Broadcast: February 5, 2004
Welcome to AMERICAN MOSAIC -- a program in VOA Special English about music and American life. And we answer your questions.
This is Doug Johnson.
On our show today, we have country music from Joe Nichols. And we answer a question about Americans who seek office in foreign countries.
But first, we tell about some of the diet programs that Americans are using in an effort to lose weight.
Recent studies show that Americans know they weigh too much. As a result, many are changing the way they eat so they will lose weight. Gwen Outen tells us about a few of these popular diet programs.
One is the Atkins Weight Loss program. It was developed more than thirty years ago by medical doctor Robert Atkins. The diet comes from the idea that the human body burns both carbohydrates and fat for fuel. People on the diet stop eating carbohydrates like pasta, bread and potatoes, as well as sugar. The result is that the body burns fat and the person loses weight.
People following the Atkins diet can eat as much protein and animal fat as they want, including red meat and bacon. Experts say this plan should not be followed by anyone suffering from diabetes, heart problems or kidney disease. That is because dangerous fluid loss can result when the body uses fat or muscle for energy. Food experts have said for years that the Atkins diet could lead to health problems like heart disease. But studies have not shown that to be true. In fact, many people say the Atkins diet has lowered their cholesterol levels.
Another popular weight loss program in the United States is called the South Beach Diet. It was developed by a heart doctor who lives in Miami, Florida. This plan calls for eating foods known to prevent heart disease, like chicken, nuts, fish, olive oil, grains, fruits and vegetables. The plan says that this way of eating will improve heart health as a person loses weight. The South Beach Diet also restricts carbohydrates, but not as much as the Atkins diet.
A third popular weight loss program is called Weight Watchers. People pay to join a group. Then they meet every week to weigh themselves and discuss their progress. The program does not restrict any foods, but assigns points to each food. The more fattening foods are given a higher point value. Each person is permitted to eat foods that add up to a total number of points each day. Each person chooses how to use his or her points in order not to feel hungry and to lose weight.
American eating places and food companies have begun to provide special products for people following these diets. For example, American food stores now sell low-carbohydrate breads and pasta. And many Americans are trying to lose weight by not eating potatoes, bread or rice.
Americans as Foreign Leaders
Last week, in answering a question, we told how Americans have little reason to fear losing their citizenship if they vote in foreign elections. Today we answer the second part of that question from Thomas Corcoran in Sweden. He wants to know if the United States permits its citizens to become foreign leaders.
The answer is: yes. In fact, several already have. And one native-born American hopes to very soon.
George Papandreou was born in Saint Paul, Minnesota, in nineteen-fifty-two. He lived and studied in the United States for many years before he moved to Greece. Most recently, Mister Papandreou was foreign minister, until last month. Now he is seeking to become prime minister after elections on Sunday.
So, we wrote to his Web site. His media center told us that he gave up his American citizenship when he became a lawmaker in Greece. Mister Papandreou was first elected to Parliament in the nineteen-eighties.
Another person is Valdas Adamkus, the former president of Lithuania. Mister Adamkus fled the Soviet occupation in nineteen-forty-nine. He became an American citizen. In time, he became a high-level official in the Environmental Protection Agency. Mister Adamkus lived in America for almost fifty years. He returned to Lithuania in nineteen-ninety-seven. Six months later, he was elected president. He, too, chose to surrender his American citizenship.
And so did Golda Meir when she became leader of Israel. She was born in Ukraine in eighteen-ninety-eight. She came to the United States as a child. At twenty-three, she moved to Palestine. The state of Israel was established in forty-nine. Golda Meir went to work for the government. Twenty years later, she was prime minister.
So, Americans have the right to lead another country. But does every American have the same right at home? The Constitution says the president must be, in its words, "a natural born citizen." Some think it is time to amend that. A senator has proposed to include people who have been naturalized citizens for at least twenty years.
The new governor of California recently said this idea sounded "really good" to him. Arnold Schwarzenegger was born in Austria. He became an American citizen in nineteen-eighty-three.
Joe Nichols was nominated for a Grammy Award earlier this year for best male country vocal performance. He did not win that award. But the Country Music Association named him the best new male vocalist last May. Who is Joe Nichols, you ask? Phoebe Zimmermann has the answer.
Joe Nichols is twenty-seven years old. He was born and grew up in the southern state of Arkansas. After high school, he worked at different jobs during the day and wrote songs at night.
He released his first album in nineteen-ninety-six. It was called “Joe Nichols.’’ It did not sell well, although one song on the album was popular. Here it is, “Six of One, Half a Dozen Of the Other”.
Joe Nichols’ second album was released in two-thousand-two. It is called “Man With a Memory.” Its lead single record is called “The Impossible.”
Last year, Joe Nichols had his first country music hit song. It is also on the album “Man With a Memory.” We leave you now with that song from country music singer Joe Nichols -- ”Brokenheartsville.”
This is Doug Johnson.
I hope you enjoyed AMERICAN MOSAIC. Join us again next week for VOA’s radio magazine in Special English.
Our program was written by Nancy Steinbach and Caty Weaver. Paul Thompson was the producer. And our engineer was Tony Pollock.