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Robert Lustig wants to convince the world that sugar is making us very sick. And lately he's turned to an unconventional field – econometrics – to do it.

Lustig rounded up statisticians and epidemiologists to look at the relationship between food and diabetes risk. The paper, published this week in the journal PLoS One, found that the more sugar on the market in 175 countries, the higher the country's diabetes rate.

Flickr/Oceiana

Seattle and Portland are among the best cities to dine on seafood if you want the salmon, sole or halibut you order to actually be salmon, sole or halibut. The two Northwest cities emerged from a national report Thursday with some of the lowest rates of “fish fraud” in the country.

According to the research project by the marine conservation group, Oceana, 33 percent of the 1,215 samples of fish it had analyzed were not actually the fish that they were labeled as by the sushi bars, restaurants and retail outlets selling them.

Michelle Rhee: A "Radical" On Education Reform

Feb 19, 2013
Michelle Rhee
Flickr photo/The National Academy Of Sciences

Michelle Rhee says our education system is failing. The founder and CEO of StudentsFirst and former chancellor of Washington, DC, public schools says she would rigorously evaluate teachers, end tenure and boost pay for high-performing teachers while firing the least effective. Her critics say her reliance on test scores and support for school vouchers would destroy the public education system. Michelle Rhee joins us for a conversation about students, standardized tests, teachers unions, charter schools and her new book, "Radical: Fighting to Put Students First."

Two customers' collapses last year didn't seem to faze fans of Las Vegas' Heart Attack Grill.

Is Living "All Natural" Worth It?

Feb 6, 2013
Organic good
Flickr photo/Sarah Gilbert

Organic and “all natural” products are on the rise.  Grocery stores have expanded their free-range, non-toxic options. We’re paying more trying to make healthier choices for our bodies and our world. More women are choosing “natural childbirth” and tossing old plastic Tupperware to avoid toxic leaching.  Are all these efforts really working?  Is there a right way and a wrong way to live “naturally?” Journalist Nathanael Johnson has answers.

"Fresh Off The Boat" With Eddie Huang

Feb 5, 2013
Fresh Off The Boat
Courtesy/Spiegel & Grau

Eddie Huang stormed through childhood. He fought bigoted kids, defied stereotypes of the "model minority" and partied hard. But he clung to the delights of  his father’s restaurant and the flavors of his mother’s kitchen. Following a stint as a lawyer and a stand-up comic, he returned to his raucous roots, dipped in the flavors of Taiwan, America and the world. Eddie Huang joins us for a conversation about the first-generation immigrant experience he writes about in his new memoir, “Fresh Off the Boat.”

Flickr photo/Doran

“Under Washington law, is a consumer entitled to emotional distress damages when a fast-food employee spits in his or her hamburger even though the consumer did not eat the hamburger?” The Washington Supreme Court said Thursday that the answer may be yes.

sheffpixie / Flickr

Today in the US there’s not much of a market for horse meat. But believe it or not, there used to be over 20 US processing plants that sold American horse meat to Asian and European markets.


Last Friday The Conversation got a call from a listener demanding that President Obama reintroduce a ban on horse slaughter. So we got a little curious. Today Ross talks to Seattle Times reporter Lynda Mapes about the history of horse slaughter in the US.

OLYMPIA, Wash. - When you order that special filet at a restaurant or store, you're often going on trust that the fish actually is what the menu or label says it is. In Washington, two state agencies are asking for tougher penalties to deter seafood fraud.

Investigators for Consumer Reports recently found more than one-fifth of the fish they submitted for DNA identification was mislabeled at the point of sale.

Washington Fish and Wildlife police deputy chief Mike Cenci says the penalties for false labeling need to be stronger.

Presidency Maldives / Flickr

This year we could be voting on an initiative requiring labeling of all food that contains genetically modified food, what critics call Frankenfood. Backers have turned in what they say are the necessary signatures to get it on the ballot.

Environmental activist Mark Lynas was an adamant opponent of genetically modified foods. He wrote in 2008, "The technology moves entirely in the wrong direction intensifying human technological manipulation of nature when we should be aiming at a more holistic ecological approach instead."

Mark Lynas was one of the first people to break into fields that scientists had planted with genetically modified test crops — and then rip them out of the ground. Ross Reynolds talks with Mark Lynas about what changed his mind about GMOs.

Actor Patrick Dempsy
AP Photo/Evan Agostini

The Seattle-based Tully’s Coffee company was sold at a bankruptcy auction Jan. 3. But a number of bidders and stakeholders are contesting that sale. Now US Bankruptcy Judge Karen Overstreet will review the deal.

  This year Washington voters could be voting on whether foods that have been produced using genetic engineering would have to be labeled as such. Trudy Bialic is the director of public affairs for PCC Natural Markets and a member of the campaign steering committee for Label-It-WA, the campaign that supports Initiative 522. Ross Reynolds talks with her about why she supports the labeling initiative.

Top 5 Holiday Cocktails

Dec 24, 2012
aya padron / Flickr

The weather outside is frightful, so why not curl up by the fire with a nice holiday cocktail? David Hyde talks to veteran bartender Kristen Naranjo about her favorite holiday cocktails.

Ask King County Executive Dow Constantine

Dec 20, 2012
Dow Constantine in the KUOW studios.
KUOW Photo/Jason Pagano

Earlier this month King County Executive Dow Constantine signed some of the state's first same-sex marriage licenses and spoke against a plan to run more coal trains through Seattle. We'll ask him about these and other stories impacting our region. Have a question for the King County executive? Call 206.543.5869 or write to weekday@kuow.org.

