In Defense of Food: Nutrition, Food Science and the American Diet
March 04, 2008
Acclaimed author and journalist Michael Pollan argues that what most Americans are consuming today is not food but “edible food-like substances.” His latest book is called In Defense of Food: An Eater’s Manifesto.
In this interview with Amy Goodman, Pollan discusses nutrition, food science and the current American diet. According to Pollan:
“Food’s under attack from two quarters. It’s under attack from the food industry, which is taking, you know, perfectly good whole foods and tricking them up into highly processed edible food-like substances, and from nutritional science, which has over the years convinced us that we shouldn’t be paying attention to food, it’s really the nutrients that matter. And they’re trying to replace foods with antioxidants, you know, cholesterol, saturated fat, omega-3s, and that whole way of looking at food as a collection of nutrients, I think, is very destructive ...
“Basically the food has gotten more complex ... you can’t really make money selling things like, oh, oatmeal, you know, plain rolled oats. And if you go to the store, you can buy a pound of oats, organic oats, for seventy-nine cents. There’s no money in that, because it doesn’t have any brand identification. It’s a commodity, and the prices of commodity are constantly falling over time. So you make money by processing it ... you take those oats, and you turn them into Cheerios, and then you can charge four bucks ...
“We’ve known this for a hundred years, that if you eat this Western diet ... lots of processed food, lots of refined grain and pure sugar, lots of red meat and processed meats, very little whole grains, very little fresh fruits and vegetables ... about 80 percent of heart disease, at least as much Type II diabetes, 33 to 40 percent of cancers all come out of eating that way, and we know this.”
For more of Pollan’s insights, click on the link below.