Big food companies have long pushed for personal responsibility among consumers—the idea that, given the right information, most people can regulate their own diet and make good choices.
Take McDonald’s CEO Don Thompson. According to him, the mega-corporation hopes to, “use our size and scale around the world to help educate, empower, and encourage our customers to make informed choices so they can live a balanced, healthy lifestyle.” Coca-Cola and the American Beverage Association’s new public awareness campaign and accompanying Mixify website is another good example. They’re aimed at educating the soda-drinking audience with a “calories in, calories out” message to prevent obesity. Read more
Chef Sean Sherman grew up Ogallala Sioux on the Pine Ridge Reservation in South Dakota. After working his way up through a number of kitchens in Minneapolis, Minnesota, Sherman decided he needed to strike out on his own. In April, he launched his event catering business as “The Sioux Chef.” And he’s working on a restaurant of the same name. Read more
When Amanda West Reade was pregnant with her now two-year-old son, she started eating farmed salmon. As a vegetarian, she knew that getting enough protein, omega-3s, and folic acid to boost her growing baby’s development might be tricky.
“My doctor listed a few meal ideas and I thought I could handle the salmon,” says Reade. “She said to lean more towards farmed salmon because it was higher in omega-3s.” Reade followed her doctor’s advice and added farmed salmon to her diet three times a week. “It became something I really craved,” she says.
Long-chain omega-3 fatty acids are good for the brain and eye development of growing babies and salmon has been a go-to meal for those looking for a reliable a low-mercury fish source. When it comes to omega-3s, the message is clear: All salmon is a good choice. Read more
Less than a five minute walk outside his office on the University of California Berkeley campus, Thomas Carlson excitedly points to a towering wild fennel plant and strides towards it with a dozen eager students in tow. The plant’s leaves have grown tough, but he encourages the students to sample its seeds, which are vaguely sweet and taste of anise. For a few minutes, the group tentatively chomps down as he details the plant’s medicinal and nutritional benefits before moving on in search of the next discovery. Read more
When it comes to nutrition and public health, the U.S. can learn a lot from Latin America. Over the past year, Mexico, Brazil, and several other countries in South and Central America have passed some very progressive policies, often placing public health interests above those of the food industry. This is particularly impressive given the expensive politicking the food industry has engaged in in Latin America against public health policies. Here are five recent efforts we should all be watching: Read more
All rice and rice products are not created equal, according to a new study released today by Consumer Reports. Some types of rice, and some rice grown in specific regions, contain much higher levels of inorganic arsenic (IA) than others. Read more
There is a great deal of anecdotal evidence to suggest that cooking at home is better for our health. It’s also well known that eating convenience food is associated with poorer nutrition, obesity, and other metabolic diseases. Food experts, ranging from NYU professor Marion Nestle to author Michael Pollan and New York Times columnist Mark Bittman, have long argued that homemade meals belong at the center of a healthy diet. Read more
Good food advocates have long argued that what’s best for your health is also best for the planet, but new science now backs up the claim. A paper published today in the journal Nature by scientists at the University of Minnesota, presents hard numbers that suggest eating less meat, less refined fat, and less sugar will also reduce the climate change impacts of food production.
Using about 50 years’ worth of data from the world’s 100 most populous countries, UM Professor of Ecology G. David Tilman and graduate student Michael Clark show how current diet trends are contributing, not only to diet-related illnesses such as diabetes and heart disease, but also to dangerously increasing agricultural greenhouse gas emissions (GHGs). Read more
Berkeley voters overwhelmingly passed a “soda tax” yesterday despite a well-funded campaign battle by the soda industry. Hailed as an historic event, the approval of Measure D is being called a win for parents, public health organizations, and community food activists concerned with the link between rising Type-2 diabetes in Americans born between 2000-2011 and the consumption of sugary drinks. Dozens of communities, including New York, have tried (and failed) to take on the soda industry, but Measure D is the first of its kind in the nation to win. Read more
Back in January, I called out Gatorade’s Bolt! mobile game, which told young players to “Keep Your Performance Level High by Avoiding Water.” The game had players maneuver Olympian Usain Bolt’s character through a course in the fastest time possible, gathering Gatorade along the way and avoiding drops of water. Read more