Ask Leah! The Ingles Dietitian

Sponsored: Should I eat like my great-grandmother?

ingles dietitianQuestion: What do you think of trying to “eat the way my great-grandmother ate”?

Answer: I call brief messages about food or nutrition that sound good or look good in print “soundbite nutrition”.

In June of 2006 Michael Pollan wrote an article in Time Magazine, "Six Rules for Eating Wisely" and cautioned, "Don’t eat anything your great-great-great grandmother wouldn’t recognize as food." By January 2007 (a mere six month later) in a New York Times Magazine article entitled "Unhappy Meals" ( Pollan had revised that a generation and advised "Eat Food: ..... Don’t eat anything your great-great-grandmother wouldn’t recognize as food."

By April of 2008 Mr. Pollan gave an interview to NPR ( and had again dropped a generation and was now advising, "... If your great-grandmother wouldn't recognize it as food, then neither should you" .

Just think about all of the foods that those women never saw that many now eat on a regular basis... edamame, mango, kiwi, papaya, bananas…. Read about my interview with seniors aged 71-95 years old ( and you’ll learn that for many citrus fruit was a rare treat and most didn’t have freezers. 

So before you embrace a simplistic nutrition message stop and think about it for a few minutes!


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Leah McGrath, RDN, LDN

Ingles Markets Corporate Dietitian



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