Melissa Kravitz

Here's how food companies intentionally make their products addictive — and literally make us sick

Can’t stop eating that bag of chips until you’re licking the salt nestled in the corners of the empty package from your fingers? You’re not alone. And it’s not entirely your fault that the intended final handful of chips was not, indeed, your last for that snacking session. Many common snack foods have been expertly engineered to keep us addicted, almost constantly craving more of whatever falsely satisfying manufactured treat is in front of us.

Keep reading... Show less

FDA bans cancer-causing food additives — but won’t enforce until 2020

Americans are no strangers to food additives: the preservatives, coloring and flavoring agents that keep foods looking fresh and taste better. A product of our desire for fast, cheap and satisfying eats that underscores our detachment from actually fresh, locally sourced foods, they are found in everything from nutrition-boosting salad dressings to McDonald’s French fries. But are they safe?

Keep reading... Show less

Should plant-based proteins be called 'meat'?

Fried chicken, bacon cheeseburgers and pepperoni pizza aren’t uncommon to see on vegan menus—or even the meat-free freezer section of your local supermarket—but should we be calling these mock meat dishes the same names? A new Missouri law doesn’t think so. The state’s law, which forbids “misrepresenting a product as meat that is not derived from harvested production livestock or poultry,” has led to a contentious ethical, legal and linguistic debate. Four organizations—Tofurky, the Good Food Institute, the American Civil Liberties Union of Missouri and the Animal Legal Defense Fund—are now suing the state on the basis that not only is the law against the United States Constitution, but it favors meat producers for unfair market competition.

Keep reading... Show less

Our Coffee Addiction Is Destroying the Environment

When you wake up bleary-eyed and craving caffeine, the last thing you may be thinking about (or want to be thinking about) may be how your coffee consumption is ruining the planet. But just as we’re all adjusting to using aluminum straws instead of disposable, plastic turtle-killers in our iced lattes, we need to reconsider the impacts our preferred morning beverages have on the world surrounding us. After all, it’s too often overlooked that these minor routine habits (like tossing out unused food instead of composting it, or using plastic shopping bags once before they end up in a landfill) can add up, contributing to the detriment of our environment.

Keep reading... Show less

Here's Why Our Food Systems Are a Central Feminist Issue

Seventy-four percent of American vegans are female, but is there any link between veganism and feminism? Superficially, one could look at decades of mass marketing meat, grills and other fire-and-flesh fueled products to men, infusing these inanimate culinary products with gender—but, speaking as a woman who loves steak (eating it, cooking it, all of it) and as a person with common sense, foods in and of themselves should not appeal to one gender identity or another. One could point to the surge of female-led steakhouses and butcher shops—like New York’s White Gold Butchers—as exemplary evidence that women of all kinds love meat, but veganism (for many) isn’t necessarily about a like or dislike of animal products. So why are three out of every four vegans female?

Keep reading... Show less

Would You Replace Real Meals With Powdered Food?

Food: It's one of the few steady components of being a functioning human that should bring joy to each day, multiple times a day. But what if we cut out chewing for the sake of efficiency? Forget pancakes and bacon to lure you out of bed on a rough morning, the banh mi that will power you through your lunch break or the nostalgic home-cooked meal to wrap up a weekend. Protein powder has long been part of the smoothie-centric diet of fitness enthusiasts, but a growing movement to replace meals with powdered food may endanger cuisine's status as, you know, essential, for future work-centric generations.

Keep reading... Show less

9 Warning Signs That You Should Avoid a Restaurant

In the era of Instagram, Yelp, OpenTable, and a seemingly endless flow of food blogs and amateur food critics, it's nearly impossible to go anywhere without a restaurant recommendation. But how do you know that the cute little Italian place your cousin swore served the best meal she ever had is worth dining at, especially when you walk by and something looks amiss?

Keep reading... Show less

Flight Attendants Really Want You to Stop Ordering This Drink

After spending a few hours of your life being corralled into lines full of anxious travelers, having all of your personal belongings inspected by TSA agents, and squeezing yourself into an unreasonably small amount of space for the duration of a flight, the sound of a drink cart coming down an airplane aisle often signals a bit of relief for the dehumanizing rituals modern-day air travel forces upon us. One may not usually drink Bloody Marys or enjoy spend $7 on a minuscule bottle of alcohol, but our imbibing rules are often different in the air. Non-soda drinkers go from extolling the evils of Big Sugar to pleading with a flight attendant for the whole can, while non-water drinkers beg for the last drops of bottled water while stuck on the tarmac.

Keep reading... Show less

Tom Brady's Insane Diet Is Potentially Dangerous to the Average Person, but It’s Helped Him Become an Elite Athlete

The Super Bowl causes unreasonably high calorie consumption on couches across America each year, but those out on the field are fueled by much more than a party-sized plate of nachos. Take Tom Brady, one of America's most popular (and possibly one of the most hated) professional football players, whose pre-Super Bowl diet is far more obscene than the $50 worth of chicken wings marinating in your fridge. Spoiler: There’s no salsa, pizza or beer. Or really, much of anything.

Keep reading... Show less

9 Dishes Chefs Eat When They're Sick

When your nose won’t stop leaking, you can barely hear Netflix over your incessant coughing, and a trip outside the house seems like a death sentence, there’s only one way to cure the plague: Food. A plethora of ingredients are proven to help you feel better—perhaps better than any over-the-counter cold reliever—and soup is indeed medically proven to make you feel better when winter sickness makes everything feel bleak.

Keep reading... Show less
BRAND NEW STORIES
alternet logo

Tough Times

Demand honest news. Help support AlterNet and our mission to keep you informed during this crisis.