by lori
Categories: Eats
Tags: .

The Food Network is so friggin’ popular it churns out celebrity hosts like your grammy used to churn butter – quick and fabulous.  Alton Brown is ‘Jonas Brothers famous’ and gets a ga-gillion viewers each episode of his hit show Good Eats.  This is important to know because he’s decided to start talking sustainability, and lots and lots of people are going to hear him.

He became interested in sustainable foods after his five year old daughter figured out the chicken on her plate was actually one of those cute chickens from a farm.  Brown says,  “I realized that we’re so disconnected from our food — where it lives or grows, how it dies, how it’s processed. None of us in this culture are really living sustainably.”

The fun-loving host is worried that food shows popularity have contributed to the obesity problem in America and explains,  “I’ve struggled with weight all my life, and probably always will. But I was on my most recent book tour I was shocked by the number of overweight families,” he says. “People would come up to me and say, ‘Oh, we love the Food Network.’ Well, no (expletive); did you eat the TV? There’s only four of you and you can’t ride in an elevator together. I’ll probably make fat people angry, but we need, as a culture, to be ashamed. It’s not “… healthy.”

Alton is developing shows on several sustainable food topics including, the future of food in America, food and globalization, and increasing longevity through diet.

I hope Alton keeps talking like that…I likey. Eat Local!


  • vegoftheweek

    I hope ol’ Alton continues to promote healthy cooking on his shows and realizes that obessions with food aren’t necessarily a bad thing.

    Reading my vegetarian magazines and fantasizing about how I’m going to try the recipes over the next month is a good obsession. Pondering at the grocery store over whether I want to buy the olive oil or soy oil vegan butter is a good obsession. Figuring out which online retailer is best to have my vegan cheese shipped to me so I can have cholesterol free, non-dairy pizza is also a good obession.

    Food shows don’t cause obesity, eating all the wrong meals you’ve seen on the food show after watching it for 8 hours the next day causes obesity.

    And go Christinia Pirello! A vegetarian celebrity chef obsessed with all the right foods!

  • Key

    Alton’s shows are always enjoyable and I’m glad they’ll be getting a more sustainable bend to them. I’ve unfortunately been a casual watcher of his program lately but I’ll be making renewed efforts to catch these episodes!

  • Emily

    Veg: I have to admit that even just watching his Feasting On Asphalt makes me hungry and while watching marathon-style one day while I was preparing food for a party (I was looking for inspiration) I inadventently chowed through an ENTIRE pack of buffalo jerkey. Luckily it was organic and I have an active lifestyle, but I can see the not-so-aware as you and I folks sitting on the couch chowing through an entire pack of chips or pork rind or other snack-food products while they watch tv chefs cook.

    I <3 Alton Brown.

  • vegoftheweek

    I see your point, Emily. I guess it’s a very complex problem…You should make it some Tofurky Jerky, next time though! :)

  • John Pepper

    Obesity is a terrible problem, and the attitudes of many of the obese are getting worse. Some of the obese actually want to eat all the time and refuse to listen when they get advice on how to reduce themselves. One would think they would want to, but some of the obese are real pigalots.

  • Robin Joseph

    Indeed, we have plenty of reasons to be ashamed.
    We need to be ashamed that a popular TV chef feels the need to lash out at his fat viewers for no other reason than that he is anxious about his own weight.
    We need to be ashamed of people like Mr. Pepper above, for whom weight loss is a religious movement. Imagine! There are some fat people who have better things to do than to listen to him! They’ll all go to hell(or what passes for hell in a secular society)! He thinks he knows everything about almost every fat person.
    We need to be ashamed of stigmatizing fat people in the deluded belief that we’re “doing them a favor”. George Orwell would have recognized that as doublespeak.
    We need to be ashamed of blaming every possible medical problem that a fat person might have on their being fat.
    Alton Brown, you really should apologize to your viewers and stop blaming them for your own image problems. It’s not a healthy coping mechanism.

  • Curvykitty

    I have admired Alton Brown’s intelligence, humor, wit, and great recipes over the years, but after reading this post, all I can say is–Alton, WTF, man?

    That he can talk with such palpable disdain about people who obviously came out to support him and to perhaps purchase his book (did he autograph same with a smile?), is shameful.

    Is his cruel candor fueled by self-loathing regarding the perceived imperfection he sees in his own physique? It’s not a great leap to make based on what’s written in the above post.

    I agree with what Robin Joseph about what we ought to really be ashamed–our treatment of fat, overweight or obese people–pick our favorite adjective.

    And, a comment to John Pepper–obese people do not “want to eat all the time.” Based on what you wrote about how obese people, “refuse to listen when they get advice on how to reduce themselves,” suggests to me that you are generous with unwelcome and unsolicited advice to such folks, and are rightly rebuffed. And, I will go a step further to surmise your “help” is not offered with kind or loving intent. Just a guess based on what you wrote.

