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Appetite for Profit: How the Food Industry Undermines Our Health and How to Fight Back
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Appetite for Profit: How the Food Industry Undermines Our Health and How to Fight Back

3.67  ·  Rating Details ·  235 Ratings  ·  33 Reviews
The United States is currently embroiled in a national debate over the growing public health crisis caused by poor diet. People are starting to ask who is to blame and how can we fix the problem, especially among children. Major food companies are responding with a massive public relations campaign. These companies, including McDonald's, Coca-Cola, Kraft, and General Mills ...more
Paperback, 392 pages
Published October 20th 2006 by Nation Books (first published October 19th 2006)
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The Omnivore's Dilemma by Michael PollanKitchen Confidential by Anthony BourdainAnimal, Vegetable, Miracle by Barbara KingsolverFast Food Nation by Eric SchlosserIn Defense of Food by Michael Pollan
Food-Related Non-Fiction
245th out of 759 books — 1,407 voters
The Omnivore's Dilemma by Michael PollanFast Food Nation by Eric SchlosserIn Defense of Food by Michael PollanEating Animals by Jonathan Safran FoerAnimal, Vegetable, Miracle by Barbara Kingsolver
Food Politics
73rd out of 78 books — 61 voters

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Community Reviews

(showing 1-30 of 990)
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Debra Daniels-zeller
Dec 29, 2013 Debra Daniels-zeller rated it it was amazing
Shelves: nonfiction, food, politics
Written in 2006, this book is well-researched, and is presented in a clear and convincing way. I really liked that this book offered lots of great information about the food industry (mostly the Grocery Manufacturers Association). I selected this book because I'm interested in how the food industry has resisted labeling for decades. The most recent fights over labeling GMOs is a constant battle and as consumers gain strenth they chip away a little at a time, but industry has plenty of tricks and ...more
Gwen Hill
Jan 05, 2011 Gwen Hill rated it it was ok
*snoooOOOOoooze* Oh I'm sorry, I feel asleep while reading "Appetite for Profit". While this book contains some interesting, even appauling and alarming, information about how the industrial food industry manipulates Americans, from government agencies, to consumers, to school children, Simon's chiding tone paired with the blatantly sarcastic refrains she serves up after every factoid were just too mentally draining to allow me to push on through. I think I made it through 4 chapters...

I think t
Joy Weese Moll
Feb 14, 2012 Joy Weese Moll rated it really liked it
This is a disturbing and discouraging book about the many ways that the food industry pushes highly processed, profitable, foods on us and our children. Food companies preach personal responsibility but fight legislation to put nutrition information on menus so that people can make informed choices. Soda companies sponsor exercise programs in schools as if that is a relevant counter response to selling sugary drinks to children in schools who are increasingly susceptible to “adult-onset” diabete ...more
Lisa Wuertz
Apr 21, 2010 Lisa Wuertz rated it really liked it
This book delves into the food industry and the political side of how things in our food system have gotten so out of control. I found it really interesting because communications/politics is what I got my degree in.

I really enjoyed the way she broke down all the industry lines from personal responsibility to the consumer's freedom of choice to their God given right to consume food well over the daily caloric limit.

It was a good refresher on evaluating PR and advertising ploys by industry. I al
Feb 23, 2008 Sharon rated it did not like it
I found this at the library and thought it would be an interesting read. Not really.

Instead its a book-long rant about how the food industry has no interest in public health and in fact is working against public health often with the support of the government.

The title promises "how to fight back" but I couldn't find much, except for 2 pages at the end of the book listing places where you can talk about the problem (which doesn't seem like much of a fight back).

