Zooey Deschanel Talks Unrealistic Food Standards In New Season of Your Food's Roots

"It's really food for thought," Zooey Deschanel tells PEOPLE

Zooey Deschanel is back to educate people about disparities in the food industry.

The actress, 40, returns to host season three of Attn:'s Your Food's Roots. The series explores how the food choices you make affect you, the people around you, and the environment. Throughout the season she speaks with a variety of farmers and food experts — and even a food historian.

"The Food Historian, Dr. James Bassett, said a lot of interesting things that were fascinating to hear about," Deschanel exclusively tells PEOPLE. "[He talked about] the history of how superficial people have always been about food, to the point of dyeing the food different colors to make it look more appetizing."

zooey deschanel
zooey deschanel

Dr. Bassett explains that people have been trying to alter the appearance of food since 1500 B.C. — using natural extracts to change the color of certain foods: from candy to vegetables, and even bread.

"In the 1800s it was the fashion to eat white bread — the whiter the better," Dr. Bassett explains. "So some unscrupulous bakers would add whitening agents to their flours: anything from lead to chalk dust."

Deschanel hopes the information in this season encourages viewers to really think differently about the food they eat. "It's really food for thought and it's an inspiration to help encourage everybody to think deeper about the food that they're eating, and where it's coming from," she says, "to inspire people to be curious."

The New Girl star has personally been more conscious about the food she puts in her body since she began hosting Your Food's Roots three years ago.

Deschanel has since become a vegetarian. "The main thing is it's just so hard to know where meat is coming from. It's so difficult to know if it was sustainably raised humanely raised," she says. "I really felt like I couldn't be sure where it was coming from most of the time. So I stopped eating meat."

She's also more aware of where and how she buys all of the food she eats. "I started really trying to buy from local farmers and understanding the importance of buying food in season," Deschanel explains. "I mean, if just for the fact that it tastes a lot better, but it's better for the environment because you're not buying something that's been grown in the Southern Hemisphere and shipped across the world."

The premiere episode is now live on the Attn: social channels.

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