In an unprecedented move, today I will actually answer my own mail! Since I’ve taken up answering other people’s mail, I think some of you must have felt bad for me and decided to fill that void. As always, what would I do without all of you to make me think about the odd, the obscure and the downright nutty?
Food Stamps and Fatness
Is there a link between food stamps and obesity? Shouldn’t we make rules as to what people can use food stamps to buy?
There certainly is a link between low socioeconomic status and obesity. So it is logical to conclude that since it is only the poor who use food stamps (a fact that my own experience disputes), then a rise in food stamp usage would correlate with a rise in obesity. Not true. Not in any of the many studies that I read examining the existing data, going back as far as the seventies. Although in typical numbers-tell-no-lies-but-reporters-sure-do fashion, different articles reported the same findings (an insignificant 0.3 rise in BMI for women on food stamps and none for men) with completely opposing titles. “Food Stamps and Obesity: Ironic Twist” goes head-to-head with “Hunger Hysteria: Food Stamps and BMI”
As for making rules as to what people can buy with their food stamps, I’m assuming you mean banning twinkies and giving them a free season pass to the produce aisle. And while I’m all for a twinkie-free world populated instead with organic pineapples (and please oh please Carmen Miranda!), aside from the obvious few, most foods are hard to categorize as “good” or “bad.” I mean, even Cookie Monster knows that cookies are a “sometimes food.” For instance, what if a person wants to use food stamps to buy a box of “made with whole grain” mac ‘n’ cheese? I would say that food is not healthy but I know plenty of moms that would beg to differ. Besides, even if it isn’t a healthy food, aren’t people allowed to choose their own diet? Even people living on charity?
I’ve heard that DL-Phenylalinie is the new weight-loss supplement of choice – do you know anything about it?
What?? Why on earth would people give up their horse tranquilizers and cocaine? They work so well!
That said, if you are really considering taking DL-Phenylalinine as a supplement there are a few things you should know (and I’m sure that Dr. J & Gena will have lots to add to my list!):
– DL-P is the synthetic form of a naturally occurring amino acid, meaning that everyone needs it and our bodies don’t make it so we have to get it somewhere.
– That somewhere however, doesn’t have to be pills. Phenylalinine, besides being the ingredient in aspartame that warrants all those PKU People WILL DIE warnings, occurs naturally in many foods like most animal and soy products as well as some nuts and seeds. (Just out of curiosity, has anyone ever met a phenylketonuric? I mean, I used to obsess about those warnings – like I do about all warning ’cause I’m like that – and then one day I realized that I have never met, nor even heard of someone with PKU.)
– DL-P is used to treat Parkinson’s Disease, vitiligo (weird white patches on your skin – no, not leprosy but did your mind just jump to that too? That’s it, no more bible before bedtime for me.), and depression. It turns out that it is a mild SSRI – kinda like prozac but, you know, in yogurt:)
– This is probably the answer you were actually looking for: no studies done by people other than the companies selling and making the supplements have shown any significant correlation between taking the supplement and weight loss. Sorry!
– Also, too much causes irrevocable nerve damage. I’d say “ouch” but you wouldn’t feel it anyhow.
In conclusion, I still kinda can’t believe that people actually trust me to answer questions but you know I get a huge rush out of it! Big wet kisses to the two intrepid souls who sent me these questions! So if any of the rest of you ever have a pressing question, I suggest sending it to someone qualified to answer it. But in the meantime I’d love to help you out! Just try mailing it to me in the a.m. as I get snarkier as the day goes on.