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Vitamania: How Vitamins Revolutionized the…
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Vitamania: How Vitamins Revolutionized the Way We Think About Food (vuoden 2016 painos)

Tekijä: Catherine Price (Tekijä)

JäseniäKirja-arvostelujaSuosituimmuussijaKeskimääräinen arvioKeskustelut
928290,160 (4.58)-
"The startling story of America's devotion to vitamins-and how it keeps us from good health. Health-conscious Americans seek out vitamins any way they can, whether in a morning glass of orange juice, a piece of vitamin-enriched bread, or a daily multivitamin. We believe that vitamins are always beneficial and that the more we can get, the better-and yet despite this familiarity, few of us could explain what vitamins actually are. Instead, we outsource our questions to experts and interpret "vitamin" as shorthand for "health." What we don't realize-and what Vitamania reveals-is that the experts themselves are surprisingly short on answers. Yes, we need vitamins; without them, we would die. Yet despite a century of scientific research (the word "vitamin" was coined only in 1912), there is little consensus around even the simplest of questions, whether it's exactly how much we each require or what these thirteen dietary chemicals actually do. The one thing that experts do agree upon is that the best way to get our nutrients is in the foods that naturally contain them, which have countless chemicals beyond vitamins that may be beneficial. But thanks to our love of processed foods (whose natural vitamins and other chemicals have often been removed or destroyed), this is exactly what most of us are not doing. Instead, we allow marketers to use the addition of synthetic vitamins to blind us to what else in food we might be missing, leading us to accept as healthy products that we might (and should) otherwise reject. Grounded in history-but firmly oriented toward the future-Vitamania reveals the surprising story of how our embrace of vitamins led to today's Wild West of dietary supplements and investigates the complicated psychological relationship we've developed with these thirteen mysterious chemicals. In so doing, Vitamania both demolishes many of our society's most cherished myths about nutrition and challenges us to reevaluate our own beliefs. Impressively researched, counterintuitive, and engaging, Vitamania won't just change the way you think about vitamins. It will change the way you think about food. "--… (lisätietoja)
Jäsen:obdurateesther
Teoksen nimi:Vitamania: How Vitamins Revolutionized the Way We Think About Food
Kirjailijat:Catherine Price (Tekijä)
Info:Penguin Books (2016), Edition: Reprint, 336 pages
Kokoelmat:Oma kirjasto, Aion lukea
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Vitamania: How Vitamins Revolutionized the Way We Think About Food (tekijä: Catherine Price)

  1. 00
    Gulp: Adventures on the Alimentary Canal (tekijä: Mary Roach) (themulhern)
    themulhern: Catherine Price is like a slightly more serious Mary Roach.
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Näyttää 1-5 (yhteensä 6) (seuraava | näytä kaikki)
I didn't expect to learn much from this book -- vitamins are pretty much my day job. I (think) I know every biochemical reaction relevant to human metabolism that requires a vitamin or mineral cofactor. If someone has been prescribed vitamins to actually help them, rather than act as a placebo, it's a pretty high chance that it was prescribed by me or one of my colleagues. So, vitamins, I know them. And like most people who actually understand vitamin biochemistry, I also have a deep skeptical place in my heart for the use of vitamins as pseudoscience. So much so that during my pregnancy, I took pure folic acid rather than a prenatal multi-vitamin.

But Vitaminia was fun anyway. Price spends a lot of time focusing on the history of nutritionalism: how we understood that food was made of of molecules, identified what they were and realized that they were necessary. The experiments along the way to prove that. Price also explores food and vitamin safety regulations over the years, and the absence of supplement safety regulation in the modern era. I found this a fun and fast read. ( )
  settingshadow | Aug 19, 2023 |
First impression: The snake oil salesmen are winning. There is nothing that requires so-called food supplements to be safe. I don’t care if they are effective. What is important to me is that they contain what they claim to contain, are unadulterated, and safe. Our infatuation with vitamins has led to a lot of other products slipping in under the vitamin label.

Concluding impression: There is an awful lot that we don’t know about nutrition. Therefore, it is safest to eat a wide variety of foods in as close to their natural state as possible, with green and leafy vegetables being important. We don’t know enough to create a synthetic diet that can sustain life for an extended period. Early attempts to do that failed. In a visit to the US Military, she learned that MRE are only authorized for use up to 21 days.

An example from the past of the outlandish marketing claims: "By [1937], the ads had included claims that yeast and its accompanying vitamins would prevent tooth decay; tone and strengthen your intestinal muscles; prevent pimples, “furry tongue,", and colds; cure "Fallen stomach"; improve your breath; cure depression; reduce headaches and fatigue; give you “pep"; eliminate crying spells; help your digestion; clear poisons from your system; raise your skin's "self disinfecting power"; sharpen your intellect; and prevent you from becoming fat." (Page 74-75) Nowadays the claims are a little less blatant, but unsubstantiated, exaggerated claims continue.

