March 14, 2008

You Ask, I Answer: Michael Pollan

In Michael Pollan's new book, he states that [its aim] is to help us reclaim our health and our happiness.

Writing about the term nutritionism, he states: "Since nutrients, as compared with foods, are invisible and therefore slightly mysterious, it falls to the scientists to explain the hidden reality of foods to us. In form this is a quasi-religious idea, suggesting the visible world is not the one that really matters, which implies the need for a priesthood. For to enter a world where your dietary salvation depends on unseen nutrients, you need plenty of expert help."

[So what about] the recent effort here in California to require that nutrition information be posted on the order boards at fast food restaurants in an effort to improve public health?

Such information would seem to fall under what Pollan calls "nutritionism" as it directs people to focus on nutrients rather than food, thus not being good for the public's health or happiness.

What do you make of these statements? Shall we reject efforts to let everyone know just how many calories are packed into those juicy burgers and crispy fries as Pollan is advocating?"

-- Joshua K.

I have yet to read
In Defense of Food, and would prefer to do so before forming opinions or conjecturing what it is Mr. Pollan is advocating.

However, I have invited Mr. Pollan to personally respond to your question.

I actually e-mailed him last August, asking him to participate (via e-mail) in this blog's "Speaking With..." section whenever he could spare a free moment.

Unfortunately, his assistant notified me that Mr. Pollan was unable to do so due to other commitments.

Let's cross our fingers and see what happens this time around.

If I hear from him, I will certainly share his response in this very space. Stay tuned!

No comments: