Reading the Morning Paper

We started subscribing to the Star a few months ago. I like being able to read the paper in the morning without touching the computer. Reading the Star on a regular basis has made me realize how bad it is. I’m pretty sure their editors are taken from 8th grade classes throughout the city. I never realized that you could write an entire section using mostly sources from the Internet.

The front page of today’s Healthy Living section features an article on nutrition IQ. The article features a very annoying quiz where your nutrition “IQ” is determined by answering questions about obscure nutritional facts such as “what berry has the highest number of cancer-preventing agents” and of these five fruits, “which is the most nutritious”, my emphasis added.

This isn’t practical nutritional knowledge that people can use to eat healthier. These are factoids. Knowing that cranberries are healthier than strawberries, apples, red grapes, and peaches is worthless. They’re all healthy. Eat any of them. Put down the french fries.

Here’s my favorite question in the quiz: “If you eat 100 more calories a day than you burn, ” and it goes on to give you several choices. The answer is you’ll gain about one pound in a month. The explanation given is “Balancing food intake with physical activity helps control weight.” Allow me to translate the Star’s recitation of food industry speak into something you can use: Eat less.

Turning to page E4 to read the rest of the article, you’ll find some practical advice on limiting salt intake and adding sweetness without adding sugar or artificial sweeteners. Of course, the whole article is written as a series of questions and answers. I guess the Star assumes that its readers don’t know how to read paragraphs any more.

If you’re interested in learning about nutrition and getting practical information not biased by the food industry, I suggest you pick up a copy of Marion Nestle’s What to Eat. Nestle is a nutritionist who has written several good books, including one of my favorites, Food Politics. I also suggest you subscribe to the Nutrition Action newsletter.

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4 Comments

Filed under The way the world works

4 responses to “Reading the Morning Paper

  1. Oh, yeah, the Star is BAD. I get the heebie jeebies every time I read it.

    And I’m not just saying that because they turned down my CLEARLY excellent article about the marriage amendment when that was a current issue. : )

    Actually, they didn’t turn it down so much as not write me back at all.

    I understood better when I read their “official position” on the matter later, which basically amounted to, “Well sure, the gay people obviously shouldn’t be allowed to marry, but we’re afraid the bill will accidentally affect some disabled straight people with caretakers so we’re against it.”

  2. The Star is awful. I only take it on Sundays. A few years ago, I started taking the NY Times at home every morning. While I was worried at first it was pretentious and weird, those fears were overidden by having something to read every day with great international news, interesting features, and great writers. Plus, I wrote it off for work. I take the Wall Street Journal now, but the same principle applies. And at $99 a year, really, it’s almost as cheap as the Star.

    I skip the Sunday Times, though. I have a life.

  3. Wow, Shae. That really is an excellent article. Some very good points, and I like that you don’t argue for or against gay marriage, rather that it’s time to examine the financial benefits of marriage, the original intent behind granting those benefits, and whether they’re still justified. It’s nice to run into someone from the left side of the debate who isn’t letting the fundies control the terms, ie. just because you’re against gay marriage, I have to be for it.

  4. Thanks for the compliment, Melody!

    Well, I am for gay marriage of course, although I’d also be happy with any system that just provided fair benefits across the board. But I intentionally crafted the article to concentrate on the child issue, because some people, thanks to brainwashing, just aren’t going to respond well to the “gay people are normal” argument.

    So instead I use the ancient debating technique of calling them child-haters. : )

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