    I say that everyone ought to do what they can to be healthy at the weight they are–whether they fall into the acceptable averages of the height/weight charts or BMI, or tip the scales.

    Moreover, I hope everyone, no matter what their size, not judge others because of their size.

    For the record, I am a big girl and a healthy girl; I never get sick, I grow, cook with and eat organic produce (can’t get more sustainable or local than that), my yearly physicals and blood work all come back with flying colors.

    Do I want to lose weight? Sure, but my focus is being healthy and fit. If I lose weight as a result of these efforts–fine. If not–that’s also fine.

    What others think of me is of less concern than what I think of myself. And, I’m cool with me. Peace.

    • Rachel

      Being healthy and fit IS being a healthy weight. You cannot have “health” without a healthy BMI. You obviously don’t know much about human physiology. What Alton Brown is trying to say is that we as a society need to move away from trying to be so politically correct about obesity and stop worrying about offending people like yourself because the issue is not about vanity, its about HEALTH. You are taking his comments too personally. It’s not an attack on your looks, its an attack on your apathy about your health and longevity. Look up some stats on obesity and the havoc extra fat will wreak on your body, and maybe you’ll change your tune.

      • greengeekgirl

        Before you go equating “health” to a healthy BMI, you should probably know that the BMI was invented by a European statistician–NOT a doctor. It was a tool to separate people into demographics. The truth about the BMI is that it’s a clumsy tool that can’t accurately predict an individual’s health–what if you have a lower BMI but I have less body fat and a larger bone structure? What if I have MORE body fat but my vitals are all ship-shape, and you have less body fat but high blood pressure? HEALTH, as you say, doesn’t equate to how much you weigh.

        I have looked up many reputable studies about fat and fitness–the stuff you’re talking about? is about 70 years outdated at least.

      • duh

        Actually, Rachel, you don’t know what you’re talking about, so perhaps try not to be so condescending (your bigotry is showing).

        The health issues associated with weight are *correlations* — not causal connections — and it is indeed possible to be healthy without hitting a specific BMI. That’s why — as is reported time and time again in scientific press — people can get markedly healthier (on any REAL measure: cholesterol, blood pressure, heart rate) by losing just a small amount of weight, because the healthy changes of eating properly and exercising kick in almost immediately and have more impact than the degree of weight lost. And it’s also why it’s possible to be “thin-fat” — i.e., clogged arteries and unhealthy even when appearing to be proper weight but not exercising or eating well.

  • Rob

    If Mr. Brown really cared about this, he’d start presenting a whole ‘nother kind of “Good Eats.” I watched his show regularly for awhile, but I stopped because there was no way I could make any of the recipes he presented. They were always way beyond what I’m allowed in terms of fat, sugar etc. as a diet controlled Diabetic.
    I challenge Alton Brown to begin putting his money where his mouth is and produce nothing but low fat, low sugar, nutritionally balanced menus. I’ve been doing that three times a day for the last five years and it’s a lot harder than it looks!
    One of the things I’ve learned since being diagnosed with Diabetes is that most people don’t have clue one how to eat “better” than they are. They know how to deprive themselves on various diets (I ate no carbs for three years) which won’t work long term, but to really cook good, wholesome, nutritious food that tastes good on a regular basis? No clue. I know I sure didn’t and I’m no slouch in the brains department. I’d been on diets for twenty five years, you’d think I’d know exactly how food “works” but I didn’t until I had a consultation with a nutritionist post-diagnosis.

    It takes no effort at all to complain about something and to blame the victims. It takes a lot more cajones to get up and say “Well hell, I’ll do what I can to help!” roll up your sleeves and get in the fight. Compassion, dude. It’s what’s for dinner.

  • Jenny

    Alton is my nerd-boy crush. :-)

  • Amy

    Rock on, Robin Joseph and Curvykitty. I have been a loyal Alton Brown fan for years, but no more. It frustrates me to no end that he can be so dismissive and insulting. Not the kind of person I want to support.

  • Pingback: Alton Brown, you should be ashamed. « A Day in the (Fat) Life()

  • Pingback: A little more on why Alton Brown’s comments irritate me so much. « A Day in the (Fat) Life()

  • Patrick

    Anyone reading the comments here should take note that some of the obese have linked to this story on their obesity blogs. Now more obese and their apologists will be making defensive comments here. Make no mistake, these obese are ENORMOUS, and their fury is as boundless as their bellies.

  • MsFattyMcFatterson

    well for the love of god man!!

    One season he’s fat, and makes royal icing and fried chicken, another season he’s dropped 40 pounds and making sushi and cocktails….

    I adore me some alton, he’s hotter than a butter biscuit in my lil mind, and has some really awesome ideas on how to make a perfect boxty, but jesus can we stop the fat bashing?
    Go join and yell at buildings about the real killer….

    (one of those ginormous girls from a blog with a boundless bellies….)

