dietary habits

  1. An 'F' for fat kids

    New plan to punish obese children

    Looking for someone to bully? Pick on a fat kid -- everyone else is doing it.

    First, the Nanny State began pulling little tubbies from their homes and sending them off to foster care, as if that's somehow going to magically cure obesity (hint: not a chance).

    Next up: Telling fat kids they're stupid, too -- even if they're the smartest kids in class.

    French diet "guru" Dr. Pierre Dukan -- creator of the cockamamie "Dukan Diet" that involves stuffing yourself with oats until you neigh -- says obese children should get lower grades in school just for being fat.

    What's next -- prison time? Public floggings? Forced sterilization?

    Dr. Dukan claims his plan is "a fantastic motivator," but what the heck does weight have to do with grades anyway?

    If anything, fat kids need every point they earn -- because once they're out in the real world, they're certainly not going to get by on their looks (don't shoot the messenger -- it's the truth).

    And let's face it: The idea that a kid is healthier simply because he's skinnier isn't worth a single bag of Dukan's beloved oats (or even a bag of what an oat-loving horse leaves behind).

    Children and teens often have bunny-fast metabolisms that allow them to chow down on the worst junk imaginable -- and knock back Mountain Dew by the case -- and not gain an ounce.

    You almost certainly know a few kids like this. There's probably a bunch of them standing in front of your local 7-11 right now.

    These kids might be slim and trim -- but in no way, shape or form are they healthy... it certainly doesn't make them any smarter.

    Yet under Dukan's plan, they get extra points for simply having a better metabolism than the fat kids... even if they have WORSE dietary habits (habits that will catch up with them sooner or later).

    Here's a clue for Dr. Dukan and everyone else who shares his oat-brained ideas: Stop PUNISHING fat kids and start TEACHING them instead.

    Call me old-fashioned, but isn't that what school is supposed to be about?

  2. Vitamin C for your eyes

    If you want to protect your eyes, forget carrots -- there's another "C" that plays a much more important role in how you see: Vitamin C.

    Two new studies show how C can keep your peepers performing at their peak -- including one that finds that certain retina cells literally shut down when they run out of C.

    The researchers wrote in the Journal of Neuroscience that their finding suggests a diet rich in vitamin C may protect against glaucoma -- but more importantly, they say the retinal cells used in the study are closely related to similar cells in the brain.

    And if low C can cause those cells in the eye to go dark, just imagine how it can dim your mind.

    But let's get back to your eyes here, because another new study -- this one out of India -- finds that people with the highest dietary intake of C have a 39 percent lower risk of cataracts than those with the lowest C levels.

    That study was based on a questionnaire over dietary habits, so I'm not going to waste your time with the details -- but it's worth mentioning because plenty of other studies have also made a much more direct link between low C and cataract risk.

    I remember one a few decades back that found every 1 mg/dl increase in blood levels of vitamin C led to a 26 percent decrease in cataract risk.

    Along with vision, vitamin C also appears to have a direct impact on hearing: When I say "vitamin C," most people just hear "orange juice" -- and that's the last place you should be looking for this nutrient.

    OJ is pure sugar with some vitamin C swimming around in it. You may as well put vitamin C in your Coke.

    The best natural sources of C are actually peppers -- bell and chili -- along with broccoli, kale and papaya. But to get what you really need, you'll probably want a supplement.

    I suggest at least 1,200 mg a day, or roughly 15 times what the U.S. government recommends.

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