Difference between revisions of "Philosophy of Food Fall 2018 Class Notes"

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m (Pollan, In Defense of Food, Part 3)
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:*Rights based arguments
 
:*Rights based arguments
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::*Tom Regan's rights argument for respecting inherent value of individuals still allows for liberty principle to handle "life boat" cases.  Hugh Lehman argues that humans are in such a circumstance due to their nutritional needs.  Others (George) suggest that specific groups of individuals like kids and nursing women are allow to eat animals under Regan's theory.  Fischer doubts this justifies industrial animal ag and is sceptical of the empirical claims. 
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::*Cuneo offers another version of this kind of argument, not killing is too great a burden on rights. 
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::*Animal rights deniers:  Reductio: if animals had rights, we'd have to stop them killing each other.  Even if this is exteme, it is hard to justify animal experimentation if animals have right. 
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::*Denying direct duty theories:  Singer and Regan argee that animals have rights because of properties (sentience or being the subject of a life) that confer a direct duty on us not to violate their rights by eating them.  Without direct duties, harming animals is only wrong when it violates someone else's rights (like someone who owns the animal).  This contractarian view denies moral standing to animals.
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A weakness of this view is that it might not be strong enough to guarantees right
  
 
==OCT 30: 13==
 
==OCT 30: 13==

Revision as of 10:32, 24 October 2018

Return to Philosophy of Food

Contents

SEP 18: 1

SEP 20: 2

Spending on Food by country

Food Inc Notes

Fed Up!

SEP 25: 3

Gastrpod, "The End of the Calorie"

  • Antoine Lavasier — Guinea pig in coffee urn - we “burn” food chemically. Change in temperature of water the pig is in. 1st “calorimeter”. Axed in French Rev.
  • Later defined by a german scientists (Favre and Silbermann in 1852 or Mayer in 1848) as: Amount of heat energy to raise 1 gram of water by one degree centigrade from 14.5 to 15.5 at sea level.
  • We still use calorimeters......museum of calorimeters also. Visit to contemporary calorimeter. USDA site: Converted walk in cooler. Implication that the woman with the sewing machine “made a mess”?
  • Bomb calorimeter. You burn the food. Segment on how it works.
  • Wilbur Atwater. Atwater values. USDA scientist. “Father of nutrition science” (Nestle likes him.). 4,000 food values. Method...omg. Potental energy (bomb cal value) - excretion = value. 4 cal/gram of carb or protein. 9 calories per gram of fat. (7 alcohol).
  • Recent evidence about variability of calorie values — researchers repeating Atwater research, but using additional measures. David Baer and Bill Rumpler both work at the Food Components and Health Laboratory at the USDA-ARS headquarters, in Beltsville, Maryland. Check out Baer and his colleagues' papers on the difference between the calories on the label and those our bodies can extract for almonds and walnuts.b. “The food is free, but you have carry ...”. 5-6% off on tree nuts, 30% on almonds, 21% walnuts,
  • Richard Wrangham is the author of Catching Fire: How cooking made us human. Harvard medical anthropologist. —
  • First to show that cooking changes food to allow earlier digestion (small intestine) and greater calorie recovery. 30% for starch. Also cooked meat, peanuts. All research on mice (and pythons). Still hard to say what the variation will be for us. Maybe 20-50%, depending upon food.
  • What about heat extrusion, also called Food Extrusion? (Used in cereals.). Industrial food might raise calorie levels relative to atwater values. That's a good thing, right? Or is it? (Note that early digestion means less activity for large intestine.)
  • Digression on Food Extrusion (not in podcast):
  • [1]
  • So, if extrusion damages nutrition, what about pasta? Why doesn't it have a high glycemic index like breakfast cereals?
  • "In pasta products, gluten forms a viscoelastic network that surrounds the starch granules, which restricts swelling and leaching during boiling. Pasta extrusion is known to result in products where the starch is slowly digested and absorbed (59,60). Available data on spaghetti also suggest that this product group is a comparatively rich source of resistant starch (61). The slow-release features of starch in pasta probably relates to the continuous glutenous phase. This not only restricts swelling, but possibly also results in a more gradual release of the starch substrate for enzymatic digestion. Pasta is now generally acknowledged as a low glycemic index food suitable in the diabetic diet. However, it should be noted that canning of pasta importantly increases the enzymic availability of starch, and hence the glycemic response (62).[2]
  • Indivudal variation: age, gender, muscle mass.
  • Sarah Haley — scientist claiming counting calories didn’t work for weight reduction. After second child, big change in metabolism.
  • CALORIES AND THE GUT MICROBIOME - how does microbiome affect calorie processing.
  • Peter Turnbaugh's lab at the University of California, San Francisco, promises "better living through gut microbes." In our conversation with him, we discussed this study on the effects that transplanting gut microbes from lean and obese twins had on the weight of mice. Further examples of the impact of microbes on energy balance can be found in this paper on one woman's weight gain following a fecal transplant, and this paper on how risperidone is associated with altered gut microbiota and weight gain.
  • microbiota creates variation in calorie capture.
  • 36:45. Sarah Hailey comment.
  • CALORIE REPLACEMENTS?
  • Susan B. Roberts is the creator of the satiety-based "iDiet." She has also done extensive research into the accuracy of calorie counts on menu labels. David Ludwig's book, Always Hungry?, also proposes measuring foods based on their satiety score. Adam Drenowksi's Nutrient-Rich Food Index is explained here.
  • They acknowledge that we don’t have a better standard, but other methods might tell us more.
  • DAVID WISHART AND METABOLOMICSDavid Wishart's research group is based at the University of Alberta. You can check out the Human Metabolome Project Database online here. And the Israeli study on personalized nutrition based on individual glycemic responses is available online here.
  • WHY THE CALORIE IS BROKEN
  • We wrote a feature article for Mosaic, the online publication of the Wellcome Trust, to accompany this episode. You can read it online here.
  • THE CHEMICAL DEFINITION OF THE CALORIE
  • In the episode, we say that a calorie is the amount of heat energy needed to raise the temperature of one gram of water by one degree centigrade, from 14.5º to 15.5º, at one unit of atmospheric pressure. This is accurate, but it is misleading, because throughout the rest of the episode, we are discussing a different kind of calorie—the kilocalorie, which is the amount of heat energy needed to raise the temperature of one kilogram of water by one degree centigrade. The kilocalorie is the number we see on our food labels and recommended daily allowances, but no one other than chemists actually calls it the kilocalorie. Instead, it has been shortened to "calorie" on labels and in everyday usage. Throughout our episode, we follow common practice by calling a kilocalorie a calorie, but then we mistakenly gave the definition of a true calorie without noting the difference. We apologize for any confusion!
  • The University of Alberta's David Wishart offers us a glimpse of the future, in which truly personalized nutrition advice will evolve from the emerging science of how the chemicals in our bodies interact with all the different chemicals in the food we eat. And Susan Roberts, director of the energy metabolism laboratory at the Tufts USDA nutrition center, suggests an alternative unit as a replacement for the traditional calorie.

