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6 Stories of Junk-Food Obsessions

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By Chris Gayomali

The teen who ate nothing but packaged ramen, the man addicted to Big Macs, and more.

1. The woman who drank only soda for 16 years

As is generally well understood, sugar-rich soda can inflict horrible harm on the human body. After all, a single 12 oz. can of Coca-Cola contains the rough equivalent of two shot glasses full of pure, granulated sugar. Which is why it's mind boggling that a 31-year-old woman from Monaco claims to have consumed only soda for 16 years straight. No water, juice, or tea—just high-fructose corn-syrup fizz. Doctors found this out when she fainted due to dangerously low potassium levels. According to health experts, too much cola can cause excess water to enter the bowels, meaning she was essentially cursed with persistent diarrhea. Her potassium levels—as well as an irregular heartbeat—stabilized a bit after she abstained from soda for a week and was forced to drink only water.

2. The ramen-addicted teen with the health of an 80-year-old

Georgie Redman, an 18-year-old woman hailing from the U.K., is incredibly picky. Like many teens, she has an aversion to fruits and vegetables. So for the past 13 years, Redman has subsisted on a diet solely of instant ramen packets, consuming 30 miles worth of the starchy noodles annually. Doctors suspect Redman possesses a selective eating disorder, since the mere thought of other foods touching her plate makes her "freak out," she says. Because of her aversion, she claims she is unable to dine out with friends. Doctors say Redman has the (poor) health of an 80-year-old woman.

3. The man who ate a Big Mac every day for four decades

A few years ago, McDonald's honored Don Gorske, a 57-year-old former prison guard from Wisconsin, for consuming his 25,000th Big Mac. He says he still remembers tasting his first double-patty triple-stack slathered in special sauce: On May 17, 1972, when he consumed nine of them for lunch and dinner. That first month, he averaged about 8.5 Big Macs a day. Thirty years later, in 2003, he averaged a little over two. "I plan on eating Big Macs until I die," Gorske says. "I have no intentions of changing. It's still my favorite food. Nothing has changed in 39 years. I look forward to it every day." Inexplicably, Gorske is a trim man, which he attributes to walking regularly. His doctors have even given him a clean bill of health, reports The Associated Press.

4. The woman who only ate pizza

Pizza is great. Everyone loves pizza. Especially 33-year-old Claire Simmons from Notting Hill in London. Simmons has spent the past 31 years of her life consuming nothing but plain cheese pizzas. Although she exercises and "drinks plenty of water," she may also be suffering from a selective eating disorder, reports The Huffington Post. Because cheese pizza doesn't provide the vitamins and minerals the body needs, doctors caution that her monotonous diet could one day kill her.

5. The soda drinker who lost all his teeth at 25

Having dentures when you're happily retired is one thing. But when you're 25? That's a different story. William Kennewell of Australia says he drinks between six and eight liters of soda—mostly cola—every day. The high sugar content has left his teeth rotten, and now he wears a full set of dentures. "It started because I wasn't a huge water fan, and working in the hotel industry, I had easy access to Coke," he tells the Daily Mail. "Because my teeth were decaying so badly, it caused blood poisoning which just made me sick—but my health improved with the dentures."

6. The nutritionist who lost 27 pounds eating Twinkies and Doritos

Mark Haub, a professor of human nutrition at Kansas State University, embarked on what has to be the weirdest diet we've ever heard of. Instead of regular meals, every three hours he would eat Doritos, Oreos, Twinkies, powered donuts, or other junk foods you'd find at a convenience store. Over the course of 10 weeks, he shed 27 pounds. The caveat was that he restricted himself to 1,800 calories a day; previously, he says he was consuming 2,600 calories a day. The weirdest part, though, was that his other health indicators were all okay. According to CNN, his "bad" cholesterol, or LDL, dropped about 20 percent. His "good" cholesterol, or HDL, increased by 20 percent. His triglycerides, which are a form of fat, fell by 39 percent as well. "That's where the head scratching comes," Haub says. "What does that mean? Does that mean I'm healthier? Or does it mean how we define health from a biology standpoint, that we're missing something?" Obviously, don't try this at home.

