The Journal of Gustatory Medicine just published the results of a long-term study that concludes that putting donuts in your diet can be good for you. Yes, you read that correctly.
The study, conducted by Dr Cicero Simpkins, of Bangor University, in Maine, followed four families, substantially similar to one another in age, income, residence and lifestyle, for a two-year period. Two families, the ‘control group,’ ate their normal diets, with the exception that there were no donuts, of any kind, in their diets. The third and fourth families also followed their normal diets, with the proviso of a suggested, but not required, intake level of one donut per person per day.
“Somewhat to my surprise,” said Dr. Simpkins, “at the end of the study period, the happiest and healthiest families were families three and four; the ones who were allowed to eat donuts. Those that abstained from donuts, as required, families one and two, came off worse.”
As for family one, the two children couldn’t accept that, all of a sudden, there were not donuts in their die. They pointed out that all their friends’ parents let them eat donuts. As a result, these youngsters organized a ‘vegetable mutiny,’ at family mealtimes, which then morphed into a boycott of fruits, legumes, yogurt, tofu and anything else they perceived as a parental healthy food choice.
As a result, the children’s overall diet balance suffered, one developed scurvy, the other rickets; both parents developed stomach ulcers. “We even considered pulling the plug on the study,” said Simpkins, “but of course that would have affected the quality of our baseline measurements, so that we weren’t able to offer them that alternative. It was a long two years for all four of them.”
Family two ‘maxed out’ on dessert, during the study, compared to their previous consumption levels. “One night it would be cookies,” said Simpkins, “the next night it would be chocolate pudding. Then it would be eclairs or strudel. They’d come as close to the line as they could without actually crossing it. As a result, the outcome in terms of weight loss was a net negative, although from a weight gain perspective it was a net positive. I probably don’t have to tell you what they started eating the day after the study ended.”
Family three took a thoughtful approach to the study. They decided to adhere to the suggested donutary intake limit quite strictly; eventually, they started taking a donut “like it was a vitamin pill or a tablespoon of cod liver oil,” said Simpkins. Thinking they were ‘supposed’ to do it and it was actually help their bodies, believe it was good for them too. “Their actual dessert consumption began to level off as well, except when they were serving bread pudding, which if I may say so was one of the highlights of the study for me personally. I still have the recipe signed by everyone in family three, which I will always treasure.”
Family four initially posted wildly fluctuating results, until the trend flat lined. “They must have gone through a hundred donuts in week one,” said Simpkins. “In weeks two and three, they hardly touched anything but Melba toast and Tums; from that point on to the end of the study they ate donuts only occasionally and always in moderation. By the end, they were the better for it. Although I don’t think they’re as keen on donuts as they were at the outset.”
So what does Dr. Simpkins conclude from this exhaustive and exhausting study? “Two things,” he said. “First, if you tell someone they can’t have something, it only makes them want it so badly it affects their health adversely, as was the experience of families one and two. Second, setting your own consumption limits works best in the long-run, as the experience of families three and four demonstrates. So if you want to eat donuts, eat donuts: don’t hold back on yourself. I know it sounds counter-intuitive, but our study proves otherwise.”
The arresting conclusions of the Simpkins study come on the heels of reports of a study showing that a chocolate bar a day helps you lose weight faster. Both conclusions taken together are bound to upset some of the fundamental methods and assumptions of dietary science and give new meaning to the word ‘research.’
Next up for Dr. Simpkins is a study of the relative benefits of jelly-filled and custard-filled donuts. “The funding’s in place. We’re still working out the study parameters, and then we’ll start finding volunteers. I somehow doubt families one, two, three and four will step forward again. Unless, of course, I can adjust the study parameters and somehow include that bread pudding recipe.”
Some readers seem intent on nullifying the authority of David Simmonds. The critics are so intense; Simmonds is cast as more scoundrel than scamp. He is, in fact, a Canadian writer of much wit and wisdom. Simmonds writes strong prose. He dissects, in a cheeky way, what some think sacrosanct. His wit refuses to allow the absurdities of life to move along, nicely, without comment. What Simmonds writes frightens some readers. He doesn't court the ineffectual. Those he scares off are the same ones that will not understand his writing. Satire is not for sissies. The wit of David Simmonds skewers societal vanities, the self-important and their follies as well as the madness of tyrants. He never targets the outcasts or the marginalised; when he goes for a jugular, its blood is blue. David Simmonds, by nurture, is a lawyer. By nature, he is a perceptive writer, with a gimlet eye, a superb folk singer, lyricist and composer. He believes quirkiness is universal; this is his focus and the base of his creativity. "If my humour hurts," says Simmonds,"it's after the stiletto comes out." He's an urban satirist on par with Mike Barnacle, Jimmy Breslin, the late Mike Rokyo and, increasingly, Dorothy Parker. He writes from and often about the village of Wellington Ontario. Simmonds also writes for the Wellington "Times," in Wellington, Ontario.
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