Philosophy of Food Fall 2020 Class Notes and Reading Schedule

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Contents

1: SEP 2: Course Introduction

  • Welcome - personal introduction and welcome.

About the Course (technical information and course management)

  • Course Websites: Wiki & Courses.alfino.org (linked from alfino.org), Sharepoint site (link at main course wiki page).
  • Use of pseudonyms - Saints and animals
  • Use of peer review and peer evaluation
  • Student choice in work and grading scheme - Default grade scheme shows ranges for grade weights. You will be able to choose optional assignments and assign them weight in your grading scheme. (See courses.alfino.org)
  • Transparency in grade information. Never give out your Saint name. Customer service will never ask you for your Saint name. A friendly grade curve gives you good information about your performance while reducing grade stress.

About the Course (course content and research questions)

  • What's so exciting about studying food deeply at this time? Start a list....
  • Philosophy of Food Course Research Questions
  • Disciplines represented in the course: gastronomy, food history, bio-history, evolutionary psych, economics, politics, nutrition, microbiology, soil agronomy, food ethics.
  • Major Course Topics (see reading list): Microbiome, Macronutrition, Dietary Guidelines, Western Industrial Diet, Gastronomy, Food philosophy, Food Histories, Plant Intelligence, Food and Animal Ethics, Environment and Agriculture, Food and Power, Food and Religion, Organic Diets.

Succeeding in the Course and Assignments

  • Prep Cycle - Monitor time commitments and results early on.
  • Keep Course Research Questions in Mind -
  • The best student writing shows the cumulative effect of deep reading, active critical thinking, and reflection.
  • Required Assignments and Default Grade Weights for your Grading Scheme
  • Final Paper 10-30%
  • Final Essay 10-20%
  • Points 50-70%
  • Points Assignments
  • 1. Student Food biographies (5) Assigned 9/1, due 9/9
  • 2. USDGS and Me (10) Assigned 9/16, due 9/18
  • 3. Carbohydrate Worksheet (10) Assigned 10/5
  • 4. Culinary Cosmos Pantry Photos (5) Assigned and due 10/7
  • 5. Assessing Agriculture 600 words (20) Peer reviewed: Assigned 10/21, writing due 10/23, reviews due 10/28, backevals due TBD
  • 6. Fats Worksheet (10) Assigned and due 10/28
  • 7. Ethics of Eating (20) 800 words Peer reviewed: Assigned 11/4, writing due 11/8, reviews due 11/15, backevals due TBD
  • 8. Proteins Worksheet (10) Assigned and due 11/9

Food Biographies - (Points, ungraded, short writing, reflection)

  • Please write a paragraph in answer to the following questions by September 9, 2020, 11:59pm.
  • Topic: What kind of eater are you? How would you describe your relationship to food?
  • Here are some prompts for you to consider as you prepare your food biographies:
  • How would you describe your diet? What categories of foods will you eat or not? On principle or preference?
  • Do you like foods related to your ethnicity? Do you cook?
  • How important or prominent is food in your memory as a child or your current life or both?
  • Do you engage in food related social media activity?
  • Are you a good cook? Do you dance when you cook?
  • Did your parents or guardians cook from scratch for you? Did they cook? Did you learn to cook?
  • How knowledgeable are you about nutrition? Is your experience of food connected to concerns about nutrition and dietary disease or not so much?

To Do List from 1st Day

  • Make sure you can find the three course websites and that you understand what information and tools each provides.
  • Fill out the first day food survey (on main course wiki page)
  • Fill out "Roster Information" form (on main course wiki page)
  • Browse the top 8 links on the main course wiki page
  • Look out for readings attached to an email. You will need these for our next class
  • Email me if you would like to attend class in person next time.
  • Keep an eye out for Food News!

2: SEP 9. Unit 1: Food Health and Nutrition

Assigned Work

  • Sonnenbergs, C 1, "What is the Microbiota and Why Should I Care?" (26)
  • Sonnenbergs, C 5, "Trillions of Mouths to Feed" (111-136) (25)
  • Food biographies due by midnight before this class.
  • Recommended: View one of these gut movies:

In-class content

  • Discussion of First Day Food Survey
  • Initial review of food biographies (we'll start this by email)

Assignment Due

  • Complete your food biographies (see instructions on Class Day #1)

Intestines.jpg

Microbiomepic.png


Some Food concepts and issues from the First Day Food Survey

  • Q3: "Plant based diet". Consensus diet among mainstream nutritionists. Most recent dietary disease disappears when people change to a plant based diet. We will discussion research on meat and dairy later.
  • Q5: Eating out. 50% of you once a week 25% several x a week. Low vs. norms. Also low on Q9 on fast food Norming data. "According to the survey, 56 percent say they dine at a restaurant, get take out or have a meal delivered 2 to 3 times a week. Fully 10 percent said they eat out 4 to 6 times a week, and 6 percent said they eat out everyday.
  • Q6: Very interesting. More cooking training than I expected. But cooking is trending up, not just from the virus. Cooking trends
  • Q11: Meat consumption. About half of you reported: "Pretty much every day" US per capita 96 kg / 211 pounds. About 4 pounds a week. [1]
  • Q13 & 14 : Don't have time to cook -- evenly split. Half think it takes 1-2 hours / half think it takes 3-4. Opinions? How much time does it take not to cook? Practical cooking. Examples.
  • Q15: Healthy skepticism about the health of prepared foods.
  • Q17: 3/4 of you disagree or strongly disagree that cooking is a lot like other chores.
  • Q19: Most of you say you do not try to avoid feeling hungry. Good! (Ask for amplification.)
  • Prepared foods -- Industrial prepared vs. Scratch cooking (which is also technically "prepared") (why focus on industrial?). Take out from a healthy restaurant is healthy. Industrial prepared foods have several important traits: designed to travel, often sterile, reduction of food parts that spoil like whole grains, palatability (goes down easy), chemically engineered for stability, often contains concealed salts and added sugars.
  • Organic - meaning: typically a claim about the absence of herbicides and pesticides (and possibly fungicides - mention wine). What is doesn't address: varietal choice (why bigger isn't always better), soil conditions (example of mexican cherry tomatoes), which enhance both flavor and nutrition.
  • Why does varietal choice matter? Heritage or heirloom variety vs. industrial varieties. Often industrial fruits and vegetables are larger and have a larger percentage of water to nutrients. Start the "price/value" discussion.

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
  • Inflammatory Bowel Disease. People on Western Diet wo/IBD may still not have healthy M
  • 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. “Microbiota plasticity”
  • Baseline M - cant' be health Western Diet eaters. studies of groups like Hadza -- far more diverse.
  • 19 - Evolved Symbiotic relationship between us and bacteria --
  • Microbiota — Microbiome (the collective genotypes of the residents intestines). Example of Japanese seaweed consuming bacteria.
  • types of symbiotic relationship - parasitic, commensal (one party benefits, little or no effect on the other), mutualism. Microbiota and us have a symbiotic, mutualist relationship. Think of them as an extension of our genome. !
  • 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. But our fates are linked!
  • 22-30 - Cultural History and History of Science on Bacteria -- or, how germs got such a bad name.
  • Pasteur -- germ theory of diseases.
  • The Great Stink 1858 London, Miasma theory disproved, Cholera bacterium, not isolated until near end of century. Dr. Robert Koch. Because of this history we tend to think of bacteria as threats.
  • 60-70's: Abbigail Salyers: early pioneer, 2008: Human Microbiome Project. Note how recent this field is. One of the pioneers was still working in 2005.
  • Note research questions on p. 28.
  • Contemporary research: gnotobiotic mice. early fecal transplant studies of.[Dr. Jeffrey Gordon].


  • Some functions of the Microbiota:
  • Harvesting calories from MACs
  • immune system support
  • resistance to harmful bacteria
  • regulation of metabolism
  • production of seratonin
  • production of SCFAs, which affect weight control
  • involved in production of anti-carcinogenic compounds.
  • prevention of IBS and other disorders of the gut.

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.
  • To improve gut diversity, eat ferments and fiber. whole grains and rice. pets, gardens...pets help with our microbiota. (Elsewhere, food provokes an immune response. That's a good thing.)
  • introduces acronym: MAC -- these are really complex carbs.
  • Microbiota mechanisms:
  • Nice metaphor of intestines to waste management. Note diffs bt. Small intestine and large in function.
  • Life is hard for our M germs: no oxygen down there and transit time is fast. So they make short chain fatty acids (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)
  • Sig. claim: 117: "Providing more..."
  • 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. Note on "transit time". Overconsumption of refined carbs. (S&S mention here that public health attention didn't stay on refined Carbs. fear of fat, elsewhere "lipidphobia" took more attention.)
  • Carb chemistry/metabolism basics -- 120: also in our nutrition textbook chapters. Note unique types of saccharides in particular foods: read 121 and 126; Oligosaccharides ferment in gut. insulin resistance. Big point here. At the level of MACs, plant chemical diversity is reflected in diversity of M. and it's products.
  • 122: glycemic index and glycemic load. show how to look up food values. note that glycemic index isn't really an issue with most whole fruits and vegetables.
  • Measuring MACs - the authors acronym for Macrobiotically Available Carbohydrates. - no standard measure of dietary fiber (note discrepancies from above.) 124. So author’s prefer MACs as a term since it focuses on what the M can eat from your carbs.
  • Undernurished gut bacteria can start eating the mucus lining of the gut. (This was also in a segment of one of the gut movies.). Feed them or they'll eat you!
  • 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 correlates with anti-inflammatory effects, thinness, low insulin resitane, metabolic potential for procarginogenic compounds. French study interesting because it suggests that dietary change and quickly alter M diversity (richness).
  • Gordon's famous 2013 FMT mouse research: need M and M-supporting diet. Note caveat 129. Can't just benefit from the microbes alone. Fecal transplant with poor diet killed off beneficial bacteria.

Refining MACs out of the diet.

  • 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. Highly milled whole wheat flour will behave differently in your gut that rough milled.
  • What about the Inuit?
  • What about excess gas? Interesting consolations.
  • 135: Note their dietary advice. A high MAC, non-industrial omnivorous diet.

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.

3: SEP 14

Assigned Reading

More on Fiber

  • Isolated Fiber in industrial food
  • And you would think "fiber is fiber," but no. Isolated fiber. Also, an example of "nutritionism". Real fiber needs are not a fad.
  • Intact (soluble and insoluble) vs. Isolated (synthetically produced) - Resistant starch, polydextrose, indigestible dextrins. Research question: Are these MACs? Guessing not. FDA FAQ on dietary fiber
  • Examples of intact fiber in traditional and modern global cuisine. (Haven School CB)
  • Define nutritionism.
  • Demo nutrition site. Are there sites that track intact vs. isolated fiber?
  • Personal optional exercise: Review your diet for fiber. Try to distinguish intact vs. isolated.

Food Budget Exercise

Recall question 21 from our First Day Food Survey: "Q21 - Organic food is too expensive to afford on a $15 / hour wage (about 25%percentile by household in US)." 8 strong agree, 7 agree, 6 somewhat, 1 disagree.
First part of the discussion involves "organic" (recall notes from previous class)
Next we should try to put some numbers to the problem. (On board calculation).
  • Small group exercise: Compare notes on monthly food costs for a single eater (or divide if shared) omitting alcohol, non-food items, but including take out, coffee, soda, etc., and restaurants)? If possible, try to estimate Breakfast, Lunch, and Dinner, and non-meal eating.
  • Compare your budgets and then we will consider the question of the cost of an organic or, better, “high food value” food budget. (7-8 minutes)
  • Cost of a "high value foods" diet vs. cost of translating your current diet into a "high value foods" diet. Probably can't do the latter for $500/month. But you can, in Spokane anyway, have an optimal food value diet for about $600 a month.


