NUT EATERS ARE HEALTHIER, slimmer and stronger, study says,” by Marilynn Marchione for the Associated Press appeared at the very bottom of the front page of today’s Seattle Times (November 21, 2013, page A1). And while the Editor-generated headline is awkward enough (how about “Study says nut eaters healthier, slimmer and stronger”), I want to focus on how the information is presented to the reader.
Here is the opening paragraph: “Help yourself to some nuts this holiday: regular nut eaters were less likely to die of cancer or heart disease—in fact, were less likely to die of any cause—during a 30-year Harvard study.”
Yeah yeah yeah, the emphasis was added by me to highlight this remarkable statement! The second paragraph continues:
“Nuts have long been called heart-healthy, and the study is the largest done on whether eating them affects mortality.”
Well, we have already answered that: yes, they do. The message is clear: eat enough nuts and you are “less likely to die of any cause.”
Sure, it’s poorly written and most of us understand upon reading what the third paragraph makes manifest:
“Researchers tracked 119,000 men and women and found that those who ate nuts roughly every day were 20 percent less likely to die during the study period than those who never ate nuts.”
So, yeah, that’s what I figured. But, to compound the errors of this poorly wrought piece, the phrase “who ate nuts roughly” can be read as the adverb explaining how the nuts were eaten: “I say, I tried eating my nuts smoothly but found that a bit of roughness makes the whole affair so much more effective.”
Of course, the adverb “roughly” is supposed to refer to how often said nuts were eaten.
Alas, I did not pursue the article any further as a few bits from the bottom of my bag of my daily dose of almonds fell in between the keys of my keyboard.
Oh, nuts!—now I have to dig the wee buggers out. Thank Grommett I have eternity to get it done and not have to worry about nuts roughly eaten causing immortality . . .