This conversation is part of a special issue on “Critical Nutrition” in which multiple authors weigh in on various themes related to the origins, character, and consequences of contemporary American nutrition discourses and practices, as well as how nutrition might be known and done differently. In this section, authors reflect on the limits of standard nutrition in understanding the relationship between food and human health. Two authors explore the role of industrial food production in generating foodborne illness and environmental diseases. Such an approach draws attention to the limits of nutrition education per se as a way to encourage dietary health and suggests more emphasis on collective action to regulate how food is produced. Two authors focus on new scientific discoveries, such as the role of gut bacteria and epigenetic programming in bodily function and phenotype. In certain ways this emerging knowledge challenges the idea that health can actually be controlled through diet.

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