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Feed your mind with the latest Big Picture

24 May, 2011

Working on the latest issue of Big Picture, the Trust’s educational magazine, has been making Chrissie Giles hungry for the last six months. Now it’s your turn, as our latest issue – all about food and diet  is published in print and online. 

Big Picture: Food and Diet - out now!

Like all living things, humans need energy. What we eat and drink fuels our existence – my fingers typing these words, the action potentials speeding along your optic nerve as you read them, all the processes that go on in our bodies.

For lots of us though, food is more than fuel. Halfway through breakfast I’ve already planned what’s for dinner in my head, and I find my productivity increases exponentially when there’s a cake-based reward on offer. Even if you have a more perfunctory relationship with food, what you choose to eat is important for your mood, physical health, and even the wellbeing of your offspring.

Understanding more about how we relate to food is what the latest issue of Big Picture is all about. Big Picture [download the PDF here] is the Wellcome Trust’s educational magazine, created for 16+ students and learners of any age. We’ve looked at the latest biological and medical research findings to investigate all kinds of aspects of diet and nutrition – including appetite, obesity, taste, allergies, metabolic diseases, epigenetics, food policy and behaviour.

We’ve also studied the evidence behind some common beliefs around food and diet, such as the pros and cons of caffeine, the truth about superfoods and the low-down on ‘friendly bacteria’. Read the results of our mythbusting in the magazine and online.

This issue includes Big Picture’s first infographic, ‘Eating by numbers’ [PDF, 442 KB; below], which gives a snapshot of how we buy, eat and waste food in the UK, as well as data on obesity here and across the world.

Eating by numbers - the vital statistics of how we eat

Online, there’s a heaving platter of tasty delights. We have 16 articles, including a feature on appetite and a ‘how science works’ mini-series on different kinds of scientific studies. There is a lesson ideas document based on the food policy section of the magazine, and a more general set of lesson ideas to help you extend the food and diet theme in your lessons.

We have four great specially commissioned short films, ideal for lessons. Explore a state-of-the-art model stomach and find out how it’s used to investigate human digestion, learn about the art and science of breadmaking, and watch a chef recreate a 17th-century cake recipe from the Wellcome Library archives.

Another first for this issue is the online quiz. Test your food and diet knowledge, and then find out more by following our web links to related Big Picture resources. We have an animation showing the development of atheroma in the artery – not something to watch right after eating that jam doughnut.

There are four image galleries, featuring diet and disease, the anatomy of the digestive system, nutrition in resource-limited countries, and a look at historical views of the body. Finally, there’s our food and diet glossary, curriculum links and related web links. Phew!

We hope you enjoy the magazine and online resources, and find them a boost to learning. This has been a fascinating (and tummy rumbling) issue to work on, so please do share your thoughts and let us know how you’ve used Big Picture in your school, college or organisation.

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