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Eat food. Not too much. Mostly plants. October 4, 2008

Posted by CK in Miscellaneous.
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The title of this post is not my idea; It comes from Michael Pollan‘s (latest?) book, “In defense of food: An eater’s manifesto“. I was lucky enough to stumble upon the book as I was looking for a recipe book the other day.

Anyways. The book was an eye opener. Basically it goes over the western dietary patterns of the last century, connects decisions and trends with marketing, governance and business, and shows that our view of food is fundamentally wrong. Our “reductionist” view of it, looking at its ingredients one at a time, overlooking the way they work together but also the social dimension of eating, has lead to worse food and health situations. He shows that certain theories that the nutritionists have been following dogmatically, might not hold to their entirety (or at all, for that matter). The lipid hypothesis is the most obvious case of those, but more examples are mentioned in the book. Additionally, he explains why processed food (typically, the only kind of “food” that you can find nowadays at the super market shelves) is neither healthy, not good from a nutritional point of view. Then, Mr. Pollan goes on to make a point for fruits and vegetables. In my 34 years, I have heard countless times by family and doctors alike, that I must eat much more fruits and vegetables. Michael Pollan was the first who managed to convince me.

When reading things like this, I need to see references all the time, for each and every statement. Call it professional twist if you wish, but there are not many other ways I can be convinced. The author is making a good and fruitful (no pun intended) effort to document everything he says, using many, many bibliographic references to scholarly literature. Although I have no doubts that in the process he probably missed work that may point to the other direction, I will opt for selecting the view that he proposes. It is reasonable and stands on solid enough ground.

Strongly recommended reading. I am now looking forward to reading his previous book, which is also a best-seller, but even more popular: “The omnivore’s dilemma“.

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