-

Andrews, Chapters 1 & 2, The Slow Food Story

Chapter 1, "Politics in Search of Pleasure"

(This wasn't assigned for us, but I have these notes to share:)

  • context for slow food: social movements of the 60's and 70's. (Italian counter-culture.)
  • low power radio stations common means: Radio Bra Onde Rosse.
  • politics at Club Tenco, also the pursuit of pleasure.
  • revival of traditional festivals: the singing for eggs (Cante i'euv)
  • 1982 incident: Montalcino Sagra del Tordo (thrush) Mention Arci clubs.
  • in play: Is the pursuit of pleasure through healthy food and culture a capitalist bourgeoisie plot or a fundamental right to be advocated politically?
  • formation of an "Arci Gola" (appetite)
  • projects: Gambero Rosso, wine guides, Osterie d'Italia, guides to osterie.
  • 1986: wine poisoning scandal. McDonalds opens in Rome at Spanish Steps.
  • Slow Food Manifesto
  • parallel movement in US embodied on story of Alice Waters, founder of Chez Panisse. Pollan also finds sources of these ideas in 1960s US counter-culture.
  • Eco-gastronomy -- (a great sub-field of food study, by the way! cf. Dan Berber, The Third Plate) and the "politics of aesthetics" (only partly in line with Marxism). (So Carlo Petrini is another candidate for Gramsci's authentic intellectual.)
  • Projects: international food exhibitions, then Terra Madre (2004), related movements in Germany (Greens)
  • slow food also has a conservative dimension.

Chapter 2, "The Critique of 'Fast Life'"

  • some key dates: McDonald's in Rome, 1986, incident between the two arci chapters (a moment in which politics and gastronomy interact to great effect!).
  • critique of "productivity culture"; efficiency vs. frenzy; idea that you need to live faster because other things are accelerating (financial trade volume, sale, news cycles, social media posting and communication)
  • critique includes resistance to corporate formations and rationalizations (degradation) of taste. Slow Food is tied to leftist politics, but also has a US upper middle class "face" in the US site. [3]
  • Castell's theory of time-space compression -- capitalism more and more about speed of transactions. circuluation of capital. (on edge of a big discussion about the future of work - piece work is coming back).
  • Counter view of Charles Leadbeater and others: fast culture is the answer, the problem is that we have all of these institutions from the 19th century and earlier slowing us down.
  • Ritzer's "McDonaldization of Society" -- "globalization of nothing" (social forms centrally conceived, centrally controlled and lacking in context).
  • Schlosser, Fast Food Nation:
  • 1970 6 billion on fast food; ("million" in the text is a mistake)
  • 2001 110 billion
  • 2010 200 billion (not in text)
  • British "trolley towns"; American suburbs. globalization of construction and architecture.
  • Petrini on slowness: p. 39 read
  • Slow cities: features of slow cities

SEP 27: 4

Microbiome Movie Notes


Sonnenbergs, C 1, "What is the Microbiota and Why Should I Care?"

  • How the world looks to a microbiologist! "Without microbes humans wouldn't exist, but if we all disappeared, few of them would notice." 10
  • Introduction to the Tube and digestion
  • Microbiota Case against the Western Diet
  • Sets the history of human diet in context. Agriculture already a big change, but then industrial ag / industrial foods
  • Adaptability of M remarkable. Makes us omnivores.
  • Baseline M - cant' be health Western Diet eaters. studies of groups like Hadza -- far more diverse.
  • 19 - Evolved Symbiotic relationship between us and bacteria --
  • types of symbiotic relationship - parasitic, commensal (one party benefits, little or no effect on the other), mutualism.
  • The heart warming story of Tremblaya princeps and Moranella endobia. (21) -- why we should be happy mutualists. Delegation and division of labor might create resiliance.
  • 22-30 - Cultural History and History of Science on Bacteria
  • The Great Stink 1858 London, Miasma theory disproved, Cholera bacterium, not isolated until near end of century. Dr. Robert Koch.
  • 60-70's: Abaigail Salyers: early pioneer, 2008: Human Microbiome Project
  • Contemporary research: gnotobiotic mice. early fecal transplant studies of [Dr. Jeffrey Gordon].

Montgomery and Bilke, "What Your Microbiome Wants for Dinner" (recommended)

  • Digestion Basics
  • good introduction to digestion.
  • inverse relation between complexity of the food molecule and how far it continues to contribute to digestion as it moves through the tube.
  • note distinct environments of the tract and their respective "ecologies" - 7 quarts of fluids through small intestine.
  • genomic "division of labor" -- our genes code for 20 enzymes to break down complex carbs but our bacterial guests code for 260 enzymes for that purpose.
  • Microbiota (M) like a pharmacy.
  • Grain Wreck
  • Chemistry of Typical cereal crop seed --
  • Note that you lose the fats in the grain to stabilize it for production purposes. Fats go rancid. Also, white bread is sweet to the taste. Because it's already breaking down into sugars (simpler carbs) even in your mouth.
  • historical point: total carb consumption stable over 20th c US, but types of carbs changed. Whole grains and rate of sugar absorbtion (tracked by "glycemic index")
  • Meat
  • Protein Putrefication (Does this happen alot?) - compounds produced by undigested meat in large intestine interferes with butyrate production -- important for general colonic health. Thinning of bacterial density leaves openning for pathogens and physical damage.
  • High fat diets can lead to higher rates of bile in the large intestine, which it doesn't handle well. secondary bile acids.
  • Needn't be a general health argument against meat, but he acknowledges some legitimate health advantages to a vegetarian diet. Point is that cereal fermentation might be part of the process that helps us tolerate the protein putrefication and excess bile of meat and fat.
  • espouses what I'm calling the "consensus healthy diet" - movement away from industrial processed food.

