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Weekly Alibi Let Them Eat Twinkies!

By Gail Davis

SEPTEMBER 20, 1999:  I recently read about an absurd "research" experiment perpetrated by the junk food industry upon hapless 3- to 5-year-olds. It went like this:

The researchers in this study forbade children from eating a particular kind of junk food that the kids really liked. They taunted the preschoolers by letting them see this food, but not allowing them to eat it. The children were never told that the food in question might not be good for them or was in any other way undesirable. They simply were not allowed to eat it. Not surprisingly, the study found that after five days of flaunting this food in front of the youngsters but not permitting them to eat it, the children really, really wanted the junk food!

The startling conclusion reached by these totally moronic researchers? If children really, really, want to eat something, especially after not being allowed to eat it for five days straight, then it must be good for them! This is news that every parent needs to know. Forget about whole, organic fruits, vegetables and grains which contain all the essential nutrients needed by kids to build and strengthen their growing bodies. The purveyors of junk food want you to let them eat Twinkies!

Now, it seems pretty obvious to me, that these researchers would have gotten the same results if they had used a drug or weapon in place of the junk food. What I'd like to know is, would these researchers have then endorsed allowing children free access to drugs and weapons, too?

Such junk science, of which there is no shortage, has only served to create utter bewilderment when it comes to nutrition and health. One day the Surgeon General tells us that a healthy person should consume no more than two eggs per week. The next day, a study (funded by the egg industry) comes out asserting that most healthy people don't need to rigorously restrict their intake of eggs.

One day we read about a USDA study that shows that trans fatty acids should be avoided because they raise cholesterol as much as saturated fats do. The next day, the news reports that there is no evidence that consumption of trans fatty acids has any significant effect on heart disease. Can you guess who funded that study?

Sloppy "news" reporting like this goes on everyday. The giant agri-business industry hires the most expensive and ingenious public relations firms to spin tales about how its products benefit us and then presents these fabrications disguised as real news. I guess it won't be long before we're reassured by some evening news anchor that smoking prevents lung cancer and hamburgers cure heart disease.

In light of all the misinformation fed to us, I don't blame anyone for being confused. But if you really want to know what's good to eat and what's not, the truth is out there. You can find it at your local library or bookstore. You can choose to read carefully researched and documented books by authors like John Robbins (who, by the way, will be speaking here in Albuquerque in October), Dean Ornish, MD, John McDougall, MD, Neal Barnard, MD, and Robert Cohen. These people are not being funded by any industry interests and have no axes to grind. They promote healthful living and vegetarian eating and encourage us to become educated about our own bodies. By reading any of their books we learn that the Standard American Diet (which includes meat, eggs, dairy products and Twinkies) has a lot to do with what's making us sicker than ever and is responsible for millions of preventable deaths each year.

Because I also write and speak about the benefits of a vegetarian diet, I have been called among other things, an "extremist," an "anti-carnivorist," and even a "broccoli nazi." I'd like to take this opportunity to set the record straight. As far as being an extremist, you tell me which is more extreme: eating fruits, vegetables, grains, and legumes or undergoing open heart-surgery? As for being an anti-carnivorist, I have nothing against coyotes, lions, or tigers. And as for being a broccoli nazi, I don't even particularly like broccoli. There are too many other delicious vegetarian foods to eat.

Now, go have a Twinkie!

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