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  • alicia

    Well, no (expletive); did you eat the TV? There’s only four of you and you can’t ride in an elevator together.”

    well … no… did you get hit by the ugly stick?
    hows it feel to be insulted? what are we… 5 yrs old? yes obesity is a problem, and yes i myself am overweight, however its not because i eat like a pig…or bc i ate a “tv”
    i’ve got a health issue i’m dealing with causing my weight problem. you don’t help overweight people by insulting them. and you sure as hell don’t gain any fans this way either.

    ” …but we need, as a culture, to be ashamed. It’s not “… healthy.””

    no, we as a culture, need to start working together and helping any overweight person we can. given, some people just don’t know how to control themselves… but we shouldn’t be ashamed… or look at them with disgust.. we should help them and try to understand them. society is ridiculous.

    “I’ll probably make fat people angry”

    and, you just cost yourself a fan.

  • Mare

    My letter to FoodNetwork; Re Alton Brown:

    I have been an *avid* fan of the Foodnetwork for many years; from the first day it was offered by my Cable company- which, I believe, is at least 10 years ago!
    My 4 top chefs from your channel are Paula Deen, Emeril, Rachel Ray and Alton Brown. However there are many other shows and chefs that I enjoy as well.

    But I am sorry to say that I am scratching Alton Brown off my list. I can not express my level of disappointment in him after reading his horribly derogatory remarks (given in an interview, and then repeated by bloggers and newsletters everywhere!) regarding “disgusting fat people.”

    How dare he degrade and disrespect the fans (who support his show and buy his books) with such rude, childish comments and bigotry! How very UN-Christian of him!

    Being a long time student of psychology, I understand he was speaking out in that manner as a way of masking his OWN fear and self-loathing regarding his own body image and self esteem. But that does not excuse his behavior, only makes it all the more PITIFUL.

    *** I will NEVER watch Good Eats again, nor will I watch Iron Chef, or any other Foodnetwork program that features Alton Brown in any capacity whatsoever.***

    Stick a big fork in Alton’s love-handles, he’s totally “done” in my book…

    Please pass this message along to Mr Brown and inform him that his name is now associated with plenty of sneering and scoffing on many Fat Acceptance and Anti-discrimination websites and blogs everywhere!
    He should be ashamed of himself and his disregard for the people who helped him get where he is (was) today.

    • lol

      Cry some more fatty.

  • LisaM

    Fool me once… Alton made some similar snarky comments, shortly after his heart attack. Yeah AB, it’s easy to stay on the bandwagon when you have the memory of that hospital stay fresh in your mind. As a fellow soldier in the fight to maintain a healthy body, I have to admit to a bit of schadenfreude when I watched him slip again over the next few years. I had hoped he had developed a bit of compassion. Guess not. We who have struggled should be the first to understand it ain’t easy, and if we choose to put our energies towards this particular fight, then there’s a lot of other ways to save the world that we just plain don’t have time for. Alton, give up your daily hour in the gym and devote it to feeding the poor, then we’ll talk.

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  • sandman

    good god, the obese sure like to get on their soapbox. look at all these fatty’s sweatin over their laptops, ready to boycott AB (and hang him from a meathook) over a few words about the bulge in this country. you would think that you’re used to it by now. people have been starin’ at ya and murmuring the words in your general direction (hehe) probably your whole life.
    Just because you have your own website ( )and breathe heavy together now doesn’t mean the rest of us have overlooked that you’re the fat in our country’s health care disaster.
    I have my weekends when I overeat and wreak havoc to body and mind, but I get off my rumpus and try to do something about it the following days. And please, it’s not an unhealthy body image outlook I’m trying to avert. It’s what we as humans are supposed to do with ourselves so we don’t die miserably before we reach 50! It’s (for me) a battle of the bulge to keep off the f’in blood pressure meds, and by god I’m kickin’ it’s ass – now it’s your turn; quit yer bitchin, get up, get out of the house and burn it – one pound at a time. Or… sink your butt in the couch like you always do, and suck what’s left of our imploding health care teat and see if reform comes around to save you on diabetes meds. But please, really… save us your side of it if that’s what you choose.

  • Book Worm

    The things I learned from this book changed my life. I am a happier healthier me. I feel lighter and I don’t just mean weight wise. I was surprised at how healthy I felt and how much negativity I had stored in me that was released after only 10 days. I had so much energy and I was cleansing at the same time.

  • Nate

    It is a bummer this is surfacing yet again, it comes in waves through blogs and emails. Personally I believe it is a good thing he has made changes in his life and that those changes can help his fans. The problem arose when he made the derogatory comments about families eating a TV and not being able to get on an elevator. With this and other comments in the past he has succeeded in alienating the very fans his new lifestyle could have helped. Imagine if he kept his mouth shut about fat people and simply taught by example on his shows and led fans down the path of healthier eating and sustainability. So much potential and instead he reached only a few and is now preaching the the choir. Just saying there might have been a better way.