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. Traveling the globe and the supermarket aisles

Full Episode

1h 55m

"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. Pollan offers an answer to one of the most urgent questions of our time: What should I eat to be healthy?

Episodes

  • Full Episode: asset-mezzanine-16x9

    Full Episode

    S1 E1 - 1h 55m

    "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. Pollan offers an answer to one of the most urgent questions of our time: What should I eat to be healthy?

Extras + Features

  • 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.

  • Michael Pollan’s Seven Words: asset-mezzanine-16x9

    Michael Pollan’s Seven Words

    S1 E1 - 3m 8s

    To escape the harmful health consequences of the Western diet, we can either wait centuries for evolution to adapt our bodies to junk food, or take a much more practical and economical path: change the way we're eating. Something that's a lot simpler than we may think. Pollan offers us a simple seven-word guide to healthier eating: Eat food. Not too much. Mostly plants.

  • 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.

  • 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?

  • Too Much Sugar: asset-mezzanine-16x9

    Too Much Sugar

    S1 E1 - 3m 25s

    Today, we're consuming more sugar than people ever did before, in sugary drinks and sweetened foods. And eating too much sugar contributes to the rise of obesity and to organ damage caused by an excess of the sugar molecule fructose. Diets with lots of sugar and processed carbohydrates like white rice and white flour may also increase diabetes risk by straining the body's ability to use insulin.

  • 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..

  • Lessons From Nature: asset-mezzanine-16x9

    Lessons From Nature

    S1 E1 - 3m 38s

    For thousands of years, people in widely varied environments have constructed diets from the foods they get from nature. The staples in traditional diets vary from potatoes to fatty fish and seals to cattle blood and meat, but they all keep people healthy. The Hadza people in Tanzania still hunt and gather their food and do not suffer from the same diet-related diseases that we do.

  • 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.

  • The Pitfalls of Nutritionism: asset-mezzanine-16x9

    The Pitfalls of Nutritionism

    S1 E1 - 3m 7s

    Nutrition science is a science. But nutritionism, the belief that what really matters in a food are the nutrients it contains, is not a science, but an ideology, and one that has led us badly astray. It classifies nutrients as good or evil, but over time those labels have been constantly changing. And that leaves us confused and vulnerable to questionable nutrient-based health claims.

  • 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!

  • The Secrets of Fiber: asset-mezzanine-16x9

    The Secrets of Fiber

    S1 E1 - 3m 24s

    Fiber is the part of plant foods that we can't digest. But it provides many benefits to our health, one of which may be the prevention of colon cancer. Fiber feeds bacteria in our colons that produce a protective substance called butyrate. Researcher Stephen O'Keefe found that when he switched people to a high fiber diet, levels of butyrate in the colon increased substantially after only 2 weeks.

WETA Passport

Stream tens of thousands of hours of your PBS and local favorites with WETA Passport whenever and wherever you want. Catch up on a single episode or binge-watch full seasons before they air on TV.