90.9 WBUR - Boston's NPR news station
Top Stories:
PLEDGE NOW
Can Processed Food Be Healthy?

Burger King makes a low-cal French fry. Processed food wants to compete on the health front. Can it?  Fake meat. Super soy. We’ll look.

Kraft macaroni and cheese, Stove Stop stuffing mix, and Velveeta are seen at a Ralphs Fresh Fare supermarket in Los Angeles Wednesday, Feb. 9, 2011. (AP)

Kraft macaroni and cheese, Stove Stop stuffing mix, and Velveeta are seen at a Ralphs Fresh Fare supermarket in Los Angeles Wednesday, Feb. 9, 2011. (AP)

We all know the mantra of healthy eating these days.  Lots of vegetables and fruit on the plate.  Not much meat.  Organic if you can.  And local is lovely.  We like to picture that armful of dinner ingredients fresh from the farmers market.

But what about all the people who don’t get close to that.  And maybe can’t afford it.  There’s a new buzz around processed food that’s being made and pitched as healthy.  Burger King’s low-cal fries.  Fake meat.  Seaweed chips.  Factory-engineered health goop.

This hour, On Point:  could processed food be re-engineered to save our health?  Or is that dreaming?

- Tom Ashbrook

Guests

Caitlin Roper, senior editor at Wired. She conceived of and oversaw Wired’s food issue. (@caitlinroper)

Ethan Brown, founder and chief executive officer of Beyond Meat.

Michael Moss, investigative reporter for the New York Times. Author of “Salt Sugar Fat: How the Food Giants Hooked Us.” (@mossmichaelc)

David Freedman, writes about medicine, obesity, technology, and business for The Atlantic and the Scientific American. He wrote “How Junk Food Can End Obesity” for The Atlantic in June. (@dhfreedman)

From Tom’s Reading List

The Atlantic: How Junk Food Can End Obesity — “If the most-influential voices in our food culture today get their way, we will achieve a genuine food revolution. Too bad it would be one tailored to the dubious health fantasies of a small, elite minority. And too bad it would largely exclude the obese masses, who would continue to sicken and die early. Despite the best efforts of a small army of wholesome-food heroes, there is no reasonable scenario under which these foods could become cheap and plentiful enough to serve as the core diet for most of the obese population—even in the unlikely case that your typical junk-food eater would be willing and able to break lifelong habits to embrace kale and yellow beets.”

Wired: Tastes Like Chicken — “The production floor at Beyond Meat’s Columbia, Missouri, factory runs some major industrial equipment. Here, large-format mixers the size of Subarus fold together a blend of soy and pea protein isolates, fiber, and a few other ingredients—including a little titanium dioxide to lighten the gray of the soy into something more like pale saffron.”

USA Today: Burger King concocts lower-calorie ‘Satisfries’ — “In a move destined to shake up the fast-food industry, Burger King Tuesday will unveil a simple but startling french fry innovation: french fries with 30% less fat and 20% fewer calories than BK’s current fries. (And 40% less fat and 30% fewer calories than McDonald’s fries.)”

Please follow our community rules when engaging in comment discussion on this site.
ONPOINT
TODAY
Mar 26, 2015
In this file photo, protesters sit at the intersection of Wall St. and Broad St. in New York, Monday, Sept. 22, 2014. The protesters, many who were affiliated with Occupy Wall Street, were trying to draw attention to the connection between capitalism and environmental destruction. (AP)

In our age of hyper-inequality, historian Steve Fraser asks when the little guy stands up and says “enough.” He’s with us.

Mar 26, 2015
A child walks through a forest landscape. (Rudolf Vlček / Flickr)

American kids today spend only four to seven minutes a day playing outdoors. We hear a new call to raise the “wild child.”

RECENT
SHOWS
Mar 25, 2015
This June 11, 2014 file photo shows Facebook's "like" symbol at the entrance to the company's campus in Menlo Park, Calif. Facebook users in the U.S. will soon be able to send their friends money using the social network’s Messenger app, the company announced Tuesday, March 17, 2015. (AP)

“Tap and pay”: mobile money, peer-to-peer, all over now. SnapChat, Venmo, now Facebook Messenger. We’ll look at security and the new anthropology of digital money.

 
Mar 25, 2015
In this file photo, Chinese President Xi Jinping, center, shows the way to the guests who attended the signing ceremony of the Asian Infrastructure Investment Bank at the Great Hall of the People in Beijing Friday, Oct. 24, 2014. (AP)

Is America now its own worst enemy? Blowing a future that should be good? Harvard’s Joseph Nye and the New Yorker’s John Cassidy join us.

On Point Blog
On Point Blog
Mobile Payments Offer Convenience If You Keep Your Email Safe
Thursday, Mar 26, 2015

Thinking about moving your wallet to your phone? You can! And maybe you should? But TechCrunch senior writer Josh Constine has a few things to tell you before you do.

More »
Comment
 
Using Technology To Get Your Kids Outside
Thursday, Mar 26, 2015

The latest and greatest — using apps to make natural exploration more fun for your kids.

More »
Comment
 
Week In The Web: March 20, 2015
Friday, Mar 20, 2015

The emailed comments question continues to haunt us, we shake off / salute our haters and CNN Politics spends way too much time on FinalCut (in a good way!).

More »
Comment