Diet book a survey of healthy eating

CULINARY INTELLIGENCE: The Art of Eating Healthy (and Really Well). By Peter Kaminsky. Knopf. 244 pages. $24.95.

America’s “foodie” culture often is at odds with the national obesity epidemic.

Foodies — on TV, online and in print — ooze over meat, cheeses, sauces and cocktails as if they were sex, with barely a nod (usually in a joking manner) to the fact that eating this stuff on a regular basis is slowly killing us and adding to our health care debt.

Like sex, food sells. But so do diet books.

Foodie culture has a new healthier advocate in cookbook author and food critic Peter Kaminsky who, after losing 35 pounds, has penned a new book, “Culinary Intelligence.”

Alas, the book breaks no new ground on the basics, notably cutting out “white foods” (white sugar, flour, rice and potatoes), skipping liquid calories, particularly soft drinks, and desserts. But “Culinary Intelligence” may appeal to those who can’t retrain taste buds to enjoy simply prepared whole foods.

The main takeaway in “Culinary Intelligence” is on what Kaminsky calls the FPC, or “flavor per calorie,” underscoring the idea that eating healthy must be appetizing or it is doomed to fail.

Healthy whole foods high in FPC include onions, anchovies, sardines, “good” chicken and beef stocks, plain yogurt, roasted red peppers, eggs, blueberries, apples, roasted almonds, olive oil and Parmesan cheese.

Three FPC rock stars that might surprise people are bacon (“think of it as a seasoning rather than a main ingredient”), Italian sausage (“not the main event”) and butter (“a little butter adds depth and lots of flavor”).

Like so many books about food and health, “Culinary Intelligence” is as much about the idea of “mindful eating” — or as one Whole Foods Market bumper sticker reads, “Think Before You Eat” — as it is about anything new or different.

But if it takes a foodie to tell other foodies how to eat more healthy, then so be it.

Reviewer David Quick, health and fitness writer for The Post and Courier