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Soda Politics: Taking on Big Soda (and Winning) 1st Edition

4.3 out of 5 stars 12 customer reviews
ISBN-13: 978-0190263430
ISBN-10: 0190263431
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Frequently Bought Together

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Editorial Reviews


2016 James Beard Award for Writing & Literature Winner

"The soda industry is a powerful economic operator. Economic power readily translates into political power. Soda Politics is exactly the kind of carefully-researched investigative reporting needed to open the eyes of the public and parliamentarians to the health hazards of what is, as the author rightly notes, essentially liquid candy in a bottle." --Dr. Margaret Chan, Director-General, World Health Organization

"Long recognized as an important and informed voice in our national and international discussions on nutrition and health, Marion Nestle has written another book that will keep us talking. With an impressive combination of scholarship and advocacy, Dr. Nestle takes an unflinching look at the soda industry, its products and the impact on health. Soda Politics deserves the attention of the public and policy makers, and should make us all think more carefully about choices we can make to improve health and well-being." --Margaret Hamburg, M.D., Former Commissioner of the U.S. Food and Drug Administration

"Marion Nestle is one of the greatest muckrakers of our time, and what she does is vitally important-for our health, our environment, and for future generations. Here, she wages war against the soda titans with such piercing clarity and so many irrefutable truths that all other arguments crumble." --Alice Waters, Founder and Proprietor of Chez Panisse

"Comprehensive and well-written, this book will help frame a thoughtful public policy debate about nutrition and the societal impacts and costs of obesity." --Ann M. Veneman, Former US Secretary of Agriculture and Former Executive Director of UNICEF

"What happens when the food industry's most insightful critic turns her sights on soda? This razor-sharp, fun to read, plan-of-battle for one of the greatest public health fights of our time. Big soda may have all the money, but those who would enter this fray, as we all should, now have their champion." --Michael Moss, Author of Salt Sugar Fat: How the Food Giants Hooked Us

"For decades, soda companies have amassed fortunes off drinks that are making us sick. It took someone like Marion Nestle to cut through the spin and uncover the high cost of cheap sodas." --Robert Kenner, Director/Producer, Food Inc. and Merchants of Doubt

"No book in history has so completely laid bare the soda scourge that touches every corner of the world. Marion Nestle shows how this happened, its impact on human health and well-being, who the players are, and, most importantly, what might be done. This is the right book at the right time." --Dr. Kelly Brownell, Dean, Sanford School of Public Policy, Duke University

"An outstanding manual for health educators, activists, and anyone seeking information about the soda industry and its impact on health." - Library Journal

About the Author

Dr. Marion Nestle is Paulette Goddard Professor in the Department of Nutrition, Food Studies, and Public Health and Professor of Sociology at New York University. Her degrees include a Ph.D. in molecular biology and an M.P.H. in public health nutrition, both from the University of California, Berkeley. From 1986-88, she was senior nutrition policy advisor in the Department of Health and Human Services and managing editor of the 1988 Surgeon General's Report on Nutrition and Health. She has been a member of the FDA Food Advisory Committee and Science Board, the USDA/DHHS Dietary Guidelines Advisory Committee, and American Cancer Society committees that issue dietary guidelines for cancer prevention. She is also the author of Eat Drink Vote: An Illustrated Guide to Food Politics (Rodale, 2013), Why Calories Count: From Science to Politics (Berkeley, 2012), Safe Food: The Politics of Food Safety (Berkeley, 2010), Food Politics: How the Food Industry Influences Nutrition and Health (Berkeley, 2007), which won awards from the Association for American Publishers and the James Beard Foundation; and What to Eat (North Point, 2006), which was named one of Amazon's top ten books of 2006. You can read her blog at www.foodpolitics.com.

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Product Details

  • Hardcover: 528 pages
  • Publisher: Oxford University Press; 1 edition (October 5, 2015)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0190263431
  • ISBN-13: 978-0190263430
  • Product Dimensions: 9.3 x 1.7 x 6.4 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 1.8 pounds (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 4.3 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (12 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #131,675 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Customer Reviews

Top Customer Reviews

By David Wineberg TOP 500 REVIEWER on September 24, 2015
Format: Hardcover
From the woman who told The New Yorker: “The best thing Pepsi could do for worldwide obesity would be to go out of business.” comes the ultimate, complete explanation of why sodas and the firms behind them are bad, who is doing what about it, and how you can help move it all along. Marion Nestle has long been the rational, thorough and fair rapporteur of food crime. Soda Politics is a standalone compendium of her personal knowledge and direct and indirect experience in the battle to corral it.

