HomeGroupsTalkExploreZeitgeist
Search Site
dismiss
This site uses cookies to deliver our services, improve performance, for analytics, and (if not signed in) for advertising. By using LibraryThing you acknowledge that you have read and understand our Terms of Service and Privacy Policy. Your use of the site and services is subject to these policies and terms.
Hide this

Results from Google Books

Click on a thumbnail to go to Google Books.

Loading...

In Defense of Food: An Eater's Manifesto (2008)

by Michael Pollan

Other authors: See the other authors section.

MembersReviewsPopularityAverage ratingMentions
7,1111941,126 (4.01)176
"Eat food. Not too much. Mostly plants." These simple words go to the heart of food journalist Pollan's thesis. Humans used to know how to eat well, he argues, but the balanced dietary lessons that were once passed down through generations have been confused and distorted by food industry marketers, nutritional scientists, and journalists. As a result, we face today a complex culinary landscape dense with bad advice and foods that are not "real." Indeed, plain old eating is being replaced by an obsession with nutrition that is, paradoxically, ruining our health, not to mention our meals. Pollan's advice is: "Don't eat anything that your great-great grandmother would not recognize as food." Looking at what science does and does not know about diet and health, he proposes a new way to think about what to eat, informed by ecology and tradition rather than by the nutrient-by-nutrient approach.--From publisher description.… (more)
Loading...

Sign up for LibraryThing to find out whether you'll like this book.

No current Talk conversations about this book.

» See also 176 mentions

English (190)  Spanish (1)  French (1)  Italian (1)  All languages (193)
Showing 1-5 of 190 (next | show all)
Finished In Defense of Food: An Eater's Manifesto by Michael Pollan. In Defense of Food discusses the interactions between individuals and the food around them. The core message of the book appears right on the cover. "Eat food. Not too much. Mostly plants." The rest of the book discusses these claims and the justification behind them.

Americans eat a whole lot of fake food. These foodlike substances are things that look like food and more or less taste like food but which are made of weird ingredients and generally are not really good for you.

"Nutritionism" has contributed to the success of food-like substances. Nutritionism is the tendency see food as made of little blocks of good and bad things. Fat is bad. Carbs are bad. Omega-3s are good. Anti-oxidants are good. Nutritionism makes claims that have truth but lack nuance. Most food science studies do not make the simple claims that the media and food companies claim as truths. The substances in food interact in complex ways, and the "good bits" do not always have the same effectiveness when injected into other substances, and the definition of "good" changes constantly.

Foodlike substances get injected with what we currently declare good and stripped of what we currently declare bad. But time and time again, we find that underestimating the complexity of food does not make for healthy eating. As an alternative, Pollan suggests that we "Eat food. Not too much. Mostly plants."

Eat food. Avoid foodlike substances. Pollan gives some rules of thumb for finding real food. Would people from 2 or 3 generations ago recognize it as food? Do all of the ingredients sound like food? Does it avoid excessive health claims? Is it located around the edges of the supermarket (or even better, out of the supermarket completely)? These are rules of thumb and can be overly strict if taken literally, but they are much easier to remember than the confusing, misleading, and ever shifting lists of what nutritionism thinks is the current good and bad.

Mostly plants. Plants, especially the leafy bits, have all sorts of things necessary for our survival combined in ways we are only beginning to understand. In addition to eating plants, you should try to eat a larger variety of plants. These plants should be grown in healthy soil. You should also try to mix some wild plants into your diet. Meat is not bad. In fact, some people are beginning to believe that the biggest danger from eating meat isn't anything about the meat in particular; it is the fact that eating more meat pushes plants out of your diet.

Not too much. The stereotypical American consumes food instead of eating it. This leads to overeating. Pollan gives several tips to avoid overeating. Pay more for less food; value quality over quantity. Eat meals instead of snacks. Eat meals at the table, and try to eat with other people. People who are talking and listening tend to eat less. Plus, people eating together tend to gravitate toward eating similar amounts. Light eaters may end up eating more, but heavy eaters will end up eating less. Finally, eat slowly and use your stomach (not your vision) to tell you when you're done.

In Defense of Food is not the last word on the "right" way to eat, however, it provides a lot of good guidelines and the points Pollan makes are well supported. A recommended read. ( )
  eri_kars | Jul 10, 2022 |

This book serves out the best eating advice I've ever read. Mostly common sense advice: Eat food. Not too much. Mostly plants.

The book lacks bravado and the humor to make it a five star book for me. But it's arrival is quite timely. ( )
  wellington299 | Feb 19, 2022 |
OK, like many books on nutrition/health, I skimmed more than read page-for-page, but I gleaned enough to have an appreciation for Pollan's thesis, which can be summed up in his seven word mantra:

Eat Food. Not too much. Mostly plants.

