Is Eating Scientifically Good For You?

Author Michael Pollan, who wrote The Omnivore’s Dilemma, is making a case against what he calls “eating scientifically.”

Michael Pollan: There is so much biochemistry on display in the supermarket today, it’s kind of wild. I mean, where else in your life do you use so much biochemistry?

He’s talking about breakdown of foods into scientific terms — for example, antioxidants and omega-3 fatty acids. Terms like those have become common language In the U.S.

Michael Pollan: The question is whether looking at food through that scientific lens does you any good. And my sense is no — it doesn’t do you any good. That obsessing about nutrients, whether good or bad, does not lead to healthier eating or healthier people.

Pollan believes nutrition science doesn’t yet have the authority to guide us in our food choices.

Michael Pollan: It is a young science. They have not figured it out yet. They have not plumbed the depths of a carrot to figure out what makes a carrot a healthy food.

And he said that’s not necessary in order to eat healthfully.

Michael Pollan: People ate perfectly well and very healthfully and happily for thousands of years before they knew what an antioxidant was. We don’t need to know this to eat well. Let the scientists worry about the biochemistry — just keep your eye on the real food.