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. Microbes in the gut can trigger immune responses and some even release anti-biotics directly at pathogens.
  • IBS and IBD - 177: Finding your personal "transit time".
  • 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.

4: SEP 16

Assigned Reading and Writing

  • Nestle, Marion. Chapter 2, Politics Versus Science -- opposing the food pyramind, 1991-1992 (pp. 51-66).
  • US Dietary Guidelines (150) (browse with worksheet questions in mind).
  • The Lancet, Carcinogenicity of consumption of red and processed meat
  • American Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics.
  • Note: The remainder of this unit consists of three chapters on nutrition, which we will time to the end of the next three units.
  • Self-Assessment of Diet in Relation to USDGs (Points, ungraded, analytic, short writing)

Some terms to track from today's class

  • dietary transition
  • healthy eating patterns
  • nutrient dense
  • Permissive guidance "health intake of added sugars"
  • Regulatory capture
  • The "consensus diet" - The areas of general agreement or overlap of findings among mainstream nutritionists, physiologists, and medical researchers regarding a the features of healthy eating.

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. Lots of drama and intrigue!
  • 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.
  • 53: specific law in 1988 preventing DHHS from issuing nutritional advice that might adversely affect agricultural interests.
  • 54-55: documents the development of the 1988 pyramid. Clearly a multi-year process with lots of professional review.
  • p. 55. Specific design process for the pyramid. Compare other countries approaches. [2]. Compare to current US Dietary Guidelines for 2015-2020. [3] [4]
  • 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.


USDGs, Lancet, and AmAcad of Nutrition

  • US Dietary Guidelines -- Paging through the guidelines, what new ways of representing health eating patterns do you find that supplement our nutrition study?
  • Note letter from both USDA and HHS - in light of our reading in Nestle.
  • more use of phrase "healthy eating pattern" "nutrient dense"
  • xv: Guidelines at a glance
  • Lots of survey data on diet in the population.
  • p. 18: Table 1-1: note classification of protein foods (!) protein is still the master macronutrient in our cultural perception of dietetics. also p. 51
  • p. 26: chart on oils and fat types.
  • p. 28: Why start a section on "Added Sugars" with a subheading "Healthy Intake"? -- it's a permissive guide.
  • p. 35: Note that veg are now recommended by colors.
  • Chapter 2 - Norming data.
  • p. 50. Note use of "protein group" to refer to meat, dairy, and eggs.
  • p. 53: illustration of nutrient density and industrial preparations.
  • p. 54: note age curve for added sugar.
  • Appendix has some good diet pattern examples.
  • The Lancet -- "Carcinogenicity of Consumption of Red and Processed Meat"
  • Major conclusions, evidence, authoritativeness
  • curing, frying, grilling and barbequing produce carcinogenic chemical
  • 17% increase risk of colon cancer at 100/grams of red meat and 18% for 50 grams of processed meats.
  • Note mechanistic evidence for red meat strong, for processed meat moderate.
  • What are the specific thresholds and risk factors by consumption?
  • Many hundreds of studies across many countries. less certainty about the red meat conclusion from epidemiological data, though mechanistic evidence seemed stronger for red meat. Note studies on second page. More on HAA and PHA, which are chemicals formed at high heats that we often cook meat.
  • American Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics: Position on Vegetarian Diets
  • What is the overall assessment of the Academy of the healthiness vegetarian and vegan diets?
  • bio availablity of iron lower for vegs, but not all bad. No longer higher DRI for iron due to new evidence
  • What are the major recommendations for dietary supplementation or monitoring?
  • Vit D, B12, maybe calcium, (but these are common supplements for non-vegs as well)
  • To what degree do low and no-meat diets reduce your risk of Western Dietary Diseases? 12ff: long list of health benefits. Please read through this part especially.
  • Note: effect of both the Lancet and Academy articles: most of benefits from veg diet available to low-meat diet, most of hazards of high meat diet concentrated on red & processed meat.

Self-Assessment of USDGs, either in relation to your diet or generally. (Points, ungraded, analytic, short writing)

  • Please write a paragraph (of no more than 500 words) in answer to the ONE of the following questions by September September 18, 2020, 11:59pm. Include your word count in your answer.
  • 1. After reading through the USDGs (and Lancet article), identify aspects of your diet as they relate to both norms and recommendations. Are you a typical American eater, as defined by the USDGs? If not, where do you differ from the norms?
  • 2. After reading through the USDGs (and Lancet article), identify norming data that you think documents some of the Americans' most unhealthy eating habits. Is there evidence of improvement in any areas?

5: SEP 21. Unit 2: Critique of Industrial Food Systems

Assigned Reading

  • Taxonomy of Successes and Failures of the US Industrial Food System
  • Moss, Michael. Chapter 4, "Is it Cereal or Candy," Salt Sugar Fat. (pp. 68-93)
  • Rubric training and practice review of student writing on USDGs.
  • Begin Peer Review: Self-Assessment of USDGs, either in relation to your diet or generally. (Points, ungraded, analytic, short writing)

Rubric Training

  • Discussion of Flow and Content areas of assignment rubric. Typical point assignments. Advice about norming as your review: Case of high / low grades. Sometimes it helps to look at more than the ones you review.
  • Examples from Spring 2019 student writing. The prompt was:
  • What do critics of industrial food mean by "industrial food" and what are the most significant and authoritative criticisms of industrial food and the industrial food system? Are there healthy industrial foods?

Peer Review: Student Writing on USDGs.

  • Stage 2:
  • 1. Review the Assignment Rubric for this exercise. We will only be using the Flow and Content areas of the rubric for this assignment.
  • 2 Identify the papers you need to peer review by visiting the Sharepoint site, Student Writing, and opening the file "Student Writing - USDGs and me". The file is sorted by Saint names. Find your Saint name and then evaluate the next six Saints. Score the writing using the rubric and training you received in class and provide brief comments. September 25, 2020, 11:59pm.
  • To submit your evaluations, use this Google Form. Submit one form for each of the papers you review.
  • Do not start reviewing until after Monday's class, when we will do some grade norming.

Digression on Food Extrusion

  • [5]
  • 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).[6]

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

  • John Harvey Kellog vs. Will Kellog. Drama at Battle Creek Michigan. Will adds sugar. No turning back.
  • 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, arguably overplaying their hand. 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, p. 85: "This team (to address market share loss) would turn the traditional Kellogg way of creating products on its head. Instead of having the food technicians toil away in their labs experimenting with tastes and textures, the marketing folks hunted for ideas that suited the advertising needs at Kellogg first and worried about pleasing the palates of consumers second. Interesting. Possible thesis: We entered a "post truth" era in the food industry before politics.
  • 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. [[7]]. Best one was taken down! Here's a page with some others. Images from Bad apple commercial
  • Frosted Mini-Wheats became "brain food". fraudulent research. 91-92 Commercial in this NPR story Also, check out these oldies. [8]
  • Kellogg even tried comparing kids who ate Mini-Wheats to kids who skipped breakfast!
  • The Kellogg story reinforces the idea that food may be a difficult business to subject to the demands of publicly traded corporations. (Note: Doesn't mean food can't benefit from other market realizations.)

6: SEP 23

Assigned Reading

  • Pollan, Michael. Part 1: From Food to Nutrients (pp. 19-27) (8)
  • Pollan, Michael. Part 2: The Western Diet (pp. 101-136) (35)

Pollan, Michael. Part 1: From Food to Nutrients (19-27)

  • claims that in the 80s we started describing food in terms of nutrients.
  • credits William Prout with discovery of centrality of protein, fat, and carbs. Liebig credited also. Also discovers role of nitrogen phosphorus, and potassium in growing plants. Claims to have solved problem of nutrition. (Reductive theory).
  • discovery of vitamins 1912. Casimir Funk.
  • 22: 1977 McGovern Committee: first Diet Goals for the US.
  • Lipid hypothesis: claim that high levels of heart disease in the US were result of dietary fat consumption, especially from meat and dairy.
  • Committee rec. reducing fat intake. Backlash. To avoid targeting a particular food industry, the committee started to use broader catergories of foods and nutritional markers to identify dietary goals. Foods seen as delivery systems for nutrients. Some scientists like T. Colin Campbell objected, claiming that food and diet is still a legit level to see relationships. Heart disease might not only be about fat intake, but also lack of plant based foods.
  • Nutritionism.

Pollan, Part II of In Defense of Food

  • Part II : Western Diet and diseases of civilization
  • Chapter 1: The Aborigine in all of us
  • Summer 1982 - W. Australia aborigines study -- "metabolic syndrome" -- defined, theorized as signature disease of western diet. [9]
  • 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.)
  • Chapter 2: The Elephant in the Room
  • Group of early 20th c intellectuals/doctors (bot 90) noticed absence of chronic disease in populations they traveled to.
  • British doc Dens Burkitt: "Western Diseases" -- diseases attributable to western diet and lifestyle.
  • Pollan chooses the story of Weston Price from this group.
  • Two objections to hyp that Western diet is to blame: disease/race theory (but evidence from mixed ethnicity/race cultures like US suggests not), demographic theory (we live longer, so we get more disease). 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.
  • first to make comparisons of grass fed / winter forage fed animals to find vitamin differences. Example from Pure Eire Dairy
  • decline of nutrition in current vegetables and fruits: [10]
  • Albert Howard 99 -- "father" of organic farming movement; early 20th century; 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.
  • Important: Among first to see a connection between dietary diseases of the food system as part of an "ecological dysfunction". (This is a theme that will occupy alot of our attention in the course.)
  • Chapter 3: The Industrialization of Eating
  • 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. Fortified bread. B vitamins added back in to reduce pellagra and beriberi.
  • 1996: added folic acid.
  • 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. Sugar data
  • 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 (also article above).
  • simplification of plant species in industrial foods. Again, appearance of greater variety in industrial food store, but products actually represent a small variety plants and animals. 116 for details.
  • details on loss of food crop diversity. [11]. Industrial publication on loss of crop diversity.
  • 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
  • Industrial food system has favored cheap macro-nutrients over cheap whole foods. (whole foods in Italian significantly cheaper.)
  • decline in nutrient content (118-119: review), "nutritional inflation," interest in "phytochemicals" -- seem related to anti-oxidant and anti-inflammatory effects.
  • False food value lesson from "nutritional inflation" : 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.
  • 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.
  • Mentions Susan Allport's The Queen of Fats
  • more seeds tilt in the fat profile of the food product 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.

Resisting Industrial Foods (Alfino)

  • You can reverse each of the trends Pollan identifies in his discussion of industrial food and the Western Diet that it supplies.
  • Quality to Quantity: "Pay more eat less". Comparisons of taste (and nutrition) between industrial and non-industrial foods. Taste (in a basic food) as guide to soil quality.
  • More leaves. Omega 6 and 3 issue. Fiber and microbiota. How do you get more plants in your diet? N S P. Practicality in the supply chain is the hardest part here. Maximizing taste and freshness, food deserts. Examples in Spokane: high quality produce and CSA/Linc foods.
  • Back to Food Culture: Charms of American and global cuisine.
  • Is American cuisine different from traditional cuisines? Might be considered an "interrupted" or "melting pot" cuisine. Based on expansion into a territory abundant with meat and commericial industrial culture in which novel taste and marketing drive market share. A culture of consumers not tied strongly to cuisines of ethnic origin (note exceptions). We're weird.
  • Value of traditional historical global cuisines -- long history of creating nutritious and tasty diets (not just dishes) under conditions of food scarcity. Pre-urban cuisines had greater use of higher quality oils (digress on Italian oil buying habits), access to fresh herbs (expensive in urban food culture). Again with "cucina povera". In terms of practicality, traditional cuisines often create diversity of dishes from common patterns of herbs, spices, and cooking methods. Compare to stocking and supplying an international/global cuisine kitchen. Food waste. A foodie could have a very austere yet satisfying and practical kitchen modelling cooking on a traditional "cucina povera".

