Americans are getting fatter. Two-thirds of us are overweight, and we're moving toward obesity at an alarming rate. In 1991 the obese comprised less than 20% of the population in every state of the union, and less than 10% in 8 states. Eleven years later the obese comprised more than 20% of the population in 31 states and more than 15% of the population in every state. Since 1980 the percentage of overweight children has doubled.
The fact that more of us can now literally sit around the house means more than just a deterioration of the scenery at the local beauty parlor. Absent radical changes in dietary and exercise routines, one-third of Americans born in the year 2000 will develop diabetes and suffer premature death. Experts have even speculated that in some states, like Texas, we may see the first generation of children to be outlived by their parents.
Something has to be done about all of this, and I've decided to do my part. First, I consulted with the legions of executives, experts and ghostwriters here at On or Off the Mark international headquarters. They, of course, had no idea, so I moved on to the real powerbrokers—the sales-types.
After a series of power lunches with my marketing people and my public relations people and their people and their people's people, I think I now have the answer. I am now in a position to make the exciting announcement that On or Off the Mark has become a "low-carb" column! As a matter of fact, I think I can safely say that this column is as low in carbs as any column of its type, anywhere. I'm hoping that readers will eat it up.
Of course, as a low-carb column I will now be able to proudly display the official "Low-Carb Option!" insignia from the American Diet League (not an official US Government agency). For an extra $14.95 I think they're even sending me a wallet card that I can flash at people when I want them to know that I, too, am low-carb.
Since this column is now officially "low-carb" it can safely be read by those persons, including the entire population of the United States, who are on the Atkins, South Beach, North Beach, South Pole, etc. high protein diets. (Hey, aren't these the same people who are collectively getting fatter?) And I know that this is going to appeal to all of those couch potatoes who drink those new "low-carb" dietetic beers to take off a few pounds while passively watching the game.
This development comes at a good time for the regular readers of this column too. Lately I've noticed that two of my three readers (I happen to be one of these two) have put on a couple of extra pounds. If they (okay, we) can diet while reading, that has to be a good thing!
Now, you may think this is merely a temporary publicity gimmick foisted on an unsuspecting public by an opportunist with no real commitment to the ideals of vegetarianism. To make you feel at ease, I'll make this promise: I'll keep my column low-carb at least until the next "high-carb" fad comes along. (At that point On or Off the Mark will officially become a high-carb column, perfect for "carb-loading" readers. But I get ahead of myself…)
Acquiring low carb status means that my lowly column can now join such American icons as Kraft Foods, Applebee's, WalMart and General Motors on the low-carb bandwagon. Think I'm kidding about General Motors? Well, maybe I am. But the way things are going, it's only a matter of time before we have low-carb trucks and busses.
I like this low-carb thing. It's totally in keeping with the great American tradition of ignoring the real causes of our problems and focusing on the quick-fix. Reaching for something labeled "low-carb" is a heck of a lot less work than real exercise or real dieting. It's faster than serving fresh vegetables to our kids (god forbid!), and a lot less scary to the average Joe than anything beginning with a "v." Most importantly, it's easy to market with the proverbial 30-second sound byte.
Image is everything, you know, and it beats out substance every time. Sounds perfect for this column!