Books I Want My Kids to Read Someday: “Food Rules” by Michael Pollan

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You’ve probably already noticed that these days, figuring out what to eat isn’t a simple matter. Opinions are all over the place. Unlike most diet books, Food Rules: An Eater’s Manual by Michael Pollan is objective—maybe the most objective, balanced diet book out there. Pollan is not a nutritionist, but a journalist seeking the answer to a seemingly simple question, namely: “What should I eat?” You’ll never sound gullible quoting from a book by Pollan.

Key Takeaways

Pollan offers sixty-four succinctly and divinely worded food truisms, including “Eat only foods that eventually will rot” and “It’s not food if it’s called by the same name in every language. (Think Big Mac, Cheetos, or Pringles.)”

Says Pollan: “There have been, and can be, healthy high-fat and healthy low-fat diets, but they have always been diets built around whole foods.”

And: “I learned that in fact science knows a lot less about nutrition than you would expect—that in fact nutrition science is, to put it charitably, a very young science … Nutrition science … is today approximately where surgery was in the year 1650—very promising, and very interesting to watch, but are you ready to let them operate? I think I’ll wait a while.”

A wide variety of traditional diets are healthy; the modern diet is not. “What this suggests is that there is no single ideal human diet but that the human omnivore is exquisitely adapted to a wide range of different foods and a variety of different diets.”

The book’s bottom line is this: “Eat food. Not too much. Mostly plants.”

About the Author

Michael Pollan is an American author, journalist, and professor of journalism at the University of California, Berkeley. He is best known for his work on the intersection of food, agriculture, and culture, and has written several highly acclaimed books on these topics. Pollan is a strong advocate for sustainable agriculture and the importance of knowing where our food comes from. He has been named one of Time magazine’s 100 most influential people in the world and has won numerous awards for his writing, including the James Beard Award and the John Burroughs Medal. Pollan’s books, including “The Omnivore’s Dilemma” and “In Defense of Food,” have had a significant impact on the way we think about food and the environment.


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