How should we eat?

Food author Mark Bittman writes about the 2015 Dietary Guidelines. He provides a good analysis of the recommendations that may be included in those guidelines (571 pages worth), and also offers this lament:


“No one wants to think about “eating” (or, even worse, “consuming”) cholesterol or saturated fat or sodium or “sweeteners.” We want to think about eating food.”


In a thought piece published in the New York Times, Bittman talks about the trajectory of the problem. Part of it is an institutional undervaluation of food as a social part of our lives. He writes:


“For years government agencies have all but ignored the value of real food, of cooking, of well-produced, actually natural — the word must mean something, after all — food as opposed to its components or its hyperprocessed substitutes, and of eating with friends and family in a relaxed manner.”


Bittman goes on to analyze the report, and he finds much that is worthy in it. Drinking water is a sound piece of advice, certainly, and recognizing that human and environmental health are inextricably linked represents true progress. Grouping “sugar-sweetened foods and beverages and refined grains” together is sound (all are highly processed). The recommendations also ease up on cholesterol and hold good news for coffee drinkers.

What Bittman also points out something else that is important:


“At the risk of sounding like a broken record, I think it would help if we had an overarching statement defining “food” and our rights regarding it, something like “All Americans have the right to nutritious, affordable, sustainable and fair food.” That would signal intent, and a recognition that although the science may never be entirely clear, people’s rights should trump industry’s “needs.””


A thoughtful read.

Related Posts:

Q&A with Mark Bittman