Is Our Food Killing Us? (The Big Idea Series)

Joy Manning

This thought-provoking volume from noted food writer Joy Manning dissects how the production and consumption of food have become harmful to our personal, societal, and environmental health—and assesses the possible remedies.

In the developed world, small-scale family farms have largely been replaced by factory farms, shared meals have given way to eating on the go, and our favorite mass-produced foods can be purchased around the globe. These might seem like indicators of progress in a globalized world that supports a population of 7.7 billion; however, with chronic obesity on the rise, our food laced with additives and chemicals, and the environment devastated by industrial farming, pesticides, fertilizers, and monoculture, it is time to reevaluate what we eat and how we eat it.

In Is Our Food Killing Us?, food writer Joy Manning explores the ways in which our food systems have failed us and how we can build a better, more sustainable future. Manning investigates how human bodies and brains respond to different flavors and food groups, and the ways in which corporations have exploited this to create hyperpalatable food products without nutritional value. She then critically addresses how companies market their products to maximize profit at the expense of public health, explaining how fast food came to rule. Zooming out and looking at the large-scale effects of diet, Manning examines the disastrous impact of modern agribusiness on climate change and biodiversity loss. Finally, Manning carefully considers solutions and how we can regain a healthier relationship with food, from eating organic produce to reintroducing family meals, and from changing how we buy food to adopting a plant-based diet.


Joy Manning


Joy Manning is a writer, editor, and recipe developer focused on good food and good health. She has served as a nutrition editor for Prevention magazine, restaurant critic for Philadelphia Magazine, and is the editor of Edible Philly. She is the author of Stuff Every Cook Should Know and Almost Meatless and has been nominated for a James Beard Award. She is the co-host of Local Mouthful, a podcast dedicated to food and home cooking.