Michael Pollan

In Defense of Food

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“Eat less” is easier said than done, however, particularly in a culture of cheap and abundant calories with no deeply rooted set of rules to curb overeating. But other cultures do have such rules and we can try to emulate them.
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In the same way that foods are more than the sum of their nutrient parts, dietary patterns seem to be more than the sum of the foods that comprise them
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DON’T LOOK FOR THE MAGIC BULLET IN THE TRADITIONAL DIET. In
Haura Emilia
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REGARD NONTRADITIONAL FOODS WITH SKEPTICISM
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healthier than people eating a contemporary Western diet. This
Haura Emilia
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Confounding factors aside, people who eat according to the rules of a traditional food culture are generally much health
Haura Emilia
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Meat has both the advantages and disadvantages of being at the top of the food chain: It accumulates and concentrates many of the nutrients in the environment but also many of the toxins.
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But eating too much industrial meat exposes us to more saturated fat, omega-6 fatty acids, growth hormones, and carcinogens than we probably want in our diet.
Haura Emilia
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That said, eating meat in the tremendous quantities we do (each American now consumes an average of two hundred pounds of meat a year) is probably not a good idea, especially when that meat comes from a highly industrialized food chain.
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So what about eating meat? Unlike plants, which we can’t live without, we don’t need to eat meat—with the exception of vitamin B12, every nutrient found in meat can be obtained somewhere else.
Haura Emilia
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There are literally scores of studies demonstrating that a diet rich in vegetables and fruits reduces the risk of dying from all the Western diseases
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This is one reason why it’s important to eat as many different kinds of plants as possible: They all have different antioxidants and so help the body eliminate different kinds of toxins.
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EAT MOSTLY PLANTS, ESPECIALLY LEAVES
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Scientists may disagree about what’s so good about eating plants—Is it the antioxidants in them? The fiber? The omega-3 fatty acids?—but they do agree that plants are probably really good for you, and certainly can’t hurt.
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One lesson that can be drawn from the striking diversity of traditional diets that people have lived on around the world is that it is possible to nourish ourselves from an astonishing range of different foods, so long as they are foods.
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AVOID FOOD PRODUCTS THAT MAKE HEALTH CLAIMS.
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SHOP THE PERIPHERIES OF THE SUPERMARKET AND STAY OUT OF THE MIDDLE
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GET OUT OF THE SUPERMARKET WHENEVER POSSIBLE. You won’t find any high-fructose corn syrup at the farmers’ market.
Haura Emilia
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But for the most part it is the products of food science that make the boldest health claims, and these are often founded on incomplete and often erroneous science—the dubious fruits of nutritionism.
Haura Emilia
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AVOID FOOD PRODUCTS CONTAINING INGREDIENTS THAT ARE A) UNFAMILIAR, B) UNPRONOUNCEABLE, C) MORE THAN FIVE IN NUMBER, OR THAT INCLUDE D) HIGH-FRUCTOSE CORN SYRUP.
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