Over the weekend, I came across this video, courtesy of the British government. Take a look:
Well, that’s it, then. Despite the fact that I love saturated fat, after viewing this disturbing video, I’ve come to a painful and reluctant conclusion: I must stop injecting saturated fat directly into my arteries.
I briefly considered continuing the practice, reasoning that I could minimize the accumulation of grease with proper medical treatment … in this case, a twice-weekly injection of Liquid Drano. But during a brief scan of the medical literature, I discovered that while Drano is effective against grease, it also dissolves hair. I’m bald enough as it is. I don’t want to go through life resembling my baby pictures.
(Rumor has it that when my father stood staring at me through the maternity-ward window, the obstetrician patted him on the shoulder and said, “Don’t worry, Mr. Naughton. You’ll learn to love him.”)
My wife, who loathes wasting food, is bound to be annoyed with my new restrictions. Just this morning, she concluded the after-breakfast cleanup by funneling leftover bacon grease into two dozen syringes – my own personal party tray for Monday Night Football. I usually wait until halftime to begin pumping lard into my arteries, although if I crank up my appetite with a first-quarter beer or two, all bets are off. I’ve been known to empty every syringe before the second-half kickoff, then call Dominos and order a pint of pepperoni grease. Never again.
Desperate to know exactly which foods won’t clog my arteries, I decided to subject a number of them to the experiment featured in the video, employing the same rigorously scientific methods. My wife was out running errands, so my daughters assisted – partly out of intellectual curiosity, and partly because they were concerned I’d introduce a plunger as an uncontrolled variable and skew the results.
We began simply enough, taking turns stuffing slices of bread down the drain. Since the British government’s experiment specified a month’s worth of saturated fat, we didn’t stop until the drainpipe held a total of 120 slices of bread – half of them toasted.
After the plumber packed up his wrenches and left, we incorporated his expert opinion into our conclusion: bread definitely clogs your arteries, especially when consumed with milk. Or, to use the expert’s jargon, “What the @#$%?! You guys clogged the $#@& out of this pipe!”
With bread eliminated from the heart-healthy list, we moved on to other dietary staples. It turns out that rice and beans don’t totally clog your arteries, but can dramatically impede the flow. So do most vegetables, although the effects are somewhat mitigated by thorough boiling. (This may, in fact, explain the extremely low rate of heart disease in Scotland.) Clearly the theories espoused by the raw-foods advocates don’t hold up to actual scientific research.
On his return, the plumber agreed, noting, “If you’re gonna stick a coupla pounds of brussel sprouts down the drain, you gotta cook the @#$%ing things first!” I promised to include his opinion in the discussion section of our academic paper. Then, so my daughters would stop attempting to steer our research down a blind alley, I answered the question they’d been posing since the plumber’s initial visit: Yes, some men have hair on their buttocks. However, the association with heart disease is statistically insignificant.
As the experiment progressed, we were stunned to realize that a month’s worth of nearly all foods will clog your arteries: hamburgers, chicken wings, pork chops, lettuce, hard-boiled eggs, potatoes, cheese, cashews, pickles, bananas and apples, to name just a few. Chunky-style peanut butter appears to be the most artery-clogging of all.
When I called the plumber again, a pre-recorded voice that sounded very much like the plumber’s informed me that the number was no longer in service. I asked for the new number, but the pre-recorded voice replied that it was unlisted. Business must be good when you can rely exclusively on referrals.
When my wife returned home, we began to appreciate the true cost of high-quality scientific research. She spelled out, loudly and specifically, the size of the grant that would be required to re-stock the laboratory. Until we receive such a grant, I’m afraid we won’t be able to determine if the results are repeatable.
But as good scientists like to say, the drain doesn’t lie. We are confident in our preliminary conclusion: nearly all foods clog your arteries. The only exception seems to be ice cream, which apparently can be cleared from your arteries with a steady stream of warm water. If you want to avoid heart disease, we’d suggest injecting ice cream (and nothing but ice cream) into your arteries, followed by periodic injections of warm water.
Or you could try chewing and swallowing your food, thus allowing your digestive system to process it. The effects on your arteries could, at least in theory, be somewhat different.