In Defense of Food

Michael Pollan (author of The Omnivore’s Dilemma and In Defense of Food) makes the argument that the United States has a national eating disorder, and I have to agree. With overweight and obesity percentages higher in the U.S. than any other affluent country, we are constantly bombarded with diet information and recommendations. Everywhere we turn, a plethora of confusing diet information revolving around health can be seen in product advertising, the news, anywhere online (case in point, when I Google “healthy diet” the search engine provided me with 39,200,000 results in just .38 seconds), in weight loss books and cookbooks, social media, etc. We as a country no longer know what to believe is good for us or what a healthy diet actually entails.
A good example of this obsession surrounding healthy eating, can be observed on daytime television. For example, a good portion of the Dr. Oz show and his website are dedicated to nutrition and health. Dr. Oz adds to the confusion surrounding diet advice because in my opinion, he seems to be the one who is promoting and encouraging the next fad diet and or miracle supplement that will help make us thin or “healthier” or thinner. He usually only provides a tidbit of scientific data, that is not always backed by enough evidence to make the claims he makes, as evidenced by his recent court appearance. Working in a hospital setting for almost seven years, I’ve had many healthcare professionals and patients ask me questions about a diet supplement, cleanse or plan that they want to try or are currently using per recommendations of The Dr. Oz Show. To me this shows signs of confusion and need of clarification to whether or not these diets are valid healthy approaches.
Some good advice from Pollan: “Eat food. Not too much. Mostly plants.” When he’s referring to food, he means whole foods and ingredients such as fruits, vegetables, nuts, beans, meats and whole grains. By decreasing our intake of overly processed foods and consuming moderate portions of whole foods, our diet quality can only improve. His advice is simple and clear. Try not to over analyze it and that way you’ll be able to implement some positive changes more easily.

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