After visiting my doctor and discovering that I have very high levels of cholesterol, I asked him what kind of diet I should be on and he said I should probably just read this book.
This book is an excellent read (listen) that really appeals to logic and common sense. I think Pollan unpacks and often unravels the history and mythologies built into nutrition science and the modern diet in a well researched, well thought out way. I was particularly surprised at some of the massively important decisions made in America's past (like the development of the Food Pyramid) based on rather insubstantial studies and a large amount of commercial lobbying.
If anything I believe this is an important book just for really pointing out how new and underdeveloped the science of nutrition is and how we should all be very wary of headlines such as "New Study reveals XYZ". In fact, I think it's an important lesson in how science itself works and definitely points out some of it's limitations. Not that science itself is flawed, but that it takes time, research, new tools, new minds, new discoveries until it really gets at the heart of the phenomenon being studied. I think this book highlights the dangers of taking new and underdeveloped science and applying it to public policy.
The book itself does seem a little repetitive, and the reader while good, can sound a bit dry (probably more to do with the subject matter). This is generally why I rate it a 4 instead of a 5.
As for the cholesterol issue, I still am left at the end of this book wondering if it's even something I should be worried about? Is it the cause or just and indicator of possible heart disease...or is it pretty much unrelated? Is it fat or carbs or some combination of those and other nutrients that cause it? Regardless, I think this book has pushed me to embrace a new diet in which perhaps it really doesn't matter what the facts end up being because (in addition to good exercise of course) eating what we've essentially evolved to eat should basically let me live as we evolved to live. Pretty simple concept indeed.
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