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Buffet lines bound to burst at the seams thanks to study on fat

November 13, 2007|By TIM ROWLAND

If you don't like the weather, hang around long enough and it will change. Same with health studies.

Personally, I think all health studies are a waste of time. If we had taken all the money that's gone into health studies and instead spent it on bombing Iran, we'd have something to show for it. Another quagmire, perhaps, but at least that's something.

There's always this week's study, which will disprove last week's study. Oatmeal was good, now it's not. Red wine was good, now it's not. Protein was bad, now it's not. There's even been a report celebrating the healthy aspects of dirt.

The one thing all scientists agreed upon, however, was that being overweight was certain death.

Until now.

According to an article in the Journal of the American Medical Association, fatness might not be as bad as was once feared and might actually protect against certain types of disease.

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Obviously, I am not talking about "bury me in a piano case" fat, but, more along the lines of Pillsbury Doughboy fat.

And it's a little complicated. Overweight people are more likely to die from diabetes and kidney diseases, but not heart disease or cancer. And extra pounds might protect against tuberculosis, emphysema, pneumonia, infection, lung disease, Parkinson's and Alzheimer's diseases, and injuries.

OK, the injuries I get. Not a lot of 5-foot-9 people weighing in at 240 pounds are going to be out mountain biking, for example.

But all that other stuff? What can you say, except that it's time to put the Coca-Cola machines back into the public schools?

My other suspicion is that people of ample carriage might not die of tuberculosis, emphysema, pneumonia, infection, lung disease, Parkinson's, Alzheimer's and injuries because they all keel over from heart attacks at age 30. But, apparently, it's more complicated than that.

So, of course, here comes another $2.4 billion in tax dollars that will be required to revise the Food Pyramid yet again. May I be the first to suggest the Food Hourglass - eight servings daily of whole grains, vegetables and beans deep-fried in bacon grease? It will rather resemble the menu at Applebee's.

'Course the government doesn't have anyone to blame but itself. It started all this fat hysteria by cooking up the Body Mass Index, which basically proclaimed everyone to the north of Ichabod Crane as being overweight.

Considering Iraq, Social Security, medical insurance, failed lending laws and immigration policy, I don't know why anyone in his right mind would turn to the government for health advice in the first place, but we did, like the sheep we are.

We called fatness an "epidemic" and the greatest threat to world survival this side of John Bolton. True, we do take a few days from time to time to faint with anxiety over staph infections or some such, but fat is death has been a steady drumbeat.

But, according to the New York Times, "the group from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention and the National Cancer Institute reports there were more than 100,000 fewer deaths among the overweight in 2004, the most recent year for which data were available, than would have been expected if those people had been of normal weight."

So where do we go from here? Besides the buffet line at Ryan's, I mean.

Tim Rowland is a Herald-Mail columnist. He can be reached at 301-733-5131, ext. 2324, or via e-mail at timr@herald-mail.com. You can listen to his podcast, The Rowland Rant, on www.antpod.com.

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