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Eating op-eds

(article, Culinate staff)

The New York Times has gone foodie on its op-ed pages lately, with three opinions challenging conventional food-related wisdom.

Here on Culinate, columnist Matthew Amster-Burton has expressed skepticism of the traditional pieties surrounding family dinner. Now comes social science to back up the scoffing, with a study declaring that sure, family dinner matters, but overall family connectedness matters more:

bq. Our findings suggest that the effects of family dinners on children depend on the extent to which parents use the time to engage with their children and learn about their day-to-day lives. So if you aren’t able to make the family meal happen on a regular basis, don’t beat yourself up: just find another way to connect with your kids. 

Meanwhile, food activists Brian Halweil and Danielle Nierenberg put forth the argument that if you're going to eat meat, the environmentally responsible (and budget-friendly) way to do it is to eat ground meat, not steaks:

bq. Ground meat is often derided as low-quality, and its image hasn’t been helped by a spate of pink slime exposés. And it’s true that most meat recalls in the United States involve ground meat. But not all ground meat is created equal. Hamburger made at a large, industrial processing plant is cobbled together from hundreds or thousands of animals, typically raised in feedlots on a corn diet and fed antibiotics. By contrast, small grass-fed beef farmers across the country have an enormous amount of good ground meat to sell. 

And Gary Taubes, of course, wants us to quit eating carbs — at least, the refined, nutritionally inert version. He recently reported on a new study comparing diets by carbohydrate intake, which concluded that the more carbs you eat, the fatter you get.

bq. The trial suggests that among the bad decisions we can make to maintain our weight is exactly what the government and medical organizations like the American Heart Association have been telling us to do: eat low-fat, carbohydrate-rich diets, even if those diets include whole grains and fruits and vegetables.