MAD DOG: Developing Lo-fat Humans
Now that scientists have managed to make lo-fat versions of every food product known to shopperkind, isn't it time they did the same thing to people?You'd think this would be easy. After all, if they can push the evolutionary scale of butter ahead by first creating margarine, then lo-fat margarine, and then "I Can't Believe It's a Food Product!", why can't they figure out a way to take the fat out of us?It's not like we don't need it. After all, 54 percent of the adults in this country are overweight, as are 25 percent of the children. But if you ask them why they have so much trouble losing weight you'll find that every one of them gives the same response: "Would you pass the potatoes and gravy?"To be fair, overweight people have had a hard time knowing for sure if they're fat. For years weight was the yardstick, and that meant checking it against a chart which showed the optimum weight for your height. This worked well until everyone in the country declared themselves to be large framed, thereby eliminating the last good reason not to eat that third helping of pecan pie a la mode.Then someone decided that weight wasn't important, body fat was. Their reasoning was based on a simple discovery: that a pound of Crisco weighs more than 12 ounces of meat. To measure this in the human body, which unlike a can of Crisco doesn't take well to using a can opener to look inside, they started measuring the roll of fat around your waist. You know, the thing you affectionately call a spare tire, love handles, or "I Can't Believe Daddy's Not Pregnant!". They did this fat using a pair of calipers, an instrument that looks and feels a lot like those tongs they used to deliver blocks of ice with, except that unlike ice tongs, calipers weren't outlawed under the Geneva Convention.Then someone figured out that they could measure body fat by weighing a person who was sitting in a tub of water. This was based on Archimedes Principle, which states that "the amount of water displaced by an object is directly proportional to how long it will take to mop up the floor afterwards."More recently, someone devised a mathematical formula which lets you figure out your body fat percentage by using a scale and a calculator. This method works well as long as you remember to step on the scale and not on the calculator.To come up with your body fat index, divide your height in meters squared by your weight in kilograms. If you're an American, this means you'll typically make a mistake like forgetting to place that one in front of your weight in pounds so you'll end up converting our weight into Celsius, which really isn't as bad as it seems since that's the same figure they'll be using as the conversion rate for the Eurodollar, which will finally come to a wallet near you once the French stop insisting that they put a picture of Jerry Lewis on it.But now scientists have come up with the simplest, most accurate way to figure out if you're overweight. It's represented by the simple formula: TV=FAT, where TV is the amount of television you watch and FAT is, well, fat.A study in the Journal of the American Medical Association (motto: "Even we fall asleep when we read it") showed that children who watch a lot of television are measurably fatter than those who don't. In the scientific world this is called a startling discovery. To the rest of us it's known as: Duh!But TV isn't the only culprit. Eating has a lot to do with it. After all, this is the country where 3,500 new soft drinks were introduced last year. Where each American eats an average of 26.2 pounds of candy annually. And where it's so important to eat during a 3-hour baseball game that you can now get orthodox Kosher food in Yankee Stadium.But scientists need to figure out why eating too much doesn't affect everyone. On the Fourth of July, Hirofumi Nakajima of Brooklyn, N.Y. chowed down 19 hot dogs in 12 minutes to win Nathan's Famous Hot Dog Eating Contest for the third year in a row and he only weighs 135 pounds. Sure he's only 3 feet tall, but what does that have to do with it?This proves that the makers of Godzilla were wrong about more than whether the American public wanted to see a soulless remake of a good movie, because it turns out that size really doesn't matter. Little guy Nkajima beat out a 387-pound wimp who could only manage to scarf down a measly 17 wieners in the allotted time, proving that being slim and trim isn't just better for your heart, your blood pressure, and your longevity, but also for your appetite.Don't be surprised to see these conclusions in an upcoming issue of The Journal of the American Medical Association under the title "Treating Obesity -- the Key to Our Buying That New Vacation Home We've Been Looking At". Just remember: you saw it here first.