Philosophical Implications of the Microbiome

  • The Microbiome research we are reading seems to have implications for the following course research questions:
  • 1. What is food?
  • 5. What are the challenges of nutrition science as a field of knowledge and what is the state of knowledge about nutrition, broadly?
  • 6. What is a nutritious diet?
  • 10. How should I critically assess my own food practices in light of my understanding of the nature of food and food culture?
Here are some possible theoretical claims for you to evaluate in terms of their plausibility and their own implications:
  • Your food doesn't just feed you.
  • Your food doesn't just nourish you, it also supplies a pharmacy in your gut. These effects cut across the health spectrum and life span.
  • You exist as a distinct organism, but you cannot survive outside of the symbiotic relationships you have with bacteria and other organisms that call you home.
  • Mental health is influenced by the health of our M.
  • We have co-evolved with our Microbiome.
  • The interic nervous system is an ecology.
  • Some of the requirements of industrial food production are at odds with the requirements of a healthy Microbiome.
  • In small group discussion, consider how information about the Microbiome might change your approach to questions like "What is Food?" Then look over the proposed philosophical implications above. Are they too strong? Warranted? Do you have sceptical doubts about using this research to alter your view of these research questions?

OCT 2: 5

Sonnenbergs, C 5, "Trillions of Mouths to Feed"

  • Microbiota extinction -- not just from change in foods, less fermented foods, more sterile food and sterile environments. pets help with our microbiota.
  • Microbiota mechanisms:
  • direct response to diet, "recyclers",
  • life is hard for our M germs: no oxygen down there and transit time is fast. So they make SCFAs that can metabolize in the blood stream where there is oxygen.
  • Why feed the gut? Isn't that just more calories? (116) - No. people with high scfa diets lose weight, decrease inflammation, Western diet diseases. Back to the connection between satiety and nutritional health. (N - S - P)
  • History of research -- field doctors: Thomas Cleave, 70s "The Saccharine Disease" "Bran Man"; Denis Burkitt studies comparing Western and Africans on fiber, stool quality, and health. Overconsumption of refined carbs.
  • Carb chemistry/metabolism basics -- 120: also in our nutrition textbook chapters. Note unique types of saccharides in particular foods: read 121 and 126; insulin resistance.
  • Measuring MACs - the authors acronym for Macrobiotically Available Carbohydrates. - no standard measure of dietary fiber (note discrepancies from above.)
  • RDAs: 29/38 grams. Actual 15 grams/day. 126: Notes that not all complex carbs are available to the M.
  • research discovering enzyme in nori, a seaweed based sushi wrapper: found in Japanese guts. Helps digest fish. Note: Terrior. Local adaptation of the M.
  • 128: Dutch research on rich and poor M. richness of M better predictor of disease than obesity.
  • Gordon's famous 2013 FMT mouse research: need M and M-supporting diet. Note caveat 129. Can't just benefit from the microbes alone.
  • what's wrong with refined cereal seeds (130) (like Montgomery's account). Wheat bread vs. Wheat berries. The form of the food matters to the fiber count.
  • What about the Inuit?
  • What about excess gas?
  • 135: Note their dietary advice.

Sonnenbergs, C 7, "Eat Sh*t and Live" (Recommended)

  • This chapter is more focused on diseases that have been treatable with new knowledge about the M, and the limits of that research currently.
  • Gastroenteritis, infectious diarrhea, -- culprits like Giardia, Salmonella, and norovirus.
  • Immunological effects of the M: "colonization resistance" - mechanisms (165) - crowding out, bacteriocidal chemicals. Problematic nature of antibiotics in the M.
  • C. difficile (Cdiff) -- associated disease CDAD. 14,000 deaths in US a year. why antibiotics don't always help. spores.
  • 2013 Dutch FMT therapy for CDAD - 94% cure rate (note earlier researcher in 50s who tried this.)
  • Antibiotics -- Interesting that Americans not only eat the Western Diet, but take high levels of antibiotics. Effects of Cipro on M. -- decrease in volume (-10-100x) and diversity of bacteria (25-50% of species). Test subject had diverse responses. Some recovered M in several weeks. Some sustained damage. 2nd round of Cipro hurt everyone's M.
  • IBS and IBD - 177:
  • Difficulties with FMT as a therapy: dangers in introducing new bacteria into someone's gut. Might be hard to remove. (Like issue of releasing GMOs in environment.)
  • Limited results from FMT in humans for obesity treatment. or inflammatory bowel disease.

Some implications of Microbiome research

  • The form of the food you eat partly determines the kinds of nutrition you can get from it.
  • Nutritional information about the food is incomplete for assessing potential nutrition from the food.
  • Which part of you eats the food affects what kind of nutrition (and other benefits) you receive from it.

Montanari, "Food is Culture"

