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Food Politics: How the Food Industry Influences Nutrition, and Health

by Marion Nestle (Author)

Editorial Reviews Review
In the U.S., we're bombarded with nutritional advice--the work, we assume, of
reliable authorities with our best interests at heart. Far from it, says Marion
Nestle, whose Food Politics absorbingly details how the food industry--through
lobbying, advertising, and the co-opting of experts--influences our dietary
choices to our detriment. Central to her argument is the American "paradox of
plenty," the recognition that our food abundance (we've enough calories to meet
every citizen's needs twice over) leads profit-fixated food producers to do
everything possible to broaden their market portion, thus swaying us to eat more
when we should do the opposite. The result is compromised health: epidemic
obesity to start, and increased vulnerability to heart and lung disease, cancer,
and stroke--reversible if the constantly suppressed "eat less, move more"
message that most nutritionists shout could be heard.

Nestle, nutrition chair at New York University and editor of the 1988 Surgeon
General Report, has served her time in the dietary trenches and is ideally
suited to revealing how government nutritional advice is watered down when a
message might threaten industry sales. (Her report on byzantine nutritional
food-pyramid rewordings to avoid "eat less" recommendations is both predictable
and astonishing.) She has other "war stories," too, that involve marketing to
children in school (in the form of soft-drink "pouring rights" agreements,
hallway advertising, and fast-food coupon giveaways), and diet-supplement dramas
in which manufacturers and the government enter regulation frays, with the
industry championing "free choice" even as that position counters consumer
protection. Is there hope? "If we want to encourage people to eat better diets,"
says Nestle, "we need to target societal means to counter food industry lobbying
and marketing practices as well as the education of individuals." It's a telling
conclusion in an engrossing and masterfully panoramic exposé. --Arthur Boehm

From Library Journal
Nestle (chair, nutrition and food studies, NYU) offers an expos‚ of the tactics
used by the food industry to protect its economic interests and influence public
opinion. She shows how the industry promotes sales by resorting to lobbying,
lawsuits, financial contributions, public relations, advertising, alliances, and
philanthropy to influence Congress, federal agencies, and nutrition and health
professionals. She also describes the food industry's opposition to government
regulation, its efforts to discredit nutritional recommendations while pushing
soft drinks to children via alliances with schools, and its intimidation of
critics who question its products or its claims. Nestle berates the food
companies for going to great lengths to protect what she calls "techno-foods" by
confusing the public regarding distinctions among foods, supplements, and drugs,
thus making it difficult for federal regulators to guard the public. She urges
readers to inform themselves, choose foods wisely, demand ethical behavior and
scientific honesty, and promote better cooperation among industry and
government. This provocative work will cause quite a stir in food industry
circles. Highly recommended.

Product Details

Paperback: 510 pages
Publisher: University of California Press; 2 edition (October 15, 2007)
Language: English
ISBN-10: 0520254031



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