Book Review: Eating Between the Lines

Eating Between the Lines is a comprehensive resource for navigating the oft-confusing language used on food labels … definitely useful if you’ve ever wondered about the difference between cage-free or free-range eggs, what types of seafood are highest in mercury, or whether you should be concerned about artificial hormones in animal products (hint: yes for red meat and dairy, no for chicken). Stewart sorts through the hype and deciphers which claims are worth the associated extra cost and which are just marketing ploys.

Although the information here provides a thorough overview of the farming and processing practices behind various food labels (and sometimes the environmental repercussions), it is less concerned with the health implications of these practices. You’ll need to look elsewhere if you are interested in the health benefits of grass-fed beef or raw milk, as issues such as these are beyond the scope of this already information-packed book. My only real criticism is that Stewart peppers the narrative with anecdotes of her own relationship with food and experiences as a farmer’s daughter — presumably in an attempt to make the predominantly scientific information more palatable to the average reader — but these accounts seem unnecessary and often fall flat of the humorous tone she seems to be striving for.

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