4 min read ⌚
An Eater’s Manifesto
“Healthy” is not what the food industry tells you!
You don’t believe us?
Read this summary and judge for yourself.
Who Should Read “In Defense of Food” and Why?
“In Defense of Food” examines the roots of nutritionism, following the history of food and its industrialization.
Michael Pollan this time puts his focus on how the industry shifted our focus from food to nutrients and explains why such an approach is ultimately bad.
We recommend it to all people who like eating “healthy” while not knowing what healthy really is.
About Michael Pollan
Michael Pollan is an author who teaches journalism at the UC Berkeley. He is the author of the bestselling and critically acclaimed “The Omnivore’s Dilemma” as well.
“In Defense of Food PDF Summary”
Think about the last time you promised yourself that you would start eating more healthily.
You probably had this idea that adding some vitamins and cutting on starch and carbohydrates would be the right way to do it.
When did we start to express ourselves in the language of nutrients, then talking about specific foods like fruits or cheese?
This shift happened during the second half of the twentieth century.
It all started with the hypothesis that cholesterol and fat lead to increased chances of heart disease.
So, during the 70s the government wanted to advise people to eat better, but on the other hand, did not want to damage their interests by urging people to eat less meat and dairy.
So, they decided to change the wording of their recommendation and told people to eat more meat and fish that reduces the levels of saturated fat intake, which was a much weaker blow to the food industry.
With this event, the whole discourse of diet changed.
The problem, however, is that we do not fully understand nutrition. We always go for the low-calorie option, not understanding that it is as processed as the higher-calorie option, so it has the same nutrients.
This means that we need nutritionists to translate what we should eat and what we should not.
Another problem is that nowadays many times we confuse imitation foods with real foods.
In the history, the food industry fought labeling their imitation products as imitation, by making a deal to avoid labeling them as such, as long as they were not nutritionally inferior to real food.
And here, the problems began.
Now many people consider imitation foods “healthier” than the real counterparts, just because of the nutritive values they see on the back of the packages.
Producers have it easy – they can just add a few “healthy nutrients” to their products and make them appear healthy.
As a result, everyone wants these foods, and the ones that cannot be altered, the all-natural, whole foods are neglected.
So, as you can see, nutritionism was the best thing that ever happened to the food companies and industry. But how good is it for us?
Nowadays, you can see many victims of nutritionism – all those people that stopped eating food they liked just because they heard it is unhealthy.
People no longer take pleasure in eating food and are increasingly adopting a more scientific approach.
This scientific approach has taught people to think of one of the tastiest ingredients of food, such as for example fat, as enemies and toxins that are poisoning our bodies.
It has also changed the way we learn about food, since in the past people were having a diet based on their origin and location, and we’re learning about the foods that were good for them depending on their culture and past.
You could think that it is all worth it if nutritionism will improve our wellbeing, but let us tell you – that is not the case.
Look around you and read up on the numbers. The world has never had so many obese people as it does now.
Key Lessons from “In Defense of Food”
1. The World Started Thinking About Nutrients Because of Politics
2. Nutrients Did Not Make Us Healthier – They Made Us Sick
3. Choose Foods That Are Natural And Have a Few Ingredients
The World Started Thinking About Nutrients Because of Politics
Nowadays we talk about nutrients instead of food groups because one senator during the 50s was trying to keep the food industry intact and therefore urged them to fill the same meaning differently.
This slowly starts to take its toll on people’s health.
The craze surrounding healthy food has never been so big, and yet the number of overweight people suffering from diabetes, cholesterol and heart disease is as high as ever.
Does that make any sense?
Nutrients Did Not Make Us Healthier – They Made Us Sick
In the present, everyone is talking about food like it is something scientific. Also, the food industry creates many processed foods and adds what is considered to be healthy nutrients for them. However, these are not real foods.
The world stops eating real foods and opts for a choice they consider to be healthy and tested. As a result, we are not getting healthier.
Choose Foods That Are Natural And Have a Few Ingredients
Finding food to eat should not be such a hustle!
In fact, it is very easy to find good food: just think about what your grandparents ate.
The best food you can feed yourself with are those ingredients that come from our culture. Do not follow the trends and stay away from processed food, no matter how healthy the labels say that it is.
The test is simple: if your grandma wouldn’t eat it – don’t buy it.
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“In Defense of Food Quotes”Eat food. Not too much. Mostly plants. Click To Tweet You are what you eat. Click To Tweet The shared meal elevates eating from a mechanical process of fueling the body to a ritual of family and community, from the mere animal biology to an act of culture. Click To Tweet Don't eat anything incapable of rotting. Click To Tweet Shake the hand that feeds you. Click To Tweet
Our Critical Review
In a world where everyone is obsessing over what is healthy and what is not, if going vegan and vegetarian is health, if grains and fat are good or bad for your body et cetera, this book is a breath of fresh air.