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In Defense of Food: An Eater's Manifesto Hardcover – January 1, 2008
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Top Customer Reviews
Is a chicken labeled "free range" good enough to reassure you of its purity? How about "grass fed" beef?
What form of soy is best for you --- soy milk or tofu?
About milk: I'll bet most of you voted for reduced or non-fat. But if you'll turn to page 153 of "In Defense of Food," you'll read that processors don't make low-fat dairy products just by removing the fat. To restore the texture --- to make the drink "milky" --- they must add stuff, usually powdered milk. Did you know powdered milk contains oxidized cholesterol, said to be worse for your arteries than plain old cholesterol? And that removing the fat makes it harder for your body to absorb the fat-soluble vitamins that make milk a valuable food in the first place?
About chicken and beef: Readers of Pollan's previous book, "The Omnivore's Dilemma", know that "free range" refers to the chicken's access to grass, not whether it actually ventures out of its coop. And all cattle are "grass fed" until they get to the feedlot. The magic words for delightful beef are "grass finished" or "100% grass fed".
And about soy...but I dare to hope I have your attention by now. And that you don't want to be among the two-thirds of Americans who are overweight and the third of our citizens who are likely to develop type 2 diabetes before 2050. And maybe, while I have your eyes, you might be mightily agitated to learn that America spends $250 billion --- that's a quarter of the costs of the Iraq war --- each year in diet-related health care costs. And that our health care professionals seem far more interested in building an industry to treat diet-related diseases than they do in preventing them.Read more ›
Our curse is processed food. The dieting industry completely distorted our feeding process. Our desire to improve everything and to separate 'needed' ingredients from the 'unneeded' ones leads us to refining most of our food products. However, our artificially 'improved' food only seemingly has the same nutritious qualities as natural food. Artificial and natural foods have as little in common as silk roses with real ones.
Processed food is easily obtainable, doesn't require much work to prepare, and, unfortunately, it is often also addictive. At the same time it is full of calories with very small nutritional content.
Like "The Omnivore's Dilemma", Pollan's new book is indeed eye-opening. It makes us think twice about what we are going to put into our mouths the next time we eat. For more reading about the danger of refined foods I strongly recommend Can W e Live 150 - another book devoted to living in agreement with nature, and revealing the secrets of healthy diet.
Who's to blame? The government. Ay, but there's the rub. If the government undoes its mischievous agricultural subsidies, voters in farm states will throw the rascals out of office. Look what happened to Sen. John McCain in Iowa because he wants to end ethanol subsidies. No politician can afford to be public spirited instead of self-centered. The cure is not in government.
Instead, an intelligent solution begins with this book. Pollan goes to the heart of the matter, which is the content of our food. Our consumer society is based on making attractive products. For food, this means added sugar or added fat.
To quote Pollan: ". . . we're eating a whole lot more, at least 300 more calories a day than we consumed in 1985. What kind of calories? Nearly a quarter of these additional calories come from added sugars (and most of that in the form of high-fructose corn syrup); roughly another quarter from added fat . . . "
These extra calories are from nutrient-deficient food. It began with refined flour in the 1870s which removed bran and wheat germ to produce long-lasting snowy white flour. Consumers loved it because flour no longer turned rancid, and it didn't become infected with bugs.
Okay. Why didn't bugs chomp down on this new flour? Quite simply because the nutrients, the bran, wheat germ, carotene, were gone. Pollan explains, ". . . this gorgeous white powder was nutritionally worthless, or nearly so. Much the same is now true for corn flour and white rice." Take a look at a package of white flour and count the additives that make up for the loss of natural ingredients. Then you'll understand the basic thrust of this book and its remedies.
How do refined carbohydrates affect us?Read more ›
I also had a little trouble with Pollan's tone, which is strangely naive, and occasionally condescending.Read more ›
Most Recent Customer Reviews
It's easy to read and understand, despite the need to cover complex science theories. I've read it four times now just to keep reminding me of its importance. Read morePublished 6 days ago by NoDeadPixels
Food is no longer just food. It is nutrition. This is the gist of In Defence of Food by Michael Pollan. Read morePublished 13 days ago by Shwetha H S
The product was as described in the discretion. It came with in the time if not before the dates of arrival that they said it wouldPublished 25 days ago by Benjamin L Koval
Having grown up in an age of reductionist nutritionism and constant bombardment of ever-changing health thoughts and advice, this book is a beacon of reason and hope to those of us... Read morePublished 29 days ago by pascal
Michael Pollan takes you with him to understand where your food really comes from and how it treats your body. Read morePublished 1 month ago by Amazon Customer
On this page there's a typo "food has been replaced by nutrients, and common sense by confusion--most of what we’re consuming today is longer the product of nature but of food... Read morePublished 1 month ago by Tara
I have studied Michael Pollans works and look forward to reading this book.Published 1 month ago by Jason L.