03 June 2011

Oh, Yeah, I See What You Did There

By now I am sure everyone has seen the new USDA food guide "Choose My Plate."  I am very interested in how this announcement develops since I am currently reading Marion Nestle's  Food Politics and she spends a lot of time discussing how presenting nutrition information is really hard.  So many special interest groups have their fingers in the pie that nutrition experts are often censored in what they can, or can't, say about any given food.  The words "eat less" are basically verboten and going after the big guys like meat, dairy and soda is a one way path to career suicide.   I think that the new representation of what to eat does a nice job of showing what actual research indicates is a good diet while politely skirting the issue that animal products should be in moderation while plant products should be the bulk of the diet.  I just wonder how long it will take for the authors of "The Zone Diet" to file a lawsuit.

As for the book Food Politics itself, it is a pretty interesting tome.  While much of what I have read to date is not surprising, or even news, the supporting facts and figures help to illustrate the finer points of how the food industry works to control what we eat.  My only caveat about the book would be that for someone who claims to be telling everyone what the science says versus what the popular thought says, Nestle is awfully quick to jump on the bandwagon that obesity causes endless deaths and health care expenditures per year.  Like many people in the field she thinks that just because poor diet and inactivity leads to certain conditions and that obesity is often a co-morbid condition with poor diet and inactivity, that you can just draw the overly simplified conclusion that bad diet makes you fat and being fat makes you sick.  It is really more like a chicken foot diagram and less like a connect the dots exercise.  Just saying.

Otherwise a very enlightening read and I am certainly reading it at the perfect time to fully appreciate the new food guidelines.