Food Politics: How the Food Industry Influences Nutrition and Health

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University of California Press, 2002 - Political Science - 457 pages
117 Reviews
We all witness, in advertising and on supermarket shelves, the fierce competition for our food dollars. In this engrossing expos, Marion Nestle goes behind the scenes to reveal how the competition really works and how it affects our health. The abundance of food in the United States--enough calories to meet the needs of every man, woman, and child twice over--has a downside. Our overefficient food industry must do everything possible to persuade people to eat more--more food, more often, and in larger portions--no matter what it does to waistlines or well-being.
Like manufacturing cigarettes or building weapons, making food is very big business. Food companies in 2000 generated nearly $900 billion in sales. They have stakeholders to please, shareholders to satisfy, and government regulations to deal with. It is nevertheless shocking to learn precisely how food companies lobby officials, co-opt experts, and expand sales by marketing to children, members of minority groups, and people in developing countries. We learn that the food industry plays politics as well as or better than other industries, not least because so much of its activity takes place outside the public view.
Editor of the 1988 Surgeon General's Report on Nutrition and Health, Nestle is uniquely qualified to lead us through the maze of food industry interests and influences. She vividly illustrates food politics in action: watered-down government dietary advice, schools pushing soft drinks, diet supplements promoted as if they were First Amendment rights. When it comes to the mass production and consumption of food, strategic decisions are driven by economics--not science, not common sense, and certainly not health.
No wonder most of us are thoroughly confused about what to eat to stay healthy. An accessible and balanced account, Food Politics will forever change the way we respond to food industry marketing practices. By explaining how much the food industry influences government nutrition policies and how cleverly it links its interests to those of nutrition experts, this pathbreaking book helps us understand more clearly than ever before what we eat and why. We all witness, in advertising and on supermarket shelves, the fierce competition for our food dollars. In this engrossing expos, Marion Nestle goes behind the scenes to reveal how the competition really works and how it affects our health. The abundance of food in the United States--enough calories to meet the needs of every man, woman, and child twice over--has a downside. Our overefficient food industry must do everything possible to persuade people to eat more--more food, more often, and in larger portions--no matter what it does to waistlines or well-being.
Like manufacturing cigarettes or building weapons, making food is very big business. Food companies in 2000 generated nearly $900 billion in sales. They have stakeholders to please, shareholders to satisfy, and government regulations to deal with. It is nevertheless shocking to learn precisely how food companies lobby officials, co-opt experts, and expand sales by marketing to children, members of minority groups, and people in developing countries. We learn that the food industry plays politics as well as or better than other industries, not least because so much of its activity takes place outside the public view.
Editor of the 1988 Surgeon General's Report on Nutrition and Health, Nestle is uniquely qualified to lead us through the maze of food industry interests and influences. She vividly illustrates food politics in action: watered-down government dietary advice, schools pushing soft drinks, diet supplements promoted as if they were First Amendment rights. When it comes to the mass production and consumption of food, strategic decisions are driven by economics--not science, not common sense, and certainly not health.
No wonder most of us are thoroughly confused about what to eat to stay healthy. An accessible and balanced account, Food Politics will forever change the way we respond to food industry marketing practices. By explaining how much the food industry influences government nutrition policies and how cleverly it links its interests to those of nutrition experts, this pathbreaking book helps us understand more clearly than ever before what we eat and why.
  

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I liked a lot of the ideas and research from the book. - Goodreads
The intro does a good job summarizing her points. - Goodreads
Fascinating and thoroughly researched. - Goodreads

Review: Food Politics: How the Food Industry Influences Nutrition and Health ( California Studies in Food and Culture #3)

User Review  - Anne Green - Goodreads

Described as an "engrossing expose" of the food industry in the US,the book is an account of the unscrupulous practices pursued by those with commercial interests in marketing food, interests which it ... Read full review

Review: Food Politics: How the Food Industry Influences Nutrition and Health ( California Studies in Food and Culture #3)

User Review  - Susan Sherman - Goodreads

A must read for anyone who considers themselves a food and nutrition expert. She is not an easy readólike Michael Pollanó but is afact finders and supports all of her statements well. Read full review

Selected pages

Contents

Preface
vii
The Food Industry and Eat More
3
UNDERMINING DIETARY ADVICE
29
From Eat More to Eat Less 19001990
31
Politics versus Science Opposing the Food Pyramid 19911992
51
Deconstructing Dietary Advice
67
WORKING THE SYSTEM
93
Influencing Government Food Lobbies and Lobbyists
95
Science versus Supplements A Gulf of Mutual Incomprehension
222
Making Health Claims Legal The Supplement Industrys War with the FDA
247
Deregulation and Its Consequences
272
INVENTING TECHNOFOODS
295
Go Forth and Fortify
298
Beyond Fortification Making Foods Functional
315
Selling the Ultimate TechnoFood Olestra
338
The Politics of Food Choice
358

Coopting Nutrition Professionals
111
Winning Friends Disarming Critics
137
Playing Hardball Legal and Not
159
EXPLOITING KIDS CORRUPTING SCHOOLS
173
Starting Early Underage Consumers
175
Pushing Soft Drinks Pouring Rights
197
DEREGULATING DIETARY SUPPLEMENTS
219
Issues in Nutrition and Nutrition Research
375
Notes
387
List of Tables
439
List of Figures
441
Index
443
Copyright

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About the author (2002)

Marion Nestle is Professor and Chair of the Department of Nutrition and Food Studies at New York University. Author of Nutrition in Clinical Practice (1985), she has served as a nutrition policy advisor to the Department of Health and Human Services and as a member of nutrition and science advisory committees to the U.S. Department of Agriculture and the Food and Drug Administration. She is the author of Safe Food: Bacteria, Biotechnology, and Bioterrorism (California, 2003).

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