Vitamins aren’t miracle cures — and that’s just fine


When she started working on her book Vitamania, Catherine Price thought she was just going to be writing about the science of vitamins. But it turned out that history of that science also told the story of our obsession with perfecting nutrition. It’s a tale that everyone should know — especially those interested in shifting the American diet to something that’s healthier and more environmentally sustainable.

A disclosure here: I’m friends with Price, a science writer. But I’m not the only one who likes her book; The New York Times called it an “absorbing and meticulously researched history.” Price and I chatted recently about the limits of our understanding of vitamins — and how accepting that ignorance can actually help us to kick the miracle-cure habit and just make better decisions.

Q.You hear a lot these days that natural foods are better, that nutrients are lost in food processing — historically, has that…

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