Book Review: What are You Really Eating?

Figure 1A: The work, What Are You Really Eating? (photo courtesy of www.amazon.co.uk)

Figure 1A: The work, What Are You Really Eating? (photo courtesy of http://www.amazon.co.uk)

It was some 9 years ago that I obtained Amanda Ursell’s What Are You Really Eating? How to Become Label Savvy, and when I did I realised I had a gem in my hands. It not only was put together by the UK’s leading nutritionist, but it had plenty of sources. Unlike the Muslim Food Guide (which I encountered in AD 1996, and declared things not agreed upon by Consensus to be impermissible as impermissible and gave no real broken down ingredient lists and nutrient compounds), Ursell’s effort really fills a need.

The reader is shown how to read labels, what they mean, what serving sizes entail and a quick and simple way to know the Latin prefixes and suffixes on long words referring to compounds and properties in foods. I think one of the useful things that is shown is Ursell’s explanation that glucose, sucrose and fructose are all sugar so one has to then look not only for the word ‘sugar,’ but these other three as well.

The author, Amanda Ursell (photo courtesy of http://www.amandaursell.com)

She also gives an informative and balanced explanation of how food conglomerates market their products to children and what actions a responsible parent can take. Misleading words such as “fresh” and “organic” are also defined and you as a reader might be surprised that these words are not intended in most instances according to their linguistic meaning; rather, a more technical meaning that is agreed upon in the food industry is being utilised.

A book sporting 209 pages (excluding the really gritty appendices section) is an easy reference guide and also good for a quick read. Technical language is broken down easily and can be referred back to again and again. This is worth the buy and the time invested to read it.

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