I can't disagree with her premise-
Linda Riebel
Jul 08, 2012 Linda Riebel rated it really liked it
Public health attorney Michele Simon describes how the food industry uses junk science, spin doctoring, lobbying, deep pockets, and outright threats to hobble government regulators and deceive the public. One example: the use of “free speech” arguments to defend manipulative advertising of junk food to children (but of course industry doesn’t like free speech to be exercised by organic growers). She also debunks myths and offers a hilarious “anti-glossary” of corporate spin words.
May 28, 2012 Katie rated it really liked it
Shelves: food
High on passion and interesting stories of the two-faced food industry. Unfortunately there was a good deal of verbage that didn't add much to the book which makes it hard to recommend. I did, however, leave with a better understanding of the games the food industry plays with PR and language to make themselves sound like they are part of the solution to obesity without hurting their bottom line.
Oct 29, 2014 Lori rated it really liked it
Very educational and interesting take on the effect of corporate lobbying and marketing efforts on our food supply. At times a little "over the top," but as a whole, a worthwhile read with concepts applicable to other large industries that use lobbying to an extreme to protect corporate interests at the expense of consumers.
Neil Gaudet
Dec 10, 2014 Neil Gaudet rated it really liked it
As the author says this book could come across as depressing. Fighting a losing fight. But the parallels to the tobacco industry ring true for me. It's a sobering eye opening book. One most people I suspect will unfortunately ignore.
Brandy Dempsey barnes
Feb 20, 2012 Brandy Dempsey barnes rated it it was ok
Couldn't finish it. Tedious read. Loved the topic and the info regarding big food's nasty habits, but difficult to follow and stay absorbed in the author's writing style.
Chris Wilkinson
Nov 05, 2013 Chris Wilkinson rated it really liked it
Shelves: my-classroom
A intense look into how the business and special interest money goes in direct opposition to our public health interest.
Dec 27, 2013 Sarah rated it liked it
"We must begin to ask should questions rather than simply settle for crumbs left over from political compromises. What should we be feeding our kids? What should our food system look like? What's the just and moral outcome? How will we ever create a truly better world unless we first figure out what that should be? We need to take a giant step back and ask, what kind of world do we want to live in?"

"According to Richard Daynard, the cigarette industry also tried to claim for years that marketing
Dec 25, 2011 Kristin rated it liked it
Some of the issues were a bit out of date, while others were still very relevant. The author did a great job of pointing out the flaws in some of the most commonly used arguments against better regulation of the processed food industry. However, without meaning to, she also showed exactly why regulation can be problematic: While most would agree that heavily processed foods should be avoided (or at least minimized), there is much dispute in the nutritional science communities about the relative ...more
Mar 28, 2012 Cheryl rated it liked it
This was a really long winded book. She probably could have made her case in half the amount of pages since she repeats a lot of information. She does go through many topics including soft drinks and processed food in schools, how food companies can't be trusted to self regulate for the good of society, and the rather weak arguments that personal responsibility and freedom of choice are myths. The book contains a fair amount of "leftist" propaganda. I could tell she wrote this book to persuade p ...more
Nov 07, 2010 Wendy rated it liked it
Shelves: food
Not all of this will be new information if you've read Marion Nestle's Food Politics or if you keep up on food policy news generally. Simon's book is particularly illuminating on the many ways that food companies fight attempts to regulate them, from fake consumer interest groups like the Center for Consumer Freedom to adopting voluntary guidelines that can be disregarded as soon as the political heat is off. (See recent reports about soda vending machines being ubiquitous in elementary schools, ...more
Judy Yarborough
Feb 05, 2015 Judy Yarborough rated it liked it
It was well researched, thoughtful, and important- a real indictment of our American food industry.
Sadly, it was dull and dry, as well, and left little promise of how to fix it. The standard American diet makes us sick, our children sicker, and now the global players are taking it far and wide to gain even more big bucks.

Big Business wins and we are up against BB in trying to eat right and stay healthy
Jul 20, 2014 Jenine rated it it was ok
Shelves: food, nonfiction
This book would be readable if she kept the opinion out of it. "One of the sorriest and most depressing events I attended in my entire ten years of covering nutrition policy was..." Or her apologizing for not having children.
The facts would speak for themselves but I find her constant interjections distracting.
Tammy BayAreaVeg
Jan 07, 2009 Tammy BayAreaVeg rated it liked it
Shelves: nutrition
Wow, this book was an unfortunate reminder in the new year about the politics and motivation of food corporations: money.

