the case in defense of food is not in defense of people

Throughout Michael Pollan’s book, In Defense of Food, Pollan presents a case in defense of food as he attempts to defend food from nutrition science and the food industry. He makes the claim that professional advice about what people should consume has resulted in the population becoming less healthy, and even goes as a far as to argue that the food most commonly consumed today in western culture is not actually food at all. Furthermore, Pollan argues that as the United States is entering the postindustrial era for food, it is now possible for individuals to get away from the harmful western diet. However, as he provided a path for people of socioeconomic privilege to get away from the harmful western diet, the book failed to create a feasible method for those of lower socioeconomic status to do the same, and thus reinforced the notion that a healthy diet is increasingly attainable for only the upper class.

While Pollan acknowledged that a healthy diet can be a reflection of economic privilege, he provided advice throughout his book that catered to those of that same privilege. The book advised that one should be the type of person who takes supplements, not because supplements are necessarily proven to work, but because the people who take the pills are better educated and more affluent. It is apparent that education is a privilege, and not easily attainable by all. This piece of guidance is accessible only to the financially privileged.

Pollan redefined food as substance that is highly unattainable for the majority and simultaneously presented his path for a healthier lifestyle as if it could be attainable for people. This new definition of food reveals that Pollan implicitly considers “people” to be those solely of enough privilege to follow the guidelines he set out.

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