The Low Carb Luxury Newsletter: 
Volume III / Number 23: December 13, 2002: Page 5
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      Richard's Random Thoughts
                                    The News—

Or... "News Stories and How They Play"

News Stories? Many of you probably heard or read a story last week about diet's role in the problem of acne, stemming from a Colorado State University study conducted by researcher Dr. Loren Cordain. But how it was told and what their conclusions were, seem to have gone a bit astray in some media outlets. It's a disturbing trend not confined to issues of dietary concern. But for us, that's where our concern lies. Let me explain.

The original article appeared in New Scientist. And you can read the article in full by clicking here. But you'll see that the article as it originally appeared said:

"Eating too much refined bread and cereal, rather than chocolate and greasy foods, may be the culprit behind the pimples that plague many a youngster."

"That is the theory of a team led by Loren Cordain, an evolutionary biologist at Colorado State University in Fort Collins. Highly processed breads and cereals are easily digested. The resulting flood of sugars makes the body produce high levels of insulin and insulin-like growth factor (IGF-1)."

"An Australian team will soon test the theory by putting 60 teenage boys with acne on a low-carbohydrate diet for three months to see if it makes a difference."

Now, let me repeat one of those sentences: "...rather than chocolate and greasy foods, may be the culprit behind the pimples..."

But now, let's look at that same story as it was picked up in various media...

First, the BBC Health News. Their reporting, while not trying too hard to 'push' the message, do indeed tell the story pretty straight. Their conclusion being "The finding appears to back up claims that low-carbohydrate diets can help to reduce acne in some people." Kind of timid, but all basically truthful.

But we got lots of letters from confused people who heard both stories about carbs HELPING acne, and about carbs CAUSING acne. Some readers wrote to say their local news was reporting that a low FAT diet would definitely help stop acne.

So... we looked into it. Here's a great example of what visitors said they saw: At WKRN in Nashville (their ABC affiliate), their story led with, "Chocolate and Fatty Foods May Cause Acne."

What?

Isn't that the exact OPPOSITE of what the study found— Here's a screen shot of the WKRN "news report." Note the ad that happens to be on the right side of the screen. It's for an acid reflux pill... a pill not needed in a low-carb diet since it's sugar and carbs that cause acid reflux. Could their sponsors be the reason they don't publish it as it's meant to be stated? Am I just paranoid? To see the actual article at WKRN, click here.

Want another example? Go to The Billings Gazette (a Billings, Montana Newspaper), and you'll see the headlines, "Colorado State researcher: Chocolate really does cause acne."

Um, excuse me... did the AP fellow who created this story even READ the Colorado report? The only chocolate that plays a role is the "delivery system" for the sugar. It's the CARBS that cause the acne.

Go to The Rocky Mountain News and you'll see they got it right:
"...high-glycemic foods such as bread, cakes, sugars and soft drinks "may contribute to the acne suffered by 95 percent of Westernized teenagers."

I could go on and on, showing you some media that got it a bit wrong and MANY MANY that got it TOTALLY wrong (as well as those with proper reporting), but hey, it's the Christmas season and let's just get back to feeling good for awhile. I don't know WHAT to think about the news. Let's just say I take very little at face value anymore...

                                                                                       Merry Christmas!
                                                                                             Richard





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