough). These party drinks are being pushed in bars and night clubs as mixers. While some taste terrible, the energy kick is supposedly worth it.
Here we are worrying about fat and red meat while the beverage giants are rushing these new energy boosters to a store near you. Besides keeping drunks awake all night, many people who work out use the products for an energy boost, often with dire consequences. One bartender in Atlanta says he served 400 cans to vodka drinkers in just one night. One connoisseur of the new mixer said it gets you more drunk more quickly. Where are those people who are worried about my cholesterol levels? Why aren't they out there waging a war on energy?
The idea that you need one of these energy cocktails to work out doesn't make sense. Workouts supposedly make us more energetic. If we are at the point where we can buy energy in a can, will we be able to auction off all that exercise equipment we bought on the home shopping network? Will companies provide their employees with an energy cocktail at the beginning of the work day? Perhaps these drinks will replace the coffee break.
Do we really need a beverage that will allow us to consume more alcohol? The health-care people are so worried about what sugar, salt, meat and saturated fats are doing to us, what will they have to say about a beverage that keeps drunks so wide awake they can climb in the car and drive home at sunup? I have a feeling that, someday, we will not be able to advertise these energy boosters within 500 yards of a school. Let's hope the athletic coaches don't start providing energy cocktails before the big game.

Dick Boland is a nationally syndicated columnist

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