Wednesday, January 6, 2010

Michael Pollan on the Daily Show

The Daily Show With Jon StewartMon - Thurs 11p / 10c
Michael Pollan
Daily Show
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This is a fantastic short interview with Michael Pollan. The basis for the interview is his new book, Food Rules, but he mentions other great information, too.

Here are some highlights, although I recommend watching the clip.

"Americans are getting 20% of their calories from high fructose corn syrup."

"240 pounds of sugar a what we're eating."

"Right now the food industry creates patients for the health care industry."

"[The Farm Bill] subsidizes the least healthy foods at the supermarket."

"Eat food. Avoid edible food-like substances."

(More about the Farm Bill here and here)


Ken said...

I'm suspicious of Pollans figures on sugar consumption. They certainly caught my attention, but the math seems dodgy to me.

According to the USDA U.S. per capita caloric sweeteners estimated deliveries for domestic food and beverage use, by calendar year [Excel spreadsheet], American have been consuming about 140-150 lbs of sweeteners (sugar, honey, hfcs, etc) per year for the last decade, down to about 140 in 2008. I'm not sure where he gets 240 out of that.

The 20% of calories from HFCS seems off too. USDA says we've been doing 179 calories of HFCS per day, which is 20% of an 895 calorie diet. I'm having trouble finding solid figures on US caloric intake, but I'm guessing its more like 2000/day, which would make HFCS closer to 10%.

I want to know where he's getting his numbers from.

My Year Without said...

Ken-Thanks for writing. I have been trying to get exact figures for sugar consumption for the past year. I have asked various experts for a number but apparently there are so many variables influencing this "number" that it is hard for anyone to really know. This is why I was excited to hear Pollan throw out a number. I've read some of his work (not this new book, yet) and it seems he is excellent with providing references. His track record makes him a credible source, although I always appreciate knowing where numbers come from, as well.

I will look further into this matter (240 pounds AND 20% from HFCS) and try to get some information that backs it up.

Emma J said...

What a great site. I spent a year without sugar and it was an incredibly productive and happy (also healthy and significantly thinner) year.

Why did I let that go? I've been telling myself that as long as I avoid HFCS - that's the real issue. But - !

You inspire me to turn back to what I know works.

And thanks for dropping by my site. Your photos are beautiful!

Mary DeMuth said...

Just found your blog through a friend of a friend and LOVE it. I'm trying to kill sugar (but still can't resist dark chocolate!). Thanks for posting this video.

I'm currently reading Animal, Vegetable, Miracle by Barbara Kingsolver and really loving it.

will said...

I've always been skeptical of studies that give one asked me. Who paid for the study? I'd venture to say that the 'average American' has no idea how much sugar they consume. It's hidden everywhere!

They have Pollan's new book at Costco. I bought it before I saw the clip you posted. I'm glad I did.