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A review of "What to Eat" by Marion Nestle

Marion Nestle is Paulette Goddard Professor in the Department of Nutrition, Food Studies, and Public Health. Nestle is also a Visiting Professor of Nutritional Sciences at Cornell and Professor of Sociology at NYU. She received both a Ph.D. in molecular biology as well as an M.P.H. in public health nutrition from the University of California, Berkeley. This article is a review of her 2006 book "What to Eat".

Beware of marketing

When one steps inside a grocery store, one is immediately confronted by the marketing of food producers that "markets items on the basis of profits alone." What readers must do, Nestle suggests in her book "What to Eat", is to look beyond the glossy surface to the substance beneath. This can be difficult. "The way food is situated in today's society discourages healthful food choices," writes Nestle. In fact, this is demonstrated by the "literal representation in our supermarkets, where food placement - dependent on 'slotting fees,' guaranteed advertising and other incentives -determines every purchase we make."

Read the label

Nestle recommends taking the time to read the labels of food before buying it and becoming educated about what the labels may be actually be saying. For example, "fruit concentrate" is actually, according the the U.S. Dietary Guidelines, a "euphemism for sugars." Try to pick items that have as few ingredients as possible. Also, if you cannot pronounce an ingredient, it is probably a good idea to avoid it.

"Eat less, move more, eat lots of fruits and vegetables, go easy on junk foods"

The words above are words to live by, writes Marion Nestle in her book "What to Eat." Nestle encourages people to eat seasonal foods rather than the food that appears year round in the supermarket, no matter what the season is. By the time that the fruits and vegetables reach the supermarket after their long journey, their nutritional value is already decreasing. If you wish to eat fruits and vegetables which are not in season, eat the ones that are frozen. However, make sure that frozen foods contain only the fruits and vegetables that you wish, and no other ingredients. Eat meat as a side dish rather than as a main. As Nestle writes, "[t]he meat industry's big public relations problem is that vegetarians are demonstrably healthier than meat eaters. If you do not eat beef, pork, lamb, or even chicken, your risk of heart disease and certain cancers is likely to be lower than that of the average meat-eating America [and the rest of the world]." Nestle's book is a valuable resource for those who wish to learn how to eat in a more nutritional diet. With her book, you will be able to navigate the grocery store and find what to truly eat.

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