Tuesday, 6 April 2010

Fry-ups are 'healthy' and 'lethal', says Express

On 10 March, the Express ran the headline 'Death by fry-up' on its front page, claiming the full English breakfast was 'lethal'.

It was a lazy bit of churnalism designed to flog a 'weight management product'.

But on 1 April, the Express changed its mind about the humble fry-up:

A bacon fry-up at breakfast could be the healthiest start to the day

No, it wasn't an April Fool's joke - the Express' health reporting is this ridiculous every day. And like the 'fry-up is lethal' one, this 'fry-up is healthy' article was written by Jo Willey.

Isn't consistency a wonderful thing?

Moreover, the research was short of conclusive, having been conducted on mice rather than, say, humans eating fry-ups. As NHS Behind the Headlines points out:

It is important to note that the mice ate high-fat mouse food, rather than the 'full English breakfast' mentioned by newspapers...

Before we can claim that a fatty, calorific breakfast is good for the body, the theory needs to be tested in humans.

And they concluded:

This study provides some useful indicators about metabolism that may have some relevance to human diet.

However, it should not be taken as an endorsement that a fry-up is healthy or better for you than a breakfast of cereal or fruit, as several newspapers have suggested.

In other words: don't get your health advice from tabloid newspapers. Especially when they change their advice from 'lethal' to 'healthy' in less than a month.


  1. Nice work as always. As you'll undoubtedly know from your tabloid-watching activities, all objects in the world can be classified into two groups: things the Mail / Express say give you cancer, and things that they say cure it.

    Consequently, the Daily Mail is my first port of call to find out whether I should be using an object or casting it aside, shrieking hysterically and blaming immigrants for its presence.

    My predictions for next on the 'causes cancer' list: burkhas, the NHS, feminism, the BBC and political correctness.

    For the 'cures cancer' list: the nuclear family, celebrating Christmas (not the Winter Festival or whatever the hell they say we're being told to call it now), hating everyone who differs from 'the norm', canvassing for the BNP and Richard Littlejohn's column.

    P.s. have you seen this?


  2. Thanks for posting this. I've only just realised your blog exists. It's great to highlight the confusing inconsistencies peddled as news by our national press. Keep up the good work.

  3. I think all health advice in the Daily Express should be taken with a pinch of salt!

  4. Was Jo Willey unavailable for comment? ;)


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