More Poor Reporting

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While I keep hearing that annoying phrase “liberal media bias,” I think we need to be more concerned with lazy reporting, lack of research, and general disinterest in anything beyond shock value.

Paul mentioned a story that aired on the WGN news in Chicago last night, summarized here (scroll to “Vegetarians”). The summary reads:

Vegetarians may be in danger of serious bone loss. Those who eat only raw plant-derived foods have abnormally low bone mass, an early sign of the bone thinning disease osteoporosis. In a study in the Archives of Internal Medicine, researchers found the extreme raw food vegetarian diet does not provide enough calcium or Vitamin D, both crucial for bone strength. The study looked at people who ate a vegetarian diet for three years.

In this summary, and according to Paul, even more so in the broadcast, it makes it seem that the raw diet = the vegetarian diet. Look at the opening and closing sentences: “Vegetarians may be in danger of serious bone loss.” and “The study looked at people who ate a vegetarian diet for three years.” That’s just wrong.

This shock value piece makes misleading connections that many people will walk away from thinking, “Vegetarianism isn’t healthy.” Do you have any idea how infinitesimally small the number of pure raw foodists there are in this country? I don’t know the exact number, but I’m willing to bet that not a single one was watching that broadcast.

Of course, you’re unlikely to see any news stories on the studies that have shown that frequent consumers of dairy tend to have more bone breaks and a higher incidence of osteoporosis than those who eat less or no dairy. That might piss off the advertisers.

8 Responses to “More Poor Reporting”

  1. veg blog reader

    I believe this is what you’re looking for…

    Raw Food Vegans Thin But Healthy, Study Finds
    “WASHINGTON (Reuters) – People on strict raw food vegetarian diets are thin but healthy, U.S. researchers reported on Monday.

    Although nutritionists and the food industry have warned that a diet without dairy foods can lead to the bone-thinning disease osteoporosis, the team at Washington University School of Medicine in St. Louis found the vegans they studied had many of the signs of strong bones…”

    link
    http://news.yahoo.com/news?tmpl=story&u=/nm/health_raw_dc

  2. Ryan

    That’s a different one than what I was talking about (the one I was thinking of was a Yale study), but I did see that one in the news also.

    Interesting the different interpretations of the same news can be presented.

  3. Paul

    Wow. The “strong bones” angle was entirely skipped on the WGN newscast… it was all about how awful the “vegetarian diet” is.

  4. Rob

    We are always likely to see information in the news that appears to be anti-vegan, but remember how much news there also is about mainstream food products; would those could be called anti-omnivore? I went vegan in response to my morals so I get immediately defensive about articles alledging that veganism is unhealthy, but it’s important to understand that 1) food “tests” are usually sponsored by the food industry. They don’t want the public to turn away from their products so will interpret test results with bias and spin. Also, 2) the FDA is considered an authoritative body but in fact is filled with food industry personnel. This means that tests can be biased, findings can be spun, and worst of all laws can be influenced. Let’s face it, if the FDA were truly concerned about the public’s health meat and dairy would not be components of the food pyramid.

  5. Steve

    Vegans do not get all of the nutrients they need from plant sources. Particularly vitamins B-12, A, and omega 3 fatty acids. True, B vitamins can be found in plants, but they are not bioavailable because they are only analogues of the real B-12 you find in meat, fish, eggs, and milk. Vegans are consistantly deficient in nutrients and try to use supplements to offset this not realizing that maybe a good diet would not require them to take pills made by man. If they tried this diet a few short years ago when there were no supplements, they would have serious complications including death.
    Humans have never, in their short history on this earth, thrived on a vegetarian diet. We have been meat eaters from the very beginning. The healthiest, longest lived people in the world were and are meat eaters.

    I don’t work for the FDA or any junk food company, by the way. I just know the truth and have common sense.

  6. Ryan

    Vegans do not get all of the nutrients they need from plant sources. Particularly vitamins B-12, A, and omega 3 fatty acids.

    Let’s take this one at a time.

    B12 is the one vitamin that vegans need to be concerned about. Unwashed vegetables used to be a reliable source of B12, but in the last 100 years, it’s been leeched from the soil and unwashed vegetables are not as safe to eat because of the heavy amounts of pesticides used. However, B12 is easy to get through supplments and fortified foods.

    Vitamin A has not proven to be much of an issue. There are reliable plant sources of Vitamin A and I haven’t read anything that’s convinced me otherwise. The main anti-vegetarian rants I’ve read that have talked about Vitamin A are from a guy who’s views I don’t exactly put faith in.

    Lastly, Omega-3s: flax and hemp seeds and walnuts provide a reliable source.

    Humans have never, in their short history on this earth, thrived on a vegetarian diet. We have been meat eaters from the very beginning. The healthiest, longest lived people in the world were and are meat eaters.

    Yawn. First, tell me how modern meat production and consumption is the least bit natural. And then go talk to Donald Watson, the man who invented the term vegan. He turned 95 last week and is as sharp as a tack.

  7. bunny

    steve you have no idea what your “thriving” on, and how it would horrify you if you only knew. to me, your “common sense” is just another great example of pure ignorance and lack of intelligence. Oh, by the way, the FDA is a total joke. if you beleive in the FDA, your playing yourself. read up on it.

  8. TramadoL83747

    I haven’t been up to anything these days. So it goes. I can’t be bothered with anything these days.

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