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Jean-Marie Bourre

What You Should Eat: Avoiding the Real Risks

The food we eat should respect three basic rules. We want it to be safe and healthy and also to taste good. But, as Doctor Jean-Marie Bourre shows here, the current obsession with safety often makes us forego taste and even health.

Is eating as dangerous as our angst-ridden society would have us believe? No, says Doctor Bourre. In France, a thousand cases of food poisoning are reported annually — out of a total of nearly one hundred billion meals consumed. Salmonella is present in one out of 1.6 million eggs, for an average per capita consumption of 250 eggs a year. As for seafood, an average of ten cases of food poisoning are reported annually — out of a total of 66 million servings. So who stands to gain from our fear of risk-taking? According to Doctor Bourre, our phobias favour an increasingly industrialised mode of food consumption, which is far from being the healthiest way of eating.

It is often alleged that eating healthily is expensive. Nothing could be further from the truth, says Doctor Bourre. The Omega-3 fatty acids in sardines and mackerel cost 400 times less than those found in anglers; eggs provide the cheapest protein and vitamin B12.

Yet every day in France, 450 people die of cardiovascular diseases and of cancer, brought on by an unbalanced diet. Where does the problem really lie? In the food itself — or in our eating habits?

Have you been scared out of your wits by the constant flow of reports (often of dubious reliability) revealing the terrible danger that lurks in a given food? Do the contradictory recommendations of so-called expert nutritionists just make you feel lost? Are you confused by the different arguments raging on such subjects as GMOs, fast food or the agri-food business? What should you eat? Meat or fish? Wild or farmed? With or without salt? Fat or lean? This book will help you answer these questions and identify the real risks and dangers posed by your diet.

The only eating habits that can be regarded as healthy are those that are based on real physiological needs. But how can we satisfy those needs in a world where bogus rumours, marketing tricks and industrial scams conspire to make us forget what our bodies really require?

With La Diététique du cerveau, first published in 1989, Jean-Marie Bourre revolutionised our understanding of nutrition. A member of the French Academy of Medicine, he was formerly a director at the Institut National de la Santé et de la Recherche Médical (INSERM), where he headed a research unit specialising in brain chemistry and its links to nutrition. A specialist in fats, he was one of the scientists who discovered the positive effects of Omega-3 fatty acids.

He is the author of La Vérité sur les oméga-3 (2004; Odile Jacob Paperbacks, 2007), Diététique du cerveau: la nouvelle donne (2003; Odile Jacob Paperbacks, 2006), Les Aliments de l'intelligence et du plaisir (2001), La Diététique de la performance (1995; Odile Jacob Paperbacks, 2003), De l'animal à l'assiette (1993) and Les Bonnes Graisses (1991).