Between the Lines: September-October 2004


Shortly before writing this, I was in a staring contest with a roll. It was at the end of a salad bar, imploring me, at least implicitly, to initiate the act of consumption. I wrestled with that roll, or at least with the thought of that roll, and in the end saw to it that the roll had no role in my lunch fare.

What fed the resistance, of course, was an awareness of carbohydrates. This is a relatively new awareness. Growing up, I was a red-meat guy. It was good for the bones. From there it was a passion for bagel sandwiches--sophisticated ethnic food. And then it was getting caught up in spaghetti, that high-energy food that became magically edible from just a little swimming time in boiling water.

Now the magic is gone, and it's all bad, as the current carbohydrates consciousness would have it. Krispy Kreme Doughnuts is slashing its earnings and slimming down its operations. That's just one of many food products getting battered, as it were, by low-carb eating habits.

The cover story looks at the fascination with new-fangled diets and the science behind those diets. Our writer, Kim McDonald, reports that physicians and nutritionists have been slow to educate themselves about low-carb consuming patterns. For one thing, he says, "biomedical research funds are concentrated on studying disease and ailments." Beyond that, "the low-fat diet was established early on as the healthiest diet, so nutritionists had no incentive to study anything else."

Science, though, is ever restless. And that early skepticism is giving way to a new medical curiosity.

Bon appetit.

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