- The Washington Times - Tuesday, March 13, 2001

A cancer research center has released the results of a study that indicates Americans are tired of hearing about what foods they should and shouldn't eat. It also found that 70 percent of those queried said the government shouldn't tell people what to eat. Results like these restore your faith in people's ability to decide how they want to live their lives. Remember when eggs were bad, then they were OK. Margarine was good, but then it was bad. Oats would prolong our life, and wine helped lower cholesterol.

While a large part of the world's population has trouble finding enough to eat, we have the opposite problem — we eat too much of things that taste too good. Therefore, there are those among us who take offense at our enjoyment of the bounty we have created. Approximately 40 percent of the people in the study said that dietary guidelines should be taken with a grain of salt. Nevertheless, this does not prevent the food police from continuing their efforts to regulate our diets.

Until such time as these culinary wizards can be more definite about what's good and what's bad for us, I plan to continue to enjoy food where the taste hasn't been removed and the price raised as a result of doing so. The study pointed out that the most nutritionally skeptical people were men age 18 to 35 and people over 60 years old. I suppose this is because at 35, men start to put on weight, and people over 60 could care less about prolonging their life so they can spend their declining years in a nursing home eating tasteless food.

Researchers complain that restaurant dining discourages healthy eating. Well I hope so. Going out to eat should be a pleasurable experience. Limiting your fat intake can be accomplished at home. Paying extra at an upscale restaurant for food that would be acceptable to nutritionists is not my idea of a taste treat. Apparently, Americans are getting about 34 percent of their calories from fat. Guidelines recommend no more than 30 percent. No wonder we are skeptical if we believe 4 percent will make that much difference.

When you realize that on any given day there is probably one pizza in the oven for every man, woman and child in the country, we are a long way from winning the war on fat. I even saw a calorie-free salad dressing in the supermarket. That's right, no nutritional value whatsoever. I don't know what chemical company is marketing the dressing or even why it is in a store that sells food.

Even though the study reveals Americans are fed up with government meddling when it comes to what we should and shouldn't eat, it will not stop them from trying to control our eating habits. I was once told that if I ate correctly, got plenty of exercise and sleep, I could live to be 100, and even if I didn't, it would seem like it. As it stands now, with all the false information that has come out about food, there have probably been as many people harmed as helped.

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