Thursday, April 28, 2011

What to Eat by Marion Nestle

You may wonder how I read this 500 page book in two days. I just followed Nestle’s own instructions to read the chapters that interested me and to skim the rest. Contrary to the title, this is not a book that gives you advice. In fact, the book’s theme can be summed up in this one sentence from the final chapter:

Food choices are not all that complicated – you need to eat less, move more, eat lots of fruit and vegetables, and go easy on the junk food. But to do this you will have to recognize, and then deal with, the hidden ways in which food companies promote the opposite.

Every chapter of this book is devoted to a major food group such as yogurt, bread, milk, fish, vitamins, etc. Nestle explains how the food industry has blinded most consumers to the true nutritional value of these items. Much of what is labeled “healthy” is in fact candy with vitamins added. This was quite an eye-opening book. I appreciated Nestle for not being alarmist, while at the same time crediting me with the intelligence to make better choices after learning how many foods have been hyped up by marketing experts.

Get it from your local library. It’s very educational, but it isn’t anything you need to read more than once.

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