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April 2004 Issue
It’s Pop Quiz Time
by Michael Fick
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Here come the answers:

  1. Most people do H anyway; when did you ever pass up the donut tray at work? C'mon, guys, it's G. If your answer was H, just wait until you start eating more in the morning and less in the evening. Your health, weight, alertness, memory, attention span, and physical performance will all improve.

  2. B. Quit both and use olive or canola oil instead. The more we learn about the trans fats in margarine, the worse it looks, and butter is a sat fat bomb.

  3. Long term, H. Short term, C when you're actually cooking your very infrequent burger. Ground meat must reach 160 degrees in its thickest part to kill food poisoning bacteria, and that ca mean anywhere from pink to brown. Charred meat is carcinogenic, mad cow disease is less of a risk than lightning, and it's not the buns in hamburgers that harm non-diabetics; it's the burger itself.

  4. A. It's safer than the air most of us breathe, non-fattening, and avoids the aftertaste of saccharin (which is safe). The other options are just sugar in different guises, and high fructose corn syrup is being criticized as a hazardous invention of the late 20th century. (More to come in a future column; your IBS cramps may be because of all the high fructose corn syrup you're drinking and eating every day.) Aspartame's only risk is to people who have phenylketonuria (PKU), who would know if they have it.

  5. D. Oh, yes … and E. Yes, recent tests, funded by Atkins, surprised the medical field by lowering cholesterol and triglycerides, and confirmed again that people can lose early weight quickly with Atkins. But very few people stick with it, which is a good thing because overwhelming evidence still proves it harmful in the long term. We need carbs, and even the Atkins Machine now sheepishly says, "Oh, yes …cut the fat." Low carb is still hype, folks, unless you're officially diabetic or pre-diabetic.

  6. C. HRT is the only recognized, safe solution to moderate to severe menopausal hot flashes, but it is so risky beyond that that its studies were terminated early because the studies' subjects were terminating early (literary license, but you get the point). Your doctor needs to guide you through HRT to ensure you confine its use to the year or so the menopausal transition takes and taper off safely after that. Beyond hot flashes its increased cardiovascular risk and death rates far outweighs any benefits. Many women find HRT side effects worse than their hot flashes anyway. Black cohosh promotes the spread of cancer. Avoid it.

  7. D is closest. Only dark chocolate raises blood stream antioxidants, antioxidants have not been proven to prevent disease, and any form of chocolate contains saturated and trans fats. Treat chocolate as the rare, "sinful" treat it is. And F is a good reason not to eat much chocolate.

  8. E. The bleeding threat is statistically identical. The rest is essentially hype, so don't assume your stomach and life are any less at risk just because you paid 700% more for your NSAID.

  9. D is most correct. Sure, the actual resulting cause of death is E, and obesity very often causes diabetes, but so MANY of the heart attacks and cancer are caused by D. Either way, our choices are killing us.

  10. I think we can agree on F, but I ain't touching the other choices here with a ten foot cattle prod.

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