MSN At it Again!

Filed under: General Health, Nutrition

I know I just blogged the other day about how bad the MSN Health & Fitness section is, but after reading this article on Eating to Beat Stress, I just had to put in my 2 cents. The article will take 5 minutes to read, tops, so definitely read it before going on. Seriously, read it. It’s like a kids book, mainly pictures.

A good snack? According to MSN it is.

A good snack? According to MSN it is.

OK, my reaction to this garbage. Everyone knows that stress is a killer. It causes a plethora of health problems, from the psychological to the physiological. Finding ways to minimize stress is of ultimate importance for a health conscious person. Using refined, nutritionally empty, blood sugar and insulin spiking carbs is NOT the answer. Sure getting in your “tryptophans” is all well and good, and the transient boost in serotonin might make you feel better temporarily, but it is certainly not teaching you habits to help prevent stress in the first place! It is also most certainly not teaching healthy eating habits that will keep your waistline down.

My favorite analogy for something like this comes from great strength coach Mike Boyle, and I am paraphrasing here, “This is solving symptoms, not the underlying problems. It’s like you have a hole in your roof, and water keeps getting in and stains your nice white ceilings. So you keep painting those stains over and over, making them temporarily nice and white again, only to have the stains return again and again. Why not instead just take the time to fix the damn roof!” If people would actually create healthy eating habits and make better food choices, this wouldn’t be much of an issue anyway. Why not just drink some damn green tea, it has theanine, a known calming agent, tons of health promoting antioxidants and is calorie free. Makes a little more sense to me anyway.

This may be some of the worst nutrition advice ever. Telling people to consume refined carbs, almost completely void of anything resembling nutrients is assinine. Not only are they advocating this, they are recommending you do it on an empty stomach, without protein or fat because they delay gastric emptying. Yes, definitely what we want is nothing to stop that blood sugar rush and subsequent insulin spike and crash. I’m surprised they didn’t recommend people just suck down a soda every time they feel stressed, maybe light up a cigarette too while they are at it. What a great long-term solution this is.

I think my favorite quote is this “Bad rap: Carbohydrates have gotten a bad rap thanks to the popularity of protein-heavy plans such as the Atkins diet. But eaten the right way—think jam on toast—they do provide an energy boost. For you dieters who are terrified of carbs, Wurtman points out that serotonin is actually an appetite suppressant.

Yeah, definitely the right carbs

Yeah, definitely the right carbs

I mean really? Jam on toast. I am not anti-carb, but this is ridiculous. I think we all know at this point that white toast with jam, on an empty stomach, without any healthy fat or protein is not on the roadmap to health and wellbeing. Shit like this pisses me off and just makes it harder and harder for uninformed people just looking for good info to actually know what the hell to do. To MSN – Stop Giving Shitty Information.

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Posted on December 3rd, 2008 by Brian St. Pierre


  1. Eric Lagoy Says:

    The author, Carlin Flora, is a senior editor for Psychology Today magazine. Why is she writing articles advising people to eat refined carbs topped with extra sugar on an empty stomach?

    Her rational is based on tryptophan as a precursor to serotonin….correct me if I am wrong Brian but isn’t tryptophan an amino acid? As in an amino acid that is used to make the proteins found in meats, cheeses, and eggs? WTF?

  2. Alex Says:

    Pure crap – the MSN article and what they recommend to eat.

    I’m going to refer to you (and your GOOD advice, as opposed to MSN’s crappy advice) on my site – if you would rather I don’t, just shoot me an email.

  3. Kujo Says:

    Wow, my head wants to explode reading that article. Total, complete nonsense.

  4. Brian St. Pierre Says:

    Alex –

    Thanks that sounds great! I appreciate it.

  5. Coordination « No Magic Pill Says:

    [...] paradox (Andrew’s take), organic people, Tony <3 protein powder (and Lyle), eating to beat stress (not), Mark takes on cowpooling (I’m still looking for Charlotte-area people interested in [...]

  6. Gregg Says:

    And they wonder why everyone is confused about what to eat. I didn’t realize MSN had stock in the corn growers association. I guess it all makes sense now.

  7. Michelle B Says:

    WTF!!!!! is all I can say.

    No shit sherlock, women crave carbs around their periods=but according to Cassandra Forsythe we are also more sensative and as hard as it is, this is the time to try and reduce them.

    This tool OBVIOUSLY is not up on current nutritional research-
    Advocating pretzels and licorice what is this 1982? If your stressed at work, get off your fat ass and go take a walk around the block to decompress.

    I need a protein shake and go lift something heavy.

  8. Chris Brown Says:

    All I can say is WOW…that’s 5 minutes of my life I’m never getting back.

    Hopefully it gets to the point where more people are reading blogs like this for nutritional info vs. those geniuses at msn.

    Great stuff Brian!

  9. The Return of Vitamin D : The Home of Brian St. Pierre Training Says:

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  11. Says:

    Thank you, I’ve just been searching for information about this topic for
    a long time and yours is the greatest I’ve discovered till now.

    But, what in regards to the conclusion? Are you sure concerning the supply?

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