7: SEP 28

Assigned Reading and Viewing

  • Moss, Michael. Chapter 8, "Liquid Gold," (pp. 161-181)
  • Watching segment from "Earth" in the Netflix Food series, "Cooked" with Michael Pollan, "Mother Noella" in Shared content on SharePoint (about 20 minutes)

Mother Noella Cheese Segment from "Cooked"

  • Story Mother Noella and the appreciation of creation through cheese. The bacteria come from the earth, from death, and hold the promise of nourishing life! Mention Soler article, "The Semiotics of Food in the Bible".
  • Diffs between US and French approaches to cheese. You don't need quality conditions if you are planning to process the milk industrially. Is that a benefit of industrial food? Mention burgers.
  • Story of the wooden cheese vat.
  • Connection between cheese ecology and other ecologies like forests. (Connects with microbiota and food from health soil)

Some "Fat" Details

  • We'll study Fats in some detail from a Nutrition textbook later in the term. For now, we should learn a bit about your "fat budget" and reasons why you might want to track the proportion of Omega-6 and Omega-3 fats in your diet. This is relevant to choices of basic foods as well as the choice to eat industrial food.
  • Your fat budget: 2000 calories, 20-35% from fat, 9 grams/calorie, 44-72 grams per day. Below 22 grams. Less than 10% incompatible with health. Recommended less that 7% from saturated fat (15 grams). Let's use the Starbuck Carmel fudge brownie as an example!
  • Tracking O6 / O3: The two essential fatty acids (ones we need and can't make).
  • Go back to Pollan notes on O-6/O-3. Old nutrition news focused on reduction of saturated fat, which is still important, but new research is focused on proportion of O6/O3.
  • Go ahead to Nix, "Fats"
  • Important functions of fat: energy storage in apipose tissue, lipoproteins (lipid transport system), cell membrane structure, satisfaction!
  • Follow-up exercise: Compare various Trader Joe's packaged and prepared foods with your fat budget. TJ's trades on its healthy image, but some of its product are very high in saturated fat.

Moss, Ch. 8, "Liquid Gold"

  • Wallace and Grommet on cheese: [12]
  • Stories told in this chapter: Dean Southworth and Cheese Whiz; James Lewis Kraft, cheese entrepreneur!; story of cheese in the US food economy; Kraft marketing of Philadelphia cream cheese and Paula Dean story; closing research on visible/invisible fats. There is no upper bliss point for fat!
  • Cheez Whiz; altered from original, but never a gourmet experience. Pretty much no cheese in it.
  • Am cheese consumption: 33pounds/year; 50 gallons of soda
  • traditional consumption of cheese (mention Cesare & Ornella)
  • Kraft orgins story: invented canned cheese. used in field rations. 1928: Velveeta, high sodium as by product of industrial process.
  • point is that industrial cheese can be made in a few days. fresh cheeses are quick, but real solid cheese can take 18 months or more to mature. (Is that a real value or just an old way of doing something?). note 167.
  • Cheese in US food economy
  • anti-fat campaign of 80s led to overproduction of milkfat ("Cows can't make skim milk" - maybe a clue that something's backwards), gov't subsidized milk and cheese; huge warehouses of cheese (1.9 billion pounds at a cost to taxpayers of 44billion a year) ; Reagan admin stopped this, but also raised funds from the industry for new marketing efforts to promote milk consumption. Note the gastronomy segement 171-172 - ex Kraft cheese expert Brookmann.
  • Current data on US Government cheese purchases. [13]
  • Philadelphia Cream Cheese
  • "sliced" didn't work. spreading is part of the fun, but also suppresses serving size information. p. 174: no bliss point for fat.
  • Kraft Mac & Cheese. Nutritional profile might not look bad at first glance [14], but check out this comparison [15]
  • Early social media marketing effort using Food network star Paula Dean (read 178) and social media to generate interest. creating food culture. 5% boost in sales.
  • 2008 Dutch research
  • visible / invisible fats and satiety, perception of fat. results: everyone underestimated fat content, visible fat group full faster, about 10% more.
  • Personal advice: buy whole fats and eat them sparingly and mindfully. Compare satiety with Costco sized skim-fat products.
  • Puzzle: many cultures eat much more cheese than Americans. French 53, Italy 44, Germans 46, yet do not suffer dietary disease from it as we do.
  • Previous student comment: "This material makes me really glad that I don't like cheese."
  • Brief class discussion: What's your cheese strategy?

8: SEP 30

Some questions I'm considering for a student "engagement" survey

  • Do you feel there is less participation in "hybrid" courses such as ours vs. similar traditional face-to-face courses?
  • Do you like the option of turning your video off?
  • Why do you like the option of turning your video off?
  • Do you turn video on in break out rooms?
  • Would it helpful to turn video on during times when questions or discussion are solicited from the whole class?
  • Would you like me to make more use of Zoom options to express agreement, etc?
  • Are there other things I could do or we could do to improve the course experience in any way?

Assigned Reading

  • Kessler, The End of Overeating, Chs 1-9 pp. 3-45

Kessler, The End of Overeating, Chs 1-9 pp. 3-45

  • Some comments about approaching "unhealthy eating patterns" (expand list), some baseline data, and Kessler's basic theory.

C1

  • obesity trend of the 1980s. by late 80s 1/3 of pop bt. 20 and 74 overweight. (2017: 42.4% obese (note: not just overweight). J
  • Historic comparisons: 1960-2000, average weight of women in their 20s goes from 128 to 157. Also other deciles. Data also revealed that some people were gaining a lot more than the average.

C2

  • obesity is the result of eating too much food. Confusing to separate metabolism, etc. People underreport consumption. Studies to support claims. P.8
  • homeostasis: tendency of body systems to maintain bodily states within a particular range of variation. Communication occurs throughout the body to this end. But homeostasis can’t explain weight gain. Homeostasic system can be overwhelmed by the “reward system”. Anticipations of reward motivate exertion. Some animal studies show direct stimulation of reward seeking behavior. Even to cross electrified floor.
  • Can some kinds of food stimulate us to keep eating?

C3

  • palatability - def. a food with an agreeable taste, but in food science - a food that motivates more consumption. [Let's think about the definition a bit: Does it have to be connected to overconsumption?]
  • palatable foods engage sugar, salt, and fat, but also sensory cues. Research (13) on combined effects of sugar and fat. Underlies many palatable features of food. Combinations of fat and sugar chosen over other mixes. Can make food hyperpalatable. Example of "hyper-palatability" in industry and as a research concept in food science.
  • 15: research showing that consumption of SFS optimized foods increases further consumption. (Very consequential, if true!)
  • Sclafani research. Neat fruit-loop lab detail. Just chillin' with his rats.: feeding rats a supermarket sample of palatable food makes them obese.
  • Some palatability research not in the reading:

C4

  • examples of foods that layer S F and S. (Gordy's lemon chicken, much like p. 20 "Chicken Pot Stickers")
  • reports from food execs confirming that industrial food design focuses on highly stimulating and palatable foods. Common popular restaurant foods described in terms of stacking fat on fat on sugar on salt on fat, ... etc. fat with a little lettuce!

C5

  • critical of “set point theory” more interested in version he calls “settling point” theory. A kind of equilibrium between appetite (which both a drive to eat and capacity to be satisfied and expenditure - physical work and body that burns calories effectively. Constant access to highly palatable foods drives up settling point. (Kind of acknowledges that there is wide variation in the hold (capture) of high SFS foods.
  • p. 25: Discussion with other people who find weight control challenging. note descriptions. Important qualification: Food cravings are not unique to overweight people. Significance of this section, I think: Most of you probably don't have similar reactions. His point.

C6

  • rewarding foods are reinforcing. Reinforcing measured by willingness to work for substance and whether other stimuli can become associated with it. (Mention Neurogastronomy coming later to show how this works.)
  • food can be an effective reward even in the absence of hunger. Animal studies to show this.
  • “conditioned place paradigm”. — tendency to prefer the location in which a reward was experience.
  • Other influences: portion, concentration of rewarding ingredients, variety.

C7

  • Neural account of high SFS / palatable foods. Neuron encodes when it fires more often from a stimuli. Complex patterns can be encoded from food experience.
  • Taste is predominant. “Orosensory self-stimulation”. Opioid circuitry stimulated by food. P. 37: mechanisms of the reward system. Imp of nucleus accumbens.
  • Claims there is a mutually reinforcing effect between highly palatable foods and opioid circuits.
  • Some evidence (Wooley p. 38) that highly palatable foods interfere with or override taste specific satiety (a mechanism that should reduce the reward experience of food at margins), which predicts that we will get tired of a single taste more quickly than if other tastes are present. Stimulation of the opioid circuits in animals overrode boredom with single taste.

9: OCT 5

Assigned Reading and Work

  • Nix, Stacy. Chapter 2: "Carbohydrates" Williams' Basic Nutrition and Diet Therapy (pp. 13-30).
  • Complete Carbohydrate Worksheet.

Brief Survey on Student Engagement in Hybrid course delivery

  • Please take the following anonymous survey.

Nix, Chapter 2, "Carbohydrates"

  • Nature of
  • Carbs are a source of short term energy. All Carbs break down into sugars during metabolism.
  • Scale of simple to complex. Simple sugars (monosacharides) don't even require digestion. Starchs are complex and "slow burning".
  • Limits to the "energy" metaphor:
  • carb levels and types help regulate other processes like insulin response,
  • fiber helps with useful bacteria production, appears to reduce colon cancer, helps with bowel function and avoidance of diverticulosis.
  • carb types and level signal body to break down protein for energy or not.
  • soluble fiber binds bile acids, lowering cholesterol
  • per capita HFCS (high fructose corn syrup) up from .12 tsp daily in 1970 to 11.18 tsp in 2008. p. 15
Note warning on high fiber low iron-rich diet. Phytic acid in this diet can cause iron deficiency. You can get too much fiber, but most Americans don't.
  • Functions of p. 21.
  • reserve fuel supply is stored as glycogen in muscles [[16]] and blood sugar. Roughly 1-2 hours of aerobic exercise. glycogen also stored in the liver to regulate blood sugar.
  • carbs keep us from going into ketosis, but as we've noted, you can have a diet based on having your body in a state of ketosis.
  • Digestion
  • primarily in small intestine, through enzymes such as amalyse from the pancreas, and from the "microvilli" of the intestine which contain specific disaccaridases: sucrase, lactase, and maltase. (digression from p. 26 text box on dairying as textbook case of gene-culture co-evolution.)
  • As we learned earlier in the term, you can think of carbs as feeding both you and them (the other 15 trillion organisms you walk around with in your gut). Neither fat nor protein get into the large intestine in significant amounts. We feed our gut bacteria with carbs.
  • Recommendations
  • decrease added sugar to less than 10% of calorie intake. Current ly 28 teaspoons of added sugar a day.)
  • increase proportion of complex carbs.
  • Two practical take aways:
  • Calculating Carb amounts for your diet and noticing carb types and values in your diet. Think about your "carb profile". Is it tilted toward a high glycemic diet?
  • Understanding carb related advertising and health claims. How and why does industrial food tend toward refined carbs?

