Jewish World Review June 24, 2005/ 17 Sivan, 5765

Greg Crosby

Greg Crosby
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Consumer Reports

Study This | Diet soft drinks make you fat. Yes, a new study has just come out that claims that people who drink diet soft drinks are more apt to gain weight over time than those who drink regular soda. Just when you thought you had it all figured out, some knuckleheaded study comes out to turn everything around. For years coffee was bad for you, then a study came out not long ago which claimed that coffee was actually good for your heart.

Chocolate has never been good for you — until a recent study has found that eating dark chocolate every day can actually lower blood pressure and reduce your risk of developing diabetes. Not only that, but another study has shown that dark chocolate can have a favorable effect on LDL ("bad" cholesterol). Coconut is another food they used to say was not very healthful, now evidently it is. Abracadabra!

Things that were once thought to be bad for you are turning out to be good for you now. I wonder when they'll finally get around to doing a study on cigarettes that show they are really quite healthful after all, or a study that proves strychnine, taken in large enough doses, can actually cure Dementia. (Actually it can, but unfortunately one of the big side effects is death.) I can't wait for that study to come out that says one large pizza a day is good for your cardiovascular system. Or a hot corned beef sandwich three times a day will lower the possibility of colon cancer.

So what's so wrong with these new scientific studies that are showing that certain foods that we once thought were bad are now good for us? I'll tell you what's wrong with them, next week or next month or next year they will come out with OTHER studies that disprove THESE studies. It's a game you can't win. If you follow all the studies and do what they say, you'll be bouncing back and forth for the rest of your life — and you won't be any healthier for it. All it will do is drive you nuts.

Most studies of any kind are suspect and at best should be taken with many grains of salt. Common sense should be used liberally when considering any new study that on the surface contradicts what your own logic tells you should be true. Many studies (which can cost millions and take years) much of the time winds up proving what our common sense could have told us to begin with.

For instance, according to a study reported by the Journal of the American Medical Association, it has been found that keeping a gun locked and unloaded and keeping ammunition in a locked and separate location can lower the risk of unintentional injuries among youth. That's right, they actually conducted a study to find out that if you store a gun and bullets safely it decreases the risk of accidents by kids. That's like doing a study to see if you stop swallowing rocks if it will decrease the risks of rocks in your stomach.

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Why didn't the Journal of the American Medical Association just ask me? I could have told them in a second that keeping guns and ammo locked and away from kids helps prevent accidents — and saved them a whole gang of research money in the bargain.

The government conducts so many expensive and time consuming "studies" that they now are conducting studies to see if the other studies are necessary. If you knew all the studies being carried out and the costs of these studies to the American taxpayers it would probably make you ill. I say "probably" make you ill, I'm not positive that it would make you ill — we'd need to do a study to find out for sure.

As far as the health studies are concerned, if you want to believe that eating Cool Ranch Doritos dipped in chili con questo helps your respiratory functions, then by all means, snack away. One thing is for sure, though, I've never needed "studies" to help me justify pigging out on stuff I love to eat. Hell, I've been eating dark chocolate Mounds bars for years — way before I was told it was good for me. I knew even as a kid that anything that tastes that good can't be all bad.

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JWR contributor Greg Crosby, former creative head for Walt Disney publications, has written thousands of comics, hundreds of children's books, dozens of essays, and a letter to his congressman. A freelance writer in Southern California, you may contact him by clicking here.

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© 2005 Greg Crosby