Nutrition v Food

  • 28/02/08
  • Comments: 0

cheerios.pngWhat’s so bad about convenience food?, I asked Michael Pollan – his new book, “In Defense of Food: An Eater’s Manifesto,” has been the number one best-seller nationally for the last few weeks.

“I need to eat in a hurry,” I told him, “so I can rush back to checking my email. What I really need is food I can eat WHILE I’m checking my email.”

“Why don’t you just hook yourself up to an IV?” he replied. “You’re missing something. Eating should be a source of pleasure.” He said the stuff I had for lunch at my computer was not food, but rather something he called “edible food-like substances.”

He seemed to be talking about the breakfast bar I had recently consumed.

“It’s very hard to make money selling you oatmeal,” he said. “Go to the store, you can buy a pound of plain oats for 79 cents. That’s a lot of oats. The companies make money by making breakfast cereal out of the oats. Then they can charge you four or five bucks for a few pennies worth of oats.”

I realized he was talking about Cheerios. Breakfast cereal is inconvenient, I told him, because you have to sit down at a table, and pour milk into a bowl with the Cheerios, and then eat with a spoon.

“For people like you,” he said, “they invented breakfast bars.” I realized he was talking about my Honey Nut Cheerios Milk ‘n Cereal bars. “They have a layer of artificial milk going through the middle,” he explained, “so you can eat your bowl of cereal at the computer, or in the car – no bowl, no pouring milk, no spoon. Then they’re making ten or twenty dollars a pound for those oats.”

So it’s expensive, I said. I can afford a breakfast bar.

“The problem is that every step of additional processing makes the food less nutritious,” he replied. “So they add lots of nutrients back in to the processing so they can make health claims. But they only add what they know is missing. There are other things in whole grains that the scientists don’t know about. You’ll be missing out on that. But you’ll be up to date on your email.”

Then he said the “edible food-like substances” I ate for lunch at my desk were the products of something he called “the nutritional-industrial complex.”

That didn’t sound good. Read more at…