10: OCT 7. Unit 3: Deep History of Food and Agriculture

Assigned Reading and Work

  • Rachel Lauden, Cuisine and Empire Introduction and Chapter 1, "Mastering Grain Cookery, 20,000 to 300 bce", p. 1-55 (54)
  • Amanda Little, The Fate of Food, Ch. 1 "A Taste of Things to Come" (11-29) (18)

Amanda Little, The Fate of Food, Ch. 1 "A Taste of Things to Come"

  • opening story about her experience growing food. 13: reflects on the meaning of it.
  • 14: snapshot of early agriculture. Agriculture did bring settlements, but some predated it. Agriculture was often a bad deal nutritionally and in terms of food security.
  • global food trade circa 700ad. Muslims esp in spice trade. Summary on ag at top of 17.
  • connection between food systems and political power. (Mont will also argue this.). 2014 drought in Mid East foretold pol instability.
  • Why Malthus’ predictions almost, but didn’t, come true. Nitrogen synthesis, high yield pest-resistant crops (Green Rev. - Borlaug). Extent of dev of arable land and food production. 20: problems with Green Revolution.
  • 22: new section reflecting on how alternatives to industrial food seem limited to privileged. Food fetishes. DDT. Trans fats. Glyphosate (Round up), synthetic food coloring.
  • sustainable food advocacy
  • closing story about permaculture / biodynamic farmers, Chris and Annie Newman. Great food, but expensive.

Lauden, Rachel, "Intro" and C1, "Mastering Grain Cookery"

Introduction to "Cuisine and Empire"

  • Introduction - core idea for the book from her Hawaii book. Movements of food, technology, and technique get consolidated into cuisines that spread, often in connection with power and empire or nation state. Wants to displace an older story in which high cuisine is an evolution from humble cuisine.
  • Hypothesizes 10 global cuisines, all based on roots and grains. 6
  • Chapter 1
  • 1,000 bc - 50 million humans, cities no larger than 10,000. Cooking already for up to 2 million years. Richard Wrangham, Catching Fire!.
  • Major change: technology to harvest food from hard seed of herbaceous plants (grains) p. 12. Lake Kinneret site (Sea of Galilee) 19.4K ya. Only grain cultures were able to support cities.
  • Global Culinary Geography, CA. 1000 BCE. see map
  • Cuisines of the Yellow River (18), Yangzte River (19), and barley wheat cuisines of Turkey, Mediterranean.
  • 24ff: the sacrificial feast. Note food hierarchies, 25. Also, status and meat consumption (18).
  • Beer and grain culture: Ninkasi (again, vertical connection)
  • Carribean and South American cassava and potato cuisines. Maize Cuisine of Mesoamerica. Corn 7,000 bc, by 3,000 maize extends into Ecuador.
  • Grains, Cities, States and Armies
  • 3 cheers for grains and roots: favorable labor ratio. Experiment. roots naturally stored and storable. p. 30 technology of thrasing and milling important here. "grinding slaves"
  • Early breads p. 34
  • 35: interesting chance to reflect on ancient supply chains: everything moves on backs, animals, and carts at 3mph. Kilometer zero easier in the ancient world!
  • high vs. humble cuisine. 36
  • high cuisines heavy in meats, sweets, fats, and intoxicants. highly processed ingredients (whiter flour). luury foods, appetizers (70% of calories)
  • humble cuisines - roots or grains with greens. 80-90% of population, 70-75% of calories from this.
  • humble eaters shorter, less energetic, and less clever. malnutrition in pregnancy is a horror for development....
  • town poor vs. country poor -- town poor often fared better. "The chicken is the country's but the city eats it". Below the peasant was the nomad.
  • (Mention modern parallels to food deserts in agricultural areas.) Two kinds of injustice: food desert and specialty foods.
  • some bread history 34. ancient supply chains 35: everything on backs, animals and carts at 3mph.
  • High and Humble Cuisines p. 36 defs 37 and 38.
  • Ancient Culinary Philosophy
  • "Cuisine" is more than the foods themselves. A Cuisine represents a system of food production (food system, and cooking skills) that represent a life sustaining diet. But a culinary philosophy relates our cuisine to larger structures (43),
  • Introduced at p. 7, but also at 44ff.
  • a principle of hierarchy - nomad, peasant, poor town dweller, ....noble. Monarch's status connected to power to protect harvest. (Power to feed fed power.) moral theory of food values. 44.
  • a sacrificial bargain - gets replaced by universal religions and personal salvation. like the transaction with monarch. includes human sacrifice. blood never neutral in cuisine. Either strong positive or negative.
  • a theory of the culinary cosmos -- Fire thought to be a thing, not just kinetic energy. analogy of fire from sun in growth to fire in cooking. also, heat in the belly.
  • "Culinary philosophy - relates us to divinity, society, and the natural world (2), also, new political and philosophical ideas affect cuisines (6) (ex. Buddhist cuisines) -- "Food situates us." 50 (story of Tuscan friend)

General Claims and Inferences

  • This overview of "grain and root" cooking from 20,000 ya should expand your sense of human foods in several ways:
  • Food history is not just a binary of paleolithic/neolithic (preag/ag). Cooking grains goes back 20K. "Foodways"
  • Long before bread, grain cookery produced cakes, porridges, pottages, ashcakes, flatbreads, pasta, etc. Maize isn't just corn on the cob, but tortilla, polenta, etc.
  • Alot of grain in the ancient world went to beer production
  • Connections between cuisine and power, cuisine and gods. Food is power. Food is cosmic.
  • Old story: high cuisine is a development from humble cuisine. Her story: movement of food, and food tech connected to empire and power. High cuisine involves use of food to express status and hierarchy. High and humble on different tracks.
  • Before markets, people still had to make calculations of labor calories for food calories. Lauden argues that root cuisines could not support cities (details at 31-32, also 35). Still, grains are also labor intensive. "Grinding slaves" 32.
  • Group Discussion: Are there modern equivalents in our food culture for the categories of ancient culinary philosophy? Do we engage in hierarchical eating? Have we made some other kind of bargain with the forces that we believe sustain our food security? Do we have a culinary cosmos?

Culinary Cosmos Photo Sharing

  • One way to documents your culinary cosmos is by looking at the foods you stock in your pantry and fridge. As Rachel Lauden writes, one's cooking and kitchen "cucina" has always mirrored assumptions about how food and cooking are part of a basic cosmic process. We may or may not find that to be true for us, but maybe pictures of our pantries will provide some clues.
  • Upload your "Culinary Cosmos Pantry (and Fridge) Pictures" to the Sharepoint site. Shared content, "#Fall 2020 Culinary Cosmos Pantry Pictures" (5 Points) Due Oct 12. Give the two files a pseudonym of your choice, use the same pseudonym on both files, adding "2" to the fridge photo.
  • I will ask you to self report your saint name and your self-chosen pseudonym on a google form coming to you later in the week.

11: OCT 12

Assigned Reading

  • Soler, Jean. "The Semiotics of Food in the Bible" (55-66)

Practical Eating Series, "Practical Kitchen and Mindful Cooking (Sacred Eating)"

  • Recall N S P model. Examples of interactions: N & S, S & P
  • Objective aspects of the kitchen as workspace. Cutting boards, knives, cooking and storage equipt., machines (or not). Light.
  • Subjective aspects of kitchen space. Separation of time, marking separation from out of house activities, as in other important activities. Cleaning. Ambiance: Music, news, etc. Happy hour and appetizers as prelude to cooking.
  • Mentality and Cooking: variables social/alone, sacred/utilitarian, chore/pleasure. If you are religious, start meal prep with a moment...
  • If you tend to see eating and meal prep as a chore, how to you change that?
  • Reflection of importance of food helps, but skill and knowledge do as well:
  • Importance of cutting skills to enjoy cooking space, later we'll consider the more obvious connection bt skills and gastronomy: flavor and satisfaction.
  • Importance of confidence in basic cooking procedures, (again the main connection here is to taste and satisfaction (gastronomy).
  • Importance of repetition in learning and practicality. Finding flow in food preparation.

Soler, Jean. "The Semiotics of Food in the Bible"

  • How do we explain the dietary rules of Hebrews? (and by extension, JCI tradition)
  • Background thesis: link between diet and view of the world. "a relationship between the idea he has formed of specific items of food and the image he has of himself and his place in the universe." (note: this was partly at issue in SW2 this term.) Some theoretical nods to Levi-Strauss (see his work, "The Raw and the Cooked").
  • Soler gives a detailed account of the transitions through "three plates" of Judaism:
  • 1st plate: Biblical vegetarianism p. 56. -- God gave us plants and seeds to eat. (soul not immortal till 2nd cent bc, external concept) Paradise was vegetarian.
  • Creation in the image of God, yet not God. Need to maintain boundary. Note the transgression found in duality of "tree of life/tree of knowledge" Elohim expresses concern that, having violated God's prohibition regarding tree of life, man might seek to usurp God. Likewise, to eat an animal with a soul would be a usurpation of God's power to take and give life. Diff bt man and God in the food.
  • 2nd plate: Post-flood, covenant with Noah: eat anything but not "flesh with its life"
  • Still, meat has negative connotation, concession to imperfection in man. The flood was a response to murder, mayhem, and corruption of man.
  • Blood is theorized as the prohibited part. Often part of sacrifice.
  • 3rd plate: Post exile covenant with Moses: adds distinction between clean and unclean animals. Still, meat allowed as concession to man's moral imperfection.
  • Note: This covenant is only with the tribes of Israel. Food as cultural and cosmic separator. (Note contemporary analogues. Intentional diets, diets that maintain ethnicity.)
  • In Numbers, reports of Hebrews rebelling (wanting to eat their flocks, which would presumably be for dairy?). Miracle of the quails p. 59. Hebrews ultimately tolerate meat eating, with focus on prohibition of blood and attention to slaughter methods, sacrifice.
  • Passover meal getting back to food origins. 61-62.
  • Moral Order and Food Order
  • Notion of moral order also applied to "mixed" marriages, prohibition of homosexuality, even to having an ox and an ass ploughing together.
  • "hoofed foot" "cloven foot" "chews the cud" -- effort to excluding carnivorous animals. (carnivorous animals out, fish with legs out, winged insects are freaks, Eating deformed animals excluded. Priest can't have crushed testicles (!). Similar reasoning. (more at 63) - excluding mollusks, birds that don't fly, snakes...
  • Clean or pure eating involves going back to origins and God's original intent for creation ). Hence exclusion of "blemished" or "unnatural" animals. Note that generally carnivorous animals are not part of the creation plan and Hebrew dietary guidelines try to isolate herbivores.
  • But Hebrews didn't go back to original vegetarianism, rather to nomad hunter/gatherer diet. Passover meal "bitter herbs and meat" no agricultural products, no leavening for bread (back to grain pastes!), nothing fermented. food of the patriarchs. Food of the origins is taken to be sacred eating.
  • Sacrifice not just about sorting God's share from ours, but atoning for taking the life of the animal. (Meat retains some negative meanings.)
  • Christianity comes in as an evangelical religion, so it must break with dietary laws of the Jews. Christ declares all food clean (Mark 7:19). "Not what goes into the mouth defiles a man, but what comes out of the mouth, this defiles a man" (Matthew 15:11). Peter's vision of being commanded to eat clean and unclean animals. Goes with a theology of Christ, fusion of man/god. Also, an evangelizing religion cannot really focus on dietary exclusions. Consuming the blood and flesh of God become part of a sacrament. (That pretty much brings things around to a full circle!)
  • This recent NPR story about the book Fish on Fridays tells the story of the Catholic medieval promotion of fishing-fasting days and the later decline in the fish market with Anglican church politics. [17]
  • Discussion directions:
  • To what extent does "sustainability" provide a criterion of "trophic eating" similar to Hebrew food theology?
  • Does the choice between industrial and organic eating comprise choices in contemporary "culinary cosmos"?
  • Does the Christian decision to "eat God" have implications for contemporary Christian's culinary cosmos?
  • Slaughterhouse question:

