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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

4.8 out of 5 stars 70 customer reviews

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  • In Defence of Food: The Myth of Nutrition and the Pleasures of Eating: An Eater's Manifesto
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  • Food Rules: An Eater's Manual
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  • The Omnivore's Dilemma: The Search for a Perfect Meal in a Fast-Food World (reissued)
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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: 19.3 x 12.7 x 1.5 cm
  • Average Customer Review: 4.8 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (70 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 11,514 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Product Description

Review

'If you're prone to pondering the nutritional advice we're spoon-fed by 'experts', this book is a very necessary antidote' Timeout 'In Defence of Food ... instantly makes redundant all diet books and 99 per cent of discussions around healthy eating' Daily Mail 'Read this witty book for a healthier life and diet' Times 'Eminently sensible' Evening Standard 'His approach is steeped in honesty and self-awareness. His cause is just, his thinking is clear, and his writing is compelling' Washington Post

From the Publisher

From the bestselling author of The Omnivore's Dilemma comes In Defence of Food and the Omnivore's Solution for a new way of eating in the New Year...:


1: Don't eat anything your grandmother wouldn't recognise as food


2: Avoid foods containing ingredients you can't pronounce


3: Don't eat anything that won't eventually rot


4: Avoid food products that carry health claims


5: Shop the peripheries of the supermarket; stay out of the middle


6: Better yet, buy your food somewhere else: farmers' markets or the CSA


7: Pay more, eat less


8: Eat a wide diversity of species


9: Eat food from animals that eat grass


10: Cook and, if you can, grow some of your own food


11: Eat meals and eat them only at tables


12: Eat deliberately, with other people whenever possible, and always with pleasure

--This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.

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4.8 out of 5 stars
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Top Customer Reviews

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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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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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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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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Format: Paperback
Michael Pollan, professor of journalism at Berkeley, is a prolific writer on food and food-related issues, which have drawn much attention in the United States in recent years. After his more historical and philosophical works, "In Defence of Food" is a practical guide to and defense of food. To be precise, food as opposed to processed, additive-filled, can-conserved and/or microwavable goo that passes for food in most of our Western supermarkets.

Pollan uses a pleasant style and a usefully skeptical attitude towards the faddish nutritional science of the past decades to launch a critique on the industrial process of food production in the Western world, which has made us at the same time less healthy, fatter, and less nourished. As Pollan shows, typical 'rich' diseases such as cancer, type 2 diabetes, coronary disease, stroke and so forth are directly and invariably correlated to following the broadly defined 'Western diet' (which despite Pollan using this name is really mostly the American diet). This, in turn, is caused partially by an excessive focus on single 'good' or 'bad' nutrients in food science, which eliminates both the interplay of various elements in given foodstuffs as they relate to our health, partially by the social and cultural contexts of food being ignored in such science, leading to useless and confusing study results, and finally in part by the food industry bribing and cajoling governments and researchers alike to make these practices suit their profit needs. He calls this 'nutritionism', following an Australian researcher on the same topic.
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