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Andy’s Upside Down Diet

Andy Rooney(Andy Rooney is taking the day off. In his absence, we are reprinting this classic Rooney column originally published May 23, 1981. Andy will return next week.)

The two biggest sellers in any bookstore are the cookbooks and diet books. The cookbooks tell you how to prepare the food and the diet books tell you how not to eat any of the food you prepare.

The quickest way for a writer to get rich is to write a diet book. A cookbook is more difficult. With a diet book, you need one bad idea and a lot of statistics on the amount of calories in the food. If you want to make the book thicker, you put in a whole series of typical meals that adhere to your idea.

As someone who's been eating too much all his life, I think I'm as qualified to write a diet book as anyone, and as a writer I'm twice as ready to get rich. Not only that, I have an idea. My book would be called "The Andy Rooney Upside Down Diet Book."

My theory is based on the idea that the average overweight person has to change his eating habits drastically. The overweight man or woman has fallen into a pattern of eating that's making them fat and the only way that person is going to lose weight is for them to turn their eating habits upside down.

The appetite itself (I'll say in the forward to my book) is a strange mechanism. Our stomach often signals our brain that it's ready to have something sent down when our body doesn't really need anything yet.

As I understand it - and I don't think you have to understand things very well to write a diet book - the appetite is depressed as the blood sugar level rises. The trouble is that the blood sugar level rises slowly as your digestive processes start breaking down the food you've consumed, so you can still feel hungry for quite a while after you've had enough because your blood sugar level hasn't caught up to your stomach.

So much for theory. Here, in brief, is my diet. Basically, what I'm suggesting you do is reverse the order in which you eat things at a meal and change the habits you have in regard to what you eat for what meal.

Forget cereal, pancakes or bacon and eggs for breakfast. We're going to start the morning with a bowl of chicken soup. Chicken soup will serve a dual purpose. It's nourishing, not fattening, and because it's a hot drink, you won't need coffee. If you don't have coffee, you won't need sugar. No one is going to be tempted to put sugar in chicken soup.

The beauty of my diet - and I want this made clear on the jacket of my book - is that you don't have to deny yourself anything. Eat absolutely anything you feel like eating. The magic of my diet is in making sure you don't feel like eating much.

Before dinner, many of us consume what we call "appetizers." Don't take appetizers off your diet if you like them; just don't eat them first. In my "Upside Down Diet Book," I'll be laying out more than 100 weight-losing model meals.

A typical breakfast might consist of half a grape, a bowl of chicken soup and plain butter, no toast.

Lunch might consist of ketchup, a Fig Newton, two Oreo cookies and lukewarm Ovaltine. In other words: Eat all you want, but change what you want. If, after consuming this lunch, you're still hungry, have half a lamb chop.

Your main meal will be dinner. Classic cuisine has called for an appetizer first, then soup, a fish dish, meat, vegetables and potatoes, followed by cheese and finally dessert. We're going to ask you to shake that up if you want to lose weight.

Each of my Upside Down Diet dinners will start with a bowl of ice cream. Follow this with a small fish dish or oysters, clams or shrimp with a chocolate sauce. This will have the effect of raising your blood sugar level abruptly and by the time the main course of oatmeal, Corn Flakes or Fruit Loops with buttermilk comes, you may not want any at all.

I don't want to be greedy, but after the book is published I have high hopes that it will be made into a movie.

(Write to Andy Rooney at Tribune Media Services, 2225 Kenmore Ave., Suite 114, Buffalo, NY 14207, or via email at aarooney5@yahoo.com)

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