Writing Assignment: Assessing the US Industrial Food System (short writing, peer review, Points)

  • Stage 1: Please write an 500 word maximum answer to the following question by October 16, 2020 11:59pm.
  • Topic:
  • Since about September 16 we have been acquiring information and research on the industrial food system in the US and the dietary diseases that result from it. Reviewing that information, identify the principle difficulties that have led to these adverse results. Be sure to acknowledge what the industrial food system does well, be focus on problems in this answer. Use the readings and the "Taxonomy" to remind yourself of the types of problems we have been considering. Which do you consider the most serious problems and why?
  • Advice about collaboration: I encourage you to collaborate with other students, but only up to the point of sharing ideas, references to class notes and readings, and your own notes. Collaboration is part of the academic process and the intellectual world that college courses are based on, so it is important to me that you have the possibility to collaborate. It's a great way to make sure that a high average level of learning and development occurs. The best way to avoid plagiarism is to NOT share text of draft answers or outlines of your answer. Keep it verbal. Generate your own examples.
  • Prepare your answer and submit it in the following way:
  1. Do not put your name in the file or filename. You may put your student id number in the file. Put a word count in the file.
  2. In Word, check "File" and "Options" to make sure your name does not appear as author. You may want to change this to "anon" for this document.
  3. Format your answer in double spaced text in a 12 point font, using normal margins.
  4. Save the file in the ".docx" file format using the file name "AssessingIFS".
  5. Log in to courses.alfino.org. Upload your file to the Points dropbox.
  • Stage 2: Please evaluate four student answers and provide brief comments and a score. Review the Assignment Rubric for this exercise. We will be using all four areas of the rubric for this assignment. We will tie specific elements of the prompt to the content assessment, so be sure to consider that in composing your answer! Complete your evaluations and scoring by October 23rd, 2020, 11:59pm.
  • Use this Google Form to evaluate four peer papers. The papers will be on the Sharepoint site under Student Writing, but please do not edit these files or add comments directly on them. This will compromise your anonymity.
  • To determine the papers you need to peer review, I will send you a key with animal names in alphabetically order, along with saint names. You will find your animal name and review the next four (4) animals' work.
  • Some papers may arrive late. If you are in line to review a missing paper, allow a day or two for it to show up. If it does not show up, go ahead and review enough papers to get to four reviews. This assures that you will get enough "back evaluations" of your work to get a good average for your peer review credit. (You will also have an opportunity to challenge a back evaluation score of your reviewing that is out of line with the others.)
  • Stage 3: I will grade and briefly comment on your writing using the peer scores as an initial ranking. Assuming the process works normally, I will give you the higher of the two grades. Up to 28 points in Points.
  • Stage 4: Back-evaluation: After you receive your peer comments and my evaluation, take a few minutes to fill out this quick "back evaluation" rating form: [18]. Fill out the form for each reviewer, but not Alfino. Up to 10 points, in Q&W.
  • Back evaluations are due TBD, 11:59pm.

12: OCT 14

Assigned Reading

  • Montgomery, David. Chapter 1: "Good Old Dirt" Dirt: The Erosion of Civilizations(pp. 1-9); (9)
  • Montgomery, David. Chapter 2: "Skin of the Earth" Dirt(pp. 9-25); (16)
  • Diamond, Jarred. "Agriculture's Mixed Blessings" (180-191) (11)
  • Some claims that we have challenged in the course:
  • Your gut is only full of waste.
  • Food is only nutrients.
  • Your diet is part of a culinary cosmos, whether traditional or modern.
  • Plants aren't aware. (Previous version of the course.)
  • Animals don't have lives. (Coming up.)
  • And now, there are ecosystems in the soil. (today)

Culinary Cosmos Photos

  • Let's make some observations together of some of the culinary cosmos pantry and fridge photos:
  • I appreciate better how constrained the space for food is for some of you.
  • Some evidence of plant proteins, but not alot. Exceptions: Hen, Tarsier, Tree.
  • Columbia wins biggest pantry award.
  • Lots of industrial fridge stable sauces. Many of these are not eaten in quantities that cause a health concern, but they might not be good for your pallette.
  • Consider a trade up on some industrial versions of basic foods. Prego has added sugar. Better tomatoes (Cento, for example) might increase satisfaction of a home cooked marinara sauce.

Assignment Rubric Discussion

Practical Eating Series, "Dietary Design and Practicality".

Dietary Design

  • It might be helpful to use "design" and "optimizing" approaches to review or improving your diet and food practices. By design, I mean that things have to fit a certain way to meet all of your requirements. You can think of it like a puzzle, but you can also think about it like an engineer might. Choose your own metaphor here.
  • "Optimizing" can involve individual foods, dishes, meals, etc. Of each of your current meals you can ask the N S P questions. "Trade-ups" are another way of thinking about optimizing.
  • Appeal of design metaphor: More consistent with an aesthetic approach, beginning with the space and mood of the kitchen.
  • Appeal of engineering metaphor: diets have parameters and requirements. They are "systems" with supply chains, production and storage process, and quality (satisfaction) requirements.

Notes on Practicality

Practicality can be thought of at several levels from food waste in the kitchen, to the logistics of supplying your diet, to sustainability, etc.

  • You have a practical diet when:
  • you always know what you need at the store, (easy methods here)
  • you rarely waste food, (favors batch process)
  • you don't spend more time preparing food than you can afford, (But how much is that?)
  • your food is portable when you need it to be, (gear, favors something boxable)
  • your meals are flexible when they need to be, (can be delayed if you change you mind about eating at home, can be quick)
  • you have plenty of opportunities to prepare food when you aren't busy, (time shifting meal prep time)
  • but you never have to do it when you are too busy, (measure reserve or quick dinner options)
  • you always have something great to eat and many choices about dinner, (assess need for variety)
  • And, it's all completely affordable. (cost assessment)

Some measurement and goal setting challenges:

  • How much time should you "afford" for food preparation and enjoying. How often? Slow Food thinking supplies some answers to this.
  • How much time do you (should you have) have for making meals? When is that time available to you during the week?
  • What are the main strategies for "time shifting" your meal preparation? for batch preparation?
  • How many different dinners do you need?
  • On any given night, how many different dinners could you choose to make quickly?
  • When you make food from scratch, how often do you make multiple dinners?

Montgomery Chapter 1, "Good Old Dirt"

  • At the start of agriculture 98% of food producers supported a small ruling elite that controlled food distribution. Now only 1% of the population work in agricultural food production.
  • Wants to tell a history soil and of human use of soil. Historical failures, but also interested in sustainability.

Chapter 2, "Skin of the Earth"

  • Darwin's studies of worms. Worms are moving a heck of a lot of dirt. 10-20 tons per acre per year. digestive juices.
  • Note the recentness of our lack of knowledge of this. Also why antiquities sink.
  • Darwin's calculations were off: underestimated the time scale for effects. Didn't know about isostasy - a process which lifts rock as well. But did understand soil formation as breakdown of minerals.
  • 15: overview of soil ecology relationships. read. even theories that soil formation was involved in first forms of organismic life.
  • guanine and cytosine in clay-rich solutions.
  • 15-16: overview of plant colonization of cooling earth (350 mya). earth plant life accelerated soil formation. lots of other physical and chemical processes (17).
  • nitrogen fixation (18): note mechanism. "nitrogen fixing plant" a misnomer.
  • effects of agriculture:
  • tilling releases nutrients, but also disrupts soil life, short-totation farming reduces soil diversity, increases vulnerability to parasites,
  • p. 20: Connection bt farming methods and soil erosion and soil health.
  • Note how starting your account of food from soil gives you deeper sense of your trophic relationships.
  • you are what you eat. you are what you eat eats.

Diamond, Ch. 10, "Agriculture's Mixed Blessings"

  • Old "progressivist" view
  • Ants practice agriculture and something like animal husbandry [19]
  • Details about the spread of agriculture - not like other great ideas (hand ax designs). Spread slowly, failed alot.
  • Advantages of hunter gatherer lifestyle
  • short work week, more leisure - as long as you have enough Mongongo nuts!
  • better nutrition (in some comparisons)
  • no impact from crop failures
  • (new research, not Diamond): very violent and competitive.
  • 185: paleopathology and medical anthropology: what you tell from old bones and cookware Am. Indians who changed to ag.
  • health evidence from early adoption of agriculture
  • height, nutrition, cavities, anemia, tb, syphillis, mortality
  • mono-crop dependency a risk in early ag.
  • 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.

13: OCT 19

Assigned Reading

  • Montgomery, David. Chapter 3: "Rivers of Life" (pp. 27-47) (20)
  • Montgomery, David. Chapter 4: "Graveyards of Civilizations" (pp. 49-81) (32)

AssessingIFS: Stage 2

  • Original assignment at October 12.
  • Stage 2': Please evaluate four student answers and provide brief comments and a score. Review the Assignment Rubric for this exercise and keep it by you while you review. We will be using all four areas of the rubric for this assignment. We will tie specific elements of the prompt to the content assessment, so be sure to consider that in composing your answer! Complete your evaluations and scoring by Friday, October 23rd, 2020, 11:59pm.
  • Use this Google Form to evaluate four peer papers. The papers will be on the Sharepoint site under Student Writing, but please do not edit these files or add comments directly on them. This will compromise your anonymity.
  • To determine the papers you need to peer review, I will send you a key with animal names in alphabetically order, along with saint names. You will find your animal name and review the next four (4) animals' work.
  • Some papers may arrive late. If you are in line to review a missing paper, allow a day or two for it to show up. If it does not show up, go ahead and review enough papers to get to four reviews. This assures that you will get enough "back evaluations" of your work to get a good average for your peer review credit. (You will also have an opportunity to challenge a back evaluation score of your reviewing that is out of line with the others.)

Montgomery, Dirt, Chapter 3, "Rivers of Life"

