In Defence of Food – Michael Pollan


This documentary was filmed in 2015 by PBS and journalist Michael Pollan based on his book of the same name and is in much of its advice just as, if not more relevant today. In Defense of Food explores the question – What should I eat to be healthy?

Summarized in seven words, his advice: “Eat food (real food). Not too much. Mostly plants” is expanded upon with the explanation that the majority of the “food” in the Western Diet is processed or ultra-processed, deemed unworthy of the label “food” and renamed by Pollan as “edible food-like substances”, a view shared by Robert Lustig in his book Metabolical. Pollan explains that real food would be something that would be recognized by your great-grandmother, processed food being easy to recognise as processed with its garish packaging and dubious health claims such as Reduced Fat or Low Sodium.

wonder bread

His concept of ‘Nutritionism’ which he defines as nutrition ideology with ‘so-called food experts’ redefining food as a collection of nutrients important as they are, shouldn’t be a substitute for eating real food.

Pollan exposes how the processing of food removes naturally occurring nutrients and vitamins which are then returned to the finished product often with synthetic versions to ‘enrich’ it in an attempt to make an unhealthy processed product appear healthy.
He creatively sums up his views saying…
“If it came from a plant, eat it. If it was made in a plant, don’t.”.

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