Whole: Rethinking the Science of Nutrition by T. Colin Campbell and Howard Jacobson
Whole: Rethinking the Science of Nutrition is based on two simple premises:
- “First, nutrition is the master key to human health.
- Second, what most of us think of as proper nutrition–isn’t.”
Campbell show how nutrition researchers approach the science of nutrition with one of two biases. They are either reductionists who presume that everything can be understood if you understand all its component parts. Or wholists who postulate that the whole is greater than the sum of its parts.
Most nutrition research today, is done on a reductionist model. Studies that isolate a small specific nutrient or vitamin like Vitamin D. The research study is then created in an attempt to draw conclusions about its effects on overall health. The research does a terrific job on highlighting the strengths and weaknesses or benefits and dangers of that specific nutrient. Unfortunately this is often done by overlooking the bigger picture of how the information fits into an individuals overall health and wellness.
Campbell argues that nutrition can only be understood using by a wholist approach. The interactions of food and the human body are too complex to be rationally understood without acknowledgement of the whole organism.
I really appreciate his believe that scientist today have the tools to create and administer wholist nutrition research. And that over time they can and will change the research methods and that consumers will begin to demand more comprehensive research. The combination of these forces will ultimately change how our society thinks about health and nutrition. He writes that “the crucial shift in the way we think about our health will happen one person at a time. Eventually the policy will begin to change. Industry, deprived of the income produced by ill health and our ignorance, will follow.” I hope he’s right!
This is an important work that is simply written, easy to understand and even optimistic about that future. And is important for both professionals and laymen since it is clear and never condenses or preaches to the reader.