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UCSC’s Guthman on food, politics and economics

The first thing you notice about Julie Guthman is her sense of humor, which shouldn’t be rare among people researching the subject of food, one of life’s most reliable pleasures. But the way Americans eat has become serious business — some say deadly serious.

If TV reality shows, diet books and the proliferation of farmer’s markets are any indication, Americans have become obsessed with controlling their diets. In her new book, Guthman, a self-professed “foodie” and associate professor of community studies at UC Santa Cruz, explains why buying organic apples won’t solve America’s food problems and might not help you lose that extra 20 pounds either.

Guthman has an MBA and a Ph.D. in geography from UC Berkeley and blogs for the New York Times. (See her recent piece, “Enough with the Calorie Counting.”)  Her article “The Food Police: Why Michael Pollan Made Me Want to Eat Cheetos,” reprinted in late 2008 by Utne Reader, received national attention.

In her forthcoming book Weighing In: Obesity, Food Justice, and the Limits of Capitalism, Guthman draws on science and economics to question the pervasive myths that drive our obsession with food.

Read the full Q and A on the UC Research website.

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