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What to Eat

4.03  ·  Rating details ·  5,412 Ratings  ·  453 Reviews
Since its publication in hardcover last year, Marion Nestle's What to Eat has become the definitive guide to making healthy and informed choices about food. Praised as "radiant with maxims to live by" in The New York Times Book Review and "accessible, reliable and comprehensive" in The Washington Post, What to Eat is an indispensable resource, packed with important informa ...more
Paperback, 624 pages
Published April 17th 2007 by North Point Press (first published 2006)
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Jul 26, 2007 rated it really liked it
Recommends it for: foodies, fans of Michael Pollan
Shelves: non-fiction, food
Marion Nestle is a nutritionist and professor. What to Eat is a nicely segmented book of nutrition advice. A lot of the heady political issues are ones I've read before in Fast Food Nation, The Omnivore's Dilemma and others. Nestle has simple overall advice: "eat less, move more, eat lots of fruits and vegetables, go easy on junk foods."
Some other neat bits I picked up from the book:
-avoid farm-raised fish.
-7 eggs a week is pretty much the max
-frozen vegetables are good
-homogenizing milk is a
Beth Ann
Jul 28, 2007 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: initiates into healthy eating
I must admit I didn't read all of this book. I tried to read all of it, but I gave up.

This book would be good for people who are starting their journey into healthy eating. Nestle basically walks readers through the supermarket aisle-by-aisle detailing her research on what the average consumer can expect to find.

I did learn some ancillary facts about food topics, but I already have read so much about good eating that there wasn't a lot new to me in this book. Plus, I patronize an alternative sup
Mar 10, 2012 rated it did not like it
Shelves: health-books
If a low-fat, high carb and low-calorie diet makes you feel good and helps you maintain a healthy weight and you just want to refine your regime a tiny bit, then this might be the book for you. It tells you about some of the benefits of eating organic and choosing healthier meats although it does also give terrible advice about taking vitamins and supplements.

If aiming for a low-fat, high carb and low-calorie diet makes you feel awful, hungry and ill - as it does for many of us - and has impeded
Jun 06, 2011 rated it did not like it
I tried. I really did. 150ish pages worth. Her politics were pretty clear when I opened the library edition and smelled the patchouli-tinged pages but I just held my breath and read on. I'm used to it.

Lots of numbers and studies. Most chapters ending in the same basic way. The information about this food is inconclusive at this time. Great. I mean, I'm glad she doesn't try to hide that the studies are mostly inconclusive but surely she can say it with fewer numbers and words.

