McGregor Says: Don’t believe everything you hear

Have you noticed that in January there is a marked increase in advertisements for exercise machines, supplements and diet plans — all trying to capitalize on those resolutions we made about reducing weight and getting into shape?

The one constant that appears with each promotion is the small print that says, “When used in conjunction with regular exercise routines.”

In other words, you can buy all this stuff, but unless you get off your butt they probably won’t take off any pounds.

Then there are the confusing and contradictory studies we hear every week.

Coffee is bad for you. It is bad for your bones and your kidneys, it increases anxiety and heart burn, and it makes menopausal hot flushes worse, it raises your blood pressure and may lead to premature death.

Yet, another study says coffee is good for you.

It can make you smarter, it helps you burn fat, it lowers your risk of type II diabetes, it lowers your risk of dementia, and it’s good for your liver and reduces the risk of premature death.

It doesn’t say who did this study, but I’m suggesting it might have been Folgers or Maxwell House.

A glass of red wine every day is good for you.

It promotes weight loss, it prevents age decline and memory loss, it has many heart healthy benefits, and it works against cancer cells and promotes long life.

But wait a minute.

A more recent study tells us that the former studies were flawed because they never took into account the overall alcohol consumption of the study group.

I guess some of the folks thought that if one glass of red wine a day was good for you, then five or six glasses a day would make you healthier than ever, or at least bring you to a place where you didn’t really care if you were healthy or not.

Like the lady who wrote to the winery and suggested they start putting enough wine in the bottle for two people so she and her friend didn’t empty it so fast.

Red meat and fat will constrict your arteries.

For years we were told that fat should not be more than 30 per cent of our daily food intake and now the experts tell us there is no proof that people on low-fat diets lose any more weight or are any healthier than those who love that crisp, brown fat sizzling on the edge of a steak or pork chop.

I received a photo the other day captioned, “I made a salad and I’m eating healthy.”

The picture attached was a frying pan full of bacon and grease with a sprig of parsley in the middle.

If you believe it’s a salad, then it’s a salad.

From all this, I am taking the advice of my favourite folk singer, John Prine, when he tells us to “Blow up your TV and throw away your papers.”

Probably not something my editor wants to hear but in the early 20th century, heart disease was rare.

People ate from their gardens, there were less pollutants in the air and they didn’t have large corporations giving them conflicting information. They knew what was healthy and what wasn’t.

So have a coffee in the morning, eat a salad for lunch, have a glass of wine with your steak dinner, and go for a walk.

Sometimes we’re our own worst enemy.

At least that’s what McGregor says.