Very easy to read, simple language used. The beginning and the end were the best. I thought the middle section could have been slimmed down a bit, but lots of examples of the politics as usual of the food industry.

Also, while I haven't read the 'anti glossary' or looked at the supplemental info, I think including "how to fight back" as part of the title is maybe somewhat of
Nov 05, 2013 Casey rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Very thought provoking book...opened my eyes to how deeply powerful our food industry TRULY is, and how it keeps the consumers relatively powerless. We are often told to "eat healthier, more organic fruits and vegetables". This is all good and well, but in our food situation in the U.S., most people cannot AFFORD to eat that way. That's why this author, Michele Simon, states that we "cannot improve the global situation one politically correct forkful at a time. [this healthful way of eating] is ...more
Jul 18, 2012 Jolene rated it liked it
I do find the topic to very interesting in this book, I think its helpful if we are all more aware of how what we eat and what we want to eat is shaped by advertising and corporations. However, I don't really appreciate how much this book pushed some of its political agenda, I'd rather just be presented with the facts and left to come up with my own opinions. I don't believe all large corporations or people in them are evil. I do believe that it is ultimately in their best interest to be more tr ...more
Ethicurean Reads
Simon, a health policy expert and law professor, skewers the food industry for undermining the health of Americans with "nutrient deficient factory made pseudofoods." In lawyerly fashion, she explains the ABCs of the business imperative of "Big Food" (Coca-Cola, Kraft Foods and McDonald’s, among many others): make short-term profit without regard to the product’s nutritional value or societal effects.
Aug 10, 2009 Heidi rated it it was ok
This book was boring. I thought it would be a great read, but I found it tedious and boring. I didn't find that much new information either. I felt like I was reading a book by an activist who really really liked big business. Not that I think big business is the answer to anything, but I also felt like each chapter went over the same info with just a slightly different spin.
Feb 18, 2016 BookBec rated it liked it
I found Appetite for Profit very similar to the movie "Fed Up." I picked up the book soon after watching the movie and had to set it aside for weeks because it was too repetitive. "Fed Up" had more recent data and examples, and was focused on kids and schools, so there were some differences, but not a lot. I enjoyed the movie more than this book.
Dec 15, 2013 Cosette rated it liked it
"But while the dietary guidelines purport to be a 'primary source of dietary health information for policy makers, nutrition educators, and health providers,' they really reflect how much more closely aligned the federal government is with industry than with the general public" p. 144 - I am riveted. MyPyramid is a hoax? How? What?
Sep 16, 2007 Peggy rated it liked it
The book had some good insight to the politics (school nutrition, pouring rights in schools, vending machines, lobbyists) and also the very powerful/influential food companies. I did think that the book was somewhat repetitive and soapbox-ish...could have been 3/4 or 2/3 of the size and made the same points.
Oct 30, 2011 Caitlin rated it liked it
I definitely liked the way this book was written, better than other books I've been reading recently on the topic! That being said, I still only liked it. I think the issue is that I need to read a more updated book. I still haven't seen many books on this subject that offer me new information.
Jul 05, 2011 Cathy rated it liked it
This book covers familiar territory for anyone interested in the politics of food and nutrition, but I did learn some things I didn't know, and the book offers useful tips for activism and some helpful checklists for evaluating corporate behavior and detecting outright lies by the food companies.
Dec 30, 2012 Kathely rated it it was ok
This author seemed preoccupied with a frustration with CCF, but she presented a lot of pertinent and pointed information in a really clear way. I disagree wtih her on some minor points, but overall, a good book. Nice place to start if you're getting interested in food issues.
Sep 13, 2014 Angie rated it it was ok
I lied- it was too boring to finish, but there's no button for that.
Nov 29, 2009 mugerita rated it it was ok
If you've read Marion Nestle's Food Politics, you won't learn much new. Simon's language is at times, painfully caustic. While I support her opinions, her disgruntled tone is bitter for my taste.
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