  • connection between humanity and soil in language: adama (earth) hava (living). We are living earth. In Latin "homo" from "humus", living soil.
  • short digression on "food ontology" -- some candidate answers, but then if we take the linguistic associations literally, how would we define food?
  • suggest myth of the garden represents transition to agriculture, climate change.
  • Long history
  • 20,000 years ago - last major glaciation (though not a single event). Europe freezes, Africa dries.
  • 2 million years ago - earliest evidence of migration of homo erectus from Africa. separation from Neanderthal (note some evidence that we ate 'em [20]),
  • 300,000 year ago - first modern humans.
  • 45,000 years ago - another wave of migration from Africa (movement occurred in both directions).
  • 30,000 years ago - sharp stone tools (much later than the handaxe .5 mya) and at 23,000 yrs bows and arrows
  • Human Evolution Timeline
  • modifications in skin color and other features a response to UV radiation and Vitamin D production, selection effect.
  • Emergence of agriculture
  • oasis and cultural evolution theories. p 30 - problem wit oasis theory - food variety in mid-east expanding at time of agriculture. problem with cultural evolution theory -- not everyone adopted ag (though in other examples, like hand axes, everyone does adopt).
  • increasing population density -- agriculture a forced option. Note climate of the Levant 13 - 11,000bc - major food abundance. could have supported population explosion.
  • mini-glaciation at 10,000 bc called the Younger Dryas -- recovered pollen samples drop by 3/4 -- decrease precip. forests recede.
  • site evidence from Abu Hureyra, on Tigris -- evidence of cultivation of grains, drought tolerant ones (drought sensitive ones disappear from the record), for example.
  • more work to produce a calorie at start of agriculture --(recall crucial calculation here). population grew to six thousand. evidence of settlements chose for ag condition.
  • note -- using evidence from burnt food remains, we can track the migration of food, independently of human migration.
  • agriculture developed in several places, but we missed this because in some places it developed before settled towns. Mesoamerica, China.
  • Spread of Agriculture
  • spread through levant and Turkey. Growth allows defeat of nearby hunter/gatherers in contest for territory.
  • the dog - 20k. The cat 4K.
  • domesticated livestock a huge leap - animal labor, fertilizer, and stored food on the hoof.
  • after agriculture, population doubles every 1,000 years.
  • by 5,000 bc, evidence of overcultivation in Tigris valley, hillside erosion. emergence of irrigation. 37
  • Early agricultural infrastructure and control by governing elites. Emergence of class, armies, fight for territory.
  • very interesting: Mesopotamian religious elite controlled food production and distribution. (Later we'll see that Jewish authorities do the same in the Levant). population growth.
  • Uruk grows to 50,000. agruculture bring property, inequality, class, gov't administration, (philosophers). Writing 3,000 bc - (mention Field Museum in Chicago).
  • back to the environment -- Babylonian Empire emerges from Sumerian cities around 1800bc. But irrigation led to salination of the soil, silting of rivers -- 39-40 evidence of lack of understanding of soil. Babylon falls! Pop peaks at 20 million. Temple records tell the story.
  • Egypt
  • story in Egypt - p. 40 on: short story, the Nile fed civilizations for 7,000 years in rough sustainability, ideal combination of new silt and humus (Blue Nile and While Nile). Harvests increase over time.
  • But, desire to grow grain for export led to year round irriation. 1880's salination extreme. Then Nasser damn. (Thinking about the logic of export crops for maximizing revenue. Very similar to situation of local overpop leading to exploiting the soil.)
  • Irony of Nasser dam producing electricity to make synthetic fertilizers that are now needed because of the dam and poor soil management.
  • China
  • story in China - interesting, administration of ag recognized many grades of soil. Yellow River (name from mineral erosion upstream) damned and diverted starting 340 bc. Process of raising levees around the river led to 30 foot levies by 1920s. 19th century flood killed millions.
  • story of Walter Lowdermilk -- 1922 - working on famine prevention. First to write about soil management and civilization. Follows major river up stream documenting 400 miles of levies and evidence of ancient mismanagement of early ag sites.
  • thesis going forward: Civilizations are defined by their management of soil. And, everyone has messed it up eventually, even the Egyptians.

Montgomery, Dirt, Chapter 4, "Graveyards of Empires"

  • Thesis: Soil degradation doesn't directly cause declines in civilization, but makes civilizations more vulnerable to "hostile neighbors, internal sociopolitical disruption, and harsh winters or droughts."
  • Tikal (Guatamala) - Meso-American (Mayan, in this case) civilization reclaimed by the jungle. 1840s re-discovery. (returns to this at the end).
  • Ancient Greece
  • (In this section, he implies that we tell "false histories" of ancient agriculturalists when we imagine that they took care of their soil.)
  • As land degraded, needed more slaves to feed owners. Sporadic use of fertilizers. Hills around Athens bare by 570 BC (before Plato).
  • Evidence of knowledge of erosion (from hillsides) as public policy, but failure to address it.
  • By time of Peloponnesian War (431-404), Egypt & Sicilian provide 1/3 to 3/4 of food to Greece. (In news this am (2017), Yemen imports 80% of food.)
  • (Comments by Plato and Aristotle on soil degradation.)
  • Greeks repeat pattern of Mesopotamia -- intensified cultivation as population grows. Plow a significant step. p. 54: 1,000 year cycle of soil erosion / pop density decline.
  • Evidence of movement from small diversified farming to large plantations with fewer crops.
  • We associate Greece with olive trees and grapes, but that's partly because they do well in the thin rocky soil left from millennia of soil erosion.
  • Rome
  • 146bc, conquest of Corinth, incorporate of Greece into Empire
  • Research of Vita-Finzi, mid-60s: Was soil erosion (in Libya) from climate change or mismanagement? Found two major periods of hillside erosion: one ancient,attributable to climate, the other dated to late Roman era. Climate also involved when you mismanage soil because land is more vulnerable to climate variation. (Note: In light of climate change, food security (or price stability) might become a greater concern.)
  • Roughly 5,000 to 4,000 bc.: agriculture introduced to Italian pennisula by immigrants.
  • Significance of Bronze Age (2,000bc to 800bc) and Iron Age (500 bc on): depth of plowing and deforestation.
  • 500bc -- highpoint of productivity - 1-5 acres / family. "farmers" had social status.
  • Erosion in south (Campagna) also produced malaria from pooling of water on eroded land.
  • Cato's De Agri Cultura - p.59 Cato brought plump figs from Carthage to the Senate floor, arguing that Carthage was a threat to Rome because of its food productivity. Ended all his speeches with "Carthage must be destroyed." Third Punic War took care of that. Roman model become colonial system of agriculture around N. Africa and Sicily. Pliny the Elder (23-79ad)
  • Varo, De re Rustica, 117bc, focused on intensive high yield ag for the times.
  • Like Greece, Romans in Empire Period relied heavily on slaves to feed them.
  • Evidence of soil mismanagement in Roman Republic and Empire.
  • Difference in Roman case: extensive knowledge of husbandry. 1960s studies of erosion around Rome: 1" every 1,000 years before the Via Cassia was built, 1"per 200 years after.
  • substory: emergence of the latifundia system of agriculture in 2nd cent bc due, in part to post-war availability of cheap land, lots of slaves. 63
  • by 300 ad, productivity of central Italy dramatically declined. (Campagna and sicily currently desertifying).
  • Empire needed to annex parts of N. Africa to secure food. Mid-80s UNESCO research moved us away from climate explanation for decline.
  • 66: early 20th thesis that agricultural policy contributed to decline of Roman Empire. Farm debt a problem then and now.
  • Egypt
  • 30bc - Egypt becomes a colonial food source. after Cleopatra dies. Emperor Augustus (1st cent ad) forbade senators and nobles from entering Egypt due to fear of its ag power.67
  • story of 19th American, George Perkins March, research in Italy on soil erosion. early hypothesis of Roman land misuse. land doesn't always recover.
  • North Africa - Mideast
  • Lowdermilk in Tunisia, Algieria. Then on to Levant. Lebanon and Israel.
  • Back to Meso-America, Tikal, and the Mayan case
  • Maize domestication about 2000bc. greatest erosion around 600-900ad, along with evidence steep population decline. from 1million in 3rd c. ad. to 1/2 that 200 years later.
  • mechanisms: slash and burn agriculture. fertility declines. but worked at low population levels.
  • lots of studies of silting and erosion. p. 75ff.
  • General points:
  • Soil degradation characteristic of major civilizations. Usually the result of over-exploitation of resources in the face of population growth.
  • Soil degradation not the sole cause of civilization decline, but it "leaves societies vulnerable to hostile neighbors, internal sociopolitical disruption, and harsh winters or droughts"
  • Reflected in commitments to slavery, expansion, and exploitation of neighbors.
  • Happens regardless of knowledge of good practices.
  • Often in connection with development of a food export industry.
  • Civilizations which left records often assigned blame to climate change, disappearance of water sources. (Remarkable exceptions include famous intellectuals like Pliny the Elder, Tertulian, Plato, Aristotle.)

14: OCT 21

Assigned Reading and Work

  • Montgomery, David. Chapter 10: "Life Span of Civilizations" (pp. 233-246) (13)
  • Pinker, "Sustenance" (68-78) (10)
  • Montgomery, "Green Manure" (90-114) (24)
  • Writing Assignment: Assessing Agriculture (short writing, peer review, Points)

Montgomery, Chapter 10: Life Span of Civilizations

  • Framing the soil / civilization argument in broadest terms:
  • estimates of the carrying capacity of the earth: Catholic Bishops say 40 billion (is that true?!). Might get to 15 billion "if we share the planet with nothing else" some biologists think we are over the limit. Both capitalists and marxists theorize land as infinitely productive or infinitely substitutable. General endorsement of effective of markets, but point out that resource depletion is not adequate theorize or accounted for in practice.
  • Lifespan of civilization measurable in relation bt initial soil and rate of erosion. Estimates of rate: 1" in 1,000yr vs. 40 years. 238: can't move anymore. estimate of hectares per person. Explores physical and genetic limits on productivity. Key globalization point: There's much left to cultivate. Nice analysis about how large vs. small societies respond to problems. 20th cent food production doubled by increase N fert 7x and Ph 3.5x
  • 241: Agro-ecology: Need to treat soil as a "locally adapted biological system rather than a chemical system" (Note bad reductionism, as in nutritionism.)
  • 241: not just about organic, but about enriching soil. mentions Cal non-sustainable organic. "unglobalization of ag" as oil becomes expensive. example of 19th cent. Paris use of horse shit to fetilize fields. (urban farming -- look up new examples [21])
  • connections between climate change, Syrian civil war, ISIS and refugee crisis. [22]

Pinker, Enlightenment Now, Ch. 7, "Sustanance"

  • nice evocation of the history of famine in human condition
  • examples of famine leading to consumption of human flesh and viscera.
  • Good News
  • Calories up globally as well as US.
  • Stunting down, undernurishment under 5% globally, 13% in dev. world.
  • Famines down
  • Reviews 70's era population bomb literature. Malthus assumed the population curve wouldn't change as family wealth increases. Also, underestimated increases in the food supply. Dates that to Enlightenment knowledge.
  • Food claims
  • The food supply can grow geometrically with knowledge (74) ?
  • Food prices in relation to wages are historically low. T
  • GMOs and transgenic crops are ready to go but opposed by fanatical environmentalists. Hmm. Y & N
  • Account of Haber-Bosch method for syn N, and Green Revolution (notice detail in what makes for a high yield grain)
  • Critical point: Green Revolution is very important; part success of plant breeding (landrace system), part extension of industrial fertilizer and mechanical inputs. Not clear there is another Green Revolution out there. Plant breeding is as old as agriculture, but here it is recruited as part of the Enlightenment narrative.
  • Closing statement, importantly identifies major causes of famines in political organization and war rather than agricultural efficiency. Most 20th century famines in autocratic communist countries.
  • Pinker makes many very persuasive points, especially related to population dynamics (see chart in Chapter 10, also in links). If population stops growing, or declines, then declines in soil productivity might be offset by increases in yields from plant engineering and chemical fertilizers.]

Montgomery, David. Chapter 6: Green Manure

  • Primary story: Dwayne Beck, Dakota Lakes Research Farms. Beck has chemistry background and Ph.D. in agronomy and is a farmer. Many success stories of farmers using his soil conservation methods:
  • problem of water runoff in plough vs. no till fields.
  • 92: competitive wheat yields vs. high-disturbance input intensive. Big effect on South Dakota. Conservation farms had new everything.
  • 96: Critique of ag extention system for keeping farmers in intensive industrial ag.
  • 107: looking at carbon in soil as stored fertilizer worth $600/acre.
  • Story of Cronin Farms
  • Pest ecology stories
  • 105: corn rootworm beetle and crop rotation
  • BT corn eliminated one pest (earworm), but earworms eat be cutworms. demonstration project showing resistance to root worm in no till field
  • Some analogies between healthy soil and a healthy microbiome!
  • best weed control is a canopy of well nurished crop. reducing opportunities for weeds. 99: incident Beck asked for retraction.
  • herbicide resistance (like germ resistance from anti-biotic use)
  • 103: broad spectrum pesticides like antibiotics in microbiome
  • Technology of soil conservation
  • 95: on-site processing of residues for fertillizer and feed.
  • avoids compaction of heavy machinery. uses low psi equiptment.
  • note: the research farm uses some (a "fraction" of normal) glyphosate.
  • importance of leaving crop residue on the ground.
  • complex rotations - for soil health and to defeat complex pests.
  • mixed cropping 101
  • locally produced Nitrogen fert from wind.
  • phosphorous management easier without tillage that breaks up mycorrhizal fungus.
  • 103: worms, lots of worms
  • Precision agriculture:
  • no-till planters, small dosing of fertilizers,
  • 108: example on Cronin Farm of no-till planter using precision fert. good yields with lower inputs.
  • 110: disc planters
  • GPS based data system for precision ag.

Writing Assignment: Assessing Agriculture (short writing, peer review, Points)

  • Stage 1: Please write an 600 word maximum answer to the following question by October 23, 2020 11:59pm.
  • Topic: Give a concise summary of the critique of agriculture we have been reading and the alternative view from Steven Pinker. Then assess Montgomery's argument.
  • Advice about collaboration: I encourage you to collaborate with other students, but only up to the point of sharing ideas, references to class notes and readings, and your own notes. Collaboration is part of the academic process and the intellectual world that college courses are based on, so it is important to me that you have the possibility to collaborate. It's a great way to make sure that a high average level of learning and development occurs. The best way to avoid plagiarism is to NOT share text of draft answers or outlines of your answer. Keep it verbal. Generate your own examples.
  • Prepare your answer and submit it in the following way:
  1. Do not put your name in the file or filename. You may put your student id number in the file. Put a word count in the file.
  2. In Word, check "File" and "Options" to make sure your name does not appear as author. You may want to change this to "anon" for this document.
  3. Format your answer in double spaced text in a 12 point font, using normal margins.
  4. Save the file in the ".docx" file format using the file name "Assessment1".
  5. Log in to courses.alfino.org. Upload your file to the Points dropbox.
  • Stage 2: Please evaluate four student answers and provide brief comments and a score. Review the Assignment Rubric for this exercise. We will only be using the Flow and Content areas of the rubric for this assignment. Complete your evaluations and scoring by October 28, 2020, 11:59pm.
  • Use this Google Form to evaluate four peer papers. The papers will be on the Sharepoint site under Student Writing, but please do not edit these files or add comments directly on them. This will compromise your anonymity.
  • To determine the papers you need to peer review, I will send you a key with animal names in alphabetically order, along with saint names. You will find your animal name and review the next four (4) animals' work.
  • Some papers may arrive late. If you are in line to review a missing paper, allow a day or two for it to show up. If it does not show up, go ahead and review enough papers to get to four reviews. This assures that you will get enough "back evaluations" of your work to get a good average for your peer review credit. (You will also have an opportunity to challenge a back evaluation score of your reviewing that is out of line with the others.)
  • Stage 3: I will grade and briefly comment on your writing using the peer scores as an initial ranking. Assuming the process works normally, I will give you the higher of the two grades. Up to 21 points in Points.
  • Stage 4: Back-evaluation: After you receive your peer comments and my evaluation, take a few minutes to fill out this quick "back evaluation" rating form: [23]. Fill out the form for each reviewer, but not Alfino. Up to 10 points, in Q&W.
  • Back evaluations are due TBD, 11:59pm.

15: OCT 28

Assigned Reading and Work

  • Nix, Stacy. Chapter 3: Fats Williams' Basic Nutrition and Diet Therapy (pp. 31-46)
  • Fill out Fats Worksheet (Points)

Nix, Chapter 3, "Fats"

  • Nature of
  • C, H, O -- note that Carbs are different arrangements of these.
  • fatty acids are chains of C-H bonds with a methyl group on one end (so-called the "omega") and an acid on the other (which bonds to a glycerol)
  • saturated (no spaces in the C-H string), mono (space at the 9th H), poly (spaces after 6) (linoleic acid) and, if after 3, Omega-3 or (alpha-linolenic acid)
  • visible: saturated fats are dense, form solids at room temp.
  • "trans" in structure and implicated in health risks, largely removed from processed foods.
  • Functions of
  • essential fatty acids: , linoleic acid (omega 6) and alpha-linolenic acid (omega-3) . we can produced saturated fats and cholesterol from these essential fatty acids.
  • 34: diet of less than 10% calories from fat not consistent with health.
  • some interesting detailed functions in phospholipids such as lecithin (for cell membranes), and eicosanoids (signaling hormones that relate inflammatory and immune response, and cholesterol, which we need for cell membrane health.
  • fats essential for tissue strength, cholesterol metabolism, muscle tone, blood clotting, and heart action. As with carbs, you can think of fats as energy sources, but don't forget other metabolic functions.
  • storage of energy.
  • source of fat soluble vitamins.
  • saiety!
  • Food Sources
  • fat from meat is compatible with a healthy diet, but better when taken with fiber and balanced with high ratio of polyunsaturated fats.
  • fish have mostly unsaturated fat [24] compared to red meat [25] or chicken [26] or a Starbuck's caramel brownie [27]!
  • visible and invisible fats
  • Digestion
  • enzymes in small intestine (from pancreas), bile from gallblader, bile emulsifies fat, increasing surface area for enzymes to act.
  • frying foods at high temperatures makes digestion harder and compounds can break down into carcinogenes.
  • Recommendations

16: NOV 2. Unit 4: Ethical Issues in Eating and Food Production

Assigned Reading

  • Lawless, Kristin. Formerly Known as Food, Chapter 8, "Food Choice" (197-217)
  • Winders and Ransom, "Introduction to the Global Meat Industry" 1-23 (22)
  • Mayer, Jane. "How Trump is helping tycoons exploit the pandemic" New Yorker, July 13, 2020. (first seven pages)

Lawless, Kristin. Formerly Known as Food, Chapter 8, "Food Choice"

Winders and Ransom, "Introduction to the Global Meat Industry"

Mayer, Jane. "How Trump is helping tycoons exploit the pandemic"

17: NOV 4

Assigned Reading

  • Milligan, Tony. Animal Ethics: the basics. "Introduction and Chapter 1" (1-26) (25)
  • Lecture on standard arguments for ethical diets
  • Writing: Assessing Animal Ethics claims (short writing, peer reviewed, Points)

Milligan, Tony. Animal Ethics: the basics. "Chapter 1"

  • main approaches:
  • Unifying - focus on key concepts like rights, suffering, sentience
  • Relational - focus on historical practices
  • unifying approaches
  • Singer — suffering ; Reagan - rights; being “subject of a life” ; Francione — sentience
  • all three treat “being human” as irrelevant in the discussion of rights and obligations.
  • Some general objections to unifying approaches: based on the parent theories for Singer and Reagan — utilitarianism and rights theory
  • complexity — these theories oversimplify experience by reducing decisions to a single criterion. Suffering, for example, is not always morally problematic. Rights and harms often go together. rights talk can be thought of as too restrictive. Maybe we should love animals? (12)
  • separation of justification and motivation — in a live example of intervening to prevent cruelty to an animal, appeals to rights and suffering seem to be more about justifications, but don’t capture our motivations, which might be more direct. 13: problem of motivation in ethics. Problem if theoretical views that don’t motivate action.
  • marginalizing our humanity — unifying theories seem not to track differences bt how we think about animals vs. Humans. “Speciesism”.
  • Some general objections to relational approaches:
  • work of Cora Diamond: exposing assumptions in categories like “vermin” “pet” “livestock” . On the positive side, it is a great historical accomplishment to use terms like “human” and “humanity” to capture what we owe or what is due to others. It seems wrong to Diamond, to treat this as a negative form of “speciesism”. She argues that we need to be human in a way that reduces harm to animals.
  • Derrida’s The Animal That I am. - concept of humanity developed in contrast and relation to animals, not in isolation. Not trying to efface the distinction (as unifiers do), but “multiply its figures”. Asks how we are seen by the animal.

Writing: Assessing Animal Ethics claims (short writing, 800 words, peer reviewed, Points)

  • Stage 1: Please write an 800 word maximum answer to the following question by November 8, 2020 11:59pm.
  • Topic: Based on your reading in the course and your own reflection and knowledge, what are the three most serious ethical issues in eating and what does each require of us, if anything?
  • Advice about collaboration: I encourage you to collaborate with other students, but only up to the point of sharing ideas, references to class notes and readings, and your own notes. Collaboration is part of the academic process and the intellectual world that college courses are based on, so it is important to me that you have the possibility to collaborate. It's a great way to make sure that a high average level of learning and development occurs. The best way to avoid plagiarism is to NOT share text of draft answers or outlines of your answer. Keep it verbal. Generate your own examples.
  • Prepare your answer and submit it in the following way:
  1. Do not put your name in the file or filename. You may put your student id number in the file. Put a word count in the file.
  2. In Word, check "File" and "Options" to make sure your name does not appear as author. You may want to change this to "anon" for this document.
  3. Format your answer in double spaced text in a 12 point font, using normal margins.
  4. Save the file in the ".docx" file format using the file name "EthicsOfEating".
  5. Log in to courses.alfino.org. Upload your file to the Points dropbox.
  • Stage 2: Please evaluate four student answers and provide brief comments and a score. Review the Assignment Rubric for this exercise. We will only be using the Flow and Content areas of the rubric for this assignment. Complete your evaluations and scoring by November 15, 2020, 11:59pm.
  • Use this Google Form to evaluate four peer papers. The papers will be on the Sharepoint site under Student Writing, but please do not edit these files or add comments directly on them. This will compromise your anonymity.
  • To determine the papers you need to peer review, I will send you a key with animal names in alphabetically order, along with saint names. You will find your animal name and review the next four (4) animals' work.
  • Some papers may arrive late. If you are in line to review a missing paper, allow a day or two for it to show up. If it does not show up, go ahead and review enough papers to get to four reviews. This assures that you will get enough "back evaluations" of your work to get a good average for your peer review credit. (You will also have an opportunity to challenge a back evaluation score of your reviewing that is out of line with the others.)
  • Stage 3: I will grade and briefly comment on your writing using the peer scores as an initial ranking. Assuming the process works normally, I will give you the higher of the two grades. Up to 21 points in Points.
  • Stage 4: Back-evaluation: After you receive your peer comments and my evaluation, take a few minutes to fill out this quick "back evaluation" rating form: [29]. Fill out the form for each reviewer, but not Alfino. Up to 10 points, in Q&W.
  • Back evaluations are due TBD, 11:59pm.

18: NOV 9

Assigned Reading

  • Nix, Stacy. Chapter 4: "Proteins" Williams' Basic Nutrition and Diet Therapy (pp. 47-63).
  • Fill out Proteins Worksheet (Points)

Nix, "Proteins"

  • Nature of
  • 20 amino acids, 9 essential; proteins are polypeptides -- chains of amino acids 100s of links long. Proteins exist in specific forms in foods (ex. casein is milk protein) and are broken down by us into amino acids and resembled as protein in metabolism.
  • about 16% nitrogen; protein is a primary source of nitrogen in diet. Nitrogen Balance is shown when excretion of urinary nitrogen occurs as by product of protein metabolism (ratio of 1 g of urinary nitrogen to 6.25 g of protein). Negative nitrogen balance can be a symptom of protein deficiency.
  • Functions of Protein Metabolism
  • Tissue growth/repair: largest component of tissue by dry weight. 75%.
  • Water and pH balance; plasma proteins can exert osmotic pressure to help circulation of tissue fluids (I think this is the "interstitium", but I'm not sure).
  • Proteins can take up acids to contribute to blood Ph management.
  • Metabolism, transport, immune system, energy system. Wide range of functions here. We have already met "lipproteins" that help carry fats around. Here you learn that enzymes, transport agents, and hormones also have protein structures.
  • Proteins also help make white blood cells, so support your immune system.
  • Food Sources
  • Complete proteins mostly from animal sources, including dairy, cheese.
  • Soy is the only complete plant protein.
  • Completing proteins: p. 52. also compare links ceci beans [[30]], lentils [31], peanut butter [32] and sesame seeds [[33]]. Sirloin steak [34]. Note how you can use the site to find complementary foods for foods with relatively low amino acid scores.
  • advice on vegetarian diets -
  • Digestion
  • Occurs in stomach and small intestines
  • Recommendations
  • 10-35% of calories from diet
  • .8g / Kg of body weight.
  • Overconsumption of protein by Americans, p. 59 Men at 181% of DRI
  • Debates about protein quality. [35]

19: NOV 11. Unit 5: Gastronomy and Food Culture

  • Included:
  • Barber, Dan. Introduction The Third Plate: Field Notes on the Future of Food, (1-22). (22)
  • Andrews, Geoff. Chapter 2: "The Critique of 'Fast Life'" The Slow Food Story (pp. 29-47). (18)
  • Gopnik, Adam, "Who Made the Restaurant?" from The Table Comes First, 2012, (pp. 13-57). (44)
  • Wallach, Cuisine of Contact (1-31) (31) Subtotal: 115
  • Ruhlman, How the A&P Changed the Western World 29-42 (13).
  • To Choose from:
  • Barber, Dan. Chapter 12: "Land" (pp. 158-173)
  • Barber, Dan. Chapter 30: "Seed" (382-409) (21)
  • Ogle, In Meat We Trust (26-62) (36).

20: NOV 16

Assigned Reading

21: NOV 18

Assigned Reading

22: NOV 23

Assigned Reading

23: NOV 30. Unit 6: Gastronomy, Satisfaction, and Dietary Change

Assigned Reading

  • Gordon Shepherd, Neurogastronomy Chapters 2, 7, 11, 18, 19, 21, 27 (67)

Gordon Shepherd, Neurogastronomy Chapters 2, 7, 11, 18, 19, 21, 27

C2: Dogs, Humans, and Retronasal Smell
  • comparison of dog’s snout and sniffing with human. Import how motor functions and anatomy are integrated to behavior.
  • Inside the snout: modern mammals engage in ortho and retronasal olfaction. Receptors in nasal bulb direct to brain.
  • Evolution of the Human Nose: Why we don’t have snouts....bipedalism or diet. Argued in evo theory that decline of the snout led to ascendency of vision. Stereoscopic vision possible without the snout. Human olfaction favors retronasal vs. Dogs. Retronasal more emphasis on what we put in our mouths. 25-26: mechanics of chewing, sampling by taste buds, air flow, heating, humidification, retronasal olfaction,
  • Why would retronasal olfaction be favored in humans? Bipedalism increased our range and exposure to food varieties. Cooking. Origins of “cuisine” in emergence of cooking 400,000 years ago. (Note both are food explanations.)
C7: Images of Smell
  • The Olfactory Bulb: molecular and neural pathways at the bulb. Glomerulus (glom) - convergence site of receptor cells. Interneurons: often specialized processors. Periglomeral cells, Mitral cells, tufted cells. Granule cells.
  • How does olfactory bulb represent smell? Story of discovery: 1930s Edgar Adrian, hedgehogs, noticed how patterns of excitation could create an “image” of the smell. Sokoloff method for tracking energy used by the brain with a marker for glucose uptake. Important work that led to PET and fMRI. Follows his own research from 70s in using this method to track energy use in the olfactory bulb as it is exposed to odors. Cofirms idea of a “smell image” or pattern of activation. Started to fill in a “map” of the receptor sites on the bulb. 1990s.
C11 Creating, Learning, and Remembering Smell
  • lateral olfactory tract — context output from the bulb to the olfactory cortex in the brain. Long in humans. What is its role?
  • importance of pyramidal cells. 100: capable of feedback excitation to stimulating cells. Thought important to memory. Damaged in dimentica patients.
  • 101: Olfactory cortex “serves as content-addressable memory for association of odor stimuli with memory traces of odors. “. Structures that support this claim. Herb rule - identifies activity that suggest memory and learning. Interesting parallels between odor recognition and face recognition.
  • 103: summary of functions of olfactory cortex. Not clear if perception of smell itself arises in ol. Cortex. Some research suggesting that it can detect the absence of the essential amino acids.
C18 Putting it all Together: The Human Brain Flavor System
  • opening summary of the system.
  • reference and quote from Brillat-Savarin, the first “gastronome” .
  • sensory system vs action system
  • sensory system:
  • flavor also produced by smell, taste, mouth-sense, sight, sound.
  • multi-sensory integration, or “Supra-addivtivity” involves congruent repetition of combinations of stimuli. “internal brain image” of the flavor object.
  • read summary sentence, p. 160: “A consensus is emerging....”
  • action system
  • chart on p. 161 matching brain structures to aspects of flavor perception. The action system includes emotional response, memory, decision making, plasticity (how the activity of the body/brain — in this case eating— changes the brain) Language, consciousness. (Each treated in next section. We sample the chapter on emotions.)
C19: Flavor and Emotions
  • emotions moves us toward action, but also reflect our internal state of desiring and wanting. What is diff between want and craving?
  • research from Monell Chemical Senses Institute. Cravings implicated in eating disorders. Dull diets stimulate craving. Marcia Pelchat and colleagues looked at parallels between food cravings and drug craving. In a study, one group of test subjects were on a monotonous diet and another on a normal diet. In brain imaging, the monotonous eaters produced strong activation when asked to imagine a favorite food. Supports hypothesis that there is a common circuitry to natural and pathological rewards (food and drugs). 168ff: discussion of brain structures implicated in the study. Hippocampus, insula, caudate nucleus. Caudate includes high concentration of dopamine. Also part of the striatum, which involves habits (which probably involve dopamine). When we are hungry, we can activate food memories and emotional responses in anticipation of the food.
  • An implication of this for eating is that hunger plays a key role in satisfaction. The hungrier eater produces stronger anticipatory activation. “Hunger is the best relish.” “Images of desire” maybe be important to satisfaction.
  • chocolate-satiety study (Dana Small) — test subjects eat chocolate to satiety while in imaging. Difference in activation can be thought of as a change in the flavor image (for chocolate) under conditions of craving and satisfaction. Mentions concept of “reward value” current in brain research.
C21: Flavor and Obesity
  • considers the case of french fries in relation to the flavor perception system. Salt, fat, and sweetness. Discusses the meat flavor from tallow, now artificially added. Adds in the rest of the typical fast food meal. Chased with coffee and a cookie. Coffee has over 600 volatile molecules. Point: the fast food meal involves sensory overload.
  • Overeating:
  • sensory overload;
  • caloric density; reduced roughage.
  • But also “Sensory-specific satiety” . Single flavors diminish appetite while multiple flavors amplify it. You can eat more food if it includes multiple flavors.
  • long-term overstimulation of skin and membranes of the lips and mouth. Interesting research shows obese test subjects have more activation of these areas even while not eating.
  • Conditioned overeating: Other research by Dana Small. You can induce extra eating in rats with conditioned stimuli (bell). Humans have wide field of potential conditioning stimuli.
  • Other research suggests that ineffective inhibitory circuits play a role in obesity.
  • Others speculate that the reward value of food for obese is too low. The brain doesn’t register enough pleasure from a normal diet.
  • Kessler: combination of SFS culprit (note that in Kessler’s theory several of the above theories are included.
C27: Why Flavor Matters
  • brief summary.
  • Flavor at different life stages:
  • In the womb: flavors in amniotic fluid, rat study showing odor preference established pre-natally. Diet studies with pregnant women (using anise or carrot juice for eample) show similar results.
  • In infants: flavor and preference also communicated through breast milk
  • In childhood: research showing kids are hyper sensitive to SFS foods.
  • In adolescents.
  • Flavor and dieting in adults. Doesn’t work. 238: “key element missing in most discussions of diet is flavor”. Very important point. Cites Brownell’s “Food Fight” (2004) and Barbara Rolls.
  • In old age: research on loss of smell sense.

24: DEC 2

Assigned Reading

  • Kessler, Chapters 27-32, p.(137-165) (28)

Kessler, Chapters 27-32

C27: Overeating becomes more dangerous.
  • Our brains are designed to focus on salient stimuli. Salient food drives overeating. Reinforcement learning. Role of memory, enhanced by multi-sensory stimuli, Once conditioning is strong, the desire to feel better can be overcome by the desire to follow the habit. Deep habits don’t trigger thought or reflection.
  • hyperpalatable foods are hyperstimulants. They are effective in creating conditioned hyper eating.
C28 What Weight-Loss Drugs Can Teach Us
  • Phen-fen - banned, but apparently effective in blocking obsessive thought about food.
  • Patient: “I’m there, the food is there, but I don’t feel like eating the food. It used to be that I would see the food and I would go completely nuts, and that doesn’t happen any longer.”
C29
  • ”Conditioned Hypereating”. Governed by cues, priming, and emotion.
  • Cues: example of being cued by a fast food place as you return from the gym. 147: “elaborated thought”. — brain works on details, connections, plan for getting reward. Sets up tension with conscious awareness. “If you eat the salient food today, it’s going to be more salient tomorrow because you have more positive associateions with it. “
  • Priming: tendency to seek a food reward more intensely once it has been tasted. In studies of hunger, test subjects report higher levels of hunger during the first part of the meal. 149. Research supporting priming effect. Test subjects consumed more of the food they were primed by.
  • Emotions: some emotions drive overeating by reinforcing cues and priming. Sadness and Anger . In a brain imaging study (151), test subjects in whom a negative mood had been induced were more stimulated by the prospect of a milkshake than a control group.
  • Stress also exaggerates other stimuli. Profound stress can shut down appetite and emotion. Transition emotions (how we feel as we change activities) make us vulnerable.

C30

  • Expectations of satisfaction from a food or from eating reinforce the stimulus. Not everyone driven to obsession by this. The “white bear” problem. Suppressed thoughts can become more salient because they are suppressed.
C31: Conditioned Hypereating emerges
  • Research questions about hypereating. 158: obesity study showing that overweight women snacked more throughout the day than non. In another study obese test subjects were more willing to work for food rewards that other activities that they liked as well. Not so for non-obese.
  • Reno Diet Heart Study: used data to ask about associate of loss of control over eating, lack of feeling satisfied, and preoccupation with food. 50% of obese and 30% of overweight subjects showed these features. But 17% of learn. Those showing traits of conditioned hypereating more than 2x likely to be overweight early in life.
  • 161: conditioned hyper eaters more likely to rate an aroma pleasant longer. In brain image, heightened response to cookies, etc.
  • considers conditioned hypereating a syndrome, cluster of symptoms.
C32: Tracing the roots of conditioned hypereating
  • 70s researcher, Shacter — “externality” theory of obesity. Overeating from response to external cues, over internal. In his “cracker study” thin people reduced subsequent consumption of crackers, but obese did not. Theorized that they respond to presence of external stimulus over being partially full.
  • Restrain theory. Dieting fails due to ineffective restraint.

25: DEC 7

Assigned Reading

  • Burkhard Bilger, "Can Babies Learn to Love Vegetables?," New Yorker, Nov 25, 2019 (12)
  • Tarragon & Moreno, "Role of Endocannabinooids on Sweet Taste Perception, Food Preference, and Obesity-related Disorders" Chemical Senses v. 43, 3-16, 2018. (13)
  • Rolls, Barbara, "The Role of Energy Density in the Overconsumption of Fat," American Society for Nutritional Sciences, 2000, 246-253. (7)

Burkhard Bilger, "Can Babies Learn to Love Vegetables?

Tarragon & Moreno, "Role of Endocannabinooids on Sweet Taste Perception, Food Preference, and Obesity-related Disorders"

Rolls, Barbara, "The Role of Energy Density in the Overconsumption of Fat,"

26: DEC 9

  • Last Class: Assessing major course hypotheses.