I always enjoy reading healthful tips and advice about the foods we eat.

But the downside is learning that everything is basically bad for our health.

We're led to believe that unless we live on celery, tofu and broccoli our diet isn't good. The warnings pertaining to sugar, milk, cheese, eggs and red meat send a message that eating is unhealthy.

But try to go without eating. That's unhealthy, too.

There is a new push to tell folks that milk isn't good. That issue continues to flip and flop. Humans might be the only species on the planet who routinely drinks the milk of a different species. And, according to alarmists, cow's milk is no longer safe because of today's processing techniques.

"We raise our cows in crowded quarters, pump them full of hormones to increase production, feed them grains that their stomachs can't digest, and then give them antibiotics to prevent illness that naturally occurs under such living conditions," proclaims one Internet source.

They say we'll finally begin to lose weight when we stop wanting to look like cows.

But the true evil of American diets is sugar.

Each of us eats 135 pounds of sugar per year, except for me ... I eat twice that amount.

Sugar is the ultimate masquerade because it's labeled as high fructose corn syrup and a number of other names. Sugar, they say, really screws up our systems and our metabolism. Eventually, we become obese and develop Type 2 diabetes. But it's hard to abstain form sugar because it's all around us in things such as peanut butter, crackers, canned soups and tomato sauce. Even ketchup has sugar. There's no getting away from it.

So if we combine milk and sugar, we might as well call it poison. Previously I called it an ice cream cone.

There are better alternatives to sugar, such as stevia, a natural herb with zero calories. But so far it hasn't caught on with food producers. Soft drinks aren't sweetened with stevia. Instead the industry uses artificial sweeteners that seem even worse than sugar.

Take Splenda, for example, it was born as an insecticide. It supposedly comes from the family of organochlorines, same as DDT and mustard gas. Sounds yummy.

Aspartame is the ingredient found in NutraSweet and Equal. Recent studies have linked aspartame to obesity. Aspartame might actually make us crave sweets and carbs. Therefore, diet sodas might be making us gain weight.

Experts say it's our fondness of sugar and fat that leads us down the wrong path. We've met the enemy and he is us.

A doctor once told me that the only thing we should drink is plain water.

As for food, we need to draw inspiration from the cartoons and TV shows of childhood.

It's OK to be like Bugs Bunny and munch on carrots all day. And feel free to chomp on all the oats you can handle, just like Mr. Ed. And it doesn't hurt to guzzle down all the spinach you want, just like Popeye. But don't be a Wimpy, even if you can afford to pay for your hamburger today.

The bottom line is that we need to change the way we eat, say the experts.

So for Valentine's Day, forget about chocolate covered cherries. Give your sweetheart a box of oats and carrots and a jug of water. After all, the health nuts are telling us that it's good to eat like a horse, but don't have a cow, man. They say drinking cow's milk is the wrong mooo-ve. Milk does a body good, but only if the body is a heifer.