It's a lite world


IT'S A LITE, lite world.

I began eating lite two years ago on the advice of a nutritionist. I was struggling with food problems and repeated dieting. She taught me to count the grams of fat in my meals, and the supermarket hasn't been the same since. I read everything now and buy nothing that has more than two grams of fat.

I eat a lot of nonfat yogurt, rice cakes, crackers, skim milk and salads with no oil. This really is the easiest diet ever. The pounds drop off. Apparently, it works for others; I am not alone standing around in the supermarket, reading boxes and labels. The nation has gone lite.

The man in my life is affected by this, too. Always slim, he is getting leaner eating my way. He used to eat meat, real eggs, real ice cream -- and he drank milk that was opaque. But he aimed to please, and so he began, in that charming way of early courtship, to buy my foods for his house. The stores are full of lite, light, low, no and nonfat foods. And he found them.

But it is not just food that is changing. If we are what we eat, are we becoming lo-no-lite people, too? Lite affects us in many ways. Fewer people read. Newspapers respond with lite news. TV does, too. Is it the lack of fat? Do we need caloric intensity to have a rich life?

When was the last time you heard somebody say, "Boy, that's really heavy"?

No, now it's all lite. Lite food, lite relationships and lite -- some would say small -- talk. I discovered this in the supermarket today. I was in the snack food aisle. (I was on my way to the soda section to buy bottled water.) I passed the Twinkies section. I remembered how Dan White had used the "Twinkie defense" -- the claim that eating too many Twinkies had led White to kill San Francisco city commissioner Harvey Milk in 1977.

There they were:

Lite Twinkies! Yes, those yellow cake tubes filled with sugary white cream.

Now even Twinkies are lite.

Diane Oklota Wood writes from Baltimore.

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