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The Skinny By Elaine Langlois

The New Food Guides

(Click to enlarge)

The U.S. and Canadian governments are revising their dietary guidelines for citizens. The well-known Food Guide Pyramid (see picture) has undergone an Extreme Makeover. Happy Woman cuts through the hype and gets you the real deal on what to nosh-and not!

The Food Guide Trapezoid

Emphasizes the value of exercise, especially on the flying trapeze, and of encouraging troublesome children to run away and join the circus. Offers useful consumer advice on traps, tarps, parts, spats, sand traps, man traps, satraps, trapdoors, and Havahart traps.

The Food Guide Rhomboid

Promoted by the American Society of Boring and Fussy Math Teachers, the Food Guide Rhomboid is the answer to the plunging SAT math scores of today's youth. "Teenagers in the United States are unbelievably ignorant about math," says Agatha Flintlock, spokesperson for ASBFMT. "Unlike our neighbors to the north, most U.S. teens are incapable of telling time or making change from ten dollars, let alone recalling that a rhomboid is a parallelogram in which angles are oblique and adjacent sides are of unequal length."

The Food Guide Rhomboid emphasizes countable foods (grapes, peas, potato chips, Tater Tots); foods with math-friendly names (Product 19, Fiber One, Basic 4, Total); a full palate of "core" math subjects (Algebra I, Algebra II, Geometry, pre-Calculus, Calculus, Trigonometry, and Statistics); and no recess.

The Food Guide Stick

  Cigarettes, Diet cola
  Diet pills
  Breath mints, gum

Perfect for aspiring models, young girls facing peer pressure, ballerinas, or any woman who doesn't want to get stuck with the "fatty" label.

The Food Guide "Cup o' Power"

At last, food guides that recognize the lifestyle of today's frenetic woman, who spends most of her time behind the wheel, ferrying kids and racking up speeding tickets, or in the office, working 70 hours a week to afford a home she barely sees. Setting aside the occasional psychotic episode, the "Cup o' Power" is the perfect diet for staying lean and mean and getting by on 3.5 hours of sleep as you claw your way to the top (provided plenty of rest stops are available). Includes 30-oz triple espressos, Gatorade (X-Factor, X-treme, Endurance Formula, Fierce, and Riptide Rush), Propel, and Red Bull.

The Food Guide Eye Chart

Popular with ophthalmologists, optometrists, opticians, optimists, the farsighted, the nearsighted, and contact lens manufacturers. Choices are somewhat limited, as they consist only of carrots.

The Food Industry Food Guide Pyramid

The first of its kind, the Food Industry Food Guide Pyramid has been carefully designed by top scientists who just happen to work for the food industry. Horace Mandible, speaking for Mega Food Corporations United to Make Even More Money (MFCUMEMM), discussed the benefits of the new guides at a recent press conference.

"The FI Food Guide Pyramid," said Mandible, "is the first real portrait of what people in the United States and Canada want to eat, instead of what some do-gooder nutritionist tells them they ought to eat. Who knows what people want better than we, since we've lavished billions of dollars developing tasty 'food substances' with the nutritional value of sawdust, along with evocative ads and subliminal messages that create and reinforce the desire for them?

"People can have it all," Mandible went on. "They can consume all the trans fats and sugar and sodium they want and stay in perfect health! It's time for truth and plain talk, time for bringing our message straight to the public, without having to spend huge sums of money pressuring governments to ignore rising obesity rates and diet-related health problems and promote our products for us."

  Fruit Group. Froot Loops, Fruit Roll-Ups, Fruit Gushers, Fruit by the Foot. 2–3 servings.
  Vegetable Group. French fries, canned vegetables loaded with sodium that all taste the same. 3–4 servings.
  Dairy Group. Milkshakes, black cows, ice cream, Milky Way bars, milk chocolate, Creamsicles, lattés. 3–5 servings.
  Huge Hunk of Meat Group. Roasts, sausages, hot dogs, meatloaf, Double Whopper with Cheese, "man-size" frozen dinners. 4–10 servings.
  Sugary Snacks Group. Cookies, candy, cupcakes, snack cakes, cake cakes, ice cream, frozen novelties, pies. 6–15 servings.
  Salty Snacks Group. Potato, corn, and tortilla chips, "extruded cheese snacks" (Cheetos), pretzels, popcorn, pork rinds, onion rings. 8–25 servings.


The Food Guide Torus

If you're the kind of girl who laughs at caloric intake values, who likes her men big and her cholesterol bad, the Food Guide Torus is for you. Not to be confused with the astrological sign or the popular car, the Food Guide Torus offers a heart-stopping variety of dietary choices, including plain, glazed, glazed chocolate, jelly, cinnamon crullers, Boston cream, and powdered.

The Vicious Circle

The vicious circle food guides will be familiar to perpetual dieters everywhere. Choices include bran cereal, Mallomars, veggie subs, chocolate éclairs, salad, lasagna, popcorn with no salt or butter, Harry and David's Moose Munch, fruit cups, Dove bars, skim milk, and Frappucinos.

© 2005 Elaine Langlois

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