  • Creating One's Own Food
  • q. 3: roughly, now that we're in a postindustrial age, we look at agriculture as "natural" and traditional, but from the perspective of those adopting, it wasn't. - but they experienced ag as a break from nature. against nature, but also a breakthrough and innovation. ...gave us power to rule nature (later ideas about space and time).
  • demography of agriculture is amazing.dates for ag in diff regions (5), "invention of agriculture...matter of necessity tied to population growth"
  • cites Franz Braudel, who made a version of this thesis. Agriculture organized everything (roughly). see list. economy, religion (make side point about warrior / ag gods). Civitas and civilitas depend upon agriculutre!
  • Bread, breadeaters, marks break from nature. Bread is an invention from nature (sidepoint: can sustain life, man can live on bread alone, it just isn't pretty.). Interesting reference to mythology of bread and woman in Epic of Gilgamesh (short term research oppportunity).
  • Fermented drinks - like bread, break from nature.
  • germ idea about culture: culture is produced where tradition and innovation intersect
  • Even Nature is Culture -
  • two oppositions: 1. ag and hunt/gather goes through plant and animal kingdom. but 2. sedentary/nomad favors plant over animal (in fields vs. forest opposition, plants are identified with culture, hunting with nature)
  • gods/myths of agricultural societies: stories of Persephone, rice in asian narratives, corn in Mayan legend. hunting practices treating bones of animal as sacred, basis for rebirth. Germans have their grand Miale!
  • thesis: opposition between nature and culture somewhat fictitious. something like: civilized man uses nature (food structured) in the primary myths to separate him/herself from nature.
  • p. 11: difference btween Greco-Roman and German food systems. Germ of European food system in the clash between these cultures (note that Romans saw German meat culture as barbaric. Romans would have eaten meat, but not as primary food (note, later, Christian calendars with meatless and fasting days). Christianity coming from Med culture, has bread and wine as liturgical symbols. Unification of these cultures produces European food culture, balancing bread and meat. Implications for gastronomy.
  • Playing with Time
  • no seasons in Eden or Land of Cockainge.
  • Food culture developed by prolonging and stopping time, through species variation and food storage. examples 14-15. "man made putrefaction a means to a useful end" cheese, cured meats.
  • Playing with Space
  • goal of transcending spatial limits to food, transpo. Nice story from the Mantuan court of Gonzaga. "good horse and a full purse". involves concept of "terroir".
  • Conflicts
  • food systems are not nec. harmonious (esp. given what is at stake in a food insecure world). Medieval system was a class based system of control of food production. Peasant rebellions over restricing forest access. Robin Hood. famine image: scene of farmers at the city gate starving. conflicts between lords also about food, cities taxed area villages in food. Irish food famine of 1846 due to English control of food. (can't live on potatoes).
  • examples of movements of food in global trades cultures. For Columbus ( int. term "Columbian exchange") and age of conquest, exploitation was avowed purpose.
  • Original text in "bio-history".

OCT 4: 6

Pollan, In Defense of Food, first 4 chapters of Part 1

  • background on previous work and personal food history.
  • 5: example of failure of advice on fat and cancer, coronary heart disease. Failure of claims about fiber not reducing cancer risk., also on value of fish.
  • best to understand confusion on nutrition as result of interaction of food industry, gov't and journalism.
  • claim for Part One: most of the nutritional advice of the last 50 years has made us less healthy.
  • surprising claim: It's a dangerous idea to think that food is just about health. orthorexics.
  • 10: Western Diet defined. Four of the top ten causes of death today are chronic diseases with well-established links to diet: coronary heart disease, diabetes, stroke, and cancer. Even after adjusting for longevity. Note: You could define it epidemiologically or in terms of principle traits.
  • goal: advice for enjoying food.
  • Chapter 1 - From Foods to Nutrients
  • food disappearing in favor of "nutrients" - a kind of reductionism.
  • William Prout, early 19th division of macronutrients into Protein, Carb, and Fat. Justus von Leibig, also studied soil, imp. or minerals.
  • 1912: Casimir Funk, "vitamines" - goes back to "vitalism", also "amines" because nitrogen based.
  • McGovern Committee: important ideological moment: part of the story starts in 1977, with the first Fed comm on nutrition. blow back on recommendations 23. This led to a strategy of not referring to foods directly in terms of "more or less" but nutrients. Also, good foods reduced to nutrients.
  • also from 1950's "lipid hypothesis" - that fats from meat and dairy were responsible for much dietary disease.
  • Chapter 2 - Nutritionism Defined
  • Gyorgy Scrinis -- 2002 claim.
  • Nutritionism puts the food scientists in charge. leads to thinking about foods as "good" or "bad" based on their nutrients. you find this in the history of nutrition. 29ff. Liebig made "protein" a master nutrient. Others, like Kellog and Fletcher, would promote carbs. Good place to see limits of nutritionism is in baby formula. Still no match for the real thing.
  • Chapter 3 - Nutritionism comes to Market
  • nutritionism works well with marketing of food. margarine, for example. starts as cheap fat, but then marketed as healthier. industrial foods can be redesigned as nutrition fads change.
  • early history of food adulteration. Sinclair's The Jungle, 1938 Food, Drug, and Cosmetic Act. Objections to "imitation" rule. (note other controversies: milk, real). Thrown out in 1973. If an imitation food is nutritionally similar to the food it imitates, it doesn't need to be called imitation. Opened the door to lots of chemical substitutes.
  • Chapter 4 - Food Science's Golden Age
  • diet fads tend to favor foods that can be re-engineered. Some of that can be done with animals by feeding them differently, but mostly this favors industrial food over whole foods. Note on taste of leaner corn-fed beef. Arguably a decrease in satisfaction.

Group Writing Exercise

  • What is nutritionism? Does it makes sense to say that it contributes to an ideology about food? Express both majority and minority views from your group. 300 words.


Montanari, "Food is Culture" "Fire > Cooking > Kitchen > Cusine > Civilization

Fire > Cooking > Kitchen > Cuisine > Civilization

  • cooking essential to human being. (note other resources) . Western story of Prometheus (30), the hearth identifies human being (abode).
  • Not true that cuisine is only about cooking. raw food methods. Chinese critic of western gastronomy as based too much on cooking. meanings of "Cucina". transition from womens' domain to men's.

Diamond, Ch. 10, "Agriculture's Mixed Blessings" (recommended)

  • Old "progressivist" view
  • Ants practice agriculture and something like animal husbandry
  • Details about the spread of agriculture
  • Advantages of hunter gatherer lifestyle
  • short work week, more leisure
  • better nutrition (in some comparisons)
  • no impact from crop failures
  • paleopathology: what you tell from old bones and cookware
  • health evidence from early adoption of agriculture
  • height, nutrition, cavities, anemia, tb, syphillis, mortality
  • low carb, varied nutrients
  • class structures emerge after agriculture: diff outcomes dep. on class
  • sexual inequality
  • other differences that sustained agriculture
  • increased population density made hunt/gather politically vulnerable
  • hunt/gather requires lots of room
  • agriculture created society that could produce sophisticated art (churches).
  • grants that agriculture led to lots of great things, but also to large populations, which affects the equation about quality of life.

OCT 9: 7

Two famous restaurants started by Chef/food activits.

