In Defense of Food

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Book Review - In Defense of Food: An Eater’s Manifesto

In the book, In Defense of Food: An Eater’s Manifesto, author Michael Pollan commences his tale with a few straightforward words: “Eat food. Not too much. Mostly plants”. In his introduction, An Eater’s Manifesto, Pollan discusses how the dietetic wisdom that was passed down from older generations has been heavily tainted by “nutritional science and food industry marketing” (Pollan, 2008). The first volume of the book entitled, The Age of Nutritionism”, delves into this problem and helps uncover the cause of today’s “nutritional confusion and anxiety” (Pollan, 2008). Nowadays, it is not uncommon to have “edible foodlike substances” displayed in every aisle of the grocery store with all products promoting some kind of nutritional benefit from their consumption. These dietary facts are often modified to showcase dietary benefits that are barely present in the food product, if present at all. With such prevalent misinformation, today’s society has become so overly concerned with nutrient enriched food that people have either forgotten or are unaware of the importance of the fundamentals. Pollan further explains that humanity has become “a nation of orthorexics” meaning that people have developed “an unhealthy obsession with healthy eating” centred on the theory of nutritionism (Pollan, 2008). Chronic diseases that have the highest death rate such as obesity, coronary heart disease, diabetes, stroke, and cancer, can be attributed to the “Western diet” which consists of “highly processed foods and refined grains; the use of chemicals to raise plants and animals in huge monocultures; the superabundance of cheap calories of sugar and fat produced by modern agriculture; and the narrowing of the biological diversity of the human diet to a tiny handful of staple crops, notably wheat, corn, and soy” (Pollan, 2008). In the second volume entitled “The Western Diet and the diseases of Civilization”, Pollan analyzes the...
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