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Food
Let Alexa Help You Brine a Turkey This Thanksgiving
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There’s a reason most of us only cook turkey once a year: The bird is notoriously easy to overcook. You could rely on gravy and cranberry sauce to salvage your dried-out turkey this Thanksgiving, or you could follow cooking advice from the experts.

Brining a turkey is the best way to guarantee it retains its moisture after hours in the oven. The process is also time-consuming, so do yourself a favor this year and let Alexa be your sous chef.

“Morton Brine Time” is a new skill from the cloud-based home assistant. If you own an Amazon Echo you can download it for free by going online or by asking Alexa to enable it. Once it’s set up, start asking Alexa for brining tips and step-by-step recipes customized to the size of your turkey. Two recipes were developed by Richard Blais, the celebrity chef and restaurateur best known for his Top Chef win and Food Network appearances.

Whether you go for a wet brine (soaking your turkey in water, salt, sugar, and spices) or a dry one (just salt and spices), the process isn’t as intimidating as it sounds. And the knowledge that your bird will come out succulent and juicy will definitely take some stress out of the holiday.

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Big Questions
Why Do the Lions and Cowboys Always Play on Thanksgiving?
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Because it's tradition! But how did this tradition begin?

Every year since 1934, the Detroit Lions have taken the field for a Thanksgiving game, no matter how bad their record has been. It all goes back to when the Lions were still a fairly young franchise. The team started in 1929 in Portsmouth, Ohio, as the Spartans. Portsmouth, while surely a lovely town, wasn't quite big enough to support a pro team in the young NFL. Detroit radio station owner George A. Richards bought the Spartans and moved the team to Detroit in 1934.

Although Richards's new squad was a solid team, they were playing second fiddle in Detroit to the Hank Greenberg-led Tigers, who had gone 101-53 to win the 1934 American League Pennant. In the early weeks of the 1934 season, the biggest crowd the Lions could draw for a game was a relatively paltry 15,000. Desperate for a marketing trick to get Detroit excited about its fledgling football franchise, Richards hit on the idea of playing a game on Thanksgiving. Since Richards's WJR was one of the bigger radio stations in the country, he had considerable clout with his network and convinced NBC to broadcast a Thanksgiving game on 94 stations nationwide.

The move worked brilliantly. The undefeated Chicago Bears rolled into town as defending NFL champions, and since the Lions had only one loss, the winner of the first Thanksgiving game would take the NFL's Western Division. The Lions not only sold out their 26,000-seat stadium, they also had to turn fans away at the gate. Even though the juggernaut Bears won that game, the tradition took hold, and the Lions have been playing on Thanksgiving ever since.

This year, the Lions host the Minnesota Vikings.

HOW 'BOUT THEM COWBOYS?


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The Cowboys, too, jumped on the opportunity to play on Thanksgiving as an extra little bump for their popularity. When the chance to take the field on Thanksgiving arose in 1966, it might not have been a huge benefit for the Cowboys. Sure, the Lions had filled their stadium for their Thanksgiving games, but that was no assurance that Texans would warm to holiday football so quickly.

Cowboys general manager Tex Schramm, though, was something of a marketing genius; among his other achievements was the creation of the Dallas Cowboys Cheerleaders.

Schramm saw the Thanksgiving Day game as a great way to get the team some national publicity even as it struggled under young head coach Tom Landry. Schramm signed the Cowboys up for the game even though the NFL was worried that the fans might just not show up—the league guaranteed the team a certain gate revenue in case nobody bought tickets. But the fans showed up in droves, and the team broke its attendance record as 80,259 crammed into the Cotton Bowl. The Cowboys beat the Cleveland Browns 26-14 that day, and a second Thanksgiving pigskin tradition caught hold. Since 1966, the Cowboys have missed having Thanksgiving games only twice.

Dallas will take on the Los Angeles Chargers on Thursday.

WHAT'S WITH THE NIGHT GAME?


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In 2006, because 6-plus hours of holiday football was not sufficient, the NFL added a third game to the Thanksgiving lineup. This game is not assigned to a specific franchise—this year, the Washington Redskins will welcome the New York Giants.

Re-running this 2008 article a few days before the games is our Thanksgiving tradition.

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