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"Food Rules" Makes Eating Well Simple
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Bestselling journalism professor Michael Pollan’s concise new guide provides simple, traditional, science-affirmed rules for food shopping and enjoyment
by Craig Weatherby

Although he circled the subject in The Botany of Desire, Michael Pollan became America’s leading voice on food matters with The Omnivore’s Dilemma
the big bestseller in which he roamed the country to explore America’s diverse food subcultures.

The nature of his journey was alluded to in the book’s subtitle, “A Natural History of Four Meals.”

His exploration of four distinctly different meals led him to strongly favor a shift away from big agribusinesses and their processed foods to smaller, self-sustainable farms and their generally whole, natural, traditional foods.

Lately, he’s shifted his focus more to the nutrition/health side of the food beat, starting with In Defense of Food
about the many advantages of whole foods over processed fareand now with Food Rules: An Eater’s Manual, which features common sense and evidence-based tips for healthy eating.

And his message is making it to the mainstream. Last week, Oprah Winfrey featured Pollan, who was on her TV show to talk about Food Rules and the compelling documentary Food, Inc., in which he appears (See “Oprah Boosts Factory Farm Foes”).

In Food Rules, Pollan distills years of research into an easy-to-digest guide to shopping and eating in ways that promote optimal health

The book won’t be welcomed by big agribusinesses, many of whose products he rightly describes as promoters of obesity, diabetes, dementia, and a host of degenerative health problems.

Rather than provide our own review, we refer you to one by Jane Brody, the doyen of American nutrition/health writers

Brody covered Food Rules on Monday, February 1, in her New York Times column titled “Rules Worth Following, for Everyone’s Sake.”

She offers this high praise, and some of Pollan’s key tips (Brody J 2010):
  • “In the more than four decades that I have been reading and writing about the findings of nutritional science, I have come across nothing more intelligent, sensible and simple to follow…”
  • “…you can do yourself and your family no better service than to invest $11 and one hour to whip through the 139 pages of “Food Rules” and adapt its guidance to your shopping and eating habits.”
For our reports on some of the effective eating habits Michael Pollan explores in Food Rules, see “Slow Eating May Prevent Weight Gain,” “Portion Control for Weight Control: Size Perceptions Called Key,” and “French and American Eating Habits Affect Weight Gain.”

And to learn about foods that seem to help folks' health efforts, search our news archive.

  • Brody J. Rules Worth Following, for Everyone’s Sake. The New York Times, February 2, 2010. Accessed at

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