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Analysis Of Pollan & Maxfield’s Essay


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Analysis Of Pollan & Maxfield’s Essay “Escape From The Western Diet”

 Eating healthy has for a long time been a topic of discussion that brings about a lot of arguments about what really contributes to a healthy body.  A lot of nutritionists come along with a lot of definitions of eating healthy, others claiming that in organic or processed foods are not healthy while others advice otherwise. Others have the notion of taking less food in order to stay healthy while others say that it doesn’t matter with the amount of food but the quality of food one takes.  Similarly, Mary Maxfield and Michael pollan also have conflicting ideas on American’s healthy being.

Maxfield has a problem with the way that pollan has made people understanding about health to be based in culture. Maxfield claims that Pollan does not warn people against eating less food as he only tells people the disadvantages of eating much food.  Maxfield feels that there is no connection between health, diet and weight as Pollan presents it.  She also has a problem with the way Pollan points on processed food to be the biggest cause of American’s obesity which according to Pollan is a disease. I think that Mary Maxfield is right to when she challenges pollans for not telling people the disadvantage of eating less food and tend to disagree with her on the idea of processed foods.  According to David Kartz, healthy diet plays a big role when it comes to one’s health. Healthy diet includes vegetables fruits and whole grains. David also argues that one much choose the food that suits their body for their body to be healthy. The amount of food one takes does not really contribute to the healthiness of their body as max field argues out. This is because it also depends with the metabolic rate of one’s body.  The metabolic rate of a body uses the reverse rule which states that the bigger the body the lower the metabolic rate whiles the smaller the body the higher the metabolic rate (Butler & Patrick 2004). This means that it does not really matter on the amount of food but on what one takes.

 According to Mary, it’s not the processed foods that make the American’s obese leading to other chronic diseases such as heart disease, diabetes and cancer. I think this argument is abit misleading because according to David Kartz people should focus on the food they consume and not the nutrients as dietetics provide. He also supports Michael Pollan’s provision that people should take food but not much especially plants. David argues that when people focus on the food they take rather than the nutrients, they reduce the chances of being misled by the food industry who take advantage of the notion of nutrients. He goes further and says that most chronic diseases that people suffer from mostly result from obesity that is from processed foods.

Mary’s claims against Pollan’s claims are several. Some of them are well evidently supported while some are not.  The biggest claim that Mary is against is the cultural aspect of living or eating healthy. Pollan supports the cultural aspect of eating non processed food and deciding the good or bad food. He advocates that people should eat food especially plants. On the other hand   Mary claims that people should be allowed to take whatever food pleases them and that the notion of right and wrong food should not really exist. Mary is supported by Michelle Alison who argues that people will take whatever they want to take when they are given the opportunity to eat.  According to Mary’s last chapter, she says that if people can live without minding the cultural aspect of eating healthy, they can experience freedom of trusting themselves and eating what they want to meet their body’s needs.

However, some of the claims by Mary need some more support. The section that Mary tends to somehow really support the consumption of processed food. She argues that it doesn’t matter whether a person chooses French fries over salad and that all that matters is the freedom tat human beings should have from the cultural provision of healthy eating. Mary Maxfield in this section overlooks the effects of these processed or junk foods. She compares the French citizens to the Americans and argues her case on how French citizens eat unhealthy and still don’t get ill while Americans chronic illnesses are as a result of unhealthy eating. Se ought to have other researches support her argument for it to be persuasive enough.  Mary also disagrees with Michael on the idea that diet health and weight are Co related. She really doesn’t have a supportive background of why she disagrees. As earlier noted, her main idea was the freedom of people as long as choosing what they eat is concerned.

In conclusion, issues about healthy eating should be a personal decision. If a person wishes to live a healthy life free of body complications then it’s our obligation to seek for whatever foods that will make us healthy. Just like David Kartz argues, the more confused people become about the idea of healthy eating, the more there will develop more definitions of healthy eating. he ten points out that it’s a person’s responsibility to know what suits them to avoid being misled.


Butler, P. J., Green, J. A., Boyd, I. L., & Speakman, J. R. (2004). Measuring metabolic rate in the field: the pros and cons of the doubly labelled water and heart rate methods. Functional ecology18(2), 168-183.

Mary Maxfield’s “Food as Thought: Resisting the Moralization of Eating,”

Michael Pollan, “Escaping the Western Diet”

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