Wednesday, September 10, 2008

Three rather new interesting books about food and eating

In Defense of Food by Michael Pollan (2008)

Real Food - What to eat and why by Nina Planck (2006)


Good Calories, Bad Calories by Gary Taubes (2007)

These books are to be found at about 613.2 in the Dewey Decimal system in a library.

Update: I also now found another book at 363.8 (food business)

It is The End of Food by Paul Roberts (2008)

The book by Gary Taubes is about double the length of the other two. The authors of the other two books have also written other boooks on the same or similiar topics but Taubes has not.

They all basically are a little bit on the same theme. The food we are encouraged to eat by the experts, and the food that is most readily available or maybe often eaten, and the food theories that are officially promoted - are wrong, or badly conceived, and they go into great detail.

One book even says that some of the theory the author might give contradicts itself , but it still adds up to the same thing.

For some reason at least of the books (I think) seem to trae the start of the problem to the 1980s when in reality it was much earlier. But they note that we originally did not have a wrong theory about carbohydrates before 1950 or 1960.

The point of one of the books is that we are now trying to think of food as made up only of its constituent parts, but this is wromng (especially since there are nutrients that never got counted or discovered or at leasts never got any publicity) I don't remember what exactly is in each book, and there are other sources to draw on, but there is one thing here I would like to mention taht in part comes from ideas in these books.

There are two - maybe three - maybe four - different things that are wrong with most breads.

The thing we hear most about is that you do not get the whole grain, and so are losing nutrients. This is actually the least important thing and is not the thing that might cause weight gain and diabetes etc. and is not really mentioned in these books.

The other problems are:

1) Wheat is now more finely milled - into smaller pieces. This is actually a bad thing, one book says, because it means the body digests it faster and the result is too much glucose gets into the bloodstream too fast. (as some would say, it has a higher glycemic index)

People did this because this flour was more white, and kept longer. Rats and mice don't like to eat it so much. We shouldn't either.

2) In general, if you need to make one simple generalization, eating grains (which are seeds) is not so good. We are eating too many seeds and not enough of other parts of a plant. Most parts of a plant contain more Omega 3 fatty acids relative to Omega 6 than do seeds, which have a lot more Omega 6. It may very well be that is not the amount of Omega 3 or Omega 6 that you eat that matters, but the ratio between them.

(It occurs to me that seeds are thing taht sometimes are considered kitniyos and there is a lot you can discuss about that - it is mostly custom and history as to what is kitniyos and what is not, but there are some very important real distinctions between something that can become chometz and something that cannot and might only be kitniyos)

Note: This post is actually by Shmuel Finkelman. In fact almost all of this has been by me. There is no way to allow more tahn one user with this software, apparently.

1 comment:

jenifer said...
This comment has been removed by the author.