Michael Pollan, who wrote The Omnivore’s Dilemma, has written another book In Defense of Food. He talks about food to Amy Goodman in an absorbing interview that is titled, Michael Pollan: Don’t Eat Anything That Doesn’t Rot. Excerpts:
…Michael Pollan joined me for a wide-ranging conversation about nutrition, food science and the current American diet. I began by asking him why he feels he has to defend food.
Michael Pollan: Food’s under attack from two quarters. It’s under attack from the food industry, which is taking, you know, perfectly good whole foods and tricking them up into highly processed edible foodlike substances, and from nutritional science, which has over the years convinced us that we shouldn’t be paying attention to food, it’s really the nutrients that matter. And they’re trying to replace foods with antioxidants, you know, cholesterol, saturated fat, omega-3s, and that whole way of looking at food as a collection of nutrients, I think, is very destructive.
Goodman: Shouldn’t people be concerned, for example, about cholesterol?
Pollan: No. Cholesterol in the diet is actually only very mildly related to cholesterol in the blood. It was a — that was a scientific error, basically. We were sold a bill of goods that we should really worry about the cholesterol in our food, basically because cholesterol is one of the few things we could measure that was linked to heart disease, so there was this kind of obsessive focus on cholesterol. But, you know, the egg has been rehabilitated. You know, the egg is very high in cholesterol, and now we’re told it’s actually a perfectly good, healthy food. So there’s only a very tangential relationship between the cholesterol you eat and the cholesterol levels in your blood.