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Eating for the Environment: Interview with Michael Pollan

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When Healthy Eating Isn't Earth-Friendly

What do you think of the fish industry: mercury concerns, getting enough omega-3s, etc.?

The fish issue is complicated by concerns about mercury and sustainability. Fish is one area where the best choice for your health is not necessarily the best choice for the environment, because although we all need to be eating more fish (in part to get more omega-3s) there aren't enough fish in the seas for us to do it, which is tragic. Mercury is an issue in some fish, and these we should eat in moderation, but from what I've read, the benefits of omega-3s outweigh the risks of mercury. Also, there are lots of fish where mercury is not a problem. You're better off with the little oily ones rather than the big, top-of-the-food chain predators like tuna and swordfish.

Is there something about nutrition that you haven't discussed in a book or past interview and that would surprise us?

Perhaps it is the prevalence of hormones in milk -- even in organic milk and from cows not treated with hormones. We've been breeding for high yield, and in the process we selected for cows that produce high levels of growth hormones. This is a concern to many nutritionists. Skim milk avoids the problem, since the hormones are in the milk fat, but then, skim milk often has powdered milk in it, which some people worry contains too much oxidized cholesterol. So pick your poison. I didn't call it The Omnivore's Dilemma for nothing.

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