Michael Pollan, The American genius

This month Michael Pollan, now succeeding Francis Moore Lappé as the most prolific and influential public intellectual teacher, writer and speaker in the USA on the web of topics that include the environment, agriculture, food, industry, society and nutrition, publishes his new book Cooked: A Natural History of Transformation.

To public health and nutrition professionals Michael Pollan is best known as an advocate of radical and provocative views on food, nutrition and health, succinctly expressed throughout In Defense of Food (2008) and in Food Rules (2010). He disagrees with and indeed denounces the basic tenets of modern nutrition science, and also rejects conventional dietary guidelines in favour of a whole food approach. He has done this energetically and forcefully while retaining and even gaining support and sympathy from many – not all! – public health nutrition professionals. Four are currently active nutrition professors: Ricardo Uauy from Santiago, Chile, Marion Nestle from New York City, USA, Barry Popkin from the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill, USA, and Carlos Monteiro from the University of São Paulo, Brazil. They praise him in their contributions here – Barry Popkin with reservations. So does Joan Dye Gussow from New York, USA, also a professor for many years, and the matriarch of thought and action on nutrition in its full meaning of personal, social and environmental physical, mental, emotional and spiritual nourishment.

Read what they have to say about Michael Pollan here.