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 2nd, 2014
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.
May 13th, 2014
“A calorie is not a calorie,” explained Dr. Robert Lustig, pediatric endocrinologist and advisory board member for the new film Fed Up. As he spoke, Lustig sliced into a juicy steak, accompanied by a green salad and a glass of red wine. “However,” he quipped in reference to food industry sniping against public health advocates’ sugar intake recommendations, “I am not the food police! By all means, order dessert!” Read More
May 13th, 2014
Well actually, it took about 5 years for our friends at the Monsanto Company to start turning regular old weeds into a crisis of “superweeds.” But they did it, and another decade on, farmers everywhere are paying the price. Now, using the magic of speed-drawing, we’ve taken this age-old tale of weedy villains and chemical “superheroes” (with fatal flaws), and boiled it down to just 2:29. Read More