The new one is out book of the biologist and anthropologist Marco Capocasa with Dr. David Venier by title “Food nonsense – From fake news to nutrition science” for Castelvecchi Editore. It is an agile vademecum where we try to explain how we can defend ourselves from the senselessness of numerous food fake news, which unfortunately are spread rapidly and erroneously considered true with the risk sometimes of compromising the state of health of our body.
THE AUTHORS DESCRIBE WHAT TO FIND IN THE VOLUME
Food Absurdity was created with the intention of proposing a reading concerning the themes of food and human nutrition that may be of interest to the general public, easy to understand and able to offer food for thought. The book, with a preface by Dr. Carlo Chiarla, professor of dietetics at the Catholic University of the Sacred Heart in Rome, is structured in four parts. The first part, Past, present and future, is a brief historical-evolutionary excursus on the role of food and nutrition in human evolution and on the subsistence strategies that our species has experienced throughout its history. In this chapter we talk about the hunter-gatherers of the Paleolithic, the Neolithic transition linked to the cultivation of fields and the domestication of livestock and the consequent changes in eating habits that this transition represented. By discussing the relationship of Homo sapiens with food, the problems related to its availability and the supply capacities in the different places where it was able to settle, we will explain how these aspects have influenced choices, habits and social interactions. To then enter the more recent history of human nutrition, looking at it with the eyes of the scientists who have dedicated themselves to it in the last two centuries: from studies on metabolism to those on vitamins, finally reaching the recent developments of nutrigenetics and nutrigenomics.
In the second part, Nutrition, evolution, disinformation, we return to the question of the relationship between human evolution and nutrition, showing how it inevitably leads to reflections that lead to superimposing the levels of the biological and cultural nature of human beings. From the dawn of our evolutionary history, marked by the numerous changes in the so-called “food niche” that the Homo genus had to face right from its first steps in Africa, to the development of agricultural practices and livestock breeding, we will then come to tell other historical dynamics. In particular, the more recent ones concerning the economic and social changes linked to the passage of human societies from predominantly agricultural to industrial, which took place starting from the eighteenth century and known as industrialization. To then reach the cultural changes linked to globalization starting from the second half of the last century and, even more, in this first glimpse of the twenty-first century. These transformations have had an impact on lifestyles and, consequently, also on people’s food choices, alongside the increase in productivity of the food industry on a global scale which has ended up making available to consumers a variety of foods characterized by a low nutritional value and high sugar and fat content.
In the chapter we discuss how the means of mass communication, above all television and the web, are an advertising vehicle and, at the same time, an instrument for disseminating presumed “truths”, albeit without any scientific foundation, which have produced consolidated eating habits . A veritable forest of information without scientific foundations regarding, for example, the nutritional values of certain foods and their effects on human health.
The third part of the book, Food Absurdity, is dedicated precisely to these erroneous news and false beliefs that can mislead people, distancing them from a truly healthy lifestyle. With this chapter we propose an exploration of the “food mythology” (and their deconstruction on the basis of recent scientific literature), following a path made up of many small stages that we have deemed to be representative and more significant. Scrolling through the pages, the reader will come across various micro-stories, such as the one that “carbohydrates make you fat in the evening”, or the other on the vaunted purifying effect of water and lemon. Not to mention fat-burning pineapple or low-calcium skim milk. We also thought of broadening the discussion to other mythologized aspects, not directly linked to specific foods, but which concern particular diets, such as detoxifying and blood group diets.
The volume concludes with a section dedicated to in-depth analysis. With Learn more we have built an explanatory bibliographic path, aimed at suggesting scientific publications and further reading to those who want to explore the various topics we have covered in the book in greater detail. For each of them we have reported what we believe to be the main specialist and basic popular sources, in the hope of further satisfying the curiosity of readers and providing them with references to continue moving in the world of nutrition.
Finally, we have reserved the last few pages for a brief Glossary, to provide some additional “handy” elements, useful to further facilitate the understanding of the text.
Marco Capocasa, biologist and anthropologist. He carries out scientific research activities as deputy secretary of the Italian Institute of Anthropology and the free profession of nutritionist biologist. He deals with the study of the relationships between social structures and genetic diversity of human populations and with the sharing of scientific knowledge in the anthropological and biomedical fields. He is the author of dozens of articles published in international scientific journals (https://scholar.google.com/citations?user=NUcLwEYAAAAJ&hl=it). Together with Giovanni Destro Bisol has published two popular science books: Italiani. How DNA helps us understand who we are (Carocci, 2016) and Interview impossible with DNA. Stories of science and humanity (il Mulino, 2018). He is also the author, together with Giuseppe Di Clemente, of the science fiction novel Elbrus, published in 2020 for Armando Curcio Editore.
Davide Venier, Doctor of Dietetics at the Catholic University of the Sacred Heart in Rome, works as a freelance dietician, also collaborating with the Policlinico Casilino in Rome as part of the Ospedale Amico service. He deals with the sharing of correct scientific information regarding food and human nutrition.
Release date: February 3, 2023
Genre: Popular science
Number of pages: 96
Cover price: 13.50 euros
Publishing House Product Link: http://www.castelvecchieditore.com/prodotto/assurdita-alimentari-