After many pages about night blindness research in Indonesia: “… nutritional work suggests that vitamin A is more directly related to resistance to infection than any other food factor of which we are aware.” (Page 99) This led to an explosion in vitamin sales, but in the US, it doesn't help much because vitamin A deficiency is rare in the US. Unfortunately, in the third world there is still often deficiency. The book gives some reasons why, even with inexpensive synthetic vitamins, well meaning organizations have had difficulty getting basic nutrition around the globe.

Chapter 7 makes it very clear that the FDA makes sure we don't get adulterated food and drugs, but let the buyer beware about buying food supplements.

“… as of 2012, [food supplements were Utah’s] largest industry at $7.2 billion.” (Page 145)

"The best advice about supplements, however, is less practical than it is philosophical. Before you pick up a box or bottle, ask yourself why, exactly, you are buying it. What do you think it will do? What evidence do you have for your beliefs? What are its known side effects and interactions? Is there a chance that it might do more harm than good?" (Page 174)

As Paul Offit, chief of the division of infectious diseases and director of the vaccine education center at the Children's Hospital of Philadelphia, writes in his critique of alternative medicine, do you believe in magic? "[T]erms like conventional and alternative are misleading. If a clinical trial shows that the therapy works, it's not alternative. And if it doesn't work, it's also not an alternative. In a sense, there's no such thing as alternative medicine." (Page 179)

As the book begins to wind to a close (Chapter 9): "The message is simple," stated a strongly worded 2013 editorial in the Annals of Internal Medicine “Most supplements do not prevent chronic disease or death, their use is not justified, and they should be avoided. … Enough is enough.” (Page 197)

The rest of chapter 9 (Foods with Benefits) and the last chapter talks more about what we don’t know.

The last chapter (10 The Nutritional Frontier) gives an excellent summary of the book. The often heard advice to eat foods in as natural a state as possible is quite an oversimplification of the sanity check in this chapter. There is a lot we don’t know. She compares our knowledge of nutrition to the days when vitamins were just beginning to be discovered.

From a Table of Contents one can sometimes get an idea of the scope of a book, and sometimes they are catchy titles. I include it because even with the catchy titles, it gives an idea of the breadth of this book.

Table of Contents
1) High Seas and Hi-C
2) Plants and plants
3) Death by Deficiency
4) The Journey into Food
5) Form A to Zeitgeist
6) Nutritional Blindness
7) From Pure Food to Pure Chaos
8) The People’s Pills
9) Foods with Benefits
10) The Nutritional Frontier
Appendix
Acknowledgments
Appendix A: The Vitamins
Appendix B: Abbreviations and Definitions
Recommended Dietary Allowance Chart
Notes
Index ( )
  bread2u | Jul 1, 2020 |
This book takes a very broad look at vitamins, both the vitamins themselves, and how the discovery and synthesis of vitamins have changed our views of what and how to eat. It was definitely worth it, especially as the Massachusetts library system will not yield up its copy of Asimov's "How Did We Find Out about Vitamins?" to me. The scholarship may be good in the area of the book, but the author makes several sort of clueless seeming remarks when she leaves it. For example, she makes Commodore Anson sound like a dummy, but most sources seem to agree that he was an unusually capable and courageous leader.

I listened on audio, I'll try it again in physical form.
1 ääni themulhern | Feb 28, 2019 |
Our obsessive quest for nutritional perfection
  jhawn | Jul 31, 2017 |
Free book, but well worth the read for insightful use and abuse of vitamins ( )
  awolfe | Mar 12, 2015 |
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Englanninkielinen Wikipedia

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"The startling story of America's devotion to vitamins-and how it keeps us from good health. Health-conscious Americans seek out vitamins any way they can, whether in a morning glass of orange juice, a piece of vitamin-enriched bread, or a daily multivitamin. We believe that vitamins are always beneficial and that the more we can get, the better-and yet despite this familiarity, few of us could explain what vitamins actually are. Instead, we outsource our questions to experts and interpret "vitamin" as shorthand for "health." What we don't realize-and what Vitamania reveals-is that the experts themselves are surprisingly short on answers. Yes, we need vitamins; without them, we would die. Yet despite a century of scientific research (the word "vitamin" was coined only in 1912), there is little consensus around even the simplest of questions, whether it's exactly how much we each require or what these thirteen dietary chemicals actually do. The one thing that experts do agree upon is that the best way to get our nutrients is in the foods that naturally contain them, which have countless chemicals beyond vitamins that may be beneficial. But thanks to our love of processed foods (whose natural vitamins and other chemicals have often been removed or destroyed), this is exactly what most of us are not doing. Instead, we allow marketers to use the addition of synthetic vitamins to blind us to what else in food we might be missing, leading us to accept as healthy products that we might (and should) otherwise reject. Grounded in history-but firmly oriented toward the future-Vitamania reveals the surprising story of how our embrace of vitamins led to today's Wild West of dietary supplements and investigates the complicated psychological relationship we've developed with these thirteen mysterious chemicals. In so doing, Vitamania both demolishes many of our society's most cherished myths about nutrition and challenges us to reevaluate our own beliefs. Impressively researched, counterintuitive, and engaging, Vitamania won't just change the way you think about vitamins. It will change the way you think about food. "--

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