ISBN : 9780190846633
From gluten-free to all-Paleo, GMOs to grass-fed beef, our newsfeeds abound with nutrition advice. Whether sensational headlines from the latest study or anecdotes from celebrities and food bloggers, we're bombarded with "superfoods" and "best ever" diets promising to help us lose weight, fight disease, and live longer. At the same time, we live in an over-crowded food environment that makes it easy to eat, all the time. The result is an epidemic of chronic disease amidst a culture of nutrition confusion-and copious food choices that challenge everyday eaters just trying to get a healthy meal on the table.
But the exhilarating truth is that scientists know an astounding amount about the power of food. A staggering 80% of chronic diseases are preventable through modifiable lifestyle changes, and diet is the single largest contributing factor. And we also know the secrets to eating sustainably to protect our planet.
In Food & Nutrition, Harvard- and Columbia-trained nutrition scientist Dr. P.K. Newby examines 134 stand-alone questions addressing "need to know" topics, including how what we eat affects our health and environment, from farm to fork, and why, when it comes to diet, the whole is greater than the sum of its parts-and one size doesn't fit all. At the same time, Newby debunks popular myths and food folklore, encouraging readers to "learn, unlearn, and relearn" the fundamentals of nutrition at the heart of a health-giving diet. Her passion for all things food shines through it all, as does her love of the power of science, technology, and engineering to help create healthier diets for ourselves, and a more sustainable future for the planet we share.
1. Introduction: What We Eat and Why It Matters
What exactly is food, and what does it represent?
What do today's diets look like around the world?
Are there problems with today's food system?
What are today's major nutritional problems in the world?
Are there solutions to today's food problems?
Is there currently a food revolution?
2. Hunter-Gatherers to Twenty-First Century Humans: How Revolutions, Discoveries, and Inventions Shape our Diet
Hunter-gatherers: How did early humans eat during the Paleolithic era?
The discovery of fire: How does cooking impact food and health?
The birth of agriculture: How did humans eat and produce food during the Neolithic Revolution?
What other food practices arose globally during the course of early human history?
What is the nutrition transition?
How and why did the Industrial Revolution impact food production?
What is the Green Revolution, and how did it impact human health and the environment?
What is the genetic revolution, and how does it impact food production?
How have the digital and information revolutions impacted what and how we eat?
Food technology: What major food inventions have shaped how we eat throughout human
3. Essential Nutrition: Science, History, and Health
What is nutrition, and what makes nutrition a "science"?
Nutrition basics: What are macronutrients, micronutrients, and phytonutrients?
Fats, proteins, and carbohydrates: How are they different, and why is it important?
Nutrition history: Undernutrition, vitamin discoveries, and synthesis
Nutrification: How has nutrition knowledge been applied to create healthier foods?
Twentieth century nutrition: Overnutrition, modern diets, and chronic diseases
Beyond single nutrients and foods: The whole (diet) is greater than the sum of its parts
New directions in nutrition: Personalized nutrition, genetics, and lifestyle
New directions in nutrition: Nutritional ecology and food systems
Nutrition confusion: Why are there so many different opinions on what to eat for health?
How can eaters distinguish between evidence-based nutrition science and junk science?
4. Food Choice: Why We Eat What We Do
What are the major factors influencing peoples' food choices?
What are the five dominant tastes humans can detect?
Do humans innately prefer sweet, salty, and fatty foods, or is it learned behavior?
Do food preferences differ among people around the world?
Are our taste buds genetically determined?
How does the food environment impact our taste preferences?
Does food advertising impact what people buy?
Taste elasticity: Given our genetic proclivities, can our food preferences change?
5. Today's Food Environments: How and Where We Eat
Who grows their own food?
Food dollars: Where do people today spend money on food, and how much does it cost?
The rise of supermarkets, restaurants, and fast food
Do people today cook at home, and is it important?
Eating elsewhere: Cafeterias, school, workplaces, and institutions
What are farmers markets, and what role do they play in health and sustainability?
What is CSA (community supported agriculture), and who participates in CSAs?
Food on the road: Street food to food trucks
6. Modern Food Production Methods and Implications for Health
What is the difference between "conventional" and "sustainable" agriculture?
What does organic really mean?
What does "eating local" really mean?
What is the difference between "wild caught" and "farmed" fish?
What is a GMO (i.e., genetically modified organism), and are they hazardous to health and the
What does "natural" mean and are "natural" foods safer?
What is food processing, and what are "processed foods"?
What is a "whole" food?
Are canned and frozen foods less healthy than fresh?
What is gluten, is it dangerous, and why are so many foods "gluten-free"?
What about all of those other labels on food packages: fair trade, rainforest certified, and
7. Environmental Costs of Food Production
Farm to fork: What is the "Life Cycle Analysis" of food, and why does it matter?
How much water is used to produce food?
How much land does growing food require?
What fuels are commonly used in food production?
What chemicals used to produce food, and are they necessary?
Why do we feed corn to animals rather than just eat it ourselves?
Fish and seafood: What is "aquaculture" and how does it impact the environment?
What are "food miles" and are they important?
Where does wasted food go?
How is food production related to climate change?
8. Animal Foods in Human Diets, Farm to Fork
Why do humans consume animals, and is it ethical?
What is "red meat" and how is it related to health and the environment?
Are eggs and butter related to heart disease?
Do we need dairy in our diet to meet our nutritional needs?
Are "white meats" like poultry and pork healthier and more sustainable than beef?
What exactly are "processed meats"?
Is seafood an essential contributor to human diets?
Can animal foods be part of a healthy and sustainable diet?
9. Beverages, Human Health, and the Environment
How do beverages contribute to our diets?
How is breast milk different from infant formula?
Do I need to drink eight cups of water a day for proper hydration?
Is bottled water safer and tastier than tap water?
Is coffee good for you, or bad?
Are there health benefits to drinking teas?
Does juicing fruits and vegetables have special health benefits?
Does drinking red wine, or other alcoholic beverages, lead to lower risk of heart disease?
10. Plant-Based Diets for Health and Sustainability
What exactly is a plant-based diet, and why is it important?
Are all vegetables equally healthy?
Is the sugar in fruit good for you?
What are "whole grains" and are they related to health?
How do beans, nuts, and legumes contribution to health?
How are vegetable-based oils different from solid fats like butter and margarine?
Are omega-3 fatty acids from walnuts and flax seeds the same as those from fish?
Are soy foods like tofu healthful or harmful?
Can humans obtain enough protein from plants for optimal health?
Are plant-based diets affordable for everyone?
Do all plant-based diets look the same?
11. Shaping Healthy and Sustainable Diets: Nutrition Guidelines and Food Labels
What are the dietary recommendations of the World Health Organization?
How are foods labeled around the world?
Does reading food labels help consumers make healthier food choices?
How are country-specific dietary guidelines developed?
What are the Dietary Guidelines for Americans, and are they based on science?
What information is legally required to appear on a packaged food?
Why don't fresh foods like vegetables, fruit, meat, and seafood have food labels?
What is the "Nutrition Facts" panel, and what does it mean for consumers?
Why do some foods have health claims on them?
Evidence-based advice: Harvard's Healthy Eating Plate
What other science-based tools are available to help people eat healthfully and sustainably?
12. Conclusion: Diets of Tomorrow and the Future of Food
Will modern technology continue to shape our food choices and our health?
What will the human diets of tomorrow look like?
Will humans have a diet created specifically for their individual needs based on genetics (i.e.,
Will we have enough food to feed everyone?
How will we produce food on Earth?
How will we feed humans in space?
Will chronic diseases still exist?
Will hunger still exist?
Will people live longer?