Food Rules: An Eater's Manual

Front Cover
Penguin, Dec 29, 2009 - Health & Fitness - 112 pages
1443 Reviews
#1 New York Times Bestseller

A definitive compendium of food wisdom

Eating doesn’t have to be so complicated. In this age of ever-more elaborate diets and conflicting health advice, Food Rules brings welcome simplicity to our daily decisions about food. Written with clarity, concision, and wit that has become bestselling author Michael Pollan’s trademark, this indispensable handbook lays out a set of straightforward, memorable rules for eating wisely, one per page, accompanied by a concise explanation. It’s an easy-to-use guide that draws from a variety of traditions, suggesting how different cultures through the ages have arrived at the same enduring wisdom about food. Whether at the supermarket or an all-you-can-eat buffet, this is the perfect guide for anyone who ever wondered, “What should I eat?”

"In the more than four decades that I have been reading and writing about the findings of nutritional science, I have come across nothing more intelligent, sensible and simple to follow than the 64 principles outlined in a slender, easy-to-digest new book called Food Rules: An Eater’s Manual, by Michael Pollan." --Jane Brody, The New York Times

"The most sensible diet plan ever? We think it's the one that Michael Pollan outlined a few years ago: “Eat food. Not too much. Mostly plants.” So we're happy that in his little new book, Food Rules, Pollan offers more common-sense rules for eating: 64 of them, in fact, all thought-provoking and some laugh-out-loud funny." --The Houston Chronicle

" It doesn't get much easier than this. Each page has a simple rule, sometimes with a short explanation, sometimes without, that promotes Pollan's back-to-the-basics-of-food (and-food-enjoyment) philosophy." --The Los Angeles Times
"A useful and funny purse-sized manual that could easily replace all the diet books on your bookshelf."  --Tara Parker-Pope, The New York Times

Michael Pollan’s newest book Cooked: A Natural History of Transformation--the story of our most trusted food expert’s culinary education--was published by The Penguin Press in April 2013.

What people are saying - Write a review

User ratings

5 stars
4 stars
3 stars
2 stars
1 star

Review: Food Rules: An Eater's Manual

User Review  - Annmarie Kostyk - Goodreads

I think it should be mandatory for everyone to read this book. It's VERY short. It is quite simply all of the rules to eat healthy divided up into 3 sections: What should I eat?, What kind of foods ... Read full review

Review: Food Rules: An Eater's Manual

User Review  - ellen - Goodreads

The book is short enough, but I'm glad I checked it out from the neighborhood library and didn't pay for it. It's hard to believe there are people out here who don't already know this stuff. Read full review

All 5 reviews »


Dont eat anything your greatgrandmother wouldnt recognize as food
Avoid food products containing ingredients that no ordinary human
Avoid food products that contain highfructose corn syrup
Avoid foods that have some form of sugar or sweetener listed
Avoid food products that contain more than five ingredients
Avoid food products containing ingredients that a thirdgrader
Avoid food products that make health claims
Avoid food products with the wordoid lite or the terms low fat
Eat only foods that will eventually
Eat foods made from ingredients that you can picture in their
Get out of the supermarket whenever you
Buy your snacks at the farmers market
Eat only foods that have been cooked by humans
Dont ingest foods made in places where everyone is required
If it came from a plant eat it if it was made in a plant dont
Its not food if it arrived through the window of your

Avoid foods that are pretending to be something they are
Avoid foods you see advertised on television
Shop the peripheries of the supermarket and stay out of the middle
Its not food if its called by the same name in every language

Other editions - View all

Common terms and phrases

About the author (2009)

Michael Pollan is the author of six previous books, including Cooked, In Defense of Food, The Omnivore’s Dilemma, and The Botany of Desire, all New York Times bestsellers. He lives in Berkeley, California.

Maira Kalman is the author of And the Pursuit of Happiness and The Principles of Uncertainty, and she illustrated the bestselling edition of The Elements of Style. She lives in New York City.

Bibliographic information