by Marion Nestle

Feedback

Have a general question or comment? This is the place. I’d love to hear from you (the Feedback box is at the bottom of the page).

Marion Nestle
  • Marion
  • January 13, 2013
  • 11:39 am

@Jon: Sodium and salt are easily confused. Salt is 40% sodium. One gram of sodium means 2.5 grams of salt. The recommendation to reduce sodium to 2.3 grams a day means about 6 grams of salt. For people over age 50, it’s 1.5 grams a day or about 4 grams of salt. I think guidelines would be easier to understand if they referred to salt rather than sodium–or food rather than nutrients for that matter–but there are reasons, political as well as scientific, why they don’t.

  • Jon
  • January 11, 2013
  • 10:23 pm

Marion,

It once occurred to me, when considering how much salt can be used during cooking to fall within the RDA for sodium, that the RDA for “sodium” is often simply discussed as “salt”, when in fact salt is only 50% sodium.

So here is my question: if the RDA for a 2000 calorie diet is 2g, does that mean that one could appropriately consume 4g or table salt?

This seems obvious to me, since sodium comes in many forms, and the FDA can’t possibly mean 2g of table salt, but I just want to make sure. Sometimes it’s the obviously things that are counter-intuitive.

Thanks!

  • Gail Brandt
  • January 9, 2013
  • 6:16 pm

I recently read your blog about weight and diabetes. While I shared your frustration over Paula Deen’s decision to promote a drug first, healthy diet second, as a type 2 diabetic I was angered by some of the overstatements in your blog.

There are many of us Type 2 diabetics who are lean, fit, active and do everything we can to manage our diet – and our bodies fight us. Its enormously frustrating. I have never been overweight (my BMI is 22), but I still lost 10 lbs when first diagnosed as pre-diabetic – it made no difference in my blood sugar. I exercise 6 -7 days a week and it has no impact – but I hope its helping the rest of me fight the ravages of the disease. You see my mother and all of her siblings are diabetics, my grandmother and all of her siblings were diabetics and most of my cousins are also diabetics. The problem with your blog is it implied that those of us with Type 2 caused our diabetes and can change it just by losing weight. That is type of attitude is defeating, damaging and provides a false impression that it the diabetics’ fault.
I managed my blood sugar within 80-138 with meals today. Late this afternoon, I was starving – my blood sugar was 101 – so I ate a very small apple and 2 small crackers – my blood sugar soared to 211. So as you can see, its not nearly as “easy” as you implied. Please be more respectful to those of us who have to actually manage with this disease.

Hello – I was a member of the audience in Philadelphia this summer when you addressed the CCMA conference.

Thank you for your presence and integrity.

As our Co-op, Willy Street Co-op in Madison, WI is approaching our 40th birthday (Oct. 2014), we are interested in presenting you as a guest lecturer for the benefit of our Owners. We can be pretty flexible with a date if you’re interested in fulfilling this request.

We would expect to pay you an honorarium, but your participation would be priceless.

If you would like to call me I can be reached at (608) 237-1217.

Lynn Olson
Director of Cooperative Services

Dear Dr. Nestle
I really enjoy reading your blogs and often use your comments and explanations as reference. In general we have the same food discussion here in Sweden as in the US. Maybe we have been seen as healthier and more progressive when it comes to food, but that is not true anymore.
Did you know that in Sweden the state subsidizes training that teaches people to eat more saturated fat (butter, cream and bacon)?
Did you know that in Sweden the consumption of butter, cream and full fat milk has increased a lot over the last years, so much that it was a shortage of butter in the fall 2012? (The sales of butter has increased by 40% in three years).
Did you know that in Sweden the sales of health branded low fat products has decreased so much that the producers might stop selling low fat cheeses?
Did you know that researchers last year published articles showing that the cardiovascular risk factors are increasing in the Swedish population?
I guess you didn’t know. Sweden’s still trying to keep up it’s healthy image but when it comes to food and health we are really on a slippery slope.
http://www.healthypeoplehealthyplanet.net/reflektioner/sweden-on-a-slippery-health.html
To get our politicians to wake up and act, I think we need to make the rest of the world aware of the Swedish slippery health slope. Hopefully we can go from apathy to action when it comes to food, health, climate and environment.

