Beer-and-licorice diet most certainly isn't healthy

People's Pharmacy

Health & Fitness

May 30, 2004|By Joe Graedon and Teresa Graedon | Joe Graedon and Teresa Graedon,King Features Syndicate

My husband's doctor says he's fine except for being borderline diabetic. My husband retired recently and is now in the house all day. He hardly eats during the day. He thinks he's too fat, though he is not. He drinks six cans of beer a day and eats a small dinner. Though I prepare a healthy meal, he always says he is too full. What he does eat is bags of black licorice. I've heard that is not good for the heart. Is that true?

If your husband is drinking six cans of beer and eating a bag of black licorice a day, it's little wonder he has no appetite and is borderline diabetic. All those carbs are a detriment to his health.

In addition, that much licorice can disrupt the body's balance of potassium and other minerals. It can also raise blood pressure and lower libido.

Several years ago I noticed a slight tickling feeling on my tongue. I brushed and gargled to no avail. Then I noticed that my tongue had started to turn black.

I had just had a gold crown put on a top molar. There was a silver filling directly below it on the bottom tooth. My dentist figured out that the tickling feeling was actually an electrical current produced when the two metals touched.

This was "shocking" my tongue and destroying the tissue. My dentist had never seen that happen before, but he changed the filling so I no longer had a battery in my mouth. My tongue returned to normal shortly.

Many people don't realize that having two different metals in your mouth can actually create a weak electrical current. Your case was unusually severe, however.

I have seen a number of articles and Web sites about "internal cleansing." There are routines set up to cleanse the colon of all toxins or chemicals in a recommended number of days.

My question is: Is this theory true? It is hard to eat all the dietary fiber that we should, but do we routinely need to clean out the colon? Do toxins build up over time? I do not want to invest in any of these programs without more information.

The only time that colon cleansing is essential is just before a colonoscopy. This procedure allows the physician to carefully inspect the colon for polyps or other abnormal growths.

A healthy colon does not accumulate pounds of waste, as is sometimes claimed. There are risks associated with regular use of harsh laxatives, which are frequently used in such "detox" programs. Nutritional imbalance and laxative dependence may result.

On the news the other night, I heard that millions of women in the United States suffer sexual dysfunction. They seem to think it is unfair to have a little blue pill for men but not for women and want something to enhance their sex drive.

In the late 1970s I heard about a pill known as "Spanish fly." It was supposed to increase a woman's sex drive. Was this just a myth, or did it work? With Food and Drug Administration approval, this could be the answer.

Spanish fly is not Spanish, not a fly, not an aphrodisiac and can be extremely toxic. It might cause vomiting, diarrhea, abdominal pain and shock. Dermatologists use this caustic extract of a beetle to remove warts.

In their column, Joe and Teresa Graedon answer letters from readers. Write to them in care of King Features Syndicate, 888 Seventh Ave., New York, NY 10019, or e-mail them from their Web site, www.peoplespharmacy.org.

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