Science and myths are strange bedfellows. They walk hand-in-hand, nourish each other, but behave like estranged lovers. And we, who are always shuttling between the two like loyal friends, are left thoroughly confused about which one to believe. Consider this: Wendy Repovich, an exercise physiologist at the Eastern Washington University, has turned the popular belief (a euphemism for myths) that eating eggs raises cholesterol levels, upside down. At a health and fitness summit, she declared that eggs don’t contain enough cholesterol to pose health risks, carbohydrates are not fattening and we don’t need to drink eight glasses of water per day. Another study from the US tells us that menopause hormones, which till now were considered heart risks, are not actually bad if taken at the right time. In short, we have been told that what we knew till now is all bunkum.
While much of the making and unmaking of facts and figures are sometimes sponsored surreptitiously by industry lobbies, we are actually like sitting ducks. When the uber cool guru of jogging, Jim Fixx, ‘spent his time running on the roads and trails near his home’ and told us about its benefits, we joined him. When Jane Fonda pushed us to twist and turn our obstinate muscles, we hit the floor. Soon enough we went fashionably on diet, though all the time our eyes were fixated on those sinful pastries. Our coffee table discussions, now minus caffeine of course, centred on body sculpting, toning and stretching. Along the way, we gave up red meat and alcohol, and became lovers of all things green and leafy. Just when we had managed to adjust to this new way of life, we are now being told that everything that we gave up is acceptable. And, the mother of all surprises, even alcohol is good for the heart!
It’s time we cut the jargon and enjoy what life has to offer, with a healthy dollop of all things sinful. The new mantra should be to follow our own common sense. Forget the experts and the reports that bombard us relentlessly, understand your own body, and eat, drink and make merry, albeit in moderation.