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What is Healthy Food?

Everyone knows some foods are healthy for you and some are not. But ask five experts to define “healthy foods,” and you’ll get five different answers — and likely a few exasperated expressions.

I found the assignment … to try to define healthy food to be the most annoying and difficult part of accepting this offer to speak on this panel,” said Kevin Fritsche, a professor in the animal sciences and nutrition and exercise physiology departments, at a Healthy Food panel discussion Sept. 24 in the University of Missouri's Memorial Union.

The event was the first of five weekly panels put together by Mizzou Advantage’s Food System Network and supported by Mizzou Advantage and MU Extension. The next session will focus on affordable food and is from 3:30–5 p.m., Oct. 1 in the Strickland Room of Memorial Union.

The discussions are designed to spark dialogue and collaboration between Mizzou researchers studying various aspects of the food system. The Food Systems Network, led by Donna Mehrle, BS HES ’76, extension associate for nutrition and physiology in the College of Human Environmental Sciences, and Mary Hendrickson, MS ’94, PhD ’97, assistant professor of rural sociology, hopes to promote a coordinated, comprehensive study of food, from how we grow it to how we transport it, from why we eat the foods we do to what they do inside our bodies.