Wednesday, July 26, 2000

Licorice is for losers

Need to slim down? Break out the Twizzlers.

According to a recent study by the University of Padua in Italy, a half a licorice stick a day reduces body fat. That's right, candy can make you thin.

Of course, it's not that easy. It's never that easy. The licorice reduced the body fat in the test subjects, but also increased their water retention, for a net weight change of zero. Researchers posit that eating less salt while eating more licorice might result in actual weight loss. So eat the licorice, but leave the potato chips and peanuts in the vending machine.

Can licorice-flavor SlimFast be far behind? Weight Watchers-brand licorice whips? Jenny Craig Good 'n Plenty? Who knew the chew had such magical properties? And here I was eating it just because it tastes good. How long before packages of Twizzlers bear a banner reading "Cuts Body Fat!"? The candy already comes emblazoned with the fact that it's low in fat. Low in fat, and makes you low in fat, too! Talk about your perfect foods.

Well, maybe not perfect. As with every diet aide, there's something a little dangerous about licorice. It may reduce fat in small quantities, but in large quantities, it raises blood pressure. So you've got to use it responsibly. Don't eat your weight in the stuff. Don't expect miracles. And don't position a piece of black licorice in your mouth so it looks like you've lost a tooth.

Personally, I'm holding out for the study that says chocolate is good for you. At least, I'd like to participate in it.

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