My Reading List
Monday, May 18, 2009
I finished Marion Nestle’s What to Eat: An Aisle-By-Aisle Guide to the Supermarket, which I really liked.
I also read Don’t Eat This Book by Morgan Spurlock, which loosely chronicles his Super Size Me experience, and which had the perverse effect of making me want to go to McDonald’s for a cheeseburger.
Right now, I’m reading Good Calories, Bad Calories by Gary Taubes, which is making me think a cheesburger might not be a bad idea.
I also read The 100% Natural, Purely Organic, Cholesterol-Free, Megavitamin, Low-Carbohydrate Nutrition Hoax, by Dr. Elizabeth M. Whelan and Dr. Frederick J. Stare, which was published in 1984 and which is interesting in combination with the Gary Taubes book, which talks about the history of the fat-is-bad hypothesis, which Taubes argues is more-or-less completely unscientific. [And yes I know I should try to re-write that sentence so it doesn’t have the word “which” in it four times but it’s late and I have other things to do so I’m just going to leave it.] The 100% Hoax book came out right around when the fat-is-bad “consensus” was achieved so it has some interesting counterpoints to today’s conventional wisdom about diet and health.
As an aside… I do think reading alternative viewpoints is good, but I have to say that Whelan and Stare lost me a bit with the discussion about pesticides and DDT. They offered a defense of DDT on the basis that it saved millions of lives that would otherwise have been lost to malaria and other mosquito-borne illnesses, which is a perfectly valid argument, however they did not mention even in passing the terrible environmental consequences of DDT, including the fact that entire bird populations were nearly wiped out by it. I’m okay with defending some aspects of DDT, but I really think you have to at least acknowledge the downside.
I should be done with all the reading in three or four years and ready to start with my next project.
I’m a pretty fast reader. Shouldn’t be more than a year.