Stephanie Chiuve: "People’s personal choices aren’t based on all the facts.”

Welcome to the latest round of “10 Words or Less,” in which I ask brief questions and ask for brief answers. This installment is part of a group of interviews in advance of the Boston Museum of Science’s “Let’s Talk About Food” festival this weekend. Today’s subject is a nutritional epidemiologist at Brigham and Women’s Hospital and the Harvard School of Public Health who will participate in the “Let’s Talk About Nutrition” panel, a part of the festival’s Endless Table of discussions. Remember, please: No counting. 10 words is a goal, not a rule, and it’s not that easy!

Stephanie Chiuve (“cue-vee”)
Age 33
Residence West Roxbury
What’s your passion? “My work, identifying healthy diets to promote good health and prevent disease.”
Why did you choose this field? “I’ve always been interested in nutrition and how what we eat makes us what we are.”
What choice is more important: What to eat, or how much? “I would say how much. You can eat healthy food, but if it’s too much, it’s still too many calories.”
Do you think food addiction exists? "Yes."

Audio on craving and food addiction

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Zoe Harcombe, a Twitter pal in the UK, is a nutritionist and author. Here, she is interviewed for what I believe is a BBC show on topics including processed food, food cravings, food addiction, and other topics we have a mutual interest in.

If you're visiting me here, you may be interested as well.

The clip is a bit less than 20 minutes.

Obesity and malnutrition?

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A couple times recently, I've come across the notion that obesity is a sign of malnutrition. The first time, it was in an interview, and I decided just to edit that out, 'cause I wanted to save the speaker from himself. I mean, that couldn't be right, right?

Then I saw it again here, and while I'm not buying it yet, I understand the reasoning and see how it might be true. For some. Perhaps.

Healthy eating

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This story from has plenty to comment on, and we'll see what I get to, but I want to start with the fifth paragraph:

Nevertheless, only 44 percent said they incorporate at least one healthy food into their diet.

Where to begin? Is one going to get healthy, or even healthier, by incorporating "a" healthy food into one's diet? Isn't the goal to eat healthily, not to incorporate a healthy food?

If you're "incorporating a healthy food," doesn't that presuppose that what you're eating now is unhealthy? That can't be a good starting point for anyone.

More than half of the survey respondents aren't even incorporating one healthy food! 'Course, considering that only 39 percent say they're "very concerned" about eating healthily, maybe that's not such a bad number.

No redeeming value

Some people oppose any public suasion of any kinds on food choices — and even some of those do so honorably, instead of being motivated merely by their paycheck. I suspect they would object to the above.

But here's the thing, even putting aside the question of whether sugary soda is even food, or, in the coinage of Michael Pollan, a "foodlike substance." If any currently "acceptable" food or drink product warrants this sort of treatment, it is sugary soda.

Taubes takes on sugar

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I've read Gary Taubes's latest story in the NYT Mag, and though it warrants comment, I'm a little hesitant. The problem is that I've not given credence to his previous work, especially his paean to the Atkins Diet, because it advocated so strongly for a course I am sure did not benefit me, and this time I'm agreeing with him.


On (not) being a vegetarian (cont.)

We had the first conversation at our house last night contemplating a different family approach to eating protein. It arose from a couple of threads that have been entwining in my mind for a while: the processed nature of soy protein and the environmental values of grass-fed animals and getting it locally.


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