We love headlines and sound bites. But I wonder how often, in our feel-good, easy-answer culture, do we actually read or listen further. How often do we really want the whole story?
As our collective weight and the incidence of lifestyle diseases rise dramatically, we would do well to check out the whole story. This recent story from the New York Times - "Eating Vegetables Doesn't Stop Cancer" by Tara Parker-Pope, April 8/10 - is a case in point.
The story is about a European study conducted over nearly nine years with approximately 400,000 people - the study appears in the Journal of the National Cancer Institute - to determine whether eating lots (not the scientific label!) of vegetables reduces the occurrence of cancer generally.
From the NYT headline, one could be excused for thinking that vegetables don't help even one little bit to reduce the incidence of cancer.
But wait! What does the article actually say? What does the study actually say?
That sounds pretty good to me, even if eating our veggies is not a cancer panacea.
Now the New York Times is not responsible for people's desire to eat fat-laden fast food, high glycemic-index carbs, and servings of anything with catastrophic calorie counts. But I would bet a significant sum of cash that there are folks who will read that headline (or others like it) and think yippee! no more veggies for me - bring on the deep-fried pizza with butter sauce!
We need veggies to live; we need the vitamins in them to prevent deficiency diseases, like scurvy. Vegetables are a great source of carbohydrates (one of the macro-nutrients necessary for life) with a low glycemic index.
With sky-rocketing rates of obesity and lifestyle diseases, we need the benefit of even a little cancer protection, the vitamins to protect against diseases, and many low fat and low sugar choices. We don't need an excuse to give up on vegetables.
And for the record, I am not a fan of those ads where people spit out their veggies and then run to top up their veggie count with commercial juice preparations - with up to 28grams of sugar per cup. Hello.
So keep reading and keep listening beyond the wishfulfilling headline or soundbite.
And eat your vegetables!
(butter photo credit)
(veggie photo credit)