Tuesday, April 13, 2010

My apologies to #2

When I was in high school, I decided to enter the science fair by conducting a nutrition experiment with two white mice. I named them #1 and #2 after my favorite characters from my favorite Dr. Seuss book Cat in the Hat. The experiment was simple: #1 consumed a healthy diet of nuts, seeds, fruit, peanut butter, and water while #2 ate Doritos and Hershey's chocolate and drank Coca-Cola. The mice lived in separate cages.

Initially, there was no change in their behavior so I thought my hypothesis—junk food can kill you—was wrong. However, after about four days, #2 started acting hyper. He suffered from insomnia. He squeaked constantly, which made my mother ask every day when the experiment was supposed to end. I suspected the caffeine from the soda and candy had build up in his system. He continued his frenetic behavior for two weeks until suddenly he crashed. Around day 20, he became lethargic. He stopped eating. His eyes glossed over. His skin appeared blotchy as pieces of his hair fell out. He only drank when absolutely necessary.

Even though the experiment was supposed to go for 28 days, I stopped on day 24. I didn't want to kill #2, and he was clearly dying. I am happy to report that he made a full recovery on the outside (who knows what damage there was to his internal organs) after resuming a normal, healthy diet for two weeks. I was not allowed to keep the mice, but I made sure that #1 and #2 went to happy homes (i.e., fellow classmates who adored rodents).

The scary thing is ... how many people in this country consume that kind of diet every day? Soda, candy, chips. Like most Americans, I grew up eating that crap. If you read my Girl Scout Cookie post, you already know how much I love candy, and I like chips, too. I was able to wean myself off Diet Coke a few years ago after drinking two cans a day for years. I still allow myself to have one occasionally even though carbonation doesn't agree with me. Unlike #2, my diet has never consisted of 100% junk, but I think the next time I crave Diet Coke (I always want one at the movies with my popcorn), I will remember that distant look of despair in #2's eyes. I might even pass on candy, too. As for chips, well, I'm working on it.

I'm sorry I tortured you #2; I hope you lived a long and happy life.

AWW – XoXo


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    The information in this blog is not intended as a substitute for professional health care. Please consult your doctor before beginning any diet or exercise program.