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Stuffed: An Insider's Look at Who's (Really) Making America Fat

liked it 3.00  ·  Rating Details  ·  215 Ratings  ·  55 Reviews
It was his job to keep you eating.
It was his job to keep you drinking.
It was his job to keep you buying.
Unfortunately for you, he was good at it.

For more than thirty years, Hank Cardello was an executive and adviser to some of the largest food and beverage corporations in the world. For more than thirty years, he watched as corporate profits—and America's waistlines—ba
Hardcover, 272 pages
Published February 1st 2009 by Ecco (first published January 21st 2009)
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The China Study by T. Colin CampbellWhy We Get Fat by Gary TaubesThe Omnivore's Dilemma by Michael PollanIn Defense of Food by Michael PollanFast Food Nation by Eric Schlosser
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Community Reviews

(showing 1-30 of 693)
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Mar 09, 2012 Jodi rated it did not like it
Shelves: health-books
agree very much with the one-star review written by A. B. Morris on Amazon.

This book is aimed at Americans that have never before read even the most basic information about how supermarkets are designed to make you buy more, and that eat almost entirely or entirely packaged foods and fast foods and...that are not very bright or willing to make any type of changes to the way they eat.

The author shows how out of touch he is with basic healthy nutrition by commenting that the idea of not eating an
Nov 27, 2009 Rachael rated it did not like it
Nothing new here, which was disappointing since I expected a "food insider" to be up on the literature that has been out there for years about his industry. Instead he reveals "amazing" secrets like the fact that grocery stores place products they make the most money on at eye level!!! What??? You're KIDDING??? Next you'll be telling us that fast food places get people to buy more when they bundle their food as value meals...oh, wait, you ARE telling us that.


What could have made the
May 21, 2009 Dree rated it did not like it
Oh where to begin. The first half of this book is actually fairly interesting--through about chapter 9. The earlier chapters are the most interesting (or I may have given up in disgust!). Chapters 11-13 are horrible. Actually, they are frightening.

Essentially (without complete and total spoilers as to his arguments, which I find weak anyway), Cardello feels Americans are fat because marketers must be greedy (as per what their job is) and regular people are stupid. Regular people can't be expecte
Feb 11, 2009 Sara rated it liked it
My favorite part of this book was, without a doubt, the cover. What a great cover. Every time I closed it, I spent at least 3 minutes admiring the model of the U.S. made out of food. I liked that Michigan was corn flakes.

I was most interested in learning about the steps companies have taken to improve the healthfulness of their products and how those changes have reduced fat, calories, cholesterol. But I also just kept thinking that this expectation that companies have a responsibility to make
Mar 30, 2009 Jamie rated it it was ok
Although I found the author's perspective on changing the diet of Americans interesting at times, his dismissal of personal responsibility is alarming. Further, his idea of the "healthy cupcake" was disgusting. Renaming the cupcake and positioning it as a reward snack was downright appalling.
Oct 31, 2009 Nikki rated it liked it
Shelves: non-fiction
Warning, this review is as much rant as review!
Hank Cardello spent many years as a marketing executive in America's food and beverage industry (General Mills and Coca-Cola are just two places he worked). A bout with chronic fatigue syndrome somehow brought to his attention the health problems of obesity and poor nutrition that the late 20th and early 21st century American diet has caused. While he is no conspiracy theorist, he believes that the food industry (and by this he means primarily the p
Jun 08, 2009 Allyson rated it really liked it
Recommends it for: Pretty much anybody that cares about what they eat!
Recommended to Allyson by: Saw it at the store
I was walking through a book store when the cover of this book caught my eye. I did not want to pay $25 for the book, so instead I put my name on the waiting list at the library. It took about a month to get the book, but I was super excited when it came in.

I'd say it took me about 3 weeks to read, but I didn't put in a huge effort to finish it. I suppose that statement right there speaks for itself. See, if you know me, you know that I read books that I like quite quickly. Don't get me wrong, i
Mar 24, 2016 Becky rated it it was ok
I was curious to read Hank Cardello's Stuffed: An Insider's Look At Who's (Really) Making America Fat. It is an interesting, somewhat informative, book.

The first five chapters focus on the 'who' is making America fat. It is part history lesson (like chapter one and the invention of frozen dinners) and part behind-the-scenes commentary (like learning how advertising and marketing works, and why grocery stores place things where they are). It covers "the food industry." Think grocery stores, rest
Paul Jellinek
Dec 10, 2015 Paul Jellinek rated it liked it
Just what it says: an insider's view of who's really making America fat, ie., the food industry. Cardello was an executive in the food and beverage industry for many years and is now trying to parlay his understanding of what makes the industry tick into an "enlightened self-interest" strategy to get the industry to change its ways. The book certainly provides some fascinating insights into how key players in the industry think, but in the end I didn't find his case for letting the industry heal ...more
Jul 31, 2014 Simone rated it liked it
Shelves: food, non-fiction, 2014
Although I found this book really interesting, “Mindless Eating” remains at the top of my Food-Book heap; that book was great!

