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Michael Pollan (born 1955) is an American journalist, author, and food activist. A 2006 New York Times review of his book, The Omnivore's Dilemma. described him as a "liberal foodie intellectual". He has also been accused of "promoting 'denialist' anti-GMO junk science" by Forbes as well as being duplicitous on his anti-GMO stance, appearing in anti-GMO documentaries and arguing against GMOs, yet when asked direct questions of their safety he usually agrees with the scientific consensus that they are safe, usually not in the same interview. His main argument against GMOs is that they do not really improve the regular diet but contribute to an already broken food industry, while they are just as bad to eat as anything else produced in excess.
In a 2007 essay he wrote for the New York Times, Pollan proffered his now famous simple line of nutritional advice: "Eat food. Not too much. Mostly plants." While this is seemingly simple advice, the rest of the article describes how nutrition is made more complicated than necessary in order to package "nutrients" as opposed to simply "food." Pollan sees an unhealthy influence over nutrition going back at least to the 1970s with cattle ranchers pressuring the government not to recommend consuming less meat. He says "nutritionism" is not a science, but an ideology over-emphasizing nutrients "out of context" of food. He criticizes fad diets and sugary cereals' claims regarding whole grains. There's quite a helping of appeal to nature, but he really doesn't mention organic food much, if at all. Mostly he says, "Eat more fruits and vegetables." (French fries and catsup don't count).
He was criticized by Daniel Engber in Slate for arguing that food is too complex a subject to study scientifically and blaming reductionism for today's health ills, while at the same time using nutritional research to justify his own diet advice. But in reading the article, Pollan does not say scientists should not study food. Rather, he is critical of much of the science performed — for example, studies based on asking people what they ate and how much — and perhaps more importantly, basing your decisions on what to eat (or what supplements to buy) on the latest headline news about the latest research.
- Kamp, David (April 23, 2006). "Deconstructing Dinner". New York Times. http://www.nytimes.com/2006/04/23/books/review/23kamp.html?_r=2&.
- Entine, Jon (August 24, 2013). "Michael Pollan Promotes 'Denialist' Anti-GMO Junk Science, Says He Manipulates New York Times' Editors". Forbes. http://www.forbes.com/sites/jonentine/2013/10/24/michael-pollan-promotes-denialist-anti-gmo-junk-science-brags-he-manipulates-new-york-times-editors/2/.
- The Omnivore's Dilemma
- Pollan, Michael (January 28, 2007). "Unhappy Meals". New York Times. http://www.nytimes.com/2007/01/28/magazine/28nutritionism.t.html?ei=5087&em=&en=ce28063f61d4a925&ex=1170219600&pagewanted=all&_r=0.