Yes, But Will It Wash Your Car?

October 10, 2008 at 11:22 pm | Posted in In Defense of Food | 2 Comments
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So, I’m continuing my long-ago post series about Michael Pollan’s book, “In Defense of Food.”  To catch you up, there are a bunch of eating “guidelines” in this book about how/what/what not to eat.  We’re still in the “what not to eat” section.  Here’s the next guideline.


There are two principles behind this idea. First, that any food able to make a health claim on the package is more likely to HAVE a package. And generally, packaged food isn’t as good for you as it’s “from scratch” counterpart. The other principle is that generally the foods with the most unpronounceable ingredients are the ones most likely to make health claims. The ones with (in my humble opinion) the most NON-food qualities.

For example, have you seen the recent series of corn syrup advertising? There has been a recent series of ads on TV with folks claiming that corn syrup is just as good for you as sugar. And they’ve got this website now proclaiming that corn syrup actually makes food BETTER (see the last bullet point on the link). I’m sorry. I just can’t believe that a non-natural product (one that isn’t a direct product of nature) is healthier.

Anyhow, so how does this apply to you and I, you ask? Well, I would say that unless your doctor has specifically mentioned to you that you should eat more of X … don’t. And that goes double for some of the crazy chemical concoctions we seem to have brewed up for the sake of “nutrition” lately. Some of the protein bars, shakes, and other “healthy” food on the grocery store menu has more non-food stuff in it than a candy bar. And personally, I’d rather eat a candy bar. 🙂

So that’s that. What do you think? Are health claims on a product a good thing, a bad thing, or are you indifferent to the whole concept? Leave me a comment!



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  1. I find it amuzing that the example would be corn syrup being better for you than sugar. Because frankly, sugar as we know it, isn’t good for us either.

  2. That’s so true. I am not a huge fan of sugar either, especially not the processed-white variety. However … given the option, I suppose I’ll pass on corn syrup.

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