If you’re interested in food issues, I highly recommend setting aside time for viewing Prof. Kelly Brownell’s course, The Psychology, Biology and Politics of Food (psyc123, filmed during the Fall 2008 semester), offered through Open Yale (it’s free!). Brownell is the director of Yale’s Rudd Center for Food Policy and Obesity and an excellent lecturer, and the information presented ranges from interesting to jaw-dropping. I’m not prepared to comment on the course as a whole since I’m only on the ninth lecture (there are 23 in all), but will say that it’s already exceeded my expectations.

Here’s a description, taken directly from the course website:

“This course encompasses the study of eating as it affects the health and well-being of every human. Topics include taste preferences, food aversions, the regulation of hunger and satiety, food as comfort and friendship, eating as social ritual, and social norms of blame for food problems. The politics of food discusses issues such as sustainable agriculture, organic farming, genetically modified foods, nutrition policy, and the influence of food and agriculture industries. Also examined are problems such as malnutrition, eating disorders, and the global obesity epidemic; the impact of food advertising aimed at children; poverty and food; and how each individual’s eating is affected by the modern environment.”

I strongly urge you to view the lecture topics and see if anything appeals. Happy learning!

Difficulties with the link above? Go to: http://oyc.yale.edu/psychology/the-psychology-biology-and-politics-of-food/

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If you watch only one video this year, let it be this one. In “Sugar: The Bitter Truth”, Robert H. Lustig, MD, Professor of Pediatrics in the Division of Endocrinology at the University of California San Francisco, beautifully illustrates the dangers of sugar, specifically fructose, identifying its role in the obesity epidemic (and it’s a HUGE one), describing how the body metabolizes it (and not in the way you’d like it to) and providing motivation for getting it out of your life. Lustig does an exceptional job of breaking down the biochemistry into lay terms. If you’re not ready to kick your soda and sugar habit after watching his lecture, you obviously weren’t paying attention.

More about this in a future post.