Dying to Eat: Health, Heresy and Hysteria
This book examines our oft emotional relationship with food; the way science has been used and misused by those who govern, provide advice to the public, or try to sell food; and why we tend to believe the statements about healthy eating that we wish were true, rather than those which are true. The book discusses and challenges how the science and knowledge of food, health and nutrition are derived; why knowledge can appear valid even when it is not; how the misleading use of descriptors of risk has been responsible for the strangest ideas about eating in the history of humankind, perverted our approach to the role of food in our lives, and engendered hysterical attitudes; and why public health policy is subject to the whims of activists and lobbyists, and how it becomes dogma that is highly resistant to change despite new evidence. The role of the media and how, and why, science is “modified” and sometimes “falsified”, and why how, not just what, we eat may be crucial are also examined. The book also explores those foods that come ready loaded with poisonous compounds and carcinogens. The conclusions presented here are firmly based upon an extensive bibliography, and a detailed and trustworthy re-examination of key pieces of research that have been influential in setting the present food agenda. The text is set within an historical context dating back to the 16th century, and illustrates how it is that we have always known what we must eat and do to be healthy.
The book is written in an approachable and engaging style for all readers regardless of pre-existing scientific knowledge. It is intended for all who have an interest in their food and health, and for students of the food, nutrition, medical, and social sciences.
Michael David Trevan is Emeritus Dean of the Faculty of Agricultural and Food Sciences, and recently retired Professor of Food Science, at the University of Manitoba, Canada. He holds a PhD in Biochemistry from the University of London, UK, and is a Fellow of the Royal Society of Biology and the Royal Society of Medicine. He has spent 45 years working in universities in the UK and Canada, researching and teaching clinical biochemistry, plant biochemistry, and food science and nutrition. He has published over 100 research papers, books and book chapters, and presented papers at numerous conferences and seminars. His first book, Immobilized Enzymes: An Introduction and Applications in Biotechnology, published in 1981, was translated into more than eight different languages. It became the principal recommended undergraduate text for students across the entire Soviet Union.
"If we fail to learn from history, we will repeat it. Our love for food is not different. Dr. Trevan challenges all of us to feed our curiosity and learn from food history…an extraordinary and priceless story for anybody interested in what they eat!"
Lone Jespersen PhD
"The book is a refreshing, up close glimpse at national/international developments that have shaped our current thinking about the healthfulness of foods. The crowning achievements are the insightful evaluations of simple and complex experimental undertakings and the author’s measured assessment of food and health policy initiatives with their impact on what we should (not) eat to remain/become healthy. This is a book for the serious food science/nutrition student as well as those interested in better understanding the interface between science and policy development."
Richard Holley, PhD Distinguished Professor Emeritus of Food Science, University of Manitoba
"Professor Michael Trevan is a master narrator – he is one of the best scientific story tellers. This thought-provoking book will initiate debate and enthuse minds young and old for years to come."
Anil de Sequeira, PhD, FIFST, FHEA Bath Spa University
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