In Defense of Food

An Eater's Manifesto

Written by: Michael Pollan

Published By: Penguin

Reviewed by Dorothy Doremus

            I chose to pick up this book because I had read another of Mr. Pollan’s books, Food Rules, and enjoyed its flow so much, I couldn’t wait to read more of his work.

            In Defense of Food is a complex breakdown of the Western Diet from the way plants are grown to how animals are raised for consumption.  What I like about the book is that the most complex processes are written so the average public, who are not scientifically inclined, can understand why our food supply is becoming less healthy than when our grandparents were around.

            The concept of Nutritionism is explored through this book as a reoccurring theme.  Nutritionism is when food is altered to have some health benefit or is marketed for the same reason to ensure that consumers will purchase it.  Those catch phrases like “lowers your cholesterol”, “fat-free” and “whole grain” are all meant to confuse the purchaser into thinking that something unhealthy is actually good for you to consume. 

            Pollan creates a valid link to the “Franken Foods” and obesity and other health problems created by eating these products.  One big example is margarine.  For years it was thought to be more heart healthy than butter.  Neither of them is good for you, but because advertisers used the “lowers cholesterol” catch-phrase, people switched from butter to margarine.  They suffered the same amount of heart attacks if not more because they were mislead into believing a campaign of deceit.

            I believe Mr. Pollan’s way of bringing this knowledge to light is important to us all.  He uses everyday examples of how you are being deceived by the food and marketing industries.  He explains that this is the reason we have the largest percentage of obesity in the world.

            Even if you are not a health conscious person, you may want to read In Defense of Food.  All of the information is at your fingertips and he really makes it easy to understand how to make better choices at the grocery store.  The last part of this book is actually the Food Rules book so, if you purchase this book, you are actually getting two books for the price of one - what a bargain!


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