The New York Times on regulation and lobbying around cafeteria food: "The average school-nutrition director is not unlike the chief executive of a medium-size catering business, but with a school for a landlord and a menu regulated by the government. With lower subsidies, the lunch ladies needed cheaper calories, and they turned to the increasingly efficient processed-food industry to find them. School cafeterias also began to rely more on revenue from so-called competitive foods — snacks and lunches that are not regulated by federal guidelines and “compete” with the regular school lunch on cafeteria à la carte lines."
The Oxford Symposium on Food and Cookery is an annual weekend conference discussing food, its history, and culture. Since 1981 the papers presented at the Symposium have been collected into a conference volume called the Proceedings of the Oxford Symposium on Food and Cookery, most of which have been made available for free in their entirety via Google Books. Each volume consists of about 25-40 papers surrounding the theme of that year's Symposium (e.g. Eggs, Authenticity, or The Meal). [more inside]
The psychology of Soylent and the prison of first-world food choices
People are born with neither the ability to cook nor compile; both are taught, and chastising even an adult for not knowing how to cook a healthy meal makes about as much sense as chastising an adult for not knowing how to code or how to compile an application from source. Each of those two different ridicules demonstrates an identical lack of empathy and an accompanying equally stunning sense of privilege that you should probably check immediately.
Mother Jones reports on the annual California Dietetic Association conference, where highlights included a panel titled "Sweeteners in Schools" sponsored by the Corn Refiner's Association, and a lunch catered by McDonald's.
"....many a tragic episode in family life is superinduced by the baleful influence of a tortured stomach. Mighty is the hand that holds the ballot-box, but mightier is the hand that wields to advantage the pepper-box, the salt-spoon, and the sugar-shaker." read the entirely of Maud C. Cooke's, Breakfast, Dinner and Supper; or, What To Eat and How To Prepare It (1897) online and enter a world of home remedies, large scale recipes, sound advice, leftover wizardry, squirrel stews, scientific digestion, and horrible things done to vegetables.
The bad news? Inflammatory dietary pattern is linked to depression among women. The good news: Drinking two-four cups of caffeinated coffee a day reduces the risk of suicide for adults by about half.
"Don't forget to take your vitamins!" Or not. Some say it could kill you. Will there ever be any definitive answers when it comes to nutrition?
An exceptionally informative, nicely designed and useful nutrition database, where you can easily look up the glycemic load, inflammation factor, vitamins, proteins, nutrients, calories etc. It is a practical source of information if you wish to either shed excess poundage or put some on. There is a glycemic index info page and lots more. The site was created by Self magazine.
RT @CoryBooker: "We have a shared responsibility that kids go to school nutritionally ready 2 learn"
Cory Booker, mayor of Newark, NJ, will spend a week or longer living on food stamps, in response to a Twitter user who told him that, quote, "nutrition is not a responsibility of the government." [more inside]
From the mid 40s to the mid 50s Coronet Instructional Films were always ready to provide social guidance for teenagers on subjects as diverse as dating, popularity, preparing for being drafted, and shyness, as well as to children on following the law, the value of quietness in school, and appreciating our parents. They also provided education on topics such as the connection between attitudes and health, what kind of people live in America, how to keep a job, supervising women workers, the nature of capitalism, and the plantation System in Southern life. Inside is an annotated collection of all 86 of the complete Coronet films in the Prelinger Archives as well as a few more. Its not like you had work to do or anything right? [more inside]
I explained that, for a variety of reasons — including feeding my boys the most nutritious food available, supporting local farmers, and reducing the carbon miles our food inflicted on the environment — I tried to buy our food locally and organically. She looked at me as if I’d just told her I believed in Santa Claus and, with a poorly disguised smirk, said, "Honey, those days are over."In 2009, Michelle Gienow came close to having to feed her family sustainable, organic, local, and ethically produced (SOLE) food on a food stamp budget. She documented her budget calculations in the pages of the City Paper, Baltimore's alternative weekly. This year Ms. Gienow's financial situation really did call for financial assistance — and she found that her calculations were too optimistic.
Are Healthy Foods Really More Expensive? (6.78 MB PDF) It turns out that it depends on how you measure the price. In a recent study by the USDA, some 4,439 foods were compared using the following metrics: the price of food energy ($/calorie), the price of edible weight ($/100 edible grams), the price of an average portion ($/average portion), and the cost of meeting the federal dietary recommendations for each food group. The study found that for all metrics except the price of food energy ($/calorie) healthy foods cost less than less healthy foods (defined as foods that are high in saturated fat, added sugar, and/or sodium, or that contribute little to meeting dietary recommendations).
Like too many studies, the Stanford study dangerously isolates a finding from its larger context. It significantly plays down the disparity in pesticides...and neglects to mention that 10,000 to 20,000 United States agricultural workers get a pesticide-poisoning diagnosis each year. And while the study concedes that “the risk for isolating bacteria resistant to three or more antibiotics was 33 percent higher among conventional chicken and pork than organic alternatives,” it apparently didn’t seek to explore how consuming antibiotic-resistant bacteria might be considered “non-nutritious.”.... That the authors of the study chose to focus on a trivial aspect of the organic versus conventional comparison is regrettable. That they published a study that would so obviously be construed as a blanket knock against organic agriculture is willfully misleading and dangerous. That so many leading news agencies fall for this stuff is scary. Mark Bittman - That Flawed Stanford Study (SL NYTimes)
The known knowns, known unknowns, and perhaps even the unknown unknowns of why a calorie is not a calorie.
io9 asks the question: When and Why did Science Fiction drop the ubiquitous "Dinner in a pill" device?
