For the Overweight, Bad Advice by the Spoonful

Although the New York Times has some great articles on health/nutrition, For the Overweight, Bad Advice by the Spoonful really bothers me. I realize that taking a poke at “conventional wisdom” can be good journalism but in this case I don’t feel its very constructive and it rests on some very faulty assumptions. After attacking the usefulness of both diet and exercise, the take away message seems to be “you’re fat, you’re fucked, wait for a pill”.

The argument they make that American’s have probably never eaten well is plausible but does not absolve diet as the culprit as the article implies. For all its talk of new research challenging “conventional wisdom” the author cheerfully trots out an expert who uses the old conventional wisdom that “fat the substance equals fat the condition” to try to make their point:

“The average meal had whole milk and ended with pie…. The typical meal had plenty of fat and calories” and so the argument goes diet might not be the bad guy here after all, so its probably genetic.

I would argue that the sugar spiked, pre-made food we buy today is not equivalent to the food of yesteryear as the article would have us believe. It’s not hard to find evidence of this either:

Full fat milk makes you thinner – Swedish study

“Full fat dairy products are more likely to keep you slim than comparable low fat foods. That’s the apparently topsy-turvy conclusion of a new Swedish study, which shows that the fat encourages calcium uptake.
Researchers at Stockholm’s Karolinska Institute now reckon that daily consumption of full fat dairy products will lead to a reduction of obesity, reported Svenska Dagbladet.”

Findings like that do make me agree with the articles title though; for the overweight, bad advice does indeed come by the spoonful, even from the New York Times.


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