What's Wrong with Fat?

Oxford University Press
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The United States, we are told, is facing an obesity epidemic-a "battle of the bulge" of not just national, but global proportions-that requires drastic and immediate action. Experts in the media, medical science, and government alike are scrambling to find answers. What or who is responsible for this fat crisis, and what can we do to stop it? Abigail Saguy argues that these fraught and frantic debates obscure a more important question: How has fatness come to be understood as a public health crisis at all? Why, she asks, has the view of "fat" as a problem-a symptom of immorality, a medical pathology, a public health epidemic-come to dominate more positive framings of weight-as consistent with health, beauty, or a legitimate rights claim-in public discourse? Why are heavy individuals singled out for blame? And what are the consequences of understanding weight in these ways? What's Wrong with Fat? presents each of the various ways in which fat is understood in America today, examining the implications of understanding fatness as a health risk, disease, and epidemic, and revealing why we've come to understand the issue in these terms, despite considerable scientific uncertainty and debate. Saguy shows how debates over the relationship between body size and health risk take place within a larger, though often invisible, contest over whether we should understand fatness as obesity at all. Moreover, she reveals that public discussions of the "obesity crisis" do more harm than good, leading to bullying, weight-based discrimination, and misdiagnoses. Showing that the medical framing of fat is literally making us sick, What's Wrong with Fat? provides a crucial corrective to our society's misplaced obsession with weight.
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About the author

Abigail C. Saguy is Associate Professor of Sociology and of Gender Studies at UCLA. She is the author of What Is Sexual Harassment? From Capitol Hill to the Sorbonne (University of California Press, 2003).
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Additional Information

Publisher
Oxford University Press
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Published on
Dec 3, 2012
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Pages
272
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ISBN
9780199968251
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Language
English
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Genres
Health & Fitness / Diet & Nutrition / Diets
Social Science / Agriculture & Food
Social Science / General
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Content Protection
This content is DRM protected.
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Available on Android devices
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Eligible for Family Library

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Michael Pollan, the bestselling author of The Omnivore's Dilemma, Food Rules, and How to Change Your Mind, explores the previously uncharted territory of his own kitchen in Cooked. 

Now a docu-series streaming on Netflix, starring Pollan as he explores how cooking transforms food and shapes our world. Oscar-winning filmmaker Alex Gibney exectuve produces the four-part series based on Pollan's book, and each episode will focus on a different natural element: fire, water, air, and earth. 

In Cooked, Pollan discovers the enduring power of the four classical elements—fire, water, air, and earth—to transform the stuff of nature into delicious things to eat and drink. Apprenticing himself to a succession of culinary masters, Pollan learns how to grill with fire, cook with liquid, bake bread, and ferment everything from cheese to beer.

Each section of Cooked tracks Pollan’s effort to master a single classic recipe using one of the four elements. A North Carolina barbecue pit master tutors him in the primal magic of fire; a Chez Panisse–trained cook schools him in the art of braising; a celebrated baker teaches him how air transforms grain and water into a fragrant loaf of bread; and finally, several mad-genius “fermentos” (a tribe that includes brewers, cheese makers, and all kinds of picklers) reveal how fungi and bacteria can perform the most amazing alchemies of all. The reader learns alongside Pollan, but the lessons move beyond the practical to become an investigation of how cooking involves us in a web of social and ecological relationships. Cooking, above all, connects us.

The effects of not cooking are similarly far reaching. Relying upon corporations to process our food means we consume large quantities of fat, sugar, and salt; disrupt an essential link to the natural world; and weaken our relationships with family and friends. In fact, Cooked argues, taking back control of cooking may be the single most important step anyone can take to help make the American food system healthier and more sustainable. Reclaiming cooking as an act of enjoyment and self-reliance, learning to perform the magic of these everyday transformations, opens the door to a more nourishing life.
The food discussion in America can be quite pessimistic. With high obesity rates, diabetes, climate change, chemical use, water contamination, and farm animal abuse, it would seem that there wasn't very much room for a positive perspective. The fear that there just isn't enough food has expanded to new areas of concern about water availability, rising health care costs, and dying bees.

In Unnaturally Delicious, Lusk makes room for optimism by writing the story of the changing food system, suggesting that technology and agriculture can work together in a healthy and innovative way to help solve the world's largest food issues and improve the farming system as we know it.

This is the story of the innovators and innovations shaping the future of food. You’ll meet an ex-farmer entrepreneur whose software is now being used all over the world to help farmers increase yields and reduce nutrient runoff and egg producers who’ve created new hen housing systems that improve animal welfare at an affordable price. There are scientists growing meat in the lab. Without the cow. College students are coaxing bacteria to signal food quality and fight obesity. Nutrient enhanced rice and sweet potatoes are aiming to solve malnutrition in the developing world. Geneticists are creating new wheat varieties that allow farmers sustainably grow more with less. And, we’ll learn how to get fresh, tasty, 3D printed food at the touch of a button, perhaps even delivered to us by a robotic chef.

Innovation is the American way. Thomas Jefferson, George Washington Carver, and John Harvey Kellogg were food and agricultural entrepreneurs. Their delicious innovations led to new healthy, tasty, convenient, and environmentally friendly food. The creations were unnaturally delicious. Unnatural because the foods and practices they fashioned were man-made solutions to natural and man-made problems.

Now the world is filled with new challenges changing the way we think about food. Who are the scientists, entrepreneurs, and progressive farmers who meet these challenges and search for solutions? Unnaturally Delicious has the answers.

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