The food desert has been a regular topic here on MetaFilter, posts about which often highlight a particular narrative about the effects of meager food choices for poorer urban communities, negatively affecting health and choice among low income people. Though not always. Some new studies indicate the situation in the US might be more like the latter, not quite as dire as is usually asserted. [more inside]
Food Fight: Does Healthy Food Have to Be More Expensive? In which the blog Get Rich Slowly chronicles an argument about nutrition vs cost and then invites readers to chime in.
My favorite response to questions about how to eat clean is, “Wash your food.” On the always-changing understanding of ‘good’ food and how some of the bodybuilding community’s dogma doesn’t hold up to research.
The USDA has ended the pyramid scheme. For the first time, the USDA advises Americans to "eat less." The previous design abomination (previously) is archived for comparison.
Why Wal-Mart Is Making Our Health Its Problem - "So what's behind the [healthier-eating] initiative? In a word: scale. In a recent article in HBR, Chris Meyer and I argued that we'll see companies taking more and more ownership of externalities they could ignore because of changing sensibilities and better sensors (meaning detection and reporting of impacts by third parties). But we also identified a third driver: the scale of modern business. Whereas in the past, a single grocer could not have much impact on society, in today's highly consolidated market, Wal-Mart touches a significant percentage of the nation's food intake. Once you reach a scale where your decisions have ramifications for millions, it is hard to pretend that the impacts, even as distant ripples, are not your problem."
A dude eats nothing but Christmas candy for a week.
What Food Says About Class "As more of us indulge our passion for local, organic delicacies, a growing number of Americans don’t have enough nutritious food to eat."
Eating local, organic foods may not be the best option. The vast majority of greenhouse gas emissions stem from food production, not transportation, and production inputs for organic food are typically higher. Third world countries that have a food system that is organic and local by default are suffering from lack of infrastructure and investment in basic production technologies that could improve nutrition for millions of people. [more inside]
Where does the food in your bodega — or the corner grocer, the local minimart — come from? [...] How come it's easier to find fresh fruits and vegetables in Brooklyn Heights than in the South Bronx? What's the connection between the incidence of diabetes and the food market supply chain?The Center for Urban Pedagogy and Designer Observer's 30-minute video Bodega Down Bronx looks into the urban grocery gap, and is freely available to stream. [more inside]
Are Froot Loops a Smart Choice? The New York Times questions new food labeling system. [more inside]
Gorilla Sandwich. (Probably not what you think - SFW) You can make your own (with cheesy 70s porn music). [more inside]
Teff, a native Ethiopian grain, has been cultivated there for at least 4,000 years. Its seeds are smaller than pinheads, and can be easily scattered. Many Ethiopians eat it two to three times a day in injera bread, porridge or, of course, alcohol (pages 3-4). The grain is gluten-free and is full of essential amino acids, calcium, and other vitamins and minerals. It has a short growing season and tolerance for marginal soils and drought or flood conditions, but its low comparative yield optimal sunlight conditions, and labor intensive harvest may limit the spread of the grain.
Obesity and the Farm Bill. Michael Pollan continues his series of articles on the state of the American food supply by looking at the connection between the obesity epidemic and the federal farm bill (NYT, reg. required, blah blah blah). Previously.
One burger, double neutrons, hold the quarks. Mikhail Shchepinov believes that eating food enhanced with more isotopes can lead to longer lives. What could go wrong?
Feeding Minds - the impact of food on mental health
USDA releases new food pyramid(s). Instead of one cogent nutritional guideline for all Americans, the USDA has released a dozen because "one size doesn't fit all." Dietitians have advocated revision for a while now but change has been slow. According to author Marion Nestle, the nutritional guidelines have become highly politized by industry lobbyists: "My first day on the job, I was given the rules: No matter what the research indicated, the report could not recommend 'eat less meat' as a way to reduce intake of saturated fat." Newspeak for sweets appears to be discretionary calories; are we doing any better?
Portion Distortion Quiz. Just in time for T-day, our helpful friends at NIH have updated last year's quiz with Portion Distortion II. Caution: pictures of food are bigger today than they were 20 years ago.
Interesting info for even the ardent salad dodgers (via bifurcated rivets)
The food pyramid has been updated again, apparently. According to Frito-Lay, your major food groups now consist of fruits, vegetables, protein, dairy, and Doritos. (via Calpundit)
"64 grams of fat, 2,090 milligrams of sodium, and enough cholesterol to kill anything that's ever lived." 104% of your USDA daily requirements of saturated fat. 231% of your daily intake of cholesterol. Swanson's Hungry-Man All-Day Breakfast! (Pancakes included.)
"GMO free" labelling set to become illegal in the US? "The U.S. regulatory system is a model around the world because it is grounded in science, not superstition or uninformed emotion." So says the president of a biotech lobby group. Ahem.
One of the holy grails of the infosaturated overworking computer professionals like myself is a single food capable of giving all the nutrients you'd need for a meal, and be as easy as possible to prepare and eat. Some friends used to call this dream creation "food paste" or "foodstuff capsules" or most simply "fuel." I never thought my Jetsonian dream would ever come true, but now there's the Dilberito, with 100% of 23 vitamins and Jamba Juice's Smoothies. Why do I mention Jamba? Because I saw this poster in the SFO airport last night, and they even go so far as to answer the question "can I get too much Jamba?"