The Vegetable Chronicles

Programs VEG1,VEG2


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The Vegetable Chronicles: Weight of the Evidence

The importance of nutrition in our health seems self-evident. But with food industry profiteering and the power of special interests, there’ve been many battles over how to inform the American public about wise food choices.

We tell that tale in this two-part documentary. Awareness has grown in recent years about the connection between our dietary choices and personal health. Evidence increasingly links what we eat to our risk of chronic illnesses, including cancer, heart disease and diabetes. But while we now take that understanding for granted, how the consensus developed is a fascinating saga.

We begin with a snapshot of current American dietary attitudes and practices, including the role of fast food restaurants, massive food industry advertising and widespread sale of processed foods in supermarkets. We hear the intriguing story of how and why government nutrition advice has changed over the years. Experts point out, though, that the fundamental recommendation for healthy eating (an emphasis on consuming a balanced diet of vegetables and fruits, along with whole grains) has not changed. We learn how the need for protein, while essential to human health, has been exaggerated and that, at present, the greater health risk in western societies is over-consumption of protein.

You’ll listen to memorable moments dating back to World War 2, including when New York Mayor Fiorella LaGuardia called for a meat-free day each week; and we hear many more recent developments. Experts include the late George McGovern (one-time U.S. Senate Nutrition Chair), Marion Nestle (New York University professor, who served as managing editor for the Surgeon General’s diet report), New York Times nutrition correspondent Marian Burrows, Harvard Nutrition pioneer Mark Hegsted and others.

Produced with Lisa Mullins, Tony Buck and Steve Colby. Funded by the National Institutes of Health


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