Barber, "Intro and Ch 12"

  • Story of Eight Row flint corn at Blue Hills. sig. "varietal restoration" "heritage cultivation"
  • Story of the summer of corn at Blue Hills Farm when Barber was a kid. Note diffs.
  • planted in "Three Sisters"
  • polenta not typically thought of as high flavor experience, but in this case it was.
  • some background on "farm to table" "artisanal eaters" "locavores" -- (another side of industrial food, esp. for a chef, is the effect of varieties and production methods on flavor).
  • chef as activist (p. 10 reference to Paul Bocuse) -- Wolfgang Puck -- eventually industrial food system produces a version of the chef's innovation.
  • p. 11ff: Barber's critique of farm to table and the 1st and 2nd plates. Criticizing the way we eat: protein-centric plate, small side of veg Protein consumption per capita by country
  • Some detail on Blue Hills.
  • lamb chop story-- Problem: farm serving table. Table is still in charge of the plate. "cherry picking ingredients that are often ecologically demanding and expensive to grow" So, eliminate the menu! p.14 top of 15. Note characterization of American cuisine vs. French and Italian. No peasant heritage to base it on. Am: immoderation, big slabs of meat.
  • 1st, 2nd, 3rd plates 17. Claim: "The future of cuisine will represent a paradigm shift, a new way of thinking about cooking and eating that defies Americans' ingrained expectations." 18 Note that he gives another definition of the 3rd Plate at p. 21.
  • The food "supply chain" is an ecology. The implication is that we can assess it in terms of sustainability, flavor, quality, diversity...etc.

Nestle, "Introduction: The Food Industry and 'Eat More,' from Food Politics"

Intro: "This book exposes the ways in which food companies use political, government and professional support for the sale of their products."
  • Note opening picture of food industry: overproduction, connection to publicly traded companies creates need to sell more. [What is relationship between ownership type and production, capitalization, industrialization? Digress to woofing. More traditional farm structure might focus on sustaining real income rather than meeting investor expectations.]
  • On the other hand, this model worked well to meet nutritional deficits that continued well into the 20th century for many americans.
  • historic note: early 20th century still battled nutritional disease from inadequate calorie intake. Then shift to overconsumption.
  • her professional experience (3) with editing Surgeon General's report: no "eat less meat" - Government gave up producing the report in 2000. Authoritative advice would have required some "eat less" messaging. Could say "eat less sat. fat". (Note nutritionism.)
  • Side note: "New Dietary Guidelines Crack down on Sugar but red meat gets a pass," NPR Jan 7, 2016 [4]
  • her thesis: "that many of the nutritional problems of Americans—not least of them obesity—can be traced to the food industry's imperative to encourage people to eat more in order to generate sales and increase income in a highly competitive marketplace."
  • note her concise nutrition advice on p. 5ff. A bit old school and reductive.
  • 7ff: stats on diet and mortality, childhood obesity. Note that she does endorse "energy balance" as legitimate (more so than in Fed Up, but she would agree with their point)
  • 8ff: food production and consumption trends. more total daily calories (3200 in '70 to 3900 in the 90's), increased consumption of low fat foods, more restaurant food, where we are in relation to USDA advice. see p. 10. low variety of food in actual diets. (Note: Not just more protein. More of everything! Revise our protein hyp.)
  • 11: dimensions and trends in food industry and international - European diets are approximating US diet in calories from fat. "nutrition transition" idea that as cultures move from primary healthy diets to industrial diets they ironically seek more calories and want cheap calories. US less than 10% of income on food (see wiki links for more)
  • Some food economics: percent of food value from farming across food types. Advertising spending on industrial food, using philanthropy for branding, new food products (25)
  • Follow data: size of industry, timeline of tobacco company purchases of industry. Farm value vs. Marketing of industrial food. p. 18. Stop to consider explanations.
  • Social trends: female labor market participation, changes in perception of "cooking". Scratch cooking associated more with sub-cultures.