No one will argue that being informed on the topic of healthy eating won’t help you make better choices. Being educated on the subject and recognising just how much and how often you are being manipulated will benefit you – but the bottom line for me is: it’s all about the choices you make.

No matter how clever (or sneaky) “The Industry” is, no matter how good the marketi
May 11, 2010 Alison rated it liked it
The author definitely knows what he was talking about in terms of how the food industry market themselves. It was enlightening, for the most part.

However, his "plan" for consumers to eat healthier was a little short sighted, placing all (or most since he greatly disliked government involvement in food manufacturing comparing the food industry to the car industry) of the responsibility on the manufacturers. The "Stealth Health" plan seemed just so sneaky. I agree that people should eat a better,
Mar 29, 2009 Lori rated it liked it
Recommends it for: foodies, nutrition, health, diet
I hovered between 2 stars and 3 for this title. It was obvious that the author was not a writer, but had expertise in other areas and some valuable information to put out there. Some of the material became repetitive and I was not sure this was a style device (to underscore points and sum up material at the end of chapters) or if it was mainly a way to stretch the content into a book. In my estimation, Hank Cardello had a little too much to say to limit himself to an article but not quite enough ...more
Richard Thompson
Oct 04, 2010 Richard Thompson rated it it was ok
Shelves: non-fiction
Cardello was mover and shaker for some of the food industry giants like Coca Cola and General Mills before realizing that the actions of those giants were having some profoundly negative effects on the health of Americans. He outlines some of the market realities that make it unlikely that the food industry will take the initiative in providing healthier products, but also has no faith in government regulations or in the ability of consumers to make personal changes. What he never comes near to ...more
Mar 09, 2012 Deb rated it it was amazing
*The un-stuffing of America starts here *

Who is to blame for the current obesity crisis? Do we point the finger at the food companies and restaurants who are hungry for profits, or do we blame it on consumers' insatiable hunger for tasty treats? Maybe we should blame the government or media who inevitably influence how and what we eat. Or do we admit that finger-pointing still leaves us with one hand free to mindlessly gorge on an unhealthy--yet readily available/convenient/designed to be irresi
Jan 26, 2011 Alexis rated it really liked it
Shelves: 2011
I found this book at the library while I was doing research on another topic. The second I saw it, I knew I had to read it. I was reading another book at the time, decided to read a chapter of "Stuffed" and then ended up reading the whole thing because I found it so interesting.

The author, who wrote this with a co-writer, was a food executive involved in the industry for over 30 years. He's got a lot of experience with some of the decisions that the food industry has made and he's really an insi
Debra Daniels-zeller
Jul 15, 2012 Debra Daniels-zeller rated it it was ok
Shelves: nonfiction, food
The end-tag line sums up what this book is about: "an insider's look at who's (really) making America fat and how the food industry can fix it." I won this book in a giveaway and I had glossed over that tag line when I'd started reading. When do we get to the part about real food being fast food and how we can change perceptions, change institutions and change lives? I continually wanted to quit reading and wondered if this book was written for those working in the food industry. It certainly wa ...more
Kris Springer
Mar 21, 2010 Kris Springer rated it really liked it
Shelves: food-health
Written by a former food industry executive, this was an interesting book--wasn't written by someone who asks the reader to give up all of their favorite foods--he asks the companies to get smarter about adding nutrition to their foods (McDonalds, Little Debbies, General Mills, etc.)--and he takes the Stealth Health approach (like Mrs. Seinfeld's book, Deceptively Delicious)--he believes restaurants & food cos should just take out as much fat and salt and sugar as possible (w/o changing the ...more
Jan 11, 2014 Ali rated it it was ok
Shelves: nonfiction
I'd like to point out that I really enjoyed a lot of this book. I had fun reading about all of the subtle things that the food industry does to try to get us to buy their food. It was also interesting to hear what keeps some restaurants from using healthier ingredients. That being said, I was really disappointed by the way that the author chooses to preach about the evils of the food industry. Like any other industry, they are focusing on their bottom lines and we have to focus on our health. I ...more
Nov 30, 2010 Laura rated it it was ok
The first part of the book is interesting enough, tracing the history of processed food in America.

