When the information is coming from a celebrity foodie and someone who has made a career out of studying how humans eat, maybe we should at least take a look at it.
I came across an article on Julie's Health Club about a new rating system a grocery store chain in Illinois will be implementing. It's a 100 point scale that will tell the consumer how healthy that item is. This is all fine and good, but the good part was at the bottom of the page. The author included a list of recommendations from Michael Pollan's new book, In Defense of Food. The list makes sense and is humorous, so it's easy to follow and sticks with you (at least in my opinion).
We all have to make our own food choices. I'm not saying "follow this list or else." Nor am I saying that it is the last word in deciding what you should eat. I am only suggesting that it's worth consideration, and it makes sense to me. Michael Pollan's list is after the jump.
- DON'T EAT ANYTHING YOUR GREAT-GRANDMOTHER WOULDN'T RECOGNIZE AS FOOD.
No Go-Gurt Portable Yogurt tubes. (She wouldn't be able to identify high-fructose corn syrup, modified corn starch, kosher gelatin, carrageenan, tricalcium phosphate, natural and artificial flavors, etc.) No "protein waters," "nondairy creamers" or foods that never grow stale.
- AVOID FOOD PRODUCTS CONTAINING INGREDIENTS THAT ARE A) UNFAMILIAR, B) UNPRONOUNCABLE, C) MORE THAN FIVE IN NUMBER, OR THAT INCLUDE D) HIGH-FRUCTOSE CORN SYRUP. Pollan's example: Sara Lee's Soft & Smooth Whole Grain White Bread, which fails every test proposed by this rule. "If not for the indulgence of the Food and Drug Administration, (it) could not even be labeled "bread," he wrote.
- AVOID PRODUCTS THAT MAKE HEALTH CLAIMS.
If a food has a health claim, it probably has a package and that means it's very likely processed. Moreover, the FDA's "qualified" health claims" are all but meaningless.
- SHOP THE PERIPHERIES OF THE SUPERMARKET AND STAY OUT OF THE MIDDLE.
"Processed foods products dominate the center aisles of the store while the cases of ostensibly fresh food--dairy, produce, meat and fish--line the walls," Pollan wrote. Be careful though, because high-fructose corn syrup lurks in the dairy case.
- GET OUT OF THE SUPERMARKET WHENEVER POSSIBLE.
"You won't find any high-fructose corn syrup at the farmer's market. Also look into CSA (community supported agriculture), in which you can subscribe to a farm and receive a box of produce.)"