OCT 11: 8

Pollan, Part II of In Defense of Food

  • Part II : Western Diet and diseases of civilization
  • Chapters 1 and 2
  • Summer 1982 - W. Australia aborigines study -- "metabolic syndrome" -- defined, theorized as signiture disease of western diet.
  • O'Dea's results p. 87. Note that she didn't look for a silver bullet, a single factor. Just the diet change.
  • Major premise: Compare us to many traditional diet populations and the difference in diseases profile is stark. It might be the "whole diet pattern" rather than a single imbalance. (The imbalances are symptoms.)
  • Group of early 20th c intellectuals (bot 90) noticed absence of chronic disease in populations they travelled to. Pollan chooses the story of Weston Price from this group.
  • Two objections to hyp that Western diet is to blame: disease/race theory, demographic theory (live longer). In both cases, the evidence refutes the claim.
  • Weston Price -- b. 1870. diseases of teeth are effects of Western diet. 1939 major work after global travels looking at teeth. Lots and lots of teeth. kind of an amateur scientists, but collected important data (and seen right by later dental research). hard to find control groups. Price found big differences in Vit A and D. (Note comment about Masai -- . Multiple successful diets for omnivores.) pl 98: note comparison of groups with wild animal flesh and agriculturalists. made comparisons of grass fed / winter forage fed animals to find vitamin differences.
  • Albert Howard -- similar time period, making argument against synthetic nitrogen (more later). both pioneers in what would later be seen as an ecological approach to food production.
  • Chapter 3
  • thesis: Calling for a more ecological way of thinking about food. think of food as mutual adaptation of plants and animals to humans. propagation/place in ecology of food chain. example of fruit: ripeness, transportation, high nutrient state. Corn vs. corn syrup. (Note point about possible future humans who could use HFCS. also true of milk in history of agriculture. Pollan doesn't quite give the details on milk. not like a light switching on. Textbook example of gene-culture co-evolution. Selective advantage for those who keep lactase expression going past breast feeding. You can always leave it to natural selection to favor those who can get on with the new diet.)
  • Types of Changes that mark the Western Industrial Diet
  • 1. From Whole Foods to Refined
  • prestige of refined products: prior to roller technology, white rice and flour would be labor added, story of grain rollers 107, Refined flour is the first industrial fast food. Fresh flour lasts days. 108: specific details germ/endosperm, but also local mills, water power, (again, conquering space and time, as Montanari would say). Fortified bread.
  • Jacobs and Stefffen study: epidemiological study showing effects of whole grains, but also that groups not eating whole grains, but getting equivalent nutrients did not enjoy benefits. alludes to possible wholism in effects. Sugar intake since 1870's.
  • 2. From Complexity to Simplicity
  • The flip side of food degradation is soil degradation. nitrogen fertilizers. simplification through chemical processing. control. Documented nutrient decline in foods. (Think about this in terms of diet. You get a larger variety of X fruit or veg with less nutrition, but it's cheaper. Problem is that you have a limited volume of food intake, so you lose value in the end and possibly compromise nutrition.) Simplification of species diversity and monoculture of ag. corn and soy are very efficient producers of carb calories. but then we draw less food diversity by focusing on these two.
  • conclusion: there may be a false economy in industrial food production. varietals, soil, diversity of food have values that are lost in assessing costs at the retail level and without this knowledge.
  • 3. Quality to Quantity
  • decline in nutrient content (118-119: review), "nutritional inflation," interest in "phytochemicals" -- seem related to anti-oxidant and anti-inflammatory effects.
  • decline in food nutrient content from food grown in impoverished soil. Calls the result "nutritional inflation" because you have to get greater volumes of food to get your nutrition. some details on how soils matter: growing time affects mineral and vitamin levels (bio-accumulation). some evidence that organic plants have chemicals related to immune responses.
  • "overfed and undernurished"
  • cites Bruce Ames, serious researcher interest in micronutrition and cancer. Interesting theory (unproven) that "satiety" mechanisms are tied to nutrition such that a malnurished body always feels hungry.
  • 4. Leaves to Seeds
  • shift from leaves to seeds decreases anti-oxidants and phytonutrients in our diet. seeds tilt in their fat profile toward O6. less healthy fat. O3 fats spoil faster, so tend to be removed from industrial food. nutritional advice to move toward seed oils didn't originally distinguish O3 from O6. Claims that lipidphobia led us to shift to seed oils (give up butter --which has some 03 fats and move to corn -- which is high in 06 fats) and that led to a change in ratio of O6/O3 from 3:1 to 10:1. note the connection p. 129 between fat profile and sense of "food security" -- interesting digression here. Could we have a deep fear of hunger that still leads us to choose overeating, especially of caloric foods?
  • O3 decline also related to mental health. 130
  • 5. From Food Culture to Food Science
  • shift from reliance on national / ethnic food cultures to science. (digress on how national food cultures are often defined by major cookbooks).


OCT 16: 9

Nestle, Chapter 1, "From Eat More to Eat Less"

  • this reading gives more detail to the argument as summarized in the Intro. You could say that we are the victims of an industry that succeeded too well!
  • early history of USDA survey of food supply and consumption, 1909. (interesting to note that early studies in the 1890s predate knowledge of vitamins and dietary causes of onditions like beriberi, pellagra, and scurvy.
  • "food groups" approach since early 20th century. War food policy, post-war "food for freedom" promotes sugar and candy. "eat more". Even in 1950's people weren't hitting RDAs in some areas. response of US gov't "eat more". 1960s war on poverty also reinforced "eat more" (recall %33 poverty rate).
  • McGovern committe is the pivot point on "eat more" "eat less". Ancel Keys, explaining increase in heart disease since war, uses comparative data on food cultures with plant based diets. Hits on lipid hypothesis. reduce calories from fat. go low fat. (connect this discussion to Pollan, 40-50)
  • details from the infamous 1977 hearings, p. 40-41. replaced "reduce consumption of meat" with "choose meats, ....which will reduce saturate fat intake."
  • 43: Surgeon General's contribution -- 1979 first attention to processed foods nutritional value, publication Healthy Peoplerecommended less red meat (last time Fed Gov't would do that). Instead, switch to lean meats.
  • back to USDA guidelines: 1985, first mention of maintaining ideal weight. "avoid too much" instead of "eat less". 49: consensus among nutrtitionists in late 1980s. Series of authoritative reports against high fat meat. consensus on limits of calories from fats, salt. consensus on need to restrict overall calorie intake as well.
  • note last page summary: transition in 1980s of not resisting the consensus from the nutritional community, but using it to market nutrients. This coincides with the thesis of "nutritionism".
  • Some inferences from Nestle's narrative: We have had the food politics that you would expect from the historical and social conditions of our culture. The historical conditions of malnurishment and insecure food supplies, along with economic organizations that are motivated to increase profit and production gave us a kind of momentum that produced food in abundance. But it was hard for the political system, having developed political and institutional systems of support for increasing production of food products to transition to a world in which the best nutritional advice was to tell people to eat less of many kinds of foods.

Nestle, "Chapter 2: Politics Versus Science -- opposing the food pyramind, 1991-1992"

  • Tells the story of the blocked printing of the 1991 Eating Right Pyramid. Meat and Dairy did not appreciate being "narrowed" in the pyramid. She highlights the USDA mandate (over HEW) after 1977 to produce nutrition information, the tension between that agency and then "HEW" (health education and welfare), (now DHHS) where the Surgeon General was.
  • p. 55. Specific design process for the pyramid. Compare other countries approaches. [5]. Compare to current US Dietary Guidelines for 2015-2020. [6] [7]
  • the controversy over the pyramid was mostly about the diminished size of the meat group and it's proximity to the sugar, fats, and oils. If you look at the previous chapter's image of the "Basic Four" design, meat and dairy were "in front" and "on top" of the image. The ensuing controversy had partly to do with gov't officials dodging responsibility for the nutritionists work.

Small Group Discussion

  • Considering this political history, what part of government should have responsibility for informing the public about diet and health?
  • Review the various ways of picturing a healthy diet including some of the other governments' approaches and "My Plate" (see Guidelines or [8])
  • Should we try to represent a healthy diet in a picture, heuristics (Pollan, for example), or just text? Come up with your own food heuristics or image-ideas.

OCT 18: 10

Moss, Ch. 4, "Is It Cereal or Candy?"

