A New Look at Nutrition

When did food cease to be a sustaining, nurturing, and integral part of the rhythm of our lives—and become science? When did a meal cease to be pleasurable, satisfying, and relationship-enhancing, and instead become a time of calorie-anxiety, micro-nutritional assessments, and the leading edge of moral judgments and dietary-regimen critiques?

Michael Pollan, journalist and author of The Omnivore's Dilemma: A Natural History of Four Meals and In Defense of Food: An Eaters Manifesto, takes up this issue in an interview with Amy Goodman on the radio program "Democracy Now."1 He argues that the fundamental assumptions people make about nutritionism negatively impact society's health and well being. 



The prevalent assumptions he specifically refutes include the following:

  1. Food is the basic carrier for nutrients to enter our body
  2. Since we, as nonprofessionals, do not recognize or taste specific nutrients in the food we eat, experts are needed to help ensure proper nutrition consumption
  3. Nutrients within foods can be measured and evaluated to understand the exact effects they have on an individual or an individual's condition
  4. Food consumption is solely for health advancement or improvement

He concludes that "since we've been looking at food this way, our health has gotten worse and worse."  As our country plunges headfirst into a global twenty-first century world, we are clearly engaged in reexamining, redefining, and reclaiming eating, food, and sustenance in very unique and innovatively sustainable ways.  

Do Not Forget the Nutrition Basics
Do you ever feel like you can't keep up with the changes in technology? Sometimes it seems that way with dietary advice, as if things are always changing. While it's true that the fields of diet and nutrition are areas of evolving research, there are some basic concepts you can keep in mind. By knowing these basics, you will be better equipped to sort through nutrition research and dietary advice.

Clicking on any of the "Basics" below will take you to the Centers for Disease Control's (CDC) website, where you can find thorough and engaging information for each.2

food groups
dietary fats
vitamins and minerals


1 Democracy Now, "In Defense of Food: Author, Journalist Michael Pollan on Nutrition, Food Science and the American Diet," February 13, 2008, (accessed April 3, 2009).
2 Images owned by CDC.gov. CDC.gov is your online source for credible health information and is the official website of the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC).

Kaplan Higher Education Corporation is a division of Kaplan, Inc., a subsidiary of The Washington Post Company.

another brian hill design