by Mad Dog
So what are dieters supposed to do now that Atkins is
cutting back to just making shakes and nutrition bars? Find a new
approach. You know, like being lied to.
||Atkins Nutritionals, the
company founded by diet guru Robert Atkins to cash in on ó I mean,
spread the word about ó his low-carb diet, has filed for bankruptcy.
It turns out that people donít really need or want everything to be
low-carb. Either that or they discovered they prefer not eating bread
and pasta to choking down weird versions made of soy, destarched wheat
flour, and partially hydrogenated sawdust. Imagine that.
The Atkins diet, for those of you who
have been holed up waiting for the all-clear signal so you can crawl out
of your Y2K bunker, got its start in 1972 as a book. It had a resurgence
a few years ago when it became the Cabbage Patch Kids of diets, all the
way down to adherents being given a diet certificate with their name on
it. Just kidding, actually it was a brochure for Atkins products.
Everywhere you turned it was low-carb
this and low-carb that. Every restaurant advertised a low-carb menu,
including steak houses that had only served carb-less slabs of beef for
years. You could buy low-carb ice cream, low-carb Coke, and low-carb
bottled water. There were even low-carb stores that sold nothing but
low-carb products. Well, for two weeks, anyway. Then they realized it
was a dumb idea just like everyone else who heard about it knew right
off the bat. You could go on a low-carb vacation on Carnival Cruise
Lines, buy low-carb magazines ó hopefully for reading, not eating ó
and pick up one of the (True Fact Alert!) 3,375 low-carb products that
were released last year alone. What was a poor carbohydrate to do?
Thatís called self-deception and it ranks right up there
with installing a funhouse mirror in the bedroom. Of course if you do
that make sure you get the one that makes you look skinny, not the one
that makes you look like Danny Devito.
In a word, suffer. Potato farmers cut production 13 percent, the
makers of Twinkies and Ronzoni spaghetti filed for bankruptcy
protection, and Krispie Kremes suddenly lost their luster. Well, in a
figurative sense anyway. Donít worry, you can still see them glisten
as they come down that Big Conveyor Belt From The Sky and miss the trash
can where they belong, winding up in peopleís stomachs instead.
So what are dieters supposed to do
now that Atkins is cutting back to just making shakes and nutrition
bars? Find a new approach, of course. You know, like being lied to.
Thatís right. Forget South Beach. Forget The Zone. Now you can lie
your way to a slimmer you, and best of all, youíre not the one doing
the lying. No, you donít need to round up all your friends and ask
them to tell you how slim, trim, and good you look when youíre stuffed
into a pair of shorts that are two sizes two small and your belly hangs
over the waistband like a remake of The Blob. Thatís called
self-deception and it ranks right up there with installing a funhouse
mirror in the bedroom. Of course if you do that make sure you get the
one that makes you look skinny, not the one that makes you look like
Danny Devito. No, this is a bona fide, scientific method developed by a
group of psychologists at the University of California Irvine (motto:
ďI didnít want to go to UCLA anywayĒ) in which they deliberately
lie to you, making you believe you donít like a food you actually like
so you wonít eat it. Go ahead, read that again if you need to.
false memories isnít anything new or groundbreaking. In fact, you
probably know it by its more common name ó brainwashing.
the experiment, test subjects filled out a form asking about their food
preferences and experiences. When they woke up from their stupor they
were told that the information had been analyzed and it showed that
theyíd gotten sick eating strawberry ice cream as a child. Thereís
no explanation about why strawberry was chosen, but I suspect it has to
do with big food lobbies and possibly even discrimination against
migrant farm workers. Hey, conspiracy theories are a lot more fun than
the fact that strawberry ice cream has never made anyone sick.
Itís important to understand that
what the subjects were told was a blatant lie. Lying, it turns out, is
okay if itís in the name of science. Or politics. Or business. Well,
as long as you donít get caught. The researchers next asked the
subjects to provide details about the bogus childhood incident. Oddly,
most of them did, even though it never happened. Afterwards, 41 percent
of the subjects believed the story they made up and said they would
avoid eating strawberry ice cream in the future. They also said they
believe in Santa Claus, think The X-Files was a documentary, and
ran into Jimmy Hoffa the week before at the Low-Carb Store. Having lunch
with Amelia Earhart and ET. A lunch of low-carb pasta, no doubt.
Implanting false memories isnít
anything new or groundbreaking. In fact, you probably know it by its
more common name ó brainwashing. Itís been used for years by the
military, grade school teachers, Scientology, and George Bush when he
uses a phrase Karl Rove taught him over and over until we actually start
to believe it. At least we do if we live in a red state. But its use as
a diet aid is a new twist, and a pretty good one at that. It requires no
addition, is easy to stick with, will slash your strawberry ice cream
budget. Would I lie to you?
©2005 Mad Dog
Productions, Inc. All Rights Reserved.
These columns appear in better newspapers across the country.
Read them in the low-carb version.