Globesity: A Tale of Science, Intrigue, and the Battle for Health

Bologna - Andrea Segrè presidente di Fondazione FICO - presidente di CAAB - preside della facoltà di Agraria dell'Università degli Studi di Bologna Alma Mater Studiorum - Presidente di Spreco Zero e Last Minute Market (Photo by Roberto Serra - Iguana)
Reading Time: 3 minutes

by InTrieste

In his doctoral thesis, the young and inexperienced researcher Giorgio Pani from the University of Padua delves into the effects of the Mediterranean diet on health. This theme leads him to plan a journey through the most representative countries of the Mediterranean, where the diet was “discovered” by Ancel Keys in the 1960s, where it has naturally taken root and spread but is increasingly less practiced. This is the backdrop against which “Globesity: The Hunger for Power” unfolds.

Released by Minerva Editions in 2024, priced at €16.90 for 149 pages, it marks the debut novel of Andrea Segrè, a professor of circular economy and scientific popularizer. Segrè is the founder of the “zero waste” movement in Italy and Europe, renowned for his extensive work on food waste and sustainable development. “Globesity” represents his foray into narrative writing, a food thriller hitting shelves on February 28, just ahead of World Obesity Day on March 4, 2024.

The novel plunges readers into an international web of plots woven in fiction yet suspended between imagination and reality. Because the threat of the “caloric bomb” is already among us: if current trends persist, over 51% of the world’s population (over 4 billion people) will be overweight or obese by 2035. The global economic impact of overweight and obesity could exceed $4 trillion annually, nearly 3% of the global GDP.

This is roughly the economic impact of COVID-19 in 2020, as highlighted by the 2023 World Obesity Atlas report from the World Obesity Federation. Set against an extraordinarily current backdrop – a world of paradoxes “where half the world struggles with obesity and overweight, and the other half with undernourishment,” as explained by Andrea Segrè – “Globesity” blends scientific reality with pure literary invention. In mere moments, perspectives shift entirely: the boundary between good and evil, between good and bad science, between hunger and satiety, is overturned. Everything, within the pages of the book as in reality, is possible. And if the “contagion” comes from food, the specter of the obesity pandemic becomes the worst of nightmares…


For his doctoral thesis, the young researcher Giorgio Pani begins his journey from Cyprus. It is here, in Nicosia, that he encounters the fascinating Professor Elif Demir and her team of scientists, engaged in research very similar to his own, in a cutting-edge laboratory on the outskirts of the city. Giorgio immediately bonds with the team, and the professor decides to entrust him with field research, where he will be assisted by the more experienced colleague Pablo Garcia. It is an experiment destined for the main countries bordering the Mediterranean, which have made wheat, oil, fresh fruit, vegetables, fish, and meat the key to their traditional cuisine. An offer Giorgio Pani cannot refuse. But the journey proves to be full of tribulations from the start: the two researchers are pursued by mysterious men who do not intend to let them continue their research, forcing them to flee to North Africa. From Tunisia, they reach Algeria, Morocco, Ceuta, and Melilla, before crossing the Mediterranean and, after a brief stop in Malaga, arriving in the United States. In American soil, Giorgio realizes he has stumbled upon a dark conspiracy: researchers in the service of junk food corporations are the puppeteers of a new molecule capable of altering the human metabolism…


Andrea Segrè teaches Circular Economy and Policies for Sustainable Development at the University of Bologna. He is known for pioneering research and projects on food waste: as the founder of Last Minute Market and the National Day for the Prevention of Food Waste (February 5), Andrea Segrè is the scientific director of the public awareness campaign Zero Waste and the Waste Watcher International Observatory on food and eating habits. In recent seasons, his research has also focused on ‘ius cibi’, the right to food and food citizenship as new frontiers of civilization for contemporary societies. He is currently a Special Advisor to the Mayor of Bologna for urban and metropolitan food policies. “Globesity” is his debut novel.

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