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In Defence of Food: The Myth of Nutrition and the Pleasures of Eating: An Eater's Manifesto Paperback – 7 May 2009


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Frequently Bought Together

In Defence of Food: The Myth of Nutrition and the Pleasures of Eating: An Eater's Manifesto + Food Rules: An Eater's Manual + The Omnivore's Dilemma: The Search for a Perfect Meal in a Fast-Food World (reissued)
Price For All Three: £17.97

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Product details

  • Paperback: 256 pages
  • Publisher: Penguin (7 May 2009)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0141034726
  • ISBN-13: 978-0141034720
  • Product Dimensions: 1.5 x 12.5 x 19 cm
  • Average Customer Review: 4.7 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (53 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 16,510 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

More About the Author

For the past twenty years, Michael Pollan has been writing about the places where the human and natural worlds intersect: food, agriculture, gardens, drugs, and architecture. His book The Omnivore's Dilemma, about the ethics and ecology of eating, was named one of the ten best books of 2006 by the New York Times and the Washington Post. He is also the author of In Defence of Food, The Botany of Desire, A Place of My Own and Second Nature, and the upcoming Food Rules: An Eater's Manual.


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Customer Reviews

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Most Helpful Customer Reviews

30 of 30 people found the following review helpful By Saxmonkey on 3 Mar 2008
Format: Hardcover
I heard Mr Pollan on Radio 4, and was impressed. The book is well worth persevering with, it is crammed with well researched information.

This is not a diet book, it is an anti-diet book. It arms you with all the tools you need to make up your own mind about food.

It is easy to become almost evangelical about this book, but it is a really important piece of work. Nutritionalists should not worry, the world still needs you, but this book makes you wonder about the way that major corporations use this information to boost profits.
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27 of 28 people found the following review helpful By D. Armson on 25 May 2010
Format: Paperback
What can I say about this book, it is simply superb. What Pollan has done in this book is to bring together all the common sense that been learned about food over the last few thousand years and asks if what we've been doing to foods in the last few decades has really been beneficial.

The book begins by looking at modern food (i.e. processed food) and investigated how this `improved' food has impacted upon the health of the last few generations. The results show just how the food we are eating really is affecting our health despite all the miraculous health claims the packaging may have been making. But Pollan goes on to look at the even bigger picture of how this same food may be affecting more than just health, but behaviour of people and just how the "ready in 20 mins" food may effect the family unit too. He goes on to expose some of the lies that the food industries are making with their health claims and just how the inclusion, or exclusion, of certain vitamins, oils etc can actually be having adverse effects upon our health.

I must admit you begin to feel a little hopeless at this point, however this is where the real brilliance begins.

In the final third of the book Pollan explains how we can reclaim the power over our diets and health. He does this, not in some complicated diet, i.e. GI, Atkins, Calorie counting or any of the other ridiculous `weight loss' diets (personal opinion), but by simple easy to follow guidelines (i.e. if a food has more than 5 ingredients, most of which you can't pronounce, then don't by it, or even simpler, buy food that your Great Gran would recognise (that's the yogurt in a tube out then)).
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9 of 9 people found the following review helpful By M. Simmons on 3 Jun 2010
Format: Paperback
I will keep this brief as there are already wordy reviews here.

Being round, I read quite a bit on diet and how to eat and for me this was a clear concise opinion on the subject that I agree with. I read the whole book last weekend (no mean feat for me) couldn't put it down. Not only does he present how things got into the state they are, which for me was helpful, he offers a practical and simple solution, one we all know but forget. Eat [real] food, not too much, mostly plants. He fleshes out what he means by this and made it simple so I can remember it as I shop. It's only been a week but I do feel a weight has been taken off my shoulders when it come to eating. He taken it away from simply feeding and back to eating and being civilised around food. I anticipate not being round for much longer.
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47 of 51 people found the following review helpful By Timos on 8 Feb 2008
Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
This book is very well written and easy to understand. It conveys a complicated subject matter very simply. This is that the "western diet" of processed food products is slowly killing people and that we need to radically change our relationship with food. While this sounds scary, the book is not an act of scare-mongering but an essay on what and how we should eat food. I would highly recommend anyone living in the west to read this book as it will open their eyes.
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6 of 6 people found the following review helpful By DMH TOP 1000 REVIEWER on 2 Sep 2008
Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
Cannot recommend this book too highly. It's easy to read, written with good humour as well as insight, and makes lots of good points about the way our eating habits have changed for the worse in the 20th and early 21st centuries. Mr Pollan points to several of the key behavioural changes that lie at the root of our eating problems and suggests simple ways of reversing the bad trends. To paraphrase him very slightly, the key is to eat REAL food - not the over-processed garbage that we get served up far too often today as "food". The anecdote about the inhabitants of Okinawa who trained themselves to stop eating when 80% full also highlights how we need to re-educate our appetites. Well worth the outlay.
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5 of 5 people found the following review helpful By Dennis Littrell TOP 500 REVIEWER on 21 Jan 2009
Format: Hardcover
The devils here are "nutritionism" and "reductive science." I would prefer the terms "big agriculture" and "over processed, refined and denatured" foods. And if the word "science" is insisted upon, it should be "science" sponsored by big agriculture and food processing companies. Terminology aside, the point that Michael Pollan is making is that the problem with the American diet that has led to an astonishing increase in obesity and attendant chronic diseases of plenty such as type two diabetes, is that we are eating foods that have been produced unnaturally in monocultures, foods that have been stripped of many of their nutrients, foods that are alien to any kind of established or traditional cuisine.

Pollan demonizes reductive science because that has been the tool of the corporate interests. However reduction in science is a method breaks things down into individual parts, a method that is handy for some kinds of problems. When we cannot break down the problem effectively, as in the case with food, reductive science is less capable and we must give greater weight to historical science. We must look at entire cuisines and the social situations in which food is eaten to understand our nutritional relationship to what we eat and how. Sometimes it is the case the whole IS greater than the sum of the parts. In the case of even a single food, such as an orange or an apple or leaf of spinach, it is not currently possible to identify reductively just what it is about the food that makes it healthy for us to eat. Indeed, as Pollan argues, there may well be synergistic effects from a single food to an entire cuisine that are essential to good eating.
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