On October 21st, I spoke at the Harvard Food Law Society's TEDx conference, Forum on Food Policy. The conference kicked off with three talks on nutrition, by Drs. Walter Willett, David Ludwig and myself. My talk is only 17 minutes long as per TED format, but it's packed with research on both quantitative and qualitative changes in the US diet over the last two centuries. It contains surprises for almost anyone, and I can guarantee you've never learned this much about the history of the US diet in 17 minutes. The talk was titled "The American Diet: a Historical Perspective"; you can access it by following that link.
My talk has been online for a while, but I didn't post a link to it due
to the fact that the slides were not synched properly and many of the
graphs did not appear at all. I've been working with a gentleman at
Harvard to fix these problems, and he recently finished a new version,
which was posted online to replace the old one thanks to Food Law Society president Krista DeBoer.
There are two problems with the talk I want to point out right away. The first problem is an error in one of my slides that a WHS reader
recently pointed out. At 8:10, I have a slide showing changes in
dietary fat composition over the last century in the US. I stated that
polyunsaturated fat consumption has increased by 300 percent, but actually it has increased by 200 percent. It was a math error on my part.
The second problem is a residual issue with the synching. At 8:39, when I'm talking about the accumulation of omega-6 linoleic acid in human body fat over the last 50 years due to increased seed oil consumption, the first graph doesn't show up in the synched version (it did appear in the live talk). I'm reproducing it here:
1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6). The increase has been extraordinary and corresponds closely to the large increase in dietary linoleic acid.
The talk was better live, because it contained a lot of animations that don't appear in the synched version. But the video is a pretty good substitute. Enjoy!