Friday, February 11, 2011

Food Rules

A while ago, I mentioned the book "Food Rules: An Eater's Manual," by Michael Pollan. A friend of mine recommended it on her blog, The Health Diary. I finished the book (it's super short and easy to read!) and have been TRYING to follow some of the "the rules" it suggests. I thought I would just share a few of them that have really made me think!

Food Rule #3
"Avoid food products containing ingredients that no ordinary human would keep in the pantry. (Ethoxylated diglycerides, cellulose, xanthan gum, calcium propionate, ammonium sulfate)"
I have been paying a lot more attention lately to the ingredient list on foods I buy, and you would be surprised at how many things have some pretty fishy sounding names. One thing Pollan stresses over and over in his book is that many of these preservatives and artificial flavors/colors are so new to our diets that there's no history to support whether they may or may not cause health problems after years of consumption.

Food Rule #4
"Avoid food products that contain high fructose corn syrup."
Pollan points out that HFCS is in so many foods that didn't traditionally contain sugar or sweeteners. HFCS is in many things these days that you wouldn't expect - bread, yogurt, cereal. And in general, foods containing HFCS are more processed, which isn't good. The closer a food is to it's original form, the better!

Food Rule #5
"Avoid foods that have some form of sugar (or sweetener) among the first three ingredients"
Pollan notes that sugar is sugar (whether in it's natural form or HFCS) and is only good in small doses. Ingredients are listed by concentration in the food, so whatever is listed first makes up the highest percentage of the food. The higher sugar is on the list, the more sugar it contains.

Oh, and my favorite rule so far.... (actually, I don't think it was officially a "rule" but it was mentioned in the book)

"There is no such thing as GOOD soda"

I have heard differing soda is better because it has fewer, wait - regular soda is better because it doesn't have artificial sweeteners. Bottom line, it doesn't really matter. They're both bad for you. And I have to say that ever since reading this book, I haven't had any soda. It's been about a month, and I don't really miss it!


  1. Good rules! I knew a few of them already, I would like to borrow the book sometime!

  2. I feel like I should read it too. Something about being a mother makes you a little more sensitive to what you and your family is consuming. Thanks for the book recommendation.