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Michael Pollan’s View of the Nutritional Effects of Western Food as Illustrated in His Writing, Escape From The Western Diet

In today’s era, healthy food can be difficult to find. What foods are good for us? Is Organic Food really worth buying? In his essay ‘’Escape from the western diet’’ Pollan argues about the nutrition of the western diet, that it is not healthy and can cause many illnesses including cancer and diabetes.

Pollan goes into his argument by talking about different theories of nutritionism including the neolipid theory, which states that a deviancy of omega 3 fatty acids can cause chronic diseases. This theory is important to back up his argument at the beginning, because it talks about nutrition and the science of it, rather than the foods as a whole. In the end of his article and as a whole he uses ethos. He uses a quote at the end to give the reader three rules on nutrition: ‘’eat food, not too much. Mostly plants ‘’ (Pollan 428). Pollan begins his argument by building credibility by using scientific facts and theories to help support is claim. By the middle and end, his credibility weakens by not having enough factual evidence to support his claim.

Pollan is writing to an audience that could use his piece of writing for research or as a reference material. The audience could be anyone that is affected by this issue. His primary

purpose is to inform westerners or Americans that the traditional western diet is filled with preservatives and fatty substances that are not healthy, and he encourages change for everyone to eat a healthier lifestyle. In his piece, Pollan uses a wide variety of persuasive strategies. The first strategy he uses would be ethos. In his piece he says that’’ People eating a western diet are more prone to chronic diseases that seldom strike people eating more traditional diets’’ (Pollan 421). I think this quote was effective because it talked about how he used his personal opinion and built trust from the reader. Another quote he uses to build trust with the reader is ‘’scientists can argue all they want about the biological mechanisms behind this phenomenon, but whichever it is, the solution to the problem would appear to remain very much the same: Stop eating a western diet’’ (Pollan 421). These are some examples the author uses to describe the rhetorical strategy.

The second strategy Pollan uses is Logos to get the reader some information and factual evidence to help back up his claim. One example he provides is, ‘’ Traditionally people have allocated a far greater proportion of their income to food- as they still do in several of the countries where people eat better than we do and as a consequence are healthier than we are?’’ (Pollan 426). Another example of logos he uses would be the scientific theories that he mentions in the beginning of the article. The first example from the article would be when he mentions about the neolipid hypothesis ‘’ The neolipid hypothesis cannot be reconciled with the carbohydrate hypothesis, and the theory that a deficiency of omega 3 fatty acids is chiefly to blame for chronic illnesses is at odds with the theory that refined carbohydrates has pushed important micronutrients out of the modern diet, the scientists who blame our health problems on deficiencies of these micronutrients are not the same scientists who see sugar soaked diet leading to metabolic syndrome and from there to diabetes, heart disease, and cancer’’(Pollan 421) . This was an important quote because it describes how a lack of certain omega 3s or proteins could result in serious diseases. Another quote he uses to describe logos would be ‘’Food consists of not just in piles of chemicals; it also comprises a set of social and ecological relationships, reaching back to the land and outward to other people’’ (Pollan 425). This quote is important because it explains how now a day’s food is processed with unhealthy chemicals and preservatives, and if you want to change your diet make sure to stay away from those processed foods.

In this Article Pollan used two Rhetorical Strategies to get his claim and point across to the reader. However, one was a little more effective in getting his point across compared to the other one. In this article he uses Logos first to bring the reader in and tell them real scientific facts and data how the food in today’s culture is not what it used to be. More and more preservatives are added to foods every day that we consume on a daily basis. We learned from this article that a lack of omega 3s and preservatives can cause many chronic diseases. He then used Ethos as a way to get his personal opinion about the matter out and how the western diet can be not healthy for you. I believe he was more effective using the Logos method to get his point across, because many people who would read this would rather hear the facts about this issue. Why are these foods not healthy? I think if the reader doesn’t hear the facts about the issue, they may want to keep on eating that way and believe that it’s good for them. The end of the article showed that he wasn’t strong with convincing the reader by using ethos. Many readers may not think he is trustworthy enough to talk about this issue.

These are some examples and textual evidence on how the author Michael Pollan convinced the reader that the western diet is not so healthy for you after all. His argument began very strong in the beginning of the piece but weakened with a lack of factual information.

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