I’ve heard it before, from both armchair nutritionists and random passers-by, a statement that truly makes me cringe, “If you can’t pronounce it, stay away from it”.
Now let’s boil it down to the fact that this statement is essentially stating “If I don’t understand it, I won’t eat it”. At least, that’s what I think most people are trying to say when convincing others to adopt their lifestyles.
What I hear when someone uses this line is “I won’t eat anything if it’s not phrased simplistically”.
Now before you jump thinking that’s a jab at this ‘nutrition philosophy’, I think the core concept has it’s merits. “Eat food” as Michael Pollan says. More on that later.
Let me show you why this phrase doesn’t make sense. Like, at all.
All natural kiwi, how many of those are you familiar with?
Surely a peach is a little simpler?
Not the pineapples!
This isn’t even fair.
Ok I give up. I don’t know 90% of these, and I’ve taken more chemistry then I’d care to remember.
If I wanted to take up this philosophy I would have to swear off just about every fruit, plant, animal, nut, seed, or vegetable I’ve ever eaten. Can we all agree this isn’t a merit-worthy rule of thumb?
There are many names for just about everything you come across in the world. Vitamin C/Ascorbic Acid, Vitamin B12/Cyanocobalamin. Saying you won’t eat it because you don’t understand it is merely limiting your diet to foods that don’t have fortification or have suppliers too lazy to identify which ingredients are actually in their foods.
Back to the “Eat food” philosophy. What Pollan meant by this was to emphasize foods that your great grandmother would recognize. I often use an Amish cookbook for dishes simply because they rely on very few ingredients. You can bake a cake with 5 ingredients, or use 7 in a box and 3 in your fridge.
I don’t know about you, but I’d much rather choose the one with fewer ingredients.
Be good to each other.
– Joshua Iufer, RD
Still not convinced? Here’s some More.