Best wishes/Ulf Bohman

Friends -

This is a time and place for Sustainability to be at the forefront. This is a time and place that all can come together for Sustainability. Our blessings have become an opportunity for all of us to seize. Attached is our Press Release standing up for our right to grow our own food. We are not the only ones this has happened to but we want to be the last.

Feeding the hungry is the major problem that all of us face daily whether homeless, underdeveloped countries, our schools, or in time of recession. Furthermore, commercial crops, harvesting, and distribution has caused as much of an impact to Earth as greenhouse gases. We can do our part by producing much of our food locally, reducing the ecological footprint exponentially.

Gardens Build Community. Become Inspired. Thank You Ron Finley.
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=5dhdAgLPMUQ&feature=player_embedded

Whether you support the Patriot-Gardens.com campaign, start your own campaign, plant some potted herbs, or spread the word; please help awareness and engagement. Little things become GREAT impacts when we all come together. If you are interested in partnering with the campaign in any way, please contact us.

Our time is Now. God Bless.

Jason and Jennifer Helvenston

407-222-3104

  • Jen Oslund
  • January 4, 2013
  • 8:10 pm

Ok here is another one I would love your input on. Mark Lynas, who played a large role in anti-GMO food has now decided that GMO’s are perfectly fine, claiming that he “discovered science” and saying “I was completely wrong to oppose GMO’s”
Slate article here
http://www.slate.com/blogs/future_tense/2013/01/03/mark_lynas_environmentalist_who_opposed_gmos_admits_he_was_wrong.html

Complete Oxford speech here:
http://www.marklynas.org/2013/01/lecture-to-oxford-farming-conference-3-january-2013/

I would love the opinion of a scientist who also has a strong background on these matters.

  • Jen Oslund
  • January 1, 2013
  • 10:00 pm

I forgot to give you a link the art article…just in case you were interested ;D

http://www.nature.com/nature/journal/v482/n7383/full/482027a.html

  • Jen Oslund
  • January 1, 2013
  • 9:56 pm

Marion,

There is an interesting article in Nature, “Public Health” The toxic truth about sugar.

The conclusion is:
Added sweeteners pose dangers to health that justify controlling them like alcohol, argue Robert H. Lustig, Laura A. Schmidt and Claire D. Brindis.

This is something I am in full support of, but I was intruiged by a comment made by Geoff Russell (copied below) that puts into question the arguements on sugars role in diabetes and obesity. I was curious of your thoughts on the legitimacy of his comment and if you found such info. when doing research for your book, Why Calories Count..if so where does one find such statistics?

Thanks
Jen Oslund

Geoff Russell said:
Australia provides a natural test of the sugar-is-the-evil-bullet theory. We don’t produce much corn here, so continue to use cane sugar for most of our sweetening. In the 1960s we didn’t have an obesity epidemic. How much sugar did we consume? According to the FAO, 52.3 kg per person per year in 1965 (of 55kg total sweeteners).

What about now, in the midst of our own obesity and type 2 diabetes epidemics?

We are down to 39.6 kg of cane sugar per person per year, with an additional 8kg of non-sugar sweeteners. Overall there has been a modest decline in all sugars despite a rise in obesity and diabetes. How has our food supply has changed over the past 4 decades? We have more Calories. If may be tempting to attribute the US obesity crisis to sugars, but obesity increases elsewhere demonstrate that more Calories and less exercise are a sufficient explanation.

Similarly, compare Cuba and Italy. Cuba consumes 500 kCal per day of sugar and Italy just 300 kCal, Italy has an obesity/type 2 diabetes problem while Cuba’s rates are very low. Historically, Cuba has eaten even more sugar than she does now … without the evil consequences that this article portends.

Hello Dr. Nestle:

I am writing to you in order to entertain a proposition involving yourself and my 9th grade students at E.L Haynes Public Charter School. I am a Capital Teaching Resident here and hope that it would be possible for you to speak briefly with my students (either via SKYPE or phone) regarding the Farm Bill and subsidies. Many of my students are quite familiar with the term food desert, but have difficulty understanding the “why and how does this affect me”. I was hoping that you would be able to speak to them specifically about the sugar industry and the perverse incentives policy has inculcated into our cultural fabric. The issue of race and health disparities is also a salient trope that I would like to impress upon my students next semester. If it is not possible for you to speak, would it be at all possible for you to refer my request to a colleague or peer in academia, policy or industry, I would greatly appreciate it. Thank you again for your time and consideration.

