What happens when you eat an apple? The answer is vastly more complex than you imagine.
Every apple contains thousands of antioxidants whose names, beyond a few like vitamin C, are unfamiliar to us, and each of these powerful chemicals has the potential to play an important role in supporting our health. They impact thousands upon thousands of metabolic reactions inside the human body. But calculating the specific influence of each of these chemicals isn’t nearly sufficient to explain the effect of the apple as a whole. Because almost every chemical can affect every other chemical, there is an almost infinite number of possible biological consequences.
And that’s just from an apple.
Nutritional science, long stuck in a reductionist mindset, is at the cusp of a revolution. The traditional “gold standard” of nutrition research has been to study one chemical at a time in an attempt to determine its particular impact on the human body. These sorts of studies are helpful to food companies trying to prove there is a chemical in milk or pre-packaged dinners that is “good” for us, but they provide little insight into the complexity of what actually happens in our bodies or how those chemicals contribute to our health.
In The China Study, T. Colin Campbell (alongside his son, Thomas M. Campbell) revolutionized the way we think about our food with the evidence that a whole food, plant-based diet is the healthiest way to eat. Now, in Whole, he explains the science behind that evidence, the ways our current scientific paradigm ignores the fascinating complexity of the human body, and why, if we have such overwhelming evidence that everything we think we know about nutrition is wrong, our eating habits haven’t changed.
The idea of eating whole food is not novel. Also, the idea of determining the role of individual nutrients is not wrong. However, we lost sight of the former by concentrating on the latter; the nutrient of the month: omega 3, vitamin D or C or K or E, anti-oxidants, fiber or probiotics. Food company marketing mis-used the info of nutritional science to promote there often dubious food products as good for you by adding some currently popular nutrient.
If Dr. Campbell's book can help us focus on wholes foods and not just individual nutrients, he has done a great service. The only problem is that food companies can't make a nutrient rich food as good as nature can. Let's see what food industry can do with the whole food idea.
Well. They could put it in real pretty packaging ... I'd be okay with that.
You ever notice how they put carrots in that bag with orange stripes to make them look oranger than they really are?
I was duped by the brown stripes on a bag of potatoes too!
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