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Fat is where it's at

Published December 15. 2012 09:02AM

While doing research on nutrition, I stumbled on a list of the six things you should never eat.

Naturally, I had to check it out.

Not surprisingly, the list contains things I usually enjoy. Maybe you do, too.

Here are the top six foods we're being told to never touch:

1) Soda - Surveys show that each of us drinks 51 gallons of soda a year. They put it atop the junk food list because it's empty calories and loaded with artificial ingredients. Some say low-calorie sodas are even worse for us than sugary sodas because the aspartame in zero-calorie soft drinks is harmful. Aspartame supposedly can lead to all kinds of illnesses and its effect is cumulative. So soda in any form is a no-no.

2) French fries - They're king of trans fats. And cheese fries are even worse. They can have 2,900 calories. A potato itself is a carb and probably not too bad. But once we slice it up and deep fry it, it turns into the poster child of junk food.

3) Chips - Bet you can't eat just one. The old-time potato chips we grew up with contain trans fats and lots of salt. But in fairness, there are many chip makers nowadays producing healthier options. Plus there are things like sweet potato chips and all kinds of varieties that might not be quite as bad as traditional chips. Still lots of calories though.

4) Mozzarella sticks - If you're going to give up one item, this might be the one. Mozzarella sticks are cheese immersed in oil; essentially fat fried in fat.

5) Doughnuts - Again, high trans fats and tons of sugar. We supposedly eat 35 doughnuts a year. That figure surprises me because I'd guess it to be much higher. I could eat 35 doughnuts in one month.

6) Ice cream - The final item on the list is the one we'll never give up. Ice cream is loaded with fat. We already knew that. But who wants to relinquish their hold on ice cream?

The one thing I notice in this list is that most of the items are supposedly off-limits because of high fat content.

In terms of our diet, fat has become synonymous with evil.

I remember watching French Chef Julia Child on television years ago. She said "fat carries flavor." In other words, the more fat, the more flavor. Fat is where it's at.

That's why Julia always cooked with real butter and lots of it. When she put butter in one of her dishes, I think she used a shovel.

But let's face it, her recipes produced great tasting food and helped to break Americans from the 1960s TV dinner craze.

And I don't think her high-fat productions did her any harm. She lived to a ripe old age.

Julia Child died of kidney failure at a retirement home just two days before her 92nd birthday.

They say her final meal was French onion soup. Something tells me she probably enjoyed that salty soup with half a loaf of bread and a stick of butter. And why not? At 92, she deserved to have whatever she wanted.

I'm sure it's a good idea to cut down on fat intake. And mozzarella sticks have got to go.

But given a snack choice between a doughnut or a carrot, most humans would still take the doughnut.

Bugs Bunny would take the carrot.

Enjoy your holiday and try to eat lots of carrots, even if you sneak in a doughnut now and then.

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