The writing style
Jul 27, 2007 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
The mixture of common sense, logic, nutritional science, and hard data make WHAT TO EAT an eye-opening one time read as well as a handy reference volume. Even the introduction (an easily digestible 15 pages) serves as a wake-up call about the state of food choices in America and should be required reading for every consumer before taking another trip to the supermarket. I had quite a bit of fun with this book and found it to be more whimsical and interactive than I had expected. A number of para ...more
Jul 10, 2011 rated it it was amazing
Recommended to Bridget by: Sarah
Shelves: 2011
What to Eat is the antidote to Animal, Vegetable, Miracle. Where AVM screeched and keened about how eating certain foods makes us horrible people, What to Eat is an unemotional guide to making informed food choices. I would call this a crash course in nutrition, but 'crash' is not the best word to use. It is a robust, honest-to-goodness course in all things food, with its narrative structured according to the shelves and sections you'd find in a supermarket. When I picked up this book, I was at ...more
Mar 09, 2011 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: food-health
Loved this book. It's essentially a reference guide to shopping and eating that's been broken down by food category, so when I got it in the mail and saw how HUGE it is (600+ pages) I thought I'd just end up reading the chapters on food topics that interest me. I ended up reading the entire thing - even the sections on foods that I don't eat or care about (two chapters just about margarine?!?). Nestle is an academic and a nutritionist, but also (thankfully) a great writer. She writes intelligent ...more
Nov 04, 2007 rated it it was ok
I think that this was just the wrong kind of food book for me to read. I am more of a "live to eat" type person and this is definitely a "eat to live" kind of book. Each chapter in this book covers a different food: bottled water, seafood, baby food, etc and the author talks about the environmental and health benefits/drawbacks. I found the coverage spotty and the organization confusing - some information is repeated over and over while some stuff is never mentioned. For example - the chapter on ...more
Jun 11, 2007 rated it it was ok
Marion Nestle inadvertently falls victim to the same reductionist philosophy common in the food industries she criticizes. Michael Pollan calls this "nutritionism" and it's the idea that modern food scientists can reduce what is healthy to some sort of formula. Sorry folks, nutrition science has a long way to go. If you follow the actual scientific literature of nutrition science, you'll find meandering shiftlessness as one year a food or nutrient is bad and the next they find it has no effect o ...more
I read selected chapters of this book. There is quite a bit of good information in here. This is not a "food fad" book. Marion Nestle seems to be fairy traditional about what is good for you and what is bad for you (in other words, stay on a low fat diet, but I know there's been recent research on that topic that states otherwise). There is so much conflicting information about food out there in books and on the web. I've been trying to navigate my way around all of this information so I can mak ...more
Sep 11, 2008 rated it really liked it
Recommends it for: Anyone who cares about food
This book is awesome. What an excellent resource. Marion Nestle, a nutritionist, walks you through a supermarket, aisle by aisle. She talks about organics vs. nonorganics, farmed vs. wild seafood, hormones and antibiotics in meat, high fructose corn syrup, processed foods, etc. You name it- she covers it. Lots of really interesting info and I found it absolutely fascinating. Would love to read her older book "Food Politics" as well. It's long- over 500 pages- but a great reference guide.
Sarah Fournier
Aug 11, 2017 rated it it was amazing
While I've read many many books on nutrition over the years, none gave a comprehensive look at every food type (meats, dairy, prepared foods, fish, wheat, water, produce, eggs etc...) as this book. Focusing on each section of a grocery store, Marion Nestle, a nutritionist and writer, discusses issues concerning marketing, politics, our health and environment. I especially liked her opinions on the difference between farmed fish and wild fish, which I had not previous read in any book before, as ...more
Chad Warner
Jul 01, 2012 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Recommended to Chad by: Michael Pollan
Shelves: non-fiction, health
Nestle explains not only the nutritional science behind making healthy food choices, but also explores the economic, political, and environmental considerations. I was looking for nutritional advice, so I skimmed many pages that dealt with the other issues. However, I did find the information on food marketing interesting. Nestle summarizes the scientific research, presents several options, then makes recommendations. There are a few special topics at the end, including baby food, which I haven’ ...more
Sep 25, 2015 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
The author takes you on a tour of your local supermarket as she discusses many issues pertinent to the health and safety of food. This is not junk science, but rather a well-researched (50+ pages of footnotes) examination of a multitude of political, environmental, and health issues surrounding food. Prepare to be at the least surprised (and frankly I was astounded) at some of the information. For instance, one-third (!) of all vegetables eaten in the US are in 3 forms - french fries, potato chi ...more
Feb 08, 2008 rated it liked it
Recommends it for: the educated but occasionally baffled grocery shopper
Recommended to Sarah by: Lynne Baer
A down-to-earth, excellently researched look at your local supermarket, aisle by aisle, without any of the preaching you've come to expect from nutritionists. Sure, Nestle's got opinions, but they're the opinions of your grandmother who lives in New York and who wants you to eat, to enjoy what's on your plate to to give everything a taste before you turn up your nose.

And like your sensible grandmother, Nestle's concludes that real, minimally processed foods are better for you than most of what's
May 08, 2008 rated it it was ok
Recommends it for: everybody
Recommended to Lesandre by: friends on GoodReads
Talk about dense; I hung onto this one for over a month to get through it (and incurred some library fees)! It is on the dry side.

Very informative, though somewhat disheartening. Each chapter ended with "Not happy with this? Write to Congress."

