After reading Michael Pollan’s ‘In Defence of Food’ recently, I read my copy of ‘Food Rules’ again to compare their relative merits.
‘Food Rules’ is by far the shorter of the two. Where ‘In Defence of Food’ goes into detail and gives you some of the supporting science, ‘Food Rules’ gives you Pollan’s conclusions.
Both provide the three categories of ‘eating algorithms’ that are summarised by the advice:
‘Eat food. Not too much. Mostly plants.’
In the introduction to ‘Food Rules’ Pollan briefly outlines the concept of ‘Nutritionism’ and discusses why food and nutrition are so difficult to study —he also gives the three facts on which scientists and researchers all agree:
Fact 1: Populations that eat the ‘western diet’ (a refined diet high in sugar, fat, additives and low in vegetables, fruit, fibre) suffer invariably from ‘western diseases’ (obesity, cardiovascular disease, type 2 diabetes and cancer)
Fact 2: Populations that eat traditional diets generally don’t suffer from the same diseases.
Fact 3: People who get off the ‘western diet’ improve their health — often quickly.
These three facts underpin the collected wisdom of Pollan’s ‘Food Rules’.
For me, ‘Food Rules’ is the better book. You get all the value without missing much at all. If anything, as Pollan’s writing becomes more concise it loses the slight preachy quality that sometimes rears its head in the longer book.
I have both the print and kindle version of ‘Food Rules’ — it’s a wonderful little book to have around the house.