  • John Durkin
  • December 19, 2012
  • 4:42 am

The FT has a headline which I cut and past the first para below. The full article can be found on the FT website.

This research smells so bad, it has to be a fraud or at best science fiction. What is gut bacteria anyway?? Any comments?

Scientists link obesity to gut bacteria
By Pippa Stephens in London
Obesity in human beings could be caused by bacterial infection rather than eating too much, exercising too little or genetics, according to a groundbreaking study that could have profound implications for public health systems, the pharmaceutical industry and food manufacturers.
The discovery in China followed an eight-year search by scientists across the world to explain the link between gut bacteria and obesity.

http://www.ft.com/intl/cms/s/0/0b7af978-493a-11e2-9225-00144feab49a.html#axzz2FULNh840

  • Madelon Sann
  • December 14, 2012
  • 9:07 am

Hi Dr Nestlé
I have been familiar with your work via Jane Brody’s column, occasional references to you from Marc Bittman and the occasional coverage on NPR. #1I think your work is terrific and truly intelligent!

I am contacting you because I would like your referral to a nutritionist with your brilliance and sensibilities. I am interested in a diet that will avoid statins and continue to control my genetic load for diabetes Any help would be hugely appreciated.

Many thanks

Madelon Sann

  • Kifah
  • December 12, 2012
  • 2:05 am

Good day,

I am the owner of http://www.foodlve.com

I provide services for the graduated nutritionist to provide online paid advices, and custom diet plans

I would like to get your help to announce this service to the graduated students and to the undergraduate, who is able to provide such service and get good part time income.

Regards,

  • BEH
  • December 11, 2012
  • 12:58 pm

Hi Marion
I’d love to get your insights on the false advertising that 38 companies are being brought to task for in India. One with claims like “your child will grow twice at tall” with this product. Some of these foods are from U.S. based companies like Heinz and Kellogg (but presumably using India based ad & PR companies). In the U.S., food companies have to follow certain rules governed by the Food Labeling Act (although many claims still seem dubious or intentionally misleading to me), shouldn’t they also follow these standards on their products marketed all over the world? Many companies project the image of being concerned about the consumers health espeically in the U.S. (self regulated marketing and nutrition standards) but when they don’t have someone breathing down their back they take outrageous liberties with what they sell and how they advertise often in the most vulnerable places in the world. I’d love to hear your take.

http://preview.tinyurl.com/b5pah6j

Hi Marion -

Wanted to get our project on your radar – we thought it might be interesting to your community.

In short food eaters needed from all walks of life – does a vegetarian or omnivore diet produce a healthier gut microbiome? Does owning a dog or jogging/running on a weekly basis make your gut microbiome healthier? Only one way to find out.

Thirty leading microbiome researchers launch crowd funding project to crowd source 10,000 gut microbiomes from the American public.
How does diet & lifestyle impact your gut microbiome and thus you susceptibility to disease. Only one way to find out. Need large crowd sourced sample.

Project is unique in that 1) bypasses traditional funding sources such as NIH; 2) the dream team of scientists on the project; 3) the size of the sample size sought and; 4) the goal to establish the role of diet & lifestyle as a driver of gut microbiome composition – and thus health – across the American Gut landscape.

In other words, which diet and lifestyle decisions shape your gut microbiome and thus your susceptibility to many diseases associated with the gut microbiome (we are also seeking anyone with a condition or ailment as well – e.g., IBD). We are also looking at skin and oral biomes as well – and your family dog!

From the perspective of your gut microbes, is a vegetarian or omnivore better for you? Does owning a dog promote better intestinal health in its owner? And so on.

Quote from NIH about the project:
“It’s a project whose time has come,” says Lita Proctor, who coordinates the Human Microbiome Project for or the National Institutes of Health. She said “DNA-analyzing technology — and social media — are finally ready to handle the task, which is being called the American Gut Project.”

