Stuffed, Part 1

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photo credit: Adam Kuban via photopin cc

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For most of the 20th century, North American food consumption was relatively stable, but the 1980s marked the beginning of a dramatic shift. We're eating, on average, 200 calories per day more than we did just thirty years ago. We're eating larger portions, and we're eating more often. What happened to bring about this sudden change? In this two-part series Jill Eisen explores the politics, economics and science of overeating. Part 2 airs Monday, December 16.


When it comes to food America is the land of plenty. Food is everywhere and the portions are humungous. It's no surprise that the US is ground zero for what's been called "the obesity epidemic."

Canadians aren't far behind. It's no secret. We North American's have gotten fatter. But what's surprising is the just how fast it happened. For most of the 20th century, our average weight was fairly stable. Then suddenly, in 1980, something changed. By 2010, the average adult had gained a staggering 20 pounds, and obesity rates had skyrocketed.  The usual suspects are eating too much and exercising too little. But why 1980?


I'd like to clear up one misconception right from the start. The usual suspects are eating more and moving less, but the truth is, since 1980, it's been all about eating more."
                                                                                    - Jill Eisen
                                                                                                        
What happened to cause such a dramatic shift in the way we eat? That's a question Jill Eisen set out to answer when she started this series, and her search led her in some unexpected directions.


Listen to Stuffed, Part 2


Participants in the program:


Mark Friedman is a scientist who has spent his career studying appetite, control of eating and obesity. He was awarded the Guggenheim Fellowship in 2008 to pursue his work, and was formerly a research scientist with the Monell Chemical Senses Center in Philadelphia.

Sydney Mintz is Professor Emeritus, department of anthropology at Johns Hopkins University.

Michael Moss is a Pulitzer Prize winning investigative reporter for The New York Times.

Marion Nestle is the Paulette Goddard Professor of Nutrition, Food Studies and Public Health at New York University..

Michael Pollan is the John S. and James L. Knight Professor of Journalism at the University of California, Berkeley and the director of the Knight Program in Science and Environmental Journalism.

Barry Popkin is the W. R. Kenan, Jr. Distinguished Professor of Nutrition at the University of North Carolina-Chapel Hill, and Director of The Nutrition Transition Research Program.

Brian Wansink is the John Dyson Professor of Consumer Behavior at Cornell University, and Director of Cornell's Food and Brand Lab. His web sites are: Mindless Eating and Slim By Design.

Anthony Winson is a professor in the Department of Sociology and Anthropology at the University of Guelph.


Reading List:


The World is Fat: The Fads, Trends, Policies and Products that are Fattening the Human Race, by Barry Popkin, Avery Trade, 2009

Sweetness and Power: The Place of Sugar in Modern History
by Sydney Mintz, Viking-Penguin, 1985.

Salt, Sugar, Fat: How the Food Giants Hooked Us by Michael Moss,  Random House, 2013.

Food Politics: How the Food Industry Influences Nutrition and Health by Marion Nestle, University of California Press, 2013.

Cooked: A Natural History of Transformation by Michael Pollan, The Penguin Press, New York, 2013.

Mindless Eating: Why We Eat More Than We Think by Brian Wansink, Bantam, 2013.

Slim By Design: Mindless Eating Solutions for Everyday Life by Brian Wansink. Forthcoming, William Morrow, March, 2014

Pandoras Lunchbox by Melanie Warner, Scribner, 2013.

The Industrial Diet by Anthony Winson, UBC Press, 2013.

Fat Chance: Beating the Odds Against Sugar, Processed Food, Obesity and Disease by Robert Lustig, Hudson Street Press, 2013.

The End of Overeating: Taking Control of the Insatiable American Appetite by David Kessler, Rodale Books, 2010.


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