The feature articles, columns, and essays in The Atlantic's annual Ideas issue include:
How Junk Food Can End Obesity
Is Michael Pollan wrong? Could the famous food writer, along with other influential advocates of unprocessed, local, farm-fresh foods be delusional in thinking that this "wholesome" way of eating can really solve the America's obesity crisis? In his cover story, David H. Freedman finds that much of the wholesome-food movement is fantasy, and demonizing processed food may actually be dooming the masses to a lifetime of obesity and disease. Freedman makes the case that embracing the evolving science of processed foods--even fast food--might make us all healthier in the end.
Digital exclusive: Freedman and Atlantic senior editor Corby Kummer discuss the wacky, futuristic, and delicious science
of junk food.
How Long Can You Wait to Have
Deep anxiety about the ability to have children later in life plagues many women. But the decline in fertility over the course of a woman's 30s has been oversold, Jean M. Twenge reports. The widely cited statistic that one in three women ages 35 to 39 will not be pregnant after a year of trying, for instance, is from a 2004 medical journal. Rarely mentioned is the source of that data: French birth records from 1670 to 1830. The chance of remaining childless--30 percent--was also calculated based on historical populations. In other words, millions of women are being told when to get pregnant based on statistics from a time before electricity, antibiotics, or fertility treatment. Contemporary data suggest that there's no real risk to waiting until age 40.