Holism Vs Reductionism in nutrition

Holism Vs Reductionism. Yawn…..No it’s interesting I swear! Please read- I want some opinions on this- I don’t have the answer- would be interested in some lively discussion on the topic!

The whole is greater than the sum of it’s parts… That Aristotle guy knew you can identify the parts of a single object but they were useless unless put together. We are at a stage in Nutrition research where we have a much better understanding of what vitamin works where and which bits are good for you. This is really useful stuff to know, and this research helps us get a grasp on why what we eat is so important for us. But the risk is that once we pick our food system apart, that we don’t put it back together again and continue using it the way we were supposed to. This is pretty much what is happening at the moment, with new super foods being announced weekly, and individual supplements being sold form the supermarket shelf.

This stuff might be necessary and or useful, but what we really don’t have a clear picture of is whether it works away from the other compounds it was supposed to be with- and if not why are we bothering to do it? So do we continue down the ‘if it fits your macro’s’ reductionist  way of eating, where you eat whatever as long as you’re getting your estimated protein, carb and fat needs, or should we be angling back towards looking at the value of a food as  a whole within our overall diet?

Harriet WalkerComment