Monday, January 29, 2007

For the Nutritionists out there (that includes me)

I have been trying to stay "fit" (read: not bloated and unhealthy) for the last couple of years and since I am either unable and/or not motivated enough to work out, the next best thing is to watch out what I eat. I obsess over things I eat and make sure I don't eat a lot of carbs, a lot of trans fats etc.

You know the end result. The food has stopped being fun and has become a sort of medicine. Is the milk I am about to have is 1% or 2%? Is that Ice Cream non-fat? Is that Coke diet? - these are the sort of questions I keep asking myself.

So, when I saw this NYTimes article by Michael Pollan, it made me stand up and think. Why? Well, here are some excerpts:

The first thing to understand about nutritionism — I first encountered the term in the work of an Australian sociologist of science named Gyorgy Scrinis — is that it is not quite the same as nutrition. As the “ism” suggests, it is not a scientific subject but an ideology. Ideologies are ways of organizing large swaths of life and experience under a set of shared but unexamined assumptions. This quality makes an ideology particularly hard to see, at least while it’s exerting its hold on your culture. A reigning ideology is a little like the weather, all pervasive and virtually inescapable. Still, we can try.

In the case of nutritionism, the widely shared but unexamined assumption is that the key to understanding food is indeed the nutrient. From this basic premise flow several others. Since nutrients, as compared with foods, are invisible and therefore slightly mysterious, it falls to the scientists (and to the journalists through whom the scientists speak) to explain the hidden reality of foods to us. To enter a world in which you dine on unseen nutrients, you need lots of expert help.

It's a long but a very interesting article. Sure made me take things differently.

No comments:

Post a Comment