  • John Harvey Kellog vs. Will Kellog. Drama at Battle Creek Michigan.
  • note early ad claims by Post for Grape-Nuts and Postum -- shows something about food psychology and tendency to fad diets.
  • $660 million to $4.4 billion 1970 to mid 80s.
  • breakfast cereal growth coincided with increased labor participation by women. Easy meal to eliminate cooking for, especially with cheap milk.
  • Ira Shannon, Dental activist!, measures sugar content on breakfast cereals after Feds refuse. 74
  • Jean Mayer, Harvard nutritionist, big deal, early obesity research. title for chapter from an essay of his. urged moving cereals over 50% sugar to the candy aisle.
  • note nomenclature issue in the public policy discussion: breakfast cereals v. breakfast foods. who cares?
  • 76: Key theoretical claim: The breakfast cereal industry responded to concern over sugar in part by developing market campaign to children and by putting marketing in charge of product development (85)
  • 76ff: political story of sugar in 1977 -- FTC over responds to concern about marketing of cereals to kids by banning all advertising to kids. battle between advertising lobby and FTC. advertising ban failed. Washington Post labels it "the National Nanny". role of gov't issue. "social engineering". still, FTC report was credible and damning on the topic of advertising sugar to kids. note the industry documents showing the industry's effort to "engineer" their consumer.
  • 2/3 price of the cereal is in the advertising (!).
  • 1990's competition from store brands -- 82ff: note value of minute market share movements. "product news" - continual change in marketing. Kellog is losing out at one point, Moss finishes chapter with their strategic response: concept of "permission" (when a taste is close enough for the consumer to say that had an experience of a real thing through the taste, example: the taste of rice crispy treats in a cereal. "We didn't have to be literal. We just had to have the flavor spot on." (87)
  • Key theme from Kellog's market share loss: This is a real crisis for a food company. 87ff. CinnaMon/Bad appple campaign
  • odd twist - the "Cinnamon" and "bad apple" commercials. [[9]]
  • Frosted Mini-Wheats became "brain food". fraudulent research. 91-92 Commercial in this NPR story Also, check out these oldies. [10]
  • Kellogg even tried comparing kids who ate Mini-Wheats to kids who skipped breakfast!
  • Interesting. You could argue that we entered a "post truth" era in the food industry before politics.

Zepeda, Lydia, "Carving Values with a Spoon"

  • Zepeda gives us a great example of philosophy of food writing that addresses many of the kinds of issues we have identified in the course so far. Note how she moves us off a "binary" of "consumer responsibility" vs. "regulatory state"
  • How do you assess responsibility? individual vs. food industry. Her thesis: context affects choice.
  • Values of US food context: lots of cheap calories, low % of spending on food, little concern about conditions of production. (note her point that we are using public money to do this. In a way, the opposite of a Nanny state might be one in which corporations maximize profit from food by degrading the quality of food.)
  • some stats: food away from home up to 42% of food expenditures. 2004.
  • national policy and cultural values influence by pioneer experience (p. 36), which often involved food insecurity and starvation. (Mention 1493- Thanksgiving story). Also might explain bias toward storable foods.
  • postwar food culture characterized by industrial versions of pre-war diet. frozen dinners, more desserts, bigger serving sizes tracked increases in wealth.
  • industrial deskilling -- "end of cooking"; labor participation from women increases.
  • Eating in the New Millenium - focus on palette and how we spend our time.
  • 1990s-2000s -- note p. 39. Interesting claim: we don't want real cuisine, but a branded version of it we can trust.
  • 30 minutes a day on food prep and clean up. Simple Diet Plan: 70-90 minutes.
  • wages in the food and restaurant industry are among the lowest.

OCT 23: 11

Pollan, In Defense of Food, Part 3

  • Chapter 1
  • concedes need to use science in spite of some ideology in nutrition science (nutrient fads, for example); big evidence about Western Diet is still epidemiological.
  • hard to avoid industrial food if meat is raised on a Western diet (but not impossible. What does a whole food diet cost?)
  • "eating algorithms" - interesting concept. rules of thumb for choosing food.
  • Chapter 2: Eat Food
  • Use grandma's standard; if it can't rot, it's not food. Ingredients; products with health claims; stay on the edges of the supermarket, avoid the commercial supermarket... (easier to just eliminate most processed foods). (Interesting to note how much smaller a food store can be without so much industrial food.)
  • Sara Lee's Soft & Smooth Whole Grain White Bread --- Know when you are looking at gibberish.
  • (With plausible claims, ask whether there are any rules governing the claim. Not so much with "whole wheat" in industrial context.)
  • Qualified health claims. [11] Examples of disputes based on QHCs
  • Chapter 3: Mostly Plants, especially leaves.
  • leafy plants especially (current guidelines distinguish types of plants by color and starch). Gives the anti-oxidant theory (which seems to be holding up well)
  • try not to isolate the seed from the plant. (Kind of like isolating the juice from the fruit.) Eat the whole thing.
  • "You are what you eat eats too" - you can't have healthy animal food if you feed the animals a Western Diet. (disgress on Andrew Smith argument -- can't be vegetarian). Attention to soil.
  • Pro: wild food, supplements, traditional cuisines (typically nutrient dense and balanced), scepticism about new foods, don't look for "magic" diets, enjoy food.
  • Chapter 4: How to Eat
  • European food culture: behaviors -
  • Pay More, Eat Less - not just trade offs, but actually asserting control of amounts.
  • Is save meal prep time a false convenience? economist study using concept of "time cost" of eating. Microwaves reduce that, for example.
  • Eat Meals vs. "continuous eating" (some issues here: family units don't characterize your part of the life span at the moment. Ideas?)
  • Some things to add to Pollan's list:
  • make ingredient "trade-ups" - fresh bread for factory, 50cent eggs for 11cent eggs, grass fed whole milk and butter.
  • potato chips comparison: Lay's vs. Kettle Brand
  • some mindful eating concepts: preparing to make food, attending to making food, savoring food. Attend to the eating space, light a candle, use a place mat, allow some ceremony, consider gratitude/food as grace. Make eating sacred. Eat like your life depends on it.

Small Group Discussion

  • 1. Using the continuum we developed between "Ultra-industrial and Ultra-Organic/Saporific locate some of your favorite foods. Where are they on the scale? Which ones could you imagine "trading up" in cost and quality? Compare with others in the group?
  • 2. Recall a time when you or a group of friends or family last made a "big deal" out of eating a meal together? Was that part also satisfying? Why? How do the satisfactions of a meal with others compare to those of eating alone? What do you or might you do to make a "big deal" out of eating alone? Is treating food as sacred going too far?
  • 3. Evaluate Pollan's "Pay more, eat less" advice in the context of our discussions of "food value" and monthly food budgets. Does it make sense?

