Researchers at the University of Medicine and Dentistry of New Jersey expect to publish their findings in the next issue of the New England Journal of Medicine. "This is the biggest advance in human understanding of nutrition since people magically stopped dying of scurvy," said lead researcher, Dr. Pat Pfieffer.
"Think about it," Dr. Pfieffer said, "even breathing means unavoidable contact with airborne pollutants and pathogens." But he rebuffed the suggestion that holding one's breath for extended periods would lessen the risk of exposure: "Trust me, I've tried it. You just kill brain cells that way."
"That's the Catch-22 we all face, every day," said Dr. Jan Stensis, who led the review panel that approved publication of the study. "It's impossible to safely do anything good for yourself." She added that she expected the study to be widely hailed by the scientific community.
Among the team's other conclusions:
- Even moderate exercise causes strains, sprains, and muscle pulls.
- Too little exercise leads to weight issues.
- Many medicines used to treat grave illness can cause serious side effects or addiction.
- Sunlight has harmful rays, but avoiding it altogether impairs the creation of essential vitamins.
Not all the news is bad. "Stepping on cracks in the sidewalk does not appear to increase the risk of back injuries in women," Dr. Pfieffer admitted. "But those risks are high enough already, and since women live longer than men, they have a greater chance of eventually having something go horribly wrong with them."
"Food is especially dangerous," said head assistant Chris Brown. "It is more habit-forming than anyone had originally suspected." As he spoke he took large bites of an enormous jelly doughnut, brushing powdered sugar from his lab coat. "It's already too late for me, but hopefully these findings will make a big difference for the children. I'm for tough legislation." He dabbed jelly from the corners of his mouth and reached for a can of diet soda.
"The only hope is to live as little as possible," Dr. Pfieffer concluded, on his way to locking himself in a dark closet.
Life joins an ever-lengthening list of items once believed to be innocent and wholesome, including sugar, salt, alcohol, carbohydrates, caffeine, meat, dairy, and a sense of humor.