Gwen's Reviews > Food Politics: How the Food Industry Influences Nutrition and Health

Food Politics by Marion Nestle
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's review
Jul 08, 2007

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Recommended for: Anyone interested in agriculture or the food industry
Read in July, 2007

UPDATE: I finished the book. It's ok, but a bit dense for a casual reader, I think. If you're an academic really interested in how food companies affect public policy it's great, but if you're just reading it for fun, all the minute details of policy changes get a little boring. I skimmed a lot of the chapters and just read the most interesting parts. I found the chapters on marketing in schools to be the most interesting.

I'm only two chapters in but it's fascinating. Some of the first two chapters are a review for me since I studied this in grad school and wrote about some of it for my dissertation, but even for me there is new stuff, or new details for things I knew about to some degree. For instance, did you know we spend $90 billion a year on alcoholic drinks in the U.S.? Or that per capita Americans drink 53 gallons of soda a year?

The author is an academic nutritionist and has had a lot of insider experience sitting on boards and speaking as a nutritional expert. The point of the book is to show how food companies pressure Congress and the USDA to keep nutritional guidelines from being changed in ways that might hurt their profits, and how the search for profits overwhelms any concern for the nutritional content of food products. As a result, when USDA puts out food guidelines, it can't say "eat less meat," even though all evidence points to this as a healthier diet choice. They have to say things like "choose lean cuts of meat."

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