1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
Should you ever find yourself in the position of wanting to lose a little weight, you cannot help but be thoroughly confused by the sheer amount of seemingly conflicting information over what you should or shouldn't eat. Some ingredients and foods are good, now they are bad, oh, they are good again... really? What is one to do?
Taking a liberal quote from the very start of this book, you can easily get a taste (sic) of things to come: "Margarine has been the chameleon of manufactured food products, able to transform its nutritional appearance, adapt to changing nutritional fads and charm unwitting nutrition experts and nutrition-conscious consumers. While research published by nutrition scientists in the early 1990s on the harmfulness of the trans-fats in margarine temporarily unveiled its highly processed and degraded character, margarine has subsequently been reinvented as a trans-fat-free, cholesterol-lowering 'functional food.'"
So are we getting the wool pulled over our eyes by suave marketeers and big business? Possibly... Margarine was developed by a French chemist in the late nineteenth century and up until the 1960s, it was generally viewed as a cheap butter substitute, only used by those who couldn't afford the "real thing." Yet now butter is the big, bad nasty and margarine (a manufactured, chemically-reconstituted vegetable oil with various colouring agents and added vitamins) is the grand saviour. Really?
After reading through this book will you ever look at food, diets and so-called advice in the same light again? Naturally, the veracity (or not) of the information portrayed in this book is beyond the scope of this review, yet the author has presented some seemingly well-researched, clearly written opinions that make for a compelling, troubling and quite alarming read. As befits an academic book of this kind, there is a wealth of footnotes and bibliographic references so you can drill down to the source and interpret things for yourself should you so desire. Despite this being an academically-focussed book, the author manages to still make this an accessible read to the interested "generalist". You are not going to get a "this diet good, this diet bad" type of approach and you will need to interpret much yourself, but you will finish this book with a much broader, more eyes-wide-open manner than when you first started it. Don't feel put off or threatened by this book. It will be a bit of a hard slog for a general reader to perhaps get the most out of it, but it will be a worthwhile journey, even if you only understand and consume a fraction of the author's work!
Some of the chapter titles convey the type of material that awaits you: The Nutritionism Paradigm: Reductive Approaches to Nutrients, Food, and the Body; The Era of Quantifying Nutritionism: Protective Nutrients, Caloric Reductionism, and Vitamania; The Era of Good-and-Bad Nutritionism: Bad Nutrients and Nutricentric Dietary Guidelines and The Macronutrient Diet Wars: From the Low-Fat Campaign to Low-Calorie, Low-Carb, and Low-GI Diets.
The price tag of this book is a "steal" for a great academic work although it might be sadly out of reach of some general readers - that said at the time of writing this review (when the book has yet to be launched) at least one major online bookseller is offering this for sale with a 25% discount. So for less than the price of a family meal at a major fast food restaurant, you could genuinely get a hefty read that might change your entire approach to diets, nutrition and even food on a whole. It might be, without being hyperbole, one of your better investments this year if you are prepared to put in a bit of effort to digest the author's work.