Why would anyone need to write a book called In Defense of Food? If we can afford it and can get our hands on it, we eat food several times a day. Or do we?
According to Michael Pollan, most of what Americans consume isn’t food. He calls it “edible foodlike substances.” He also says that the way we consume it is not really eating. It’s something we do pretty unconsciously as we work or drive or watch TV.
We all know about the U.S. epidemic of obesity and diabetes over the past 25 years, on top of the steady rise of chronic diseases over the past hundred. Paradoxically, this happens just as Americans and the food industry are ever more aware of nutrition. What’s going on here?
Pollan claims that in the Western diet, good old food has been replaced by nutrients, mom’s good advice by nutritional experts, common sense by confusion, and for most, a relatively good diet by a bad and dangerous one. The book in which he makes all these claims and advises us simply to “Eat Food. Not too much. Mostly plants,” has topped the New York Times bestseller list.