Opinion Columns & Blogs

Read this before you give up gluten altogether

A brand new study, released by Harvard researchers is proclaiming that giving up gluten, if you don’t have to for intestinal illnesses, isn’t a very good idea because gluten helps protect our hearts.

And a Boston University study found that excess sugar, especially the fructose in sugary drinks -- might damage your brain. Researchers found that people who drink sugary beverages frequently are more likely to have poorer memory, smaller overall brain volume, and a significantly smaller hippocampus. A follow-up study found that people who drank diet soda daily were almost three times as likely to develop stroke and dementia when compared to those who did not.

Finally, a study just released by Experimental Biology 2017 followed more than 2,600 men and women for 16 years found that consuming less sodium wasn't associated with lower blood pressure. The study adds to growing evidence that current recommendations for limiting sodium intake may be misguided.

So there you are, trying to lose weight by drinking that diet Coke after asking for a gluten free bun with your Arby’s Smokehouse pork belly sandwich and scraping the salt of the side order of fries, all the while wondering why the scale seems to be stuck at a weight normally reserved for prize winning livestock at a 4-H competition.

On the bright side, at least you didn’t have to be clipped and flea dipped.

Your Aunty Pam feels your pain and commiserates with the confusion, but while it’s easy to just throw up your hands and wail, ‘Then forget it! I’m going to eat what I want because everything’s going to kill me, anyway,’ Don’t. At least not yet.

It’s time someone put forth a short list of helpful rules that are guaranteed to assist you on the way to good health.

That person is me. And the person who is furious with me, presently, is Paul, whose joy after bringing home ‘a deal’ on two, massive bags of giant shrimp (I mean, giant. I mean, you could put one in the passenger seat and make it through the carpool lane) was shattered when I pointed out that these ‘fresh frozen, easy-to-peel’ behemoths are washed in a saline solution to preserve them before being packaged and shipped, and have a tremendous amount of sodium, so not such a healthy choice.

Since Paul is no longer speaking to me, I shall turn my attention to you, instead, and give you my list of never fail dietary guidelines:

1. Never eat anything bigger than your head. That’s rule number one. You’d think this would be pretty common sense, but each street fair I attend, there are people happily chowing down on funnel cakes the size of a satellite dish. I know they’re wonderful. I do, and t’s desperately hard to pass them by, so try taping a photo on your fridge of a funnel cake next to those unairbrushed photos of Kim Kardashian’s you-know-what in that thong from her recent Mexican vacation, and you’ll see they’re both actually the same size. As well as inflict the same damage.

2. You know that Frappuccino you feel calling your name in the Starbuck’s that cunningly greets you as soon as you enter the grocery store? The one that’s anywhere from 470 to 510 calories in the smaller, ‘Grande’ size? Go ahead and indulge, just be aware that you will have to walk 4 mph for 90 minutes to burn off 500 calories. So you might want to choose a parking spot quite far from the grocery store. Like, Murrell’s Inlet.

3. I don’t know why they put pudding at salad bars either, just acknowledge it and move on.

4. If you refer to it as Mountain Dew Dew, that seems to help with the craving.

5. And finally, I know this could get me chased out of town with torches, but there’s a reason it’s called ‘sweet tea.’

I’m not saying no one should have it, but might there be a way to brew it so it’s not quite as ‘so sweet my teeth are bleeding,’ tea? My receding gums will thank you.

Or, we can just toss all of this and eat whatever we want and be happy. We might not be very healthy, but no fear, as long as we all have good health insur— never mind.

Pass the cottage cheese, please.

Reach PAM STONE at pammstone@gmail.com.

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