Marion Nestle
Professor of Nutrition, Food Studies, and Public Health, NYU
01:05

Thought for Food: Categories Matter, “Essential” Foods Don’t

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Certain foods often become trumped as dietary “must-haves,” but as the nutritionist warns, these claims are motivated by marketing, not health.

Marion Nestle

Marion Nestle is a consumer activist, nutritionist, and academic who specializes in the politics of food and dietary choice. Nestle received her BA, PhD, and MPH from the University of California, Berkeley. In 1988, Nestle was appointed Chair of New York University’s Steinhardt School of Nutrition, Food Studies, and Public Health. She held that position until 2004, when she became the Paulette Goddard Professor in the same department.

Nestle is the author of numerous books, including "Food Politics," which explored the way corporations influence our nutritional choices, and "What to Eat," an survey of how to navigate the modern American supermarket. Aside from her books and teaching, Nestle writes a popular blog for the Atlantic Food Channel. 

 

Transcript

QuestionAre there any specific foods you recommend for a healthy diet?

Marion Nestle: I don’t think about food that way. I think about food in categories. I think it’s important that we eat a balanced diet and that means lots of fruits and vegetables and whole grains. Everybody knows that diets that are based on those are associated with good health and then meat and dairy, if you eat meat and dairy products, you just want to eat a lot of different kinds of foods. I don’t think there’s any one food that anybody needs. I can’t think of a single food that – a single, single food, that is absolutely essential. If you look at human diets across the entire world, you see the diets vary enormously and dependent on what’s available locally. So, the whole business about, you need to eat this food or you shouldn’t eat that, that’s all about marketing. It’s not about health.


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