Thursday, April 16, 2009

Diet: A concept that’s a breath of fresh . . . chocolate?

A diet concept that’s a breath of fresh . . . chocolate?

If you like it with almonds, well, we’re still working on that

Does part of your excess weight problem derive from the fact that, when in the presence of chocolate, you simply — to use a popular euphemism for pigging out — “inhale” the stuff? The solution, according to one inventive entrepreneur, may be for you to literally do that: inhale the irresistible treat.

From the Food and Drink News comes word of the arrival on the market of Le Whif, a name that properly belongs on a cologne or room air freshener, but is in fact a small cylinder, designed after the fashion of an asthma inhaler, by which one can inhale chocolate-flavored powder.

Le Whif is the brainchild of Harvard professor David Edwards, who extols it as “a mix of culinary art and aerosol science,” and promotes it as a way to satisfy your craving for chocolate without physically consuming any calories in the process.

“We call it whiffing,” says professor Edwards, apparently unaware that this sounds like something kids do with paint in order to get high.

Water on the brain? No, Hershey’s in the lung

Whether inhaling tiny particles of chocolate-flavored powder can in fact be as satisfying as just eating the stuff is open to serious question; we know that the physical activity involved with most addictions is a psychologically important part of the high that is sought.

Beyond that, there is the matter of whether drawing some foreign substance into your lungs is inherently more healthy than swallowing it and letting your digestive system take the hit.

By coincidence, another article has recently come across the wire about “smoking candy,” an emerging schoolkid craze that involves grinding simple sugar candies such as Smarties into a fine powder, inhaling it and then blowing it out like cigarette smoke. Check out You Tube to see young candy smokers in action.

Air, good. Sugary glop, not so much.

The problem with this, other than youthful imbecility, is that when inhaled sugar stays, or builds up, in the lungs or nasal cavity for a length of time, you run the risk of an infection. According to Dr. Mark Shikowitz, an ear/nose/throat specialist in Long Island who has treated sugar smokers, “Any time you have a substance such as sugar in these areas, which are moist, it creates a terrific growth medium for bacteria.”

The Le Whif folks insist that their chocolatey particles are too large to enter the lungs, and for their own good, we hope they’re right, but this still seems like a case of playing fast and loose with one’s pulmonary system. Nevertheless, Dr. Edwards envisions food inhalation to be the possible answer to the entire obesity epidemic sweeping the country.

“It’s zero calorie, so it could also be used as a diet tool,” he notes, promising a broad line of inhalable food products to come. “Eventually we could be having three course meals this way.”

So if those bacon double cheeseburgers and onion rings seem to just go directly to your hips or butt, rejoice. In the future, they won’t get any further than your alveoli.

(By Robert S. Wieder for CalorieLab Calorie Counter News)