Thursday, September 17, 2009

"In Defense of Food" Insight

In Michael Pollan’s “In Defense of Food,” he talks about observing food as a whole instead of stripping food down to just nutrients and minerals. I would have to agree with Pollan’s philosophy. Certain foods just can’t be classified into a one hundred percent nutritious category. Take for instance the January 1977 committee’s advice to Americans to “reduce their meat intake.” Senator McGovern of South Dakota had a large constituency that had consisted of cattle ranchers; the committee had no choice but to change their tune to “choose meats lower in saturated fats.” This has left an impact on scientists by examining each nutrient individually and not looking at food as a whole.

Another example where industry beat out health was the margarine incident that Pollan referred to. Margarine paved the way for processed foods in America. Margarine manufacturers claimed that by containing polyunsaturated fats and by adding vitamins to its formula it was healthier than butter containing cholesterol and saturated fats. The manufacturing industry can manipulate foods to add any vitamins and minerals they please to enhance their sales figures. Manufactures have brought the margarine scandal to new heights with genetically modified and processed foods, because with the right marketing spin and “health” promotions these foods can be sold to unsuspecting consumers.

Nutritionism is another point that was brought up in the beginning of this book. Nutritionism is an ideology that the nutrient is the key of success in understanding foods as a whole. Pollan goes in-depth and explains more about how scientists study nutritionism and also talks about the public’s awareness of this growing problem in America. Upton Sinclair’sThe Jungle” also made aware of the food industries scandals and has brought about public reform with the laws and the Food and Drug Administration. Even if you don’t agree with Pollan’s philosophy, you do have to admit he makes a pretty compelling argument.

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