Monday, December 10, 2012

On Toothpaste, Chocolate, and More

The other day a friend of mine told me about a commercial he saw on television.  The advertisement involved the selling of a new toothpaste and came with the warning that many of the foods we eat contain acids.  These acids, as the advertisement tells us, eats away at our teeth's enamel, so we should buy the toothpaste to protect our teeth.  That night I saw this commercial while watching late night news; it is a piece of work.

Let's get serious.  Many foods that we eat contains acids of one sort or another and going without them is not a smooth move.  I believe the manufacturer of that toothpaste does not want us to stop eating those good foods, but really just wants us to buy the toothpaste.  On the other hand, I am old enough to remember when eating a few things were considered a no-no because of how those foods adversely effected our health.

Many years ago we were told that egg consumption was bad for our health.  The reasoning was that eggs contained bad cholesterol and this bad cholesterol contributed to heart disease.  In response, a few products were developed that just contained egg whites.  That was many moons ago.  Now, eggs (the entire egg) are being hailed as a great source of protein and vitamins.  What has changed with eggs?  Not a damned thing.  It is still the incredible egg.  What has changed is medicine's understanding of cholesterol and how it really works.

Again, many years ago were told that the consumption of beef in general was harmful to us because of the saturated fat.  That saturated fat, we were told, contained large amounts of harmful cholesterol that would cause heart problems.  That was then.  Now we know that on half of the fat in beef is a monounsaturated fat known as oleic acid - the same fatty acid found in olive oil.  And, most of the so-called saturated fat in beef decreases the risk of heart disease by lowering the LDL (bad) cholesterol or, by reducing the total cholesterol ratio, and that's a good thing.  Beef is still a great source of protein, B-vitamins, and the needed minerals, iron and zinc.  Nothing really has changed with beef.  What has changed is our understanding of fat, cholesterol, and the benefits of meat in general.

The cloud of Prohibition still exists.  There is nothing wrong with the moderate consumption of alcohol, especially for those folks over forty.  When you blow away the cloud, you will discover some amazing facts.  The moderate consumption of alcohol helps to reduce the chances of heart disease, lowers the risk of diabetes, and it appears to reduce the risk of dementia (please take note to the word....moderate).  What has changed with alcohol?  Other than more varieties, not a damned thing.  Once again, science has improved itself in another area of our lives.

Personally, I have a hard time if I do not jump-start my day with some coffee.  But, I do remember a time when coffee was rated as a devil; caffeine gave a person high blood pressure, which is a precursor to heart disease.  The facts today show that people who drink coffee are less likely to contract type-2 diabetes, Parkinson's disease, dementia, heart disease, and some forms of cancer.  And it has little to do with caffeine.  Coffee, whether it be decaf, half-calf, or all out full throttled, contains anti-oxidants that deal with all those nasty things.  Coffee has not changed, but thanks to scientific research, we have discovered coffee's benefits.

Chocolate still gets a bad rap, probably from the sugar (darker is better).  Sorry, it's been discovered that  moderate consumption of chocolate helps to reduce the risk of stroke, protects your skin, improves mood and vision.  It's the anti-oxidants in the cocoa, silly!  Another triumph from science.

While all of the above can be liberating for many, moderation is a factor.  And since we are all unique, moderation will vary.  Get the facts for yourself and if you think it necessary, consult your doctor.

                                                 Copyright @2012 Terry Unger  



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