As dense as the book is, I wish she hadn't glazed over stevia as a sugar alternative. She said she wouldn't use it, but didn't explain why; she never spoke of the politics of Big Sugar preventing stevia's share of a market (thus allowing it only to be mar
Jun 09, 2011 rated it it was amazing
It took me a while to get through this-- 524 pages of debate and studies on food, marketing, government, and supermarket tactics-- but it was SO fascinating. She tackles foods one by one, progressing in the order one encounters in a regular supermarket. She talks about the studies and debates about the food (example: eggs. healthy or not? is cage free important? what should laying hens eat? is is important to get eggs from flaxseed fed hens for the higher Omega-3 content? and so forth.) A lot of ...more
Feb 15, 2008 rated it it was ok
After reading this book, I had the pleasure of meeting Marion Nestle. The company I was working for at the time filmed her in a segment where she walked us through a NY grocery store and helped us figure out "What to Eat". I was disappointed at the selections she made - she was far too forgiving and didn't seem to adhere at all to the principles she outlined in her book. She had an opportunity to make an example out of this grocery store, but instead kept saying "they're doing the best they can. ...more
Oct 08, 2015 rated it it was ok
I wanted to like this book, as I do respect Marion Nestle's place in the modern food movement pushing back against some of the marketing and corporate interests -- but I couldn't. I felt that she was trying to be fair and thorough, but when faced with difficult or conflicting information, she did what most of us do -- fall back on pat answers and unconscious biases. For example, in her product comparisons, she never questions the 'saturated fat is evil' premise, and often uses it as a final deci ...more
May 16, 2012 rated it it was ok
I think that her heart is in the right place, and I agree with her political stance. However, I don't understand why Nestle continues to insist that a calorie is just a calorie when it pretty much flies in the face of modern science. I recommend why we get fat over this book. Marion needs to get with it and acknowledge the hormone factor in obesity
Oct 24, 2008 rated it really liked it
I have a tremendous amount of respect for Marion Nestle, and I think I'd like to own this book primarily because while it's jam-packed full of interesting, useful information, it's not the most engaging read. I think I'd like having this on the coffee table for casual perusing - rather than as a library book, where I was under time pressure to finish.
Russell Anderson
Jun 09, 2010 rated it it was ok
Everything important in this book could have fit on a brochure. As a brochure, it would have been fantastic. As a book, it was like building a sandcastle too close to the water - any postitives were immediately eroded by the fluff.
Feb 15, 2014 rated it it was ok
Nothing new, and several bits of bias that show a lack of research on certain topics. She says (save yourself all those pages): eat low fat dairy, plenty of fruits and vegetables, lean meats, and three slices of whole grain bread or whole grains per day. So not a real ground-breaking book.
Nov 22, 2007 rated it really liked it
There are so many things messed up about the food industry, I think I need to purchase this as a reference. I say this not to frighten, but more as a realization that food choices throughout my life will be laden with compromises, and it's better to be informed.
Aug 12, 2009 rated it it was ok
Boring, but informative. I guess that's always how it is.
Trudy Preston
Jan 09, 2018 rated it it was amazing
Definitely not an easy read (it's more of a textbook than anything else), this was nevertheless both an interesting and disturbing book. Nestle (no relation to the Swiss company and her name is actually pronounced "nes-sel") is a nutritionist and author who pulls no punches and thoroughly researched every aspect of the food industry. The subtitle of the book, "An Aisle-by-Aisle Guide to Savvy Food Choices and Good Eating," adequately explains what the book is all about. The disturbing part howev ...more
Sarah Vititoe
Jun 20, 2017 rated it it was amazing
Research and science based nutrition book in a world of fad diets and misinformed "health" tips. It's eye opening into the food industry and the politics and business behind what we eat. Extremely informative and a must read for anyone who wants to know what to eat to stay healthy. However, it does read like a long research paper as it is a type book, so I recommend reading small chunks over a long period of time. I can see it being overwhelming or borig if you try reading too much at once
Carolyn Harris
Jul 17, 2017 rated it liked it
Shelves: healthy-living
I found this book dull but informative regarding what goes on "behind the scenes" at the supermarket. The author examines the food industry and how food gets from farm to supermarket to table. Despite the title, the book isn't prescriptive beyond "eat lots of fruits and vegetables and go easy on the junk food" but instead presents a wide range of information to allow readers to make up their own minds about what to eat.
Still not sure

After reading this doorstop of a book I’m still not sure “What To Eat”. The book is structured as a trip through the grocery store. Each lengthy essay details the trouble with every single thing we eat. But there’s no resolution. No guidance on how to fix our broken system.
Ee Cheng Ooi
Nov 30, 2017 rated it liked it
Some of it was a bit of a slog through Endless Nutrition Facts but occasionally the author would be magnificently pointed about something, which made the book more enjoyable to read.

Overall view: interesting, but won't change my eating habits much. (Apart from fish. That shit is messed up.)
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Marion Nestle, Ph.D, M.P.H., is the Paulette Goddard Professor of Nutrition, Food Studies, and Public Health at New York University. She is also a professor of Sociology at NYU and a visiting professor of Nutritional Sciences at Cornell University.

Nestle received her BA from UC Berkeley, Phi Beta Kappa, after attending school there from 1954-1959. Her degrees include a Ph.D in molecular biology an
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“BASICS OF DIET AND HEALTH The basic principles of good diets are so simple that I can summarize them in just ten words: eat less, move more, eat lots of fruits and vegetables. For additional clarification, a five-word modifier helps: go easy on junk foods.” 2 likes
“You get a lot more calories for the price of hamburgers and french fries than you do for carrots, not least because the government subsidizes the production of corn and soybeans, the basis of cheap corn sweeteners and vegetable oil.” 0 likes
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