As with tobacco, soda makers know to start ‘em young. Kids meals come with sodas by default. A child’s portion is 12 ounces –their new normal. Big Soda has been paying schools a pittance for “exclusive pouring rights”, plastering the campuses of even elementary schools with dispensing machines, posters and signs – not just for their drinks, but for their even more unhealthy snack foods. It’s the kids’ normal environment. For this, the school gets $2 per child. $4 for highschoolers. Nestle calls this an unprecedented attack on schools. Interestingly, kids who aren’t allowed sodas at school don’t then go home and guzzle them to make up the deficit. They can live without, and if we could simply substitute the default drink, everything would improve.

Despite the “voluminous, consistent and compelling research”, Big Soda maintains there is no direct link to all the new obesity and diabetes we see here, and in every nation they invade. In the USA, the amount of sugar they sell works out to 13 teaspoons for every man woman and child – per day. But then, some theaters sell a 44 ounce “medium”.

The soda companies recognize that health advocacy has become the single biggest threat to profits. And that the Big Tobacco playbook is not enough.
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Format: Hardcover
Marion Nestle has written a well-researched, fact-packed assessment of how soft drinks and the companies that make them have impacted our health, mostly through the obesity epidemic, which results in many life-threatening diseases, most notably type-2 diabetes. Whether the sweeteners in them come from cane sugar or high-fructose corn syrup, sugary soft drinks provide far too many empty calories for those who over-consume them.

No one, including Nestle, is arguing that moderate consumption is bad for you. But that isn’t the point.

You may not agree with all of her conclusions, but if you are interested in issues of public health, you owe it to yourself to read this book. Note that I am the author of the history of Coca-Cola (FOR GOD, COUNTRY AND COCA-COLA) as well as a book about disease detectives and public health (INSIDE THE OUTBREAKS), so I know something about these issues. The soft drink companies offer alternative low-calorie drinks, and they make a point of supporting laudatory exercise programs. Good. But they continue to advertise and lobby (often using front groups) for ever-greater consumption of sugar-laden beverages and to fight against taxes or regulations on them.
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Format: Hardcover
Will drinking a glass of cold, sparkling soda be soon the equivalent of smoking: you are a social pariah in the eyes of many, whilst providing a source of income for the producer and taxing government alike? You might not be able to draw a direct comparison since you are less likely to be hooked with an occasional glass of Coca-Cola, yet becoming a regular “hooked” consumer can have its side effects. There’s a whole world of soda politics that you possibly had never imagined.

This is an interesting book that looks, without recourse to hysteria or hyperbole, at the world of soda drinks, the role they play in our society and their real downside as these products contribute to poor dental hygiene, higher calorie intake, obesity and type-2 diabetes. Clearly a glass won’t harm you, but several glasses a day or more?

The author takes a forensic look at how the soda drinks industry works to get us hooked. Advertising is heavily used to make drinking soda seem normal, as normal as drinking a glass of milk or water. Would your football stadium hot dog be the same with a glass of water? What about a visit to the cinema, if you took milk with your over-priced popcorn? Carrot juice to accompany your hamburger at a fast-food joint?

Even after any health issues that can follow there is a dark side. Why would the soda drinks industry be pumping large amounts of money to lobby against changes that could impact on their bottom line? They may shout loudly about their ethical policies and corporate social responsibility, whilst shovelling money at lobbyists to head off initiatives that might stop their products being marketed towards the most vulnerable (children) in places where they gather such as schools or cinemas.

The author carefully comes out with her arguments.
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Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
When you realize the myriad ways that Coke and Pepsi manipulate public opinion, warp nutrition research, twist the law-making process, and seek ever-sneakier ways to get children hooked on their product, it would be excusable if you merely ranted. Marion Nestle does not. Instead she presents a meticulous, careful accounting of all this. The U.S. seems to be making some progress in the soda wars, and Marion Nestle deserves a sizable share of the credit.
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