Michael Pollan’s “In Defense of Food” is Problematic

Michael Pollan’s “In Defense of Food” is problematic.  He identifies key food issues we face today and their causes.  This is important, but his supposed ‘solutions’ are subpar at best.

He pushes for individualized effort, but just like many other issues we face currently, the issue of food has become systemic, so individual efforts will have little to no effect.  As soon as policies, or misinformed policies I should say, were put into place, this became a much greater issue.

Addressing the problems of the Western Diet is not a burden that should be placed solely on individuals for a variety of reasons.

First, the only way to address a systemic issue is through systemic action.  There is no way an individual (through their own personal actions) can undo all of the ‘imitation foods’ passing for normal, or the marketing of foods with altered fat content, nutrient content, you name it.  This, and everything else perpetuating the Western Diet, will not change without creating policies that stop the exponential growth of said diet.

Second, many individuals don’t have food options, therefore are unable to make any sort of change to their personal choices even if they want to.  This may become increasingly true due to the widening of the income gap.  I remember once upon a time when my family was solely dependent on the food offered at food banks.  We couldn’t afford to be picky, just as many others can’t.  And often times the cheapest foods are very closely intertwined with the Western Diet.

These are just two reasons why placing full responsibility for change on individuals is not a viable option when addressing the monstrosity of the Western Diet.

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