Skip to main content


Showing posts from May, 2012

My popular book on food and health:"Something to chew on: Challenging controversies in food & health"

Today’s blog is something of a cheat. It simply lays out the content of the individual chapters of my new book:’Something to chew on – Challenging controversies in food and health’. I wrote this book to help the average person to gain some understanding of the mainstream science of food & health and in so doing to de-bunk many common myths and misperceptions. The book is available at, at and If you are so inclined, you can “like” the Facebook page of the book here.

Something to chew on Challenging controversies in food and health Mike Gibney Chapter summaries
Chapter 1: With regard to food
This chapter sets the scene for the book. It describes the evolution of the modern food supply beginning with the era of widespread malnutrition in the most developed economies from the turn of the 20thcentury.  The extent of this malnutrition was exacerbated by two world wars either side of a great economic depression.  Following the end…

Food Choice: Disgust, pain and preferences

Food choice is a complex issue. At one level, we share the same biology as all animals as regards hunger, appetite and satiety. Rat studies can thus explain some of the mechanisms but they fall far short of the bigger picture because humans have a large and very complex frontal cortex, which governs all the things that make us human and not rats. It is through the cortex that we think, learn, speak and assimilate and disseminate complex ideas. More than anything else, these attributes allow us to divide labour and live in a sophisticated society and that society itself plays a major role in food choice.
In lecturing my students on food intake, I ask them to close their eyes and to think of some occasion when they were really hungry. I then tell them that when they open their eyes, the PowerPoint slide will show a food and I want to know would they eat it. Invariably, they indicate their refusal to consume the food, which is a very nice bowl of highly nourishing and succulent cat food. …

Dietary advice with a grain of salt

Salt is one of the most ancient ingredients used as a food preservative, particularly for the preservation of meat. Roman soldiers pay was named “salarium” from which the word salary is derived because it was expected that salt would be one of their main items of expenditure. Cities such as Salzburg were associated with salt and Mahatma Gandhi marched with many thousands of Indians on the "Dandi March" or "Salt Satyagraha", where they made their own salt from sea water in a protest against the tax levied on salt by their British rulers. Today, however, salt is seen as an food ingredient which is associated with high blood pressure and drives to lower the salt levels of processed foods are operational in many countries, Processed foods provide about 90% of salt intake while the salt cellar accounts for a mere 10%. In 1949, an MD from Durham, North Carolina by the name of Walter Kempner published a paper in Annals of Internal Medicine in which he showed a dramatic eff…