Fascinating fun fact of the day: if the rest of the world was, how shall we say… as portly as US citizens, it would be the biomass equivalent of having an extra billion “average sized” people on the planet.
For the past two months, one of my favorite reads has been Never Seconds, a blog started by 9-year-old Martha Payne of western Scotland to document the unappealing, non-nutritious lunches she was being served in her public primary school. Payne, whose mother is a doctor and father has a small farming property, started blogging in early May and went viral in days. She had a million viewers within a few weeks and 2 million this morning; was written up in Time, the Telegraph, the Daily Mail, and a number of food blogs; and got support from TV cheflebrity Jamie Oliver, whose series “Jamie’s School Dinners” kicked off school-food reform in England.
Huge amounts of public support, including from Jamie Oliver (who tweeted “Stay strong, Martha!”) and Neil Gaiman.
214 news articles worldwide in the past 12 hours.
Another half-million pageviews at the NeverSeconds blog (and almost 1,000 comments on her Goodbye post, up from about 150 when I posted last night).
The Guardian proposed that people take pictures of their lunches and tweet them #MyLunchforMartha
Also today, the Argyll and Bute Council, whose decision it was to ban Martha’s photography, relented. Back to Wired:
…[T]he leader of the Argyll and Bute Council, Roddy McCuish, [just] went on the BBC’s World At One program on Radio 4 and announced they were backing off the ban in response to a request from Scotland’s education minister along with vast pressure from social media.
Food labels are a tricky lot and often leave people confused.
When asked what’s wrong with them, Good Calories Bad Calories author Gary Taubes responds, “Many things. Short answer is it’s too small and too hard to read. Second, it focuses on the wrong information. The fat and sodium content of the foods are not nearly as important as the sugar and digestible carbohydrate content, at least by my research on the subject. So giving fat, total fat, sodium, etc., is misdirecting attention away from the factors that actually cause weight gain, metabolic syndrome, diabetes, heart disease, etc.”
Rethink the Food Label is a project by the UC Berkeley Graduate School of Journalism’s News21 program and Good Magazine. We asked the public, food thinkers, nutritionists, and designers to redesign the Nutrition Facts Label to make it easier to read and more useful to people who want to consume healthier, more nutritious and wholesome food.
Designs could incorporate the nutrition label’s existing break down of fats, sugars, vitamins, calorie counts and percent daily values. Or, they could re-imagine the label to include geography, food quality, food justice, carbon footprint, or lesser-known chemosensory characteristics.
Food can be healthy, affordable or tasty. If you’re on a budget you get to pick two out of the three.
In 2004, University of Washington obesity researcher Adam Drewnowski discovered that consumers on a fixed budget can buy a lot more calories from processed foods and soft drinks than they can from fruits, vegetables, and whole grains. He found that a single dollar could purchase 1,200 calories of cookies or potato chips, but only 250 calories of carrots. One dollar could buy 875 calories of soft drink but only 170 calories of orange juice.