In Defense of Food
Join best-selling author Michael Pollan on a fascinating journey to answer the question: What should I eat to be healthy? Cutting through confusion and busting myths and misconceptions, In Defense of Food shows how common sense and old-fashioned wisdom can help us rediscover the pleasures of eating and avoid the chronic diseases so often associated with the modern diet.
Pollan’s journey of discovery takes him from the plains of Tanzania, where one of the world’s last remaining tribes of hunter-gatherers still eats the way our ancestors did, to Loma Linda, California, where a group of Seventh Day Adventist vegetarians live longer than almost anyone else on earth, and eventually to Paris, where the French diet, rooted in culture and tradition, proves surprisingly healthy. Along the way he shows how a combination of faulty nutrition science and deceptive marketing practices have encouraged us to replace real food with scientifically engineered “food-like substances.” And he explains why the solution to our dietary woes is in fact remarkably simple: Eat Food. Not Too Much. Mostly Plants.
Pollan argues that many of our troubles stem from thinking about foods in terms of the nutrients that are in them – a tendency fueled by the food industry’s practice of making health claims on their products based on which nutrients they’ve added (for instance vitamins, fiber or Omega 3s) or taken away (most famously fat). But science shows that a wide variety of diets can be healthy, provided they consist of the kind of whole foods our species has evolved to eat, which include all the nutrients we need.
The film examines everything from the latest science about Omega 3s and 6s to what we’re learning about the biochemical roots of our craving for sugar-and how too much sugar can overwhelm our ability to process it. It looks at why nutritional guidelines that advised reducing fat in our diet had the unintended consequence of increasing obesity-as well as what the latest studies show about the benefits of a plant-based diet and the role of the trillions of bacteria in our gut – an emerging new field of nutrition science that is changing the way scientists think about food and health. And it reveals how hidden environmental cues influence not only how much we eat but also what we eat.
Based on this research, In Defense of Food offers viewers simple, practical advice throughout the program about how to eat healthier, such as “Don’t eat anything your great-grandmother wouldn’t recognize as food,” “Eat only foods that will eventually rot” and “Treat meat as a flavoring or special occasion food.” It’s indispensable viewing for anyone interested in the relationship between food and health.
April 27, 2017 – We’re delighted to announce that In Defense of Food is now available worldwide on Netflix. Please tell your friends!
July 25, 2016 — In Defense of Food has been nominated for an Emmy for Outstanding Informational Programming: Long Form!
July 20, 2016 — In Defense of Food has been nominated for a Jackson Hole Science Media Award in the health and medicine category.
October 1, 2015 — In Defense of Food premiered to a sold-out house! A Q&A with director Michael Schwarz followed.
March 8, 2013 — The National Science Foundation has awarded a major production grant in support of In Defense of Food.