Burnt Toast Podcast

Fat Isn't Bad, Stupid is Bad

February 11, 2016

Or so says food writer Michael Ruhlman.

"Kale isn't healthy—it's nutritious."

He wants to know if you know what’s in your food. He wants to restart the conversation around this—and change the way we talk about what we eat.

This was the subject of his recent article "No food is healthy. Not Even kale." in The Washington Post—so I invited him into the studio to talk about it.

In today's episode, hear why he thinks kale isn’t healthy—and more importantly, what he thinks we can do to be better cooks, eaters, and shoppers.

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Play the episode above, find it on iTunes, or listen to it using your favorite podcatcher. (Don't have one yet? We're fans of Stitcher.)

Have thoughts? Share them with me in the comments.

See what other Food52 readers are saying.

  • Hannah king
    Hannah king
  • Transcendancing
  • Ashli Ahrens
    Ashli Ahrens
  • Kathryn Grace
    Kathryn Grace
  • Tim
Kenzi Wilbur

Written by: Kenzi Wilbur

I have a thing for most foods topped with a fried egg, a strange disdain for overly soupy tomato sauce, and I can never make it home without ripping off the end of a newly-bought baguette. I like spoons very much.


Hannah K. July 11, 2016
I agree with other comments that this is a valuable conversation to have and I appreciate that it's on your website. However, Ruhlman makes a few contradictory claims- such as that most of us make poor decisions, but also that we shouldn't trust anyone? As a nutrition professional, I am also offended by Ruhlman's dismissal of health care professionals. Unlike Dr. Oz, most nutrition professionals understand the complex interactions between genetic inheritance, education, socioeconomic, and culture that combine to influence how people eat. Singular phrasing (anything you make at home is nutritious) is akin to those claims that are sensationalist in the media that lead people to confusion in the first place.
Most of what was said is great, but maybe Ruhlman needs to embrace a more "we're all in this together" feeling of solving the country's health and obesity problems, rather than shaming the very professionals who work to increase prevention or deal with treatment on a daily basis.
Transcendancing March 16, 2016
Kenzi I really appreciate your interviewing style, you're thoughtful and insightful. Much of what you consider is accessible to a broad range of people who are eating and cooking. While I appreciate a bunch of the things Michael Ruhlman had to say, I really thought he was dismissive of barriers people face and what the reality of navigating those is like. I really object to the way it seemed like people were being labelled as willfully 'stupid' (which seemed code for lazy here), or ignorant - it really came across as being accusatory.

I thought you tried to lead the interview into examining some of this with more thoughtfulness but I don't think that eventuated from Ruhlman unfortunately. In any case, I thought that was worth noting and I appreciate your efforts around this. There is so much more to this conversation than simply people are lazy, stupid, and/or ignorant - those concepts completely overwhelm any ability for people to talk about the barriers they're dealing with.

Having just listened to the interview with David from Epicurious - there's a profound difference in the interview because David made such a concerted effort to understand that there were barriers, and that he didn't/couldn't understand them very well. Also, those barriers have an impact on people's ability and willingness to cook and what the end result looks like, plus judgement involved therein. I can tell that Ruhlman means well but maybe needs to re-examine the accessibility with which he approaches these topics.
Ashli A. February 29, 2016
Thank you for this episode which was an important reminder to look more closely at what we buy and consume, especially processed foods. This recent article gives hope that those with lower incomes and fewer resources might be able to adopt the fresh, home-cooked approach: http://www.fastcoexist.com/3055157/a-food-bank-proves-a-healthy-mediterranean-diet-is-cheaper-than-a-junky-american-one
Kathryn G. February 22, 2016
Listening to podcasts is difficult for me. It would be wonderful if you could include transcripts to your podcasts.
Tim February 12, 2016
Thanks for this podcast. I talk to friends about the "fat" issue all the time. The problem is that people, really smart people, are so indoctrinated by years of "the experts" telling them that fat is bad. Even now when the evidence is the opposite, you'll see and hear people on TV talking about low fat diets. It's going to take a generation to change.
Eric C. February 11, 2016
I can't see how anyone spending time thinking about our food system can in any way justify animal agriculture on the scale it is today. It is a public health, moral, and environmental crisis unlike anything we've ever encountered. Your grocery cart should be full of produce like he says, just not eggs, meat, and dairy. Also, the animals are never treated well, even at artisanal "humane" dairies and slaughterers. To suggest otherwise is abject ignorance. I do appreciate food publications having these kinds of conversations and food 52's role in expanding the dialogue about food.