OCT 25: 12

Ethical Diets #1

Singer and Mason, "What Should We Eat"

  • This reading gives you an overview of value oriented questions in diets.

Singer and Mason, "Ch 4, Meat and Milk Factories"

  • "Jake" refers to real interview subject. Book framed around several distinct diets of actual people and then journalism and ethics layered in.
  • Pigs
  • 90% fewer farms producing 103 million pigs, up from 69 million in 1975.
  • Pig farms environmental footprint dominated by excrement production. 4x human/day.
  • Pig interior life: smart, can express preferences, natural behaviors include socializing, forming groups, exploring enivronment. acreage ratios.
  • Evidence against sow stalls in EU investigation.
  • Interview with pig farmer, Wayne Bradley: small industrial, 10,000 pigs, (Implies large operation approach 700,000). Small examples of welfare: anesthesia for castration, limited nursing to accelerate production, continuous treatment for growth which cause side effects. Interesting interaction between a small industrial farmer and journalist. Note how tense it was and the allowance of an alternate ending from the farmer.
  • Milk
  • difficulty sourcing to particular dairy, even specialty brand. Cf. Pure Eire dairy [12]
  • Natural behaviors: form friendships, have emotional lives, experience pleasure on figuing something out. [13]
  • Lawnel Farm: about 900 cows, semi-industrial. cows indoors all the time, but not tied down, caves separated almost immediately, treatment of downers (
  • BST (from wiki page: rBST has not been allowed on the market in Canada, Australia, New Zealand, Japan, Israel, or the European Union since 2000. Argentina also banned the use of rBST. The FDA, World Health Organization, and National Institutes of Health have independently stated that dairy products and meat from BST-treated cows are safe for human consumption. In the United States, public opinion led some manufacturers and retailers to market only milk that is rBST-free.)
  • Fate of male dairy cows. Ethics of veal production. Short life of confinement. Veal production down, but calves often made into pet food (digression on eat production for our carnivorous pets. yikes.) Now mostly raised for beef, veal in decline [14]
  • air pollution from dairy and cattle production.
  • Beef cows
  • Journalist buying calves: Pollan's is "534" - gets growth hormone implant, banned in EU. Problem of feeding a forager grain instead of grass. unnatural diet. "feedlot bloat"
  • History of regulation of meat products as cattle feed after mad cow outbreak. [15] FDA did ban "beef blood" and other animal products in feed. [16]
  • Feedlot runoff: evidence of environment damage in fish alteration in stream with runoff. "endocrine disruption" manure injection in fields.
  • Australian ranch: example of "happy meat" -- like "crowd cow"?
  • Ethics of slaughter - some improvement in first time success. also an area in which Temple Grandin has been influential. traditional slaughter methods, like kosher and halaal are touted as humane when performed properly.
  • Additional sources:
  • US Veal production: [17]
  • Local Organic certified grass fed dairy: [18]
  • Mad Cow Outbreak / Regulation timeline: [19]
  • The Secret Life of cows: [20]
  • Cow trauma: [21]

Fischer, Bob, "Arguments for Consuming Animal Products"

  • This article considers the ethical possibilities for arguing either against prohibitions on meat eating or in favor of meat eating.
  • Intro
  • "man on the street" intuitions: health, natural, nice, normal. Not very promising starts.
  • organization: survey of arguments:
  • 1. "ought" or "may" eat meat;
  • 2. practices: animal friendly ok; industrial ok; insects, oysters, roadkill, wild animals
  • 3. arguments based on empirical assumptions about moralying interesting traits: sentience, sustainability
  • 4. arguments based on standard ethical approaches: utility, rights, contracts, biocentrism, speciesism (this is the approach he takes)
  • Utilitarians arguments favoring consumption of animal products (or problems with simple utilitarian arguments against meat)
  • might focus on hunting or eating a whale (loss of utility of one big animal vs. pleasure of many)
  • 1st objection to simple utility args: causal impotence argument: "If no particular purchase makes a diff, then no collective difference either."
  • might argue against utility of meat eating (Garrett 244) since veg diet gives longer life, but this doesn't make a categorical prohibition since moderate meat eating not bad for you and includes gustatory pleasures.
  • 2nd objection to simple utility args: Replacability argument (Singer): loss of utility to animal you kill is made up for by creating a new animal. Like "Logic of the Larder" argument (Salt): we do animals a favor by creating them, so this offsets their loss of utility in being eaten.
  • Fischer points out that we would not dream of applying these arguments to humans (ones with cog disabilities, growing a human as organ donor, etc.). Also, these arguments don't consider disutility of animal productions (environment, utilities lost to inefficiency (e.g. hung relief))
  • 3rd objection to simple utility args: veg/vegan diets have disutilities as well: killing animals that eat crops. Maybe optimal reduction of killing found in some meat consumption. (animals killed per hectare) Empirical evidence here is pretty speculative.
  • roadkill arguments! West Virginia Road Kill Cookoff.... also, entomophagy: incects, mealworms, crickets. Oysters (bivalves), scallops, clams
  • Rights based arguments
  • Tom Regan's rights argument for respecting inherent value of individuals still allows for liberty principle to handle "life boat" cases. Hugh Lehman argues that humans are in such a circumstance due to their nutritional needs. Others (George) suggest that specific groups of individuals like kids and nursing women are allow to eat animals under Regan's theory. Fischer doubts this justifies industrial animal ag and is sceptical of the empirical claims.
  • Cuneo offers another version of this kind of argument, not killing is too great a burden on rights.
  • Animal rights deniers: Reductio: if animals had rights, we'd have to stop them killing each other. Even if this is exteme, it is hard to justify animal experimentation if animals have right.
  • Denying direct duty theories: Singer and Regan argee that animals have rights because of properties (sentience or being the subject of a life) that confer a direct duty on us not to violate their rights by eating them. Without direct duties, harming animals is only wrong when it violates someone else's rights (like someone who owns the animal). This contractarian view denies moral standing to animals.

A weakness of this view is that it might not be strong enough to guarantees right

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