Is Our Food Killing Us?

It’s supposed to nourish and delight us, but is what we eat doing us more harm than good?
Is Our Food Killing Us?

We eat to live. Food nourishes us, helps build our bodies and brains, fuels our everyday activities, and, theoretically at least, brings us pleasure. But it also sickens us and sometimes kills us, through food poisoning, anaphylactic shock, cardiovascular disease exacerbated by poor eating habits, and in a whole menu full of other ways, directly and indirectly.

Some observers argue that it's our own fault, that we load up what we eat with toxins in the interests of commerce and convenience, that we overindulge with ravenous irresponsibility, and fetishize the very foods that harm us most (bacon, we're talking to you). The Daily Meal team has previously tackled, in two series of essays and interviews, the issue of genetically modified organisms (GMOs) in our food supply — substances that many believe are doing us harm — and that of our most precious substance of all, water, and the ways in which it is used and misused.

Now we're addressing a broader issue: the safety and healthfulness of the food we eat in general. To this end, Karen Lo investigates How America Got Allergic to Everything. Jess Novak points the finger at Our National Nutritional Embarrassments: School Food and Hospital Food. Lauren Gordon examines Childhood Obesity: The Facts Behind the "Epidemic." Haley Willard asks a question some would regard as heretical: Does "Organic" Matter? We consume preservatives, emulsifiers, coloring agents, and more in our daily diets; Arthur Bovino reveals Common Food Additives: What They Are and What They Do - To What We Eat and To Us. We all know that seafood is healthy, but Emily Jacobs finds good reason to ask Should We Stop Eating Fish? Joanna Fantozzi examines How the American Diet Has Evolved Over the Past Century, and illustrates her findings with an interactive timeline. James Fernandez explores the "food deserts" in our communities, writing about Obesity, Malnutrition, and Scarcity: The Socio-Economics of Our Food Supply. Our longtime contributor and Daily Meal council member Kelly Alexander joins the team to ask Why Can't the Experts Agree on Which Diets Work Best? I pose the simple question: Is Fast Food Immoral? Dan Myers makes it easy for us, naming The 20 Worst Things You Can Eat and Why. And Serusha Govender looks at three dietary "villains" — Salt, Fat, and Sugar: Are They Really Bad for You? Eva Zaccaria adds video components to the theme (see below).

What this all adds up to is this: Yes, food can be dangerous — but it's ultimately about as healthy for us as we want to make it.

— Colman Andrews, Editorial Director

Video

How the American Diet Has Evolved Over the Past Century