October 20, 2018

Schmaltz is gluten free

If the Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics is saying that “>rendered poultry fat, a heart attack on a plate, the Jewish lard indispensable for making the crackly fried chicken skin treats called gribenes.

The metaphoric meaning of Kraft Singles is blandness – the absence of taste, texture or variety. (See also: Velveeta.)  Its literal meaning is as American as American cheese: shiny, rubbery, yellow-orange, imperishable plastic-wrapped slices of processed “pasteurized prepared cheese product,” as it says on the label, perfect for a lunch box or a “>wellness advice.

In the 1980s, products labeled “fat free” flew off the shelves. But “>the Gluten-Free Craze” the grocery business’s new cash cow. 

“>Annals of Internal Medicine review. I can’t believe I used to buy “I Can’t Believe It’s Not Butter! Light” by the tubful. What was I thinking?

It’s not just butter.  ““>2015 Dietary Guidelines Advisory Committee.  It turns out that dietary cholesterol and blood cholesterol aren’t as tight with each other as we once thought.  “>coffee – the high test, caffeinated brew – is back, too. 

And so is “>lack of medical evidence – is stacking up that the vitamin and mineral supplements we take to compensate for deficiencies in our diet don’t do us any good.  “>standing guard, don’t expect this to change. 

Exercise is also subject to pendulum swings. Stretching before working out used to be gospel; now “>yoga can wreck your body“>reports the Los Angeles Times, “recently concluded that high-intensity, high-mileage joggers die at the same rate as channel-surfing couch potatoes.” 

And don’t get me started on sunbathing.

If you’ve seen Woody Allen’s 1973 film “Sleeper,” a story set 200 years in the future, you’ll remember the doctors Dr. Melik: You mean there was no deep fat? No steak or cream fries? Or hot fudge?

Dr. Agon: Those were thought to be unhealthy, precisely the opposite of what we now know to be true.

Dr. Melik: Incredible.

That moment is funnier, sadder and truer now than when the movie came out.  Our wellness knowledge and ignorance are moving targets.  As each new study seems to contradict the previously contradictory advice that we’ve barely re-rejected, skepticism toward all studies looks like a reasonable response. Unstable norms make it easier for Kraft to cut a mutual endorsement deal with the Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics.  It makes it likely that when Carl’s Jr. introduces a new “>recommended calories, and a full day’s salt and fat, hardly a jaw drops or an eyebrow hits the ceiling. When accepted wisdom about healthful living keeps getting turned on its head, the odds of beating “>recent study in Science by two professors at Johns Hopkins School of Medicine reports that “>random mutations – may account for two-thirds of the risk of getting many types of cancer.  I hate a universe that metes out morbidity and mortality like a casino dealer.  I’d much prefer a cosmos where randomness were a bit player.  I hope another study quickly comes along to counter that one.  Until it does, I wish I knew which eating strategy – savoring gribenes, denial or “everything in moderation” – will do me less harm than good. 

But even if everything really is a crapshoot, I gotta tell you: Kraft Singles are off the table.

Marty Kaplan holds the Norman Lear chair at the USC Annenberg School for Communication and Journalism.  Reach him at martyk@jewishjournal.com.