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Wednesday, February 15, 2006

Vast Food Nation

Vast Food Nation

Human beings are, without a doubt, the most omnivorous animals on the planet. We are eating machines. Items that even a lowly maggot would spit out in disgust are eaten by humans with uncommon relish, but mostly without relish, just lightly salted. Parents of newborns would say that humans are good eaters. Food is the food of our nursery rhymes. Eating consumes much of our consumption. Eating eats at us throughout the day, every day. We wake up hungry and remain preoccupied with stuffing our fat faces until we go to bed. Sometimes we dream about food.

Let’s admit it to ourselves: We are addicted to food. We just can’t seem to live without it. I have a pretty vicious habit myself. Sometimes I’ll blow more than $100 a day on food, not including tip. I’ll wake up the next morning and start all over again. Some of us have food addictions so discriminating that we have to go to meetings to try and keep things under control. Our bookstores are lined with books that address the problems we have with food.

Scientists have been lecturing us for decades on which foods we should eat and others we should avoid at all costs. Very often one study will contradict an earlier study. Fat is good, fat is bad. Meat is bad, now it’s good. Don’t eat bread; it will kill you. Bread is the staff of life. Bacon is good. Actually, I don’t think that anyone has ever said that bacon is good for you, but I am saying it right now and I’ll stick with it until proven otherwise.

A major study was released this week that said that most of what we thought made up a good diet turned out to be unfounded. This negates almost a decade of trusted nutrition information. Where I come from, when someone tells you something that later turns out to be untrue, we call that a lie. Scientists probably have their own word for it.

I have learned one thing from this recent study that I have suspected my entire adult life. I don’t think we have the slightest idea what it is that makes up the ideal human diet. Vegetarians claim that their diet is superior to those of us who eat animal flesh. People who eat low fat diets think that they are better off than the bacon consumers among us. Everyone seems to have an opinion about what we should and shouldn’t eat. They say that if you eat the wrong stuff you will die. Everyone has the right to an opinion, but few opinions have merit.

This new study makes me believe that we know a lot less about proper diets than we ever thought. I think that we should just eat anything that tastes good. That seems like a natural selection method humans can use to judge whether or not something should be ingested. Stuff that doesn’t taste good can be made eatable if you wrap it in bacon or smother it in chocolate sauce.

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