Pollan, Michael. “Escape from the Western Diet” In Defense of Food: An Eater’s Manifesto,
Penguin Press, 2008, pp. 434-430.
In Michael Pollan’s article, “Escape from the Western Diet,” his main idea is to convince people to stop eating the Western diet. He starts out saying that nutrition science can find out problems in the Western diet but it should not dictate the way you eat. Furthermore, there are many conflicting views in this science.
Whatever one group of scientists believe in, another group has contradicting ideas. Pollan believes there is a lot more religion in science than one might expect. However, he provides a solution. He states that you don’t have to follow one specific scientific belief to figure out how to eat better.
People eating a Western diet are more prone to chronic diseases than people enjoying a traditional diet. The author believes the apparent solution to this is to stop eating the Western diet. The unhealthiness of this diet is contributed to by the food industry. By further processing foods, companies do not have to change what products they sell. But, processed foods are part of the problem. Michael Pollan also says that the medical community is not doing anything to change the diet. They are just researching on new medications to treat diseases caused by the Western diet. This only profits the healthcare industry and does not address the root cause of the problem. Pollan suggests that the only way to avoid these chronic diseases is to go on a more traditional diet. However, transitioning to a more traditional diet is becoming harder to do. For example, many whole foods have been processed and “industrialized”. Despite this, Pollan has a solution. He believes people should invest more time, effort, and resources on food. In the end, we are given three rules that he claims will help us to “Escape the Western Diet”, which include “Eat Food. Not too much. Mostly plants.”
In Pollan’s 2008 essay excerpted from In Defense of Food: An Eater’s Manifesto, his purpose is to warn people about the dangers of the Western diet through his use of commands and fragments, clear evidence, and parallelism. By using commands and fragments, Pollan can drive in a point he wants to make. An example of this is seen on the bottom of page 435. He commands, “Stop eating a Western diet.” An example of him using fragments is when he says, “Eat food. Not too much. Mostly plants.” Here he is giving the solution to replacing the Western diet. Through the use of clear evidence, Pollan makes his argument convincing and persuasive. He uses clear evidence supporting his claim that the industrial processes have invaded many whole foods. He also uses clear evidence while supporting the claim that the western diet is bad for you.
Finally, parallelism helps Pollan write in a clear manner making it easy for readers to understand. He uses parallelism on page 436, where he talks about how the Western diet fuels the healthcare industry. He says, “New theories… new treatments… and new diets”. This makes the evidence very clear and easily understandable.
Overall I believe the author does a good job in “Escape from the Western Diet”. Michael Pollan clearly gets his point across, stop eating a Western diet. He makes his point by using multiple scientific theories as evidence. He was very successful in addressing the targeted audience and achieved his purpose. I believe the text is still current and very much applies to our lives. Eating a healthier diet is still something you hear people talk about all the time. Overall the information provided in Michael Pollan’s article seems to be credible. I looked around and his evidence is reliable and accurate. The only thing he doesn’t address is an opposing argument. Pollan does not give an opposing argument and defend his claims against that. Nevertheless, Michael Pollan does a solid job in his essay. If I had an upcoming essay about this topic, I would definitely use Pollan’s article.