[HOT ITEM]It's Okay: Eat That Steak and Fries; Drink to Your Health, and Don't Worry

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[HOT ITEM]It's Okay: Eat That Steak and Fries; Drink to Your Health, and Don't Worry

No matter what the doctors say, sometimes you just don't want to change your diet. Your mouth waters when you see a steak, but then your brain sounds an alarm about the cholesterol content. But now some companies are claiming you can set your worries aside and take a big bite into the forbidden fruits. This seemingly unattainable dietary pleasure is accomplished with special beverages that the manufacturers say control your body's biochemical functions, allowing you to eat those foods stigmatized by the health industry.

One of these products Balance Three from Namyang Dairy Products Corporation, is said to reduce three harmful dietary components: fat, salt and calories, and increases the presence of three useful components: dietary fiber, calcium and magnesium. But that's not all. Octacosanol, a rare element found in the embryo of rice, is said to have been included in the drink because it decomposes fat and reduces cholesterol.

Whether you believe these claims or not, this bland, flat and turbid beverage has gained popularity among those who expect dietary magic at the reasonable price of 600 won (45 cents) a can. Since it hit the market last March, Balance Three has sold more than 2 million cans per month, earning a profit of 14 billion won for the manufacturer.

There is another "magic bullet" called Cholzero, produced by a group of scientists from Eugene Science Inc. This beverage is called "smart food" by its creators, who proclaim its ability to control the amount of cholesterol in the body. They say this is accomplished by a secret element called ucole. Unlike Balance Three, Cholzero has a spiced up taste and comes in three flavors: coffee, green tea and sweet potato. It is priced at 1,700 won a bottle. Green tea flavored Cholzero contains no sugar; sweet potato flavored is more palatable. Son So-young, a manager of Eugene Science Inc., says, "If you drink a bottle of Cholzero everyday, you will feel the results of reduced cholesterol after a month."

Whether its a health-enhancing beverage or smart food, the claim that such complex biochemical functionings can be so easily controlled without drastic changes in diet and lifestyle and so inexpensively is indeed hard to swallow.

by Chun Su-jin

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