Cardello's solutions to the problem of obesity in American are all concerned with the food industry. He places great stock in technology's ability to engineer healthier foods. He doesn't think that the consumer will ever really make good choices and so "Big Food" has to come up with healthier food (i.e. hamburgers with omega 3's added in to make them more healthy). Although in passing he acknowledg
William Blair
Feb 12, 2010 William Blair rated it really liked it
A contrarian's view of the obesity epidemic in America. The author does not discount individual eater's responsibilities, but makes a case that they frequently have limited choices for a variety of reasons that are not necessarily the fault of restaurants and the food industry, but that only those corporations that bring us raw and prepared food can realistically do anything about. Regardless of whether or not you buy his argument, it's interesting reading on how the food industry works from a f ...more
Wilde Sky
This book examines the food industry and its relation to obesity.

I found this book quite interesting but I wasn’t convinced by many of the arguments and would have liked to see more facts and figures to support the author’s case.
Feb 28, 2010 Katie rated it liked it
Shelves: read-10
Nonfiction 6

I would give the first 2/3 of the book a 4, and give the last 1/3 a 1. This is a very interesting analysis of food manufacturer's decisions and consumer choice. I really enjoyed this book's view toward grocery stores, food manufacturers, and restaurants. He did not demonize them and made their decision making process very transparent. These three are easy targets to criticize, but rarely do you read anything in defense of these three. The last portion of the book was very 50's futuri
Manuel B
An excellent view on how the food industries work. There is a rigid mindset in the food industry that refuses to change to or promote healthier foods even when the profits and marketing for it is there.
Nov 24, 2011 Bruce rated it it was amazing
Shelves: us-history, politics
Cardelloo paints a common-sense picture of America's weight problem and how it has grown. Instead of placing blame on anyone segment he concludes that it is actually everyone's fault. The government with regulations that have unintended consequences, food industry for advertising to get people to eat their products, enticements to buy larger sizes, mis-leading labeling, restaurants that provide large portions, grocery stores and product placement, and people that decide to buy the larger sizes a ...more
David Peters
Feb 04, 2011 David Peters rated it it was ok
This book, written by a farmer Marketing Executive to several large food companies, goes on to say the food system we have in America is not set up to supply us with healthy choices. He does detail some interesting insider stories, especially to me being an insider of sorts myself, but does not really add nothing new to table. Basically, cost is the top driver, misinformation abounds, and general laziness of the consumer means no one is motivated to overcome it.

He does offer a somewhat stretced
Oct 02, 2010 Laura rated it liked it
This was an interesting look at the food industry from an insider's point of view. I liked that he assigned obesity blame evenly, and that he understood the ecomonics behind some of the food problems (like vending machines in schools). I think that some of his solutions work (like adding more water to vending machines), but others are way too 'big brother' for me. I also don't think that restaurants and food manufacturers are as responsible as the author solving the problem. And his claim that t ...more
Jul 06, 2009 Jenny rated it it was ok
Took me about 3 weeks to finish this and it was okay. He makes some interesting points about the food industry and also shared some insights, but I found it a little too "Scold-y" like and the "prescription" to fix america's food industry is compelling, but maybe it should go to the White House.

overall I thought it was ok, but not very well written. Great cover, interesting approach, but I didn't entirely agree with his approach to health being engineered food, I think people should eat more wh
Julia Reynolds
Jan 01, 2015 Julia Reynolds rated it it was ok
Meh. This should have been better. Nothing in here I didn't already know, and not written well enough to hold my attention (which is sad considering I love nutrition science books like this). From an ex-corporate food guy, I was expecting way more. Read Salt, Sugar, Fat instead. It's way better.
(Read in Uncorrected Proof version) This excellent book discusses in intelligent but very readable form not only where the problems in our diet come from, but where the solutions can come from as well. One of Cardello's main points is that most consumers will not change their eating habits, so the food itself must become healthier, and this can be done by the companies and restaurants that produce it, without harming their profits. All in all, a surprisingly positive book!
An interesting read from a decidedly non-author; he has industry experience and knowledge though but the delivery was different than from an author.

Love the cover. Like the ideas proposed, but the most interesting thing to me were the facts presented about farm subsidies, the insider knowledge of food marketing, and the idea of the poor buying mostly junk food and the reasons for why that is.
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Hank Cardello is chief executive officer of 27 North (, a consulting firm that helps businesses take the lead on solving social issues. For more than three decades he was an executive at some of the world's largest food and beverage companies, including Coca-Cola and General Mills. Today he chairs the annual Global Obesity Business Forum, sponsored by the University of North Car ...more
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