Friday, February 19, 2010

Post 1: Response to In Defense of Food, by Michael Pollan

So far, Michael Pollan’s argument so far is that people and scientists don’t know what a nutrient is or does. His other key point is that nutrionalism is winning in our society and it’s making our nation prone to chronic diseases and, in general, fat. Pollan goes on to say that food scientist are changing our food to get rid of any “bad” nutrient, and put in or retain the “good” nutrient. Overall, his point is that a food is good for you by the collective nutrients in it, not an individual nutrient that’s in the food such as the whole carrot instead of beta carotene.

The first point I would like to focus on is what a nutrient is. Pollan says that scientists can’t see them and have no clue what they are. This is where I disagree. Food Scientists do know what they look like and what most nutrients do for you. I found an article that I'd like to share. Nutrient Intake, Nutrient Storage and Nutrient Oxidation

The second point I want to talk about is that we probably should change our thinking of how we eat. Pollan makes a good point that we didn’t have these problems 100 years ago, but he has no concrete proof to back it up. You also have to remember that we have become less active due to technological evolution. So, our eating problems might be due to more than one factor.

The last point I that I disagree with is when he blames the farmers and industrialization. He doesn’t realize that farmers were and are trying to keep up with demand by the population. Also, the farmers don’t change the food to make it “bad”. They’re grow the same crops every year, while the food scientists change it to a processed “bad” food.

Top 7 Misconceptions on Healthy Food Eating

Healthy food eating is just something everyone talks about these days. We’re bombarded with print and TV ads that promote all sorts of “solutions” and products that claim to get the entire nation in shape. There’s just no getting away from it.

With all the scams out there, we all need to practice good judgment from here on out. That’s why I’ve prepared a short list of myths that will hopefully set the facts straight and help you make better healthy food eating choices.

Thursday, February 18, 2010

USDA Outlook; Food Security; Biofuels; Climate Issues; and USDA Civil Rights

USDA chief economist Joe Glauber provided an updated economic outlook for agriculture yesterday at the Department’s Annual Outlook Forum in Arlington, Virginia.

In part, Dr. Glauber noted that, “On February 11, USDA’s Economic Research Service (ERS) released its initial estimates of farm income and production expenses for 2010. ERS forecasts net cash income at $76.3 billion, up $5.5 billion from 2009” [related graph from presentation].

And with respect to crop prospects for 2010, Dr. Glauber stated that, “Less land is expected to be planted to the major field crops in 2010 as prices continue to ease from their record levels in 2008…Total planted area for the 8 major crops (wheat, corn, barley, oats, sorghum, soybeans, upland cotton, and rice) is expected to decline to 247.3 million acres, down 1.6 million from 2009. The 8-crop total is down 5.7 million acres from the recent high in 2008 as the net returns outlook is much less favorable than 2 years ago when prices were at or near record highs” [related graph from presentation]