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Food Politics: How the Food Industry Influences Nutrition, and Health, Revised and Expanded Edition (California Studies in Food and Culture) Paperback – October 15, 2007
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Top customer reviews
Some passages that particularly sat with me included, "Surveys indicate that people are interested in nutritional and health but are confused by conflicting information, suffer from "nutritional schizophrenia," and cannot figure out how to achieve "nutritional utopia." (p.91) [Indeed... and there's a billion-dollar industry counting on that!] "The hundreds of millions of dollars available to the meat and dairy lobbies through check-off programs, and the billions of dollars that food companies spend on advertising and lawsuits, so far exceed both the amounts spent by the federal government on nutrition advice for the public and the annual budget of any consumer advocacy group that they cannot be considered in the same stratosphere." (p.171) "Researches counted not a single commercial for fruits, vegetables, bread, or fish." (p.182) "It seems reasonable to expect that everyone would be concerned about whether supplements are safe, whether they do what they claim to do, and whether the benefit of taking them outweighs any financial or health risks they might induce." (p.220) "Because all foods and drinks include ingredients (calories, nutrients, or water) that are essential for life, any one of them has the potential to be marketed for its health benefits." (p.315) "Food package labels are the result of politics, not science, and [have] become so opaque or confusing that only consumers with the hermeneutic abilities of a Talmudic scholar can peel back the encoded layers of meaning. That is because labels spring not from disinterested scientific reasoning but from lobbying, negotiation, and compromise." (p.249)
This is a GREAT book, though towards the end my brain lost the ability to analyze the information (fact overload), but overall it was an important read and I'm glad I made my way through it. I wish there was a Reader's Digest condensed version. This is not for everyone, and definitely not a "light" read. But if you commit to reading it, digesting it, really thinking about it... your life will benefit from doing so. In the end, Nestle has left me frustrated and angry and sad and, in general, just simply emotional. Through her matter-of-fact writing tone and reserved bias throughout the book, I am left to think whatever I want of the information she has spread before me. And it pisses me off.
The Kindle edition does not show the graphs and charts in a readable way and is a major drawback from a paper edition.
My credit to the author for the many years of labor over this work.