Author of the week
For a prominent public nutrition watchdog, Marion Nestle is surprisingly easygoing about her rules for eating, said Alex Beggs in BonAppetit.com. The author of Food Politics has a new book, Unsavory Truth, that details how the food industry has created confusion around what should be one of the simpler parts of life. Her advice? “Don’t eat too much. Make sure you have vegetables, and don’t eat too much junk food. I mean, really, that’s all there is to it.” Nestle herself usually doesn’t eat anything until 11 a.m., happily ignoring innumerable messages about breakfast being the most important meal of the day. “Most of the research on why breakfast matters is done by breakfast cereal companies—big surprise!” she says. Similarly, she doesn’t favor so-called superfoods, because she’s discovered that the claims for them typically derive from studies funded by the foods’ producers. “It’s marketing research, not science,” she says.
Nestle considers the fake science easy to spot, said Lorin Fries in Forbes.com. “If it’s too good to be true, it probably is,” she says. “One of my favorites is, ‘Everything you ever thought you knew about nutrition is wrong.’ It’s just not how science works.” So the study that found pomegranates treat heart disease? Or the study that found chocolate milk reduces football concussions? Or the one that essentially absolved sugar of any blame for childhood obesity? You can guess which industries funded the first two, and the third was heavily backed by Coca-Cola. If you’re like Nestle, you ignore all the noise and keep trusting your gut. “Food is wonderful,” she says. “So be skeptical…and then go enjoy your dinner.” ■
November 9, 2018 THE WEEK