Live as if you were to die tomorrow. Learn as if you were to live forever. - Gandhi

Friday, February 19, 2010

Response to In Defense of Food, by Michael Pollan

In the first four chapters of Michael Pollan’s, In Defense of Food, he focuses on the nutrition of ‘food substitutes’. He explains how people are drawn into buying foods that are advertised as being healthier than their originals. Examples include; cereal, bread, butter, etc. Pollan also explains the difficulties with depicting how each individual chemical ingredient will react to the human body. It is not simple to identify what these ingredients will do in terms of health.

In chapter three, Pollan uses margarine as a prime example to the beginning of food substitutes. In 1938, it was banned to make imitation products; however, it is very common to find these kinds of products everywhere on grocery store shelves. Pollan makes the debate that products that are labeled as ‘low-fat’ or ‘low-carb’, are less nutritional for humans than the average product. He believes that even though organic, simple, foods are not as advertised to the public as imitations, they are the most beneficial to one’s health. He argues that ignorance about the food we eat is the reason why America is overweight and unhealthy. Sarah Hutson agrees with this idea in her blog about In Defense of Food.

I agree with Pollan one hundred percent about the fact that ‘real food’ is being replaced by ‘nutrients’. However, I admit my guilt for choosing chemically enhanced foods over whole, natural, foods. It seems like the healthier choice to do so at times. I realize that it doesn’t take much for me to become influenced by product labels. If a label states that it is low-fat, I would most likely choose that product over a similar (higher fat content) product.

I also agree with the argument that Pollan makes about the importance of simple foods. Many people have forgotten about how past generations ate. Obesity was not a common characteristic in America’s early age. Chemically altered foods were not in the norm for many of our ancestors. We must learn how they ate and learn from our own mistakes.