How do we decide what foods to eat? In recent years, this simple question has become complicated beyond belief—as supermarkets have grown to warehouse size, and as the old advice to eat foods from four food groups has been overrun by questions about organic foods, hormones, pesticides, carbohydrates, trans fats, omega-3s, supplements, health claims, extreme diets, and, above all, obesity.
Fortunately, Marion Nestle is here to tell us what’s what—to give us the facts we need to make sensible choices from the bewildering array of foods available to us. With What to Eat, this renowned nutritionist takes us on a guided tour of the supermarket, explaining the issues with verve and wit as well as a scientist’s expertise and a food lover’s experience.
Today’s supermarket is ground zero for the food industry, a place where the giants of agribusiness compete for sales with profits—not nutrition or health—in mind. Nestle walks us through the supermarket, section by section: produce, dairy, meat, fish, packaged foods, breads, juices, bottled waters, and more. Along
the way, she untangles the issues, decodes the labels, clarifies the health claims, and debunks the sales hype. She tells us how to make sensible choices based on freshness, taste, nutrition, health, effects on the environment, and, of course, price. With Nestle as our guide, we learn what it takes to make wise food choices
and are inspired to act with confidence on that knowledge.
What to Eat is the guide to healthy eating today: comprehensive, provocative, revealing, rich in common sense, informative, and a pleasure to read. Marion Nestle received a Lifetime Achievement Award from the James Beard Foundation—the food world's highest honor—as well as the foundation's book prize. She is the author of Food Politics and Safe Food, and was featured in the documentary Super Size Me. A native of New York, she raised her family in California and now lives in Greenwich Village, where she teaches at New York University. How should you decide what foods to eat? As supermarkets have grown to warehouse size, this simple question has become complicated beyond belief. Fortunately, Marion Nestle—renowned for her sage advice on food and nutrition—is here to cut through the confusion and lay out what you need to know. In What to Eat, she takes us on a guided tour of the American supermarket and shows us exactly how to feed ourselves and our families wisely and well.
With sharp humor, expertise, and a food-lover's delight, Nestle guides us through the supermarket sections—produce, dairy, meat, fish, breads, and juices, and then to the "center aisles," where big profits are made. Along the way, she reveals the big food companies' marketing practices, explains complex labels in clear language, and tells us what we need to know about:
· wild and farm-raised
· frozen and fresh
· organic, natural, and conventional
· carbs, omega-3s, and trans fats
· pesticides and the environment
· portion size, labeling, and nutrition claims
· supplements, additives, and preservatives
· food safety "The industry wants you to believe there are no good foods or bad foods. Well, that's not true. And I can't think of anyone who knows the difference better than Marion Nestle."— Eric Schlosser, author of Fast Food Nation "Not only is What to Eat the most comprehensive guide to the political and nutritional choices we make shopping for food, but it's also full of up-to-date research on health."— Susan Salter Reynolds, Los Angeles Times Book Review "With this comprehensive guide, Nestle, a nutritionist, makes the weekly trip to the grocery less daunting and a healthy diet more attainable."— Science News "Part muckraking journalism, part reference book and part consumer guide, What to Eat is organized in the manner suggested by the subtitle: as a walk down each grocery store aisle with a companionable Ph. D. researcher as the guide. It is a simple, yet effective, concept for organizing what otherwise could have become a mind-numbing amount of information."— Steve Weinberg, St. Louis Post-Dispatch "When it comes to the increasingly treacherous landscape of the American supermarket, with its marketing hype and competing health claims, Marion Nestle is an absolutely indispensable guide: knowledgeable, eminently sane—and wonderful company, too.”— Michael Pollan, author of The Botany of Desire
"The industry wants you to believe there are no good foods or bad foods. Well, that's not true. And I can't think of anyone who knows the difference better than Marion Nestle."— Eric Schlosser, author of Fast Food Nation
"According to nutritionist Nestle, the increasing confusion among the general public about what to eat comes from two sources: experts who fail to create a holistic view by isolating food components and health issues, and a food industry that markets items on the basis of profits alone. She suggests that, often, research findings are deliberately obscure to placate special interests. Nestle says that simple, common-sense guidelines available decades ago still hold true: consume fewer calories, exercise more, eat more fruits and vegetables and, for today's consumers, less junk food. The key to eating well, Nestle advises, is to learn to navigate through the aisles (and thousands of items) in large supermarkets. To that end, she gives readers a virtual tour, highlighting the main concerns of each food group, including baby, health and prepared foods, and supplements. Nestle's prose is informative and entertaining; she takes on the role of detective, searching for clues to the puzzle of healthy and satisfying nutrition. Her intelligent and reassuring approach will likely make readers venture more confidently through the jungle of today's super-sized stores."— Publishers Weekly
How do we choose what to eat? Buffeted by health claims--should we, for example, restrict our intake of carbs or fats or both? Is organic food better for us?--we become confused and tune out. In supermarkets we buy semi-consciously, unaware that our choices are carefully orchestrated by sophisticated marketing strategies concerned only with the bottom line. That we should confront such persuasion is the major point made by nutritionist-consumer advocate Marion Nestle in her extraordinary What to Eat
, an aisle-by-aisle guide to supermarket buying and thus an anatomy of American food business. "The way food is situated in today's society discourages healthful food choices," Nestle tells us, a fact that finds literal representation in our supermarkets, where food placement--dependant on "slotting fees," guaranteed advertising and other incentives--determines every purchase we make.
Nestle walks readers through every supermarket section--produce, meat, fish, dairy, packaged foods, bottled waters, and more--decoding labels and clarifying nutritional and other claims (in supermarket-speak, for example, "fresh" means most likely to spoil first, not recently picked or prepared), and in so doing explores issues like the effects of food production on our environment, the way pricing works, and additives and their effect on nutrition.
What Nestle reveals is both discouraging and empowering. Through ubiquitous advertising, almost universal food availability, the growth of portion size, and unchecked marketing to kids, we’re encouraged to eat more than we need, with consequent negative impact on our health. Knowledge is indeed power, and Nestle's lively, witty, and thoroughly enlightening book--the work, readers quickly see, of a food lover intent on increasing sensual satisfaction at table as well as promoting health--will help its readers become completely cognizant about food shopping. It's a must for anyone who eats and buys food and wants to do both better. --Arthur Boehm