It has long been noted that Americans have the most expensive urine in the world, as they eliminate all those costly vitamins that they could (and should) be getting from a balanced diet instead of from a pill.
Harvey Levenstein, professor emeritus of history at McMaster University in Hamilton, Ontario, documents the reasons behind such overblown anxiety as "vitamania" in this fascinating and entertaining book.
Why has fear superseded pleasure in dictating food choices? Levenstein traces the junk science, vested interests, misleading advertising, governmental ineptitude, constantly changing advice, media hype, venal food corporations and more to provide the answers, and a shameful history it is.
Consider, for one example, the fact that conclusive proof that high blood cholesterol causes heart disease remains elusive - and that the benefits of low-fat diets thus are negligible - and you might think twice about staying away from that rib-eye steak you've been warned against.
Instead, stop worrying and eat, drink and be merry - in balance and moderation - the author concludes. It's time to rediscover the joy of eating something just because it tastes good. Medium-rare for me, please.