How America Decides What to Eat in Michael Pollan’s The Omnivore’s Dilemma

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What is an omnivore? An omnivore is a creature that consumes both plants and animals for nutrition. In Michael Pollan’s The Omnivore’s Dilemma he explains just as the title suggests, the omnivore’s dilemma. In it he describes how omnivores, such as ourselves, came to eat the way we do now. Pollan divides his writing into four main areas: introducing what the omnivore’s dilemma is, explaining how we decide what to eat, introducing our anxieties towards eating, and the problem with how Americans decide what to eat. Pollan also calls on the expertise of Paul Rozin, who performed experiments with another omnivore, rats, and others. Omnivores are very interesting creatures. We are able to digest most plants and animals and therefore have …show more content…

This quality that we as omnivores have is the reason there are so many of us in the world. For humans and other omnivores alike, if there is a natural disaster that causes one food source to be wiped out, we can simply find food elsewhere and eat something else. This is not the same though for animals that rely on a certain food, like eucalyptus trees for koalas. This “dietary flexibility” also relates to the size of our brains. Animals that heavily rely on certain foods have smaller brains, while omnivores who require nutrients from different food sources have larger ones. It is the omnivore’s larger brain that allowed it to create “a complicated set of sensory and mental tools to help” sort food. Our first tool that usually decides what food we eat is taste. Humans can distinguish between many flavors but the main two that help decided what we should and shouldn’t eat are sweetness and bitterness. The first is “a taste that signals a particularly rich source of carbohydrate energy in nature,” which supplies energy to our brain. The second is bitter tastes, “which is how many of the defensive toxins produced by plants tastes.” This sensitivity to bitterness has helped us avoid poisonous plants. The next tool that we have acquired is disgust. Rozin has defined it as “the fear of incorporating offending

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