Tuesday, February 16, 2010

Nutritionism: nutrients over foods

Before eating my granola bar early in the morning, I check for the nutritional facts on the back of package. I analysed the small print for nutritional details, Iron (6% DV), vitamin A (3% DV), dietary fiber 2g (8% DV) and protein 4 grams, I think to myself so far so healthy. I continue reading, sugar is 11g and total fat is 6g divided between trans and saturated fats. I think to myself these are bad and I begin to reconsider if I should eat the bar.

This is how my brain has been programmed to function; I see certain nutrients as good and others as bad. According Michael Pollan’s book “In the Defence of Food” we are in the age of Nutritionism. The primary focus of the book is that the western diet is situated around consuming individual nutrients instead of whole foods and that the western diet is a key source for all western diseases.

The theory of Nutritionism suggests that the point of eating is to maintain bodily health. Pollan discusses that we are now eating scientifically in order to meet our biological necessities. Where as we use to for eat culture, pleasure or expressing our identity like we did historically. Pollan’s theory has change the thoughts of many.

“Nutritionism Defined” by Leisa on July 8, 2008 supports the idea that eating whole foods is more beneficial then eating by individual nutrients. Leisa discuss how she made the change from eating nutritional supplements to whole foods and now how her health has improved. However this anecdote evidence in the scientific world but it does imply that the individual supplements may not be the way to go.

I put the granola bar away and found myself an apple. I looked up and down the apple, there are no nutritional facts stamped on the apple. It doesn’t need to promote that it’s a health option. No its the food that nature intended us to eat. We have been eating and enjoying it for millions of years and it hasn’t made us chronically ill.