Food

In Defense of Food

"Eat food. Not too much. Mostly plants." With that seven-word maxim, US-based journalist Michael Pollan distills a career's worth of reporting into a prescription for reversing the damage being done to people's health by today's industrially driven Western diet. In Defense of Food debunks the daily media barrage of conflicting claims about nutrition.

Web Extra: A Treacherous Landscape

3m 24s

Michael Pollan offers some practical tips for navigating supermarket aisles, where prominent health claims adorn so many packaged products. Though this attention-getting strategy has been effective in boosting sales, the profusion of health claims has fostered confusion about food and health. And the actual health benefits of these products are often questionable at best.

Extras + Features

  • Web Extra: Zen Monkey: asset-mezzanine-16x9

    Web Extra: Zen Monkey

    S1 E1 - 3m 11s

    More and more people are developing new food products made in home kitchens that are free from artificial additives. But to distribute their products further away than the local farmers’ market, they need to find ways to prevent them from spoiling during shipping or on a store shelf. That’s the challenge Eric Glandian faced with Zen Monkey, a new breakfast food.

  • Web Extra: Carmen’s Veggie Delight: asset-mezzanine-16x9

    Web Extra: Carmen’s Veggie Delight

    S1 E1 - 2m 27s

    We thought the vegetarian dinner Carmen Sabaté made the night we filmed her family was so delicious (the Sabaté’s generously fed the whole crew after we finished) that we asked her to do a quick on-camera demo so that we could all learn some of her secrets. Now you can too!

  • Web Extra: Broccoli Man: asset-mezzanine-16x9

    Web Extra: Broccoli Man

    S1 E1 - 4m 17s

    More than 90%of the nation’s broccoli is grown in California, because its sunny days and cool desert nights are perfect for the vegetable. But if you live in the East the broccoli you buy is likely to be a week old. So Cornell’s Thomas Bjorkman is trying to breed new varieties that will thrive in the east. His goal: fresher, better-tasting local broccoli that will entice more people to eat it.

  • Web Extra: A Treacherous Landscape: asset-mezzanine-16x9

    Web Extra: A Treacherous Landscape

    S1 E1 - 3m 24s

    Michael Pollan offers some practical tips for navigating supermarket aisles, where prominent health claims adorn so many packaged products. Though this attention-getting strategy has been effective in boosting sales, the profusion of health claims has fostered confusion about food and health. And the actual health benefits of these products are often questionable at best.

  • Soda Politics: asset-mezzanine-16x9

    Soda Politics

    S1 E1 - 6m 24s

    Public awareness of the health risks of sugary sodas has been growing. But proposals in California and New York to reduce soda consumption by taxing it or limiting its serving size were both defeated after the soda industry spent millions to fight them. But Mexico has passed a soda tax, and the city of Berkeley, California recently did too. Will measures like these prove to be effective?

  • Food Fads: asset-mezzanine-16x9

    Food Fads

    S1 E1 - 5m 12s

    Food manufacturers have long used the latest scientific theories about food, many of them badly flawed, to sell their products. The Kellogg brothers’ invention of corn flakes stemmed from the mistaken belief that eating protein foods for breakfast made people sick. And by adding vitamins, manufacturers sold us everything from beer to white bread as if they were health foods..

  • Bigger Picture Campaign: asset-mezzanine-16x9

    Bigger Picture Campaign

    S1 E1 - 2m

    In the Bay Area’s Bigger Picture Campaign, young poets like Erica McMath Sheppard are collaborating with health care workers to raise awareness about the links between unhealthy diets and rising rates of type 2 diabetes. In her poem "Death Recipe" she acknowledges the power of junk foods in her own life and reveals the tragic toll diabetes has taken on her family.

  • Redesigning the Lunch Line & Buffet: asset-mezzanine-16x9

    Redesigning the Lunch Line & Buffet

    S1 E1 - 3m 3s

    Brian Wansink is an expert on how things to which we don’t give the slightest thought—such as the order in which we see foods—influence our choices. By studying buffets and cafeterias, he’s found that we tend to load most of our plates with the first foods we see. So he is working with schools to re-design lunch lines so kids see the healthiest foods first—with very impressive results.

  • Childhood Obesity: asset-mezzanine-16x9

    Childhood Obesity

    S1 E1 - 4m 14s

    11 year-old Anthony Scavotto and his family are alarmed that in just one year he's gained 30 pounds. Rising obesity among American kids is making them susceptible to type 2 diabetes, which used to be very rare in children. With the help of Boston pediatrician David Ludwig, Anthony gets his weight under control—simply by changing the kind of food that he eats.

  • Size of the Plate: asset-mezzanine-16x9

    Size of the Plate

    S1 E1 - 2m 48s

    You might never connect the size of your plate with how much you eat. But Cornell University’s Brian Wansink has found that using a smaller plate can help you overcome the temptations of overeating. He uses a clever trick to get people to serve themselves the same dish twice on slightly different sized plates. When they use the smaller plate, without realizing it, they almost always take less.

  • The Government's Role in Our Food System: asset-mezzanine-16x9

    The Government's Role in Our Food System

    S1 E1 - 1m 27s

    Proposals that the government should regulate sodas and junk food and encourage healthier eating arouse bitter controversy. But the fact is that the government is already deeply involved in shaping what we eat, through policies that help determine the kind of food we raise on our farms. So the real question is not whether to bring in the government, but whether its direction should be changed..

  • The Healthy Fats We Need: asset-mezzanine-16x9

    The Healthy Fats We Need

    S1 E1 - 3m 21s

    Our ancient ancestors ate lots of green plants, grazing meat animals and fish, all of which are good sources of a class of fats called Omega-3s that are essential for the health of our hearts and our brains. But the processed food and grain-fed meat we eat today gives us a lot fewer Omega-3s. Instead, we're eating a lot more of a class of fats called Omega-6s that may be interfering with Omega-3s.

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