Anyone can sign up:
http://www.indiegogo.com/americangut

Press Release:
http://www.colorado.edu/news/releases/2012/11/21/new-public-gut-bacteria-study-expected-reach-around-world

List of scientists on the project: http://humanfoodproject.com/the-people/collaborators/

Jeff Leach
Human Food Project

Dear Marion, keep up the excellent work. As a culinary historian publised by Harvard and an interpreter of food science for the University of Florida, I spent thirty years tracking down a food program ordered by President Eisenhower in 1953 you should know about. It’s in FMM, available at Amazon.com, Kindle Select books for $4.99 US, 3.20 Uk. Real story, real secret, real changes coming in food. Thank you, David Miller. PS. Happy Holidays’

Hello All,

My colleague Juan contacted you about posting “The Perfect Gift” video onto your website. I am just e-mailing you to follow up and see if you had the chance to watch the video. We are trying to spread this message for a wonderful cause and would love it if you could help us! :)

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=2HwAZNLBDhU

Thank you so much!

Alli

  • e poBrian Kohler
  • November 25, 2012
  • 12:40 pm

Dear Marion,
I am reading “What to Eat” and it is becoming one of my favorite food books. However, I do have a concern I would like to share.
In the book you mention several times that restaurants should train there waiters to be polite when customers order only appetizers. There are times and places where this is appropriate. But, too often when a waiter has a 4 table station and needs to make his evening wages, a tip of $4 on a $20 tab is not really going to help hit the $80 mark that he needs to pay his bills. Remember, because of our American restaurant system waiters make less than minimum wage, and in fine dining, this does not even cover the taxes on clamed tips.
I think it would be helpful to mention that eating appetizers between major dining times (3:00 pm) when servers are allowed to take more than 4 tables would be less painful to the server’s wallet.
Also, most restaurants have a lounge and bar (usually non-smoking) that encourages appetizer orders. Cocktail servers are generally allowed to wait on up to 8 tables to make up for the lower check averages.
Thank god I am no longer in the restaurant business, but I still feel for the people who are stuck in this archaic system. Please help.
Thanks,
Brian Kohler,
A fan

  • Cammy
  • November 22, 2012
  • 6:12 am

I hope kaiser does not take this back. We need big corps to take a stand against Gmos. Maybe kaiser is tough, strong and smart enough to do it?

Marion Nestle
  • Marion
  • November 21, 2012
  • 3:45 pm

@Melaney: I’m surprised too. I’m greatly in favor of GMO labeling and wish there were better science that what is cited here. I wonder if Kaiser’s administration will disassociate itself from this piece. Keep an eye out for the reactions. Thanks for sending.

  • Melaney
  • November 21, 2012
  • 3:29 pm

Hi Marion,

I’m really surprised that Kaiser came out against GMO’s. What do you think?

http://www.willamettelive.com/2012/news/corporate-giant-comes-out-against-gmos/

Hello!

The Upright Citizens Brigade has a new video that might interest your readers, especially those who have watched countless yogurt commercials on TV.

The Only Food You’ll Ever Need: Yoplait Meals Light by Horse + Horse
Who needs real food when you have Yoplait?

You can check out the video HERE: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=QBLJDDR9Svs

Written by: Kristy Lopez-Bernal (UCB)
Directed by: Chris Chuang (UCB, Cracked)
Produced by: Moujan Zolfaghari (The Onion News Network, UCB, Late Night with Jimmy Fallon)

Horse + Horse is a UCB Comedy production team based in New York City.

MEDIA CONTACT:
Moujan Zolfaghari
moujanz@gmail.com
925.413.8016

  • Genny
  • November 14, 2012
  • 5:21 pm

FYI – In your latest post, you pasted the Mother Jones quote twice.

  • Susan Clair
  • November 8, 2012
  • 11:41 pm

Hello, Marion,

We met when you came to Sandia Nat’l Labs, New Mexico, in summer 2010. I no longer work at Sandia, which is a good thing for me.

I wonder whether you have seen the documentary on GMOs. Here’s the link for the full-length version of the documentary—roughly 85 minutes: http://tinyurl.com/8p5nqux

Perhaps your readers might be interested in seeing it.

My very best to you,
Susan Clair
clair@nmia.com

  • Bert
  • November 7, 2012
  • 4:46 pm

Hