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Alex McRae Columnist

Published Sunday, March 31, 2013

Dietary destiny

This explains a lot.

Unless it doesn’t.

Shakespeare’s moody prince Hamlet insisted that, “Thinking makes it so.”

Maybe that was cool a few centuries ago, but today we believe “you are what you eat.”

Don’t take my word for it. Ask a so-called professional.

Recently, nutritionist Nicolette Pace told the Boston media that carbohydrates can make you as cranky as a politician forced to buy his own liquor.

Pace said carbs are the crack of the food world, giving the eater a short-term burst of energy that quickly wears off and leaves them feeling draggy and unable to deal with this wacky world.

“They don’t give your body what you need to cope with day-to-day stresses,” Pace said. She added that deficiencies in certain nutrients, minerals and vitamins could give someone “a short fuse.”

In other words, pasta and pizza can make you go postal.

Pace went on to say that beans, fruits and green, leafy vegetables have all the nutrients we need to keep calm between aromatherapy treatments.

At first I thought this was just more propaganda by the nutrition Nazis. Then I remembered a food disaster from my youth.

I was barely school age when mother came home with a jar of powdered malt. She added cold milk and served me my very first malted milk.

I was so impressed that when mother left the room I ate the entire jar of powdered malt straight up, no milk chaser.

The digestive consequences haunt me to this day. And since then, I’ve had a tendency to be cranky. Maybe if mother had fed me collards I would be Mr. Happy.

Or maybe not.

And foods don’t have to be eaten to cause bad behavior. I once read about a guy who was convicted of attempted murder after beating his bride with a bag of frozen pole beans.

Ironically, prison is one place where “scientists” tested the theory that “healthy” foods can reduce aggressive behavior.

The study was done by scientists from England’s Oxford University.

They fed vitamin supplements to prison inmates in order to boost their nutritional deficiencies. Then they sat back and watched to see if the cons exhibited kinder, gentler behavior.

Researchers said it worked.

Dr. Drew Ramsey said, “I think it does demonstrate there is something to nutrient deficiencies giving people a propensity toward violence.”

Nutritionist Pace agreed that changing diets made you mellow, and was quoted as saying that with a healthy diet “You’ll see that you have the ability to cope, producing less aggression to stressful situations.”

I’ve heard that in the short term, heroin or valium can reduce aggression, too. But I digress.

Blaming food for bad behavior is nothing new.

In 1978, after murdering San Francisco politicians George Moscone and Harvey Milk, Dan White employed the now famous “Twinkie Defense.”

His attorneys said a steady diet of junk food had diminished White’s capacity for rational thought. The jury agreed and convicted White of voluntary manslaughter instead of murder.

Only in San Francisco.

On a similar note, the CDC figured out a year or so ago that after you break up with your squeeze, you feel better after gobbling a gallon of Haagen Dazs and a box of Oreos. They call it “eating through the pain.” I call it yummy.

But on a serious note, if junk food makes you aggressive, let me be the first to insist that, before we send soldiers into combat, we feed each of them a box of hot Krispy Kreme donuts.

That should make them absolutely invincible.


Send your email comments to: alex@newnan.com .

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