Not all ethanol is created equal. The benefits, or consequences, of this ubiquitous ‘home-grown’ fuel that is blended in nearly every gallon of gasoline sold across the country vary depending on how it is produced and what it is produced from. As my colleague and uber biofuels-wonk Dr. Jeremy Martin has explained, ethanol produced from food, like corn or soybean, does little to reduce the carbon intensity of our transportation fuel and, in some cases, can actually be responsible for more greenhouse gas emissions on a lifecycle basis compared to gasoline. Read More
July 21st, 2014
July 16th, 2014
In the age of Twitter and online petitions, food companies are doing more to respond to consumer demand for information about what we’re eating, according to Ad Age. But too often, companies are still sidelining and attacking science at the root of consumers’ concerns. It doesn’t have to be this way. Read More
July 11th, 2014
While the health conscious among us may take pains to avoid sugary foods and beverages, a major problem with avoiding added sugar is that it lies hidden in places where we wouldn’t expect to find it—like yogurt and granola bars. Sugar is added to not just obviously sweetened products like soda and cookies and Froot Loops but to seemingly healthy ones, too—some of which are the worst offenders. Read More
July 2nd, 2014
Iowa State University, April 2005. I stood at the front of the classroom, a veteran of 25 years of teaching at one of the nation’s front-line agricultural institutions, and I was trying hard not to show my disbelief. The young man who had just spoken was a superstar student and, like most agriculture students in Iowa, came from a farm. He’d just heard a team of fellow students report on the grass-fed beef system of the Argentine pampas, and his first reaction was to ask: “Cattle can really eat grass?” Read More
July 1st, 2014
Last week, I spoke at the FDA public meeting on Proposed Rules on Food Labeling: Nutrition Facts Label and Serving Size. I spoke in support of an added sugars label on those proposed rules, carrying with me the support of 170+ medical, public health, and nutrition experts, 600+ scientists and other technical experts, and an additional 23,000+ citizens. Read More
June 30th, 2014
June 26th, 2014
When I was a child, I would read the ingredients on food packages. Nearly every package I picked up began with the same ingredient. “What’s high fructose corn syrup?” I asked my Mom. “I don’t know,” my mom said, “but we could certainly get rich from selling it. It’s in everything!” Read More
June 24th, 2014
As a researcher focused on how science is used and misused in policy debates, I’ve seen more than my fair share of interference in (what should be) evidence-based decision making. But when I first dug into the details featured in our new report, Added Sugar, Subtracted Science, even I had to raise an eyebrow. Read More
June 11th, 2014
UPDATE (June 12, 3:40 p.m.): The House vote on the school nutrition waiver, expected last night, was postponed. According to reporting by the New York Times today, the vote has been delayed “until sometime next week,” although that could change. Meanwhile, the public can keep writing to Congress in support of healthy school meals!
A Congress that is already routinely failing science is poised to flunk an even simpler school subject: lunch. As early as this evening, the House of Representatives is expected to vote on a bill to fund the U.S. Department of Agriculture, including school nutrition programs. Shockingly, the bill they’ll vote on contains a provision that would roll back new healthy school food standards, just as they are starting to bear fruit. Read More
June 9th, 2014
I’m now in Bonn at the United Nations climate negotiations, where the big news is that in the last week the world’s two biggest emitters – China and the United States – have announced important actions to cut their carbon pollution, especially from the coal that they burn. These steps are welcome, but they are plans, not accomplishments, and they come late compared to other countries that have already acted to reduce their carbon dioxide emissions.
Ironically, most of these successes are in tropical developing countries, where countries’ reductions in rates of deforestation and in some cases their reforestation of cleared land have cut their net emissions of global warming pollution. Their actions have already accomplished more for the climate than the actions of many developed nations have.