What is good for us? Scientists really do not know.
By: Tim Bryce – News Talk Florida Columnist
To illustrate, it was recently reported that vitamin supplements were a waste of time and simple natural foods provide better nutrition. Consider how many years we’ve been taking “One A Day,” “Chocks,” “Flintstones Vitamins,” “Centrum,” and dozens of other pills. We’ve been consuming pills for Vitamins A-E, K, Fish Oil, Magnesium, Zinc, and God knows what else since time immemorial it seems. Do you mean to tell me this was only good for lining the pockets of the drug companies? Please say it is not so.
For years, we heard how coffee is bad for you, that the caffeine will ultimately kill us by attacking our hearts and nervous systems. This led to the advent of decaffeinated coffee, the “Tab” of the coffee industry with about the same rotten taste. Now we are being told coffee is good for us. In a recent study by the University of Scranton (PA), it was discovered coffee is the number one source of antioxidants. There is also evidence it reduces the risk of Type 2 Diabetes, Alzheimer’s, and even prostate cancer. It appears a light roast is better for you than a dark roast which may burn off the antioxidants, and you should avoid cream and sugar. I’m just grateful I never gave up my black unleaded version of Chock Full O’ Nuts.
As I grew up, it was preached Marijuana was bad for us. Since the 1960’s though, few seemed to have listened, including our Commander-in-Chief who claimed it was “no worse than alcohol.” Then a movement began touting the virtues of Medicinal Marijuana. In a recent post, I mentioned it has questionable medicinal benefits. Shortly afterwards, a research report was published by Northwestern University and Massachusetts General Hospital/Harvard Medical School, in the “Journal of Neuroscience.” Their research, “suggests young adults who smoke marijuana at least once a week have altered areas of the brain involved in emotion and motivation.” This was closely followed by another report in the Journal of the American Heart Association stating “marijuana use may result in cardiovascular-related complications — even death — among young and middle-aged adults.” Further, a report by the National Institute on Drug Abuse found that “marijuana use makes tobacco use more pleasurable and may increase the user’s risk for becoming addicted to nicotine.” So, surprise-surprise, it is considered bad again and will likely hinder plans to legalize marijuana. I wonder how the anti-tobacco lobby, who advocates marijuana, will react to this.
Alcohol has also had good and bad reviews for many years. On the negative, it has been blamed for a litany of diseases, not to mention drunkenness. On the plus side though, it was recently reported that drinking wine in moderation can be good for you.
In a story unrelated to nutrition, a new research study, published in the Journal of “Nature Climate Change,” and paid for by the federal government, produced the startling fact that Bio-fuels (e.g., Ethanol) create more carbon emissions than fossil fuels (as much as a 7% more than gasoline). This revelation flies in the face of the government’s support of bio-fuels. So what will the government and oil companies do; eliminate Ethanol and increase gas production, or continue to pollute the planet?
Last but not least, there is the issue of Tobacco which has been under scrutiny for the last fifty years. Interestingly, a recent report from Australia reveals there is a molecule in tobacco plants found to be useful in killing cancerous cells in humans. Then there is a report from Vanderbilt University’s Center for Cognitive Medicine which finds nicotine is safe, even helpful in combating Alzheimer’s and Parkinson’s Disease. Hmm, let me see if I’ve got this right; if I smoke marijuana, I’ll want to smoke more tobacco, and the nicotine from the tobacco will keep me alert, steady, and will help me with my fight against cancer. I can see the tobacco companies drooling now.
This does not mean you should reach for a pack of cigarettes just yet, but it is an ironic twist in the war against tobacco. In a way, it reminds me of the Woody Allen movie, “Sleeper” (1973) where Allen, who has been in suspended animation for over 200 years, is awoken and finds the world substantially different than when he went to sleep in the 20th century. When awoken, he is interviewed by a scientist:
Scientist: “Now here, you smoke this, and be sure to get smoke deep down into your lungs.”
Allen: “I don’t smoke.”
Scientist: “It’s tobacco, it’s one of the healthiest things for your body. Now go ahead, you need all the strength you can get.”
This vignette says a lot about the flip-flopping by scientists. It also says a lot about the government grants to pay for such research. It seems the scientists have to produce something, anything, to justify their research. Frankly, I have trouble believing them anymore and will proceed without the vitamin pills, while enjoying a good cup of coffee and cigar. In other words, until such time scientists can authoritatively prove their research, once and for all, tell the scientists to leave us alone.
Keep the Faith!