What to Eat is a concise review of all the questions you might want to ask a trusted nutrition expert as you walk through the grocery store with her. Nestle’s approach is very practical and she does an excellent job of untangling issues of health claims, food industry marketing and moral or ethical issues. She takes a clear and non-judgmental approach on why you buy what you buy, giving you framework on how you might evaluate if it is worth the money and effort.
“Eat less, move more, eat lots of fruits and vegetables, and go easy on the junk foods” (pg.8) summarizes the 500 page book. Her explanation on why it is difficult in our society to put these principles into practice sheds light on the forces that are opposed to your personal health and give you strategies as an informed consumer to make better choices.
This book is amazingly relevant and useful to the challenges of modern nutrition. I particularly liked her refreshing focus on portion size and the importance of real food. Because of her position on real food, I was surprised to hear her neutral position on soy, which is mostly highly processed in this country, and her politically correct position on low fat and no fat foods, also highly processed. This book is written for otherwise healthy people who want to understand more about nutrition and staying healthy. This may explain her decidedly neutral position on the healing power of food. If you are looking for an understanding of how to make sense of each section of the grocery store in a very practical way, this is a great resource.
Marion Nestle is currently a nutrition professor and the Chair of the Department of Nutrition and Food Studies at New York University in New York City. She previously served as a nutrition policy adviser to the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services and was a member of the committees advising the Department of Agriculture and the Food and Drug Administration.