Why do most people love animals they consider cute, like puppies or panda bears, but they don’t have a lot of love for animals they consider ugly, like naked mole rats? Western Carolina University Psychology professor Hal Herzog explores the paradoxical relationship people have with animals in a new book, "Some we love, some we hate, some we eat: Why it’s so hard to think straight about animals."

I Can't Believe It's Pot Butter

Dec 12, 2012

Yesterday on The Conversation with Ross Reynolds we heard from local chefs about how to incorporate marijuana into your cooking. James Beard Award-winning local chef Maria Hines told Ross how she likes to use cannabis-infused butter.

Sioen Roux / Flickr

Marijuana is now legal in Washington state. How do you cook with it? Ross Reynolds interviews the James Beard Award-winner and Top Chef Masters contestant Maria Hines, former Top Chef contestant Laurent Quenioux, edibles maker Justin Branstad, and other special guests.

 


A possible strike or lock out at Northwest grain terminals would have a profound effect on U.S. wheat exports. 

Sierra Club Wants Coal Out Of PSE's Stocking

Nov 29, 2012

Puget Sound Energy owns and operates a coal-fired power plant out of Billings, Montana, that the Sierra Club calls "the dirtiest coal plant in the West." The Colstrip Plant meets EPA emission standards and PSE touts its green-energy portfolio, with plans to triple its renewable energy supply by 2020. How does coal fit into that equation? And with coal plants generating 42 percent of America's electricity, how much impact would closing one plant have? We take a look with PSE's Andy Wappler and Anne Hedges of the Montana Environmental Information Center.

Sad pie
Flickr photo/ Kevin McShane

Your mom despises turkey, your uncle hates ham.  Your brother’s vegan, and your sister is allergic to pumpkin pie.  What do you do about the picky eaters (and people with dietary restrictions) at Thanksgiving?  David Hyde talks to the host of The Splendid Table, Lynne Rossetto Kasper.   

The Meaning Of Food

Nov 19, 2012
Corn
Flickr photo/ Sharon Drummond

The New Yorker writer Adam Gopnik takes food very seriously. But he thinks the Slow Food Movement is too pious. Gopnik discusses his experience with extreme locavorism, the history and meaning of restaurants, and other topics The Table Comes First: Family, France, And The Meaning Of Food.

Tracie McMillan
Photo/Bart Nagel

As a kid, Tracie McMillan's favorite food was Hamburger Helper. Until she got to college, she considered people who ate "good food," snobs.  She became interested in how food and class relate in America while reporting on poverty.

3 striking union members outside Hostess plant
KUOW/Deborah Wang

Striking members of a bakers’ union are still picketing a plant in Seattle that makes Hostess Twinkies and Ho Hos. That’s despite the fact the plant is now closed for good.

Julia Harrison

Julia Harrison’s sweet tooth and her training as an anthropologist have led her on some delicious adventures. On her Sweet Travel blog, she writes about how candy and other sweets carry a cultural story within their recipes and history. She tells Ross what she’s learned about Washington state.

Northwest Wild Mushrooms In Short Supply

Oct 24, 2012

Northwest wild mushrooms are in short supply this year. That’s had a big impact on the region’s lucrative mushroom hunting industry. It’s also changed what’s on fall restaurant menus in the Northwest and across the nation.

At Pagliacci Pizza in Seattle this autumn customers are often coming home to their families without the coveted mushroom Primo Pizza. The Northwest’s bleak mushroom crop means sometimes the stores cut back on the number of pies, or don’t have them at all.

Labor Shortage Hits Some Apple Growers Hard

Oct 22, 2012

CHELAN, Wash. – The apple harvest season is starting to wrap up across the Northwest. Despite record yields, many farmers had trouble getting their time-sensitive crop off the trees because of a short labor supply.

Grower representatives at the meeting said their regions saw a 10 percent to 30 percent labor shortage this season. Several talked of nearly empty labor camps near Wenatchee and Chelan. One said he and two others had to pick a 40-acre orchard themselves despite offering $12 per hour.

Chef Tom Douglas Talks "Sweetness In Seattle"

Oct 22, 2012
(Photo courtesy Tom Douglas)

Tom Douglas is the chef and restaurateur behind eleven Seattle restaurants including Etta's, Palace Kitchen and the Dahlia Bakery, where you'll find his breads, pastries and other sweet treats. Now he’s giving away his secrets in "The Dahlia Bakery Cookbook: Sweetness In Seattle." We talk to him about the art of making desserts and take your questions about baking delicious treats at home.

CHELAN, Wash. – Moms and dads hoping to pack an apple in their children’s lunches might have to budget a bit more this year. That’s because even though the Northwest has seen a bumper crop in apples, elsewhere there’s a shortage.

The Northwest may have had a great season, but the Midwest and East’s apple crop got pummeled this year. That means there is more demand and increased prices for our region’s fruit, both for fresh eating and for juice and sauce.

Line at McDonald's
KUOW Photo/Ruby de Luna

It’s been more than two years since King County required chain restaurants to post nutrition information on their menus.  The goal was to help customers make healthy choices. 

Seattle researchers wanted to see if the regulation has changed the way restaurants market their meals.  One change the study found is it seems restaurants are no longer promoting supersized portions or overeating. 

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