From an interview in the New York Times, Michael Pollan makes perfect common sense.
I think health should be a byproduct of eating well, for reasons that have nothing to do with health, such as cooking meals, eating together and eating real food. You’re going to be healthy, but that’s not the goal. The goal should just be eating well for pleasure, for community, and all the other reasons people eat. What I’m trying to do is to bring a man-from-Mars view to the American way of thinking about food. This is so second nature to us — food is either advancing your health or ruining your health. That’s a very limited way to think about food, and it’s a very limited way to think about health. The health of our bodies is tied to the health of the community and the health of the earth. Health is indivisible. That’s my covert message.
And a comment on the culture:
Americans are a people so obsessed with nutrition yet whose dietary health is so poor. That strikes me as a paradox. We worry more about nutritional health, and we see food in terms of health. Yet we’re the world champs in terms of obesity, diabetes, heart disease and the cancers linked to diet. I think it’s odd. It suggests that worrying about your dietary health is not necessarily good for your dietary health.
Med Journal Watch has an interesting article on the French Obesity Paradox (they eat more fat than Americans but for some reason are not). When students from Chicago and students from Paris were asked questions about how they decided when to stop eating, it seemed as though the Americans took their cues from external sources (when the television show was over, or they ran out of beverage) compared to the French who turned internally (when they felt full, or it no longer tasted good).