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Eat and Drink Yourself Healthy? Too Good to Be True

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It’s a sad fact that most of the things in life that are tasty, fun, or in any way enjoyable are probably going to kill us sooner or later.


Maintaining a human body in the twenty-first century takes some dedication in order to undo all the terrible things we do to ourselves: We offset the perils of sitting at work all day by running on a treadmill for hours. We spend our lives in the sun and then demand a moisturizer to counteract the damage, and we eat only whole-wheat carob flakes with extra bran in order to offset our favorite candies and cookies. Most of us dream of a world in which we can take care of ourselves by eating what we like and doing what we enjoy, and some new “medical breakthroughs” promise just that—the chance to make ourselves healthier with hardly any effort at all, or even by doing things we thought were bad for us. Whether or not they deliver on their promises, they offer a delicious escape from the usual unpleasantries of health care.


A New Altitude for Fighting Fat
Who among us doesn’t have a closetful of abandoned fitness gadgets, unused herbal supplements, and dozens of other products that promised immediate and easy weight loss? It turns out that all along, the secret to weight loss has been not what you do, but where you do it. A study that appeared in the February 2010 issue of Obesity found that high-altitude locations can stimulate weight loss. Yep—take a long vacation in the Rockies, and you’ll come down from the mountain slimmer. The researchers found that the altitude alone helped people lose weight, even when they ate whatever they wanted and did no exercise. They even kept two-thirds of the weight off once they returned to sea level. The key to this tactic—seemingly the answer to the prayers of many people who have Sisyphean struggles with weight loss—may lie in the fluctuation of hunger hormones, as well as increased metabolism at high altitudes. Of course, obese people are more susceptible to the nausea, dizziness, and headaches due to altitude sickness, so the test subjects felt terrible while looking great. We sense a new crop of mountaintop wellness spas popping up any day now …


A Chocolate a Day Keeps the Acne Away
The oft-repeated old wives’ tale is that chocolate causes pimples. I feel the need to defend my friend the cacao bean, because that’s simply not true. It turns out that chocolate can actually be good for skin! Frutels candies contain antioxidants, B vitamins, vitamin E, folic acid, and biotin, all wrapped in a delicious dark chocolate shell, and they claim to be able to cure the internal causes of acne. Those with mild acne should enjoy two Frutels per day; those with severe acne can enjoy up to five of the chocolaty little darlings. The Web site even instructs, “If you have a more stressful day, notice your hormones are flaring up, or sneak an extra sugary snack, your body may need more Frutels to defend itself against the internal causes of acne.” Thanks! Don’t mind if I do! While the efficacy of the candies hasn’t been assessed by the FDA or any sort of medical establishment, what could be the harm in a few pieces of candy per day? If they don’t end up preventing acne, they could certainly alleviate PMS.



Eat Two Chips and Call Me in the Morning
When you’re watching your cholesterol levels, it can feel like you’re relegated to eating a diet of leaves and bark. Anything tasty, greasy, salty, fatty, or fried is definitely out, so potato chips are pretty much your worst nightmare. But thanks to Corazonas, a potato chip that claims to help lower your cholesterol, chips may someday be considered health food. Corazonas contain plant sterols, plant-derived substances that bind to cholesterol receptors in the human body, preventing real cholesterol from being absorbed. Even the FDA has weighed in on this debate, agreeing that eating at least .8 grams of plant sterols per day can help reduce cholesterol by 5 to 14 percent. A serving of Corazonas contains .4 to .8 grams of sterols, so two servings are enough to get the benefits. No word on whether your flexible spending account will reimburse you for this “medical supply,” or whether you could get the same cholesterol-lowering effects by simply ingesting less cholesterol in the first place.


The Fountain of Youth
After a lifetime of tanning, smoking, and staying out too late, women resort to drastic measures in order to reclaim youthful, glowing skin. Luckily for modern ladies, undoing all that damage is as easy as taking a drink. Borba Skin Care features an entire line of drinkable skincare products that claim to do everything from reversing the signs of aging to firming sagging skin to hydrating and clarifying. The Borba Aqua-less Crystalline (a fancy way of saying “powdered drink mix”) is infused with of-the-moment ingredients like açai, noni berry, flaxseed, grapeseed extract, green tea, and various B vitamins and antioxidants to make skin younger, firmer, clearer, and moister. As the Web site says, “It’s water with benefits”—perfect for sipping on the beach while you’re working on your tan! Plus, if you miss the days of taking your vitamins in bear form, Borba also makes Acai-infused Skin Balance Gummy Bear Boosters, for an infusion of youth in more ways than one.


Unfortunately, another sad fact of human life is that when something sounds too good to be true, it probably is, and the jury’s still out on whether people can drink their skin young, eat their skin clear, or lower their cholesterol by eating potato chips. Despite what health-product manufacturers would have consumers believe, the way to stay young-looking and young-feeling forever is to eat healthfully, exercise, and wear sunscreen. Although you might find this writer relocating to Denver and stocking up on Corazonas … just in case.



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