How to avoid working through lunch, and diseases related to social isolation.
SAO PAULO—I have only been in Brazil for a few days, but I am ready to make one ignorant American overgeneralization: This country loves its buffets. I have dined buffet-style for almost all of my meals here, and the times that I didn’t, the restaurant had a buffet option available.
Walking around a Sao Paulo neighborhood the other day, a fellow reporter here was taken aback by one particular restaurant buffet offering. The sign in front noted that the price for a lunch buffet was five reais (about $2.25) higher for men than for women. When a waitress was asked about the discrepancy, she responded, plainly, that it’s because men eat more than women.
In a way, she’s right: Women have, on average, smaller bodies than men, and thus require fewer calories in a given day. To maintain weight, a 26-year-old, moderately active man should eat about 2,600 calories per day, while a woman of the same age and activity level should eat 2,000.
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According to a new study, nearly one in three U.S. adults with a chronic disease has problems paying for food, medicine, or both. That doesn’t have to be the case.
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A nod to the fact that popular media is not totally lost, Katz borrows from the writer Michael Pollan, citing a seminal 2007 New York Times Magazine article on “nutritionism” in concluding that the mantra, “Eat food, not too much, mostly plants” is sound. “That’s an excellent idea, and yet somehow it turns out to be extremely radical.”
Though Katz also says it isn’t nearly enough. “That doesn’t help you pick the most nutritious bread, or the best pasta sauce. A member of the foodie elite might say you shouldn’t eat anything from a bag, box, bottle, jar, or can.” That’s admittedly impractical. “We do need to look at all the details that populate the space between where we are and where we want to be.”"
Leading scientists recently identified a dozen chemicals as being responsible for widespread behavioral and cognitive problems. But the scope of the chemical dangers in our environment is likely even greater. Why children and the poor are most susceptible to neurotoxic exposure that may be costing the U.S. billions of dollars and immeasurable peace of mind.
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Eating a meal, any meal, reliably makes an animal, any animal, calmer and more lethargic. This means humans, too. Hunger makes animals alert and irritable, which explains why couples always fight about where to eat dinner. This emotional response encourages the animals to find food.
But all this is only in the broadest, most primal “eating = good, not eating = bad” way. The details of the relationship between foods and moods end up being a little contradictory and a lot complicated.
What we tend to think of as “emotional eating” is a specific kind of eating and a specific kind of emotion—eating sugary, fatty, carb-y, unhealthy foods as a coping mechanism for feeling upset. In reality, “emotional eating” is a much broader term.
“We eat for a variety of different emotions and we eat in a variety of different circumstances which are in turn connected with emotions,” Meryl Gardner, a marketing professor at the University of Delaware, says.
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“To remain relevant,” U.S. Food and Drug Administration commissioner Dr. Margaret Hamburg said in a press statement today, “the FDA’s newly proposed Nutrition Facts label incorporates the latest in nutrition science as more has been learned about the connection between what we eat and the development of serious chronic diseases impacting millions of Americans.”
Like so many of us, the FDA just wants to remain relevant. Today is the fourth anniversary of Michelle Obama’s Let’s Move! campaign, and with it comes the unveiling of new food nutrition labels. The Nutrition Facts required on food packages for 20 years hven’t changed significantly since 2006, when trans fat was added to the label.
At first glance, the new one is not much different. Apart from the giant calorie number.
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Today’s coffee-shop owners don’t just place orders for beans. They backpack up the sides of volcanoes in Guatemala and Panama to find previously undiscovered farmers who will grow and process beans to their specifications. And if they’ve paid to trek to Central America, you don’t think they’ll just make you a quick cup, do you?
The current fashion is to make what should be the simplest of brewing techniques—pouring hot water over ground beans to coax out their subtle, delicate flavors—an exercise in endurance. Instead of simply opening a spigot on an urn, a barista will set a filter into a carafe and place it on an electronic scale before adding the coffee, to be sure of the exact ratio of water to grounds. Relying on a timer to ensure a prolonged pour (sometimes up to four minutes), the barista will then use a swan-neck pitcher to ever so slowly drip the right amount of temperature-controlled water into the filter, all while giving you a lecture on the new crop of Borboya Yirgacheffe. The experience seems calibrated to produce maximal annoyance.
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In a popular gesture of transparency-in-advertising this week, McDonald’s gave the world a walking tour of its McNugget creation process. Depending which tales you have heard about what’s inside mass-produced chicken nuggets, the company’s disclosure lands somewhere between semi-reassuring and fascinating in a not-at-all-appetizing way.
The video is an installation in an ongoing series produced by McDonald’s Canada, the Canadian version of McDonald’s America, bent on dispelling rumors about their food. In this case, that the insides of McNuggets are a slurry of assorted animal parts.
In actuality, the video shows that it’s a slurry of pure chicken breast and skin.
The video has, in this era of food-vigilante justice, been received warmly. That’s in part because it feels authentic. If what we’re shown is as good as McDonald’s can make the process look, it must be honest. Their nugget portrayal is distantly removed from the pristine portraits that make it to billboards. The nugget they put before us now is cold, battered, soulless.
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