The main awakening I had reading this book was that any item with more than five ingredients isn't likely a good purchase. When bread - bread, for crying out loud - has over 40 ingredients, most of them unpronounceable chemicals, it's not the right loaf.

More arguments against high fructose corn syrup (though Coke continues to swear it's a natural, healthy alternative to sugar), more arguments for a vegetarian/vegan diet, and more arguments to eat mindfully.

At times too clinical for a non-dietitian, but I feel any reminder is a good reminder that most of what the grocery store sells is, well, sorta crappy. Farmer's Markets are lauded, and the middle aisles at your local Kroger are derided as chem labs rather than nutritional sources.

So, now I read the labels even more intently, making my grocery runs longer than usual, but I do feel better for having read "In Defense of Food" and am grateful for the forthright approach the author takes in laying out some pretty solid evidence that we, as a society, are making poor nutritional choices, and listening to 'Big Food' tell us we're going to be o.k. while doing so. ( )
  TommyHousworth | Feb 5, 2022 |
This was Michael Pollen’s first book about food and it’s wonderful. I should probably re-read it every year. Contains the sage advice: Eat food. Not too much. Mostly plants. ( )
  Matt_B | Jan 20, 2022 |
Eat food. Not too much. Mostly plants.

First line of the book, you can probably stop there if you are ready to follow that advice but if you need more convincing then this is a great read on the American diet and health.

When corn oil and chips and sugary breakfast cereals can all boast being good for your heart, health claims have become hopelessly corrupt. The American Heart Association currently bestows (for a fee) its heart-healthy seal of approval on Lucky Charms, Cocoa Puffs, and Trix cereals, Yoo-hoo lite chocolate drink, and Healthy Choice’s Premium Caramel Swirl Ice Cream Sandwich—this at a time when scientists are coming to recognize that dietary sugar probably plays a more important role in heart disease than dietary fat. Meanwhile, the genuinely heart-healthy whole foods in the produce section, lacking the financial and political clout of the packaged goods a few aisles over, are mute. But don’t take the silence of the yams as a sign that they have nothing valuable to say about health.

Be skeptical of manufacturers and more on point be skeptical of anything that your great grand parents didn't eat. ( )
  kevn57 | Dec 8, 2021 |
Showing 1-5 of 190 (next | show all)
no reviews | add a review

» Add other authors (5 possible)

Author nameRoleType of authorWork?Status
Michael Pollanprimary authorall editionscalculated
Brick, ScottNarratorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Vlek, RonaldTranslatorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
You must log in to edit Common Knowledge data.
For more help see the Common Knowledge help page.
Canonical title
Original title
Alternative titles
Original publication date
People/Characters
Important places
Important events
Related movies
Awards and honors
Epigraph
Dedication
For Ann and Gerry,
With gratitude for your loyal friendship
and inspired editing
First words
Eat food. Not too much. Mostly plants.
Quotations
…the "what to eat" question is somewhat more complicated for us than it is for, say, cows. Yet for most of human history, humans have navigated the question without expert advice. To guide us we had, instead, Culture, which, at least when it comes to food, is really just a fancy word for your mother.
Last words
(Click to show. Warning: May contain spoilers.)
Disambiguation notice
Publisher's editors
Blurbers
Original language
Canonical DDC/MDS
Canonical LCC
"Eat food. Not too much. Mostly plants." These simple words go to the heart of food journalist Pollan's thesis. Humans used to know how to eat well, he argues, but the balanced dietary lessons that were once passed down through generations have been confused and distorted by food industry marketers, nutritional scientists, and journalists. As a result, we face today a complex culinary landscape dense with bad advice and foods that are not "real." Indeed, plain old eating is being replaced by an obsession with nutrition that is, paradoxically, ruining our health, not to mention our meals. Pollan's advice is: "Don't eat anything that your great-great grandmother would not recognize as food." Looking at what science does and does not know about diet and health, he proposes a new way to think about what to eat, informed by ecology and tradition rather than by the nutrient-by-nutrient approach.--From publisher description.

No library descriptions found.

Book description
Challenges current approaches to healthy eating, arguing that the real food consumed by past generations is being replaced with commercialized, scientifically altered foods that offer no health benefits and may cause serious damage, and encourages people to change the way they eat and return to basic nutrition rules.
Haiku summary

Popular covers

Quick Links

Rating

Average: (4.01)
0.5
1 13
1.5 2
2 47
2.5 16
3 277
3.5 72
4 701
4.5 74
5 459

Is this you?

Become a LibraryThing Author.

Penguin Australia

An edition of this book was published by Penguin Australia.

» Publisher information page

 

About | Contact | Privacy/Terms | Help/FAQs | Blog | Store | APIs | TinyCat | Legacy Libraries | Early Reviewers | Common Knowledge | 179,988,175 books! | Top bar: Always visible