“Worrying so much about food can’t be very good for your health” Indeed. Orthorexia nervosa is an eating disorder not yet recognized by the DSM-IV, but some psychologists have recently suggested that it’s time it was. They’re seeing more and more patients suffering from “an unhealthy obsession with healthy eating.”
So this is what putting science, and scientism, in charge of the American diet has gotten us: anxiety and confusion about even the most basic questions of food and health, and a steadily diminishing ability to enjoy one of the great pleasures of life without guilt or neurosis…
The novel food products the industry designed according to the latest nutritionist specs certainly helped push real food off our plates. But the industry’s influence would not be nearly so great had the ideology of nutritionism not already undermined the influence of tradition and habit and common sense – and the transmitter of all those values, mom – on our eating.
Now, all this might be tolerable if eating by the light of nutritionism made us, if not happier, then at least healthier. That it has failed to do. Thirty years of nutritional advice have left us fatter, sicker, and more poorly nourished. Which is why we find ourselves in the predicament we do: in need of a whole new way to think about eating.
– Michael Pollan, In Defense of Food, pp. 80 – 81.