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Health: 7 rules for eating

March 31, 2009

Found this interesting article on WebMD.  The piece is tied to a talk given by food big shot Michael Pollan to the CDC on America’s unhealthy obsession with unhealthy eating. He boiled his food philosophy down into seven words:

“Eat food, not too much, mostly plants.”

There is a nice list on the first page of the article on how to shop healthy. These are tips I’ve heard before, but they are good to hear again. You may not have heard them so click the link and take a look.

The piece of the article that interested me most, though, is on the second page under the subheadline, “Eat Foods, Not Nutrients.” I got into my feelings on this in a  previous post.

It’s always nice to have your opinions validated by an expert in a field. Pollan does that for me here.

  • Myth #1: Food is a delivery vehicle for nutrients. What really matters isn’t broccoli but its fiber and antioxidants. If we get that right, we get our diet right. Foods kind of get in the way.
  • Myth #2: We need experts to tell us how to eat. Nutrients are invisible and mysterious. “It is a little like religion,” Pollan said. “If a powerful entity is invisible, you need a priesthood to mediate your relation with food.”
  • Myth #3: The whole point of eating is to maintain and promote bodily health. “You are either improving or ruining your health when you eat — that is a very American idea,” Pollan says. “But there are many other reasons to eat food: pleasure, social community, identity, and ritual. Health is not the only thing going on on our plates.”
  • Myth #4: There are evil foods and good foods. “At any given time there is an evil nutrient we try to drive like Satan from the food supply — first it was saturated fats, then it was trans fat,” Pollan says. “Then there is the evil nutrient’s doppelganger, the blessed nutrient. If we get enough of that we, will be healthy and maybe live forever. It’s funny through history how the good and bad guys keep changing.”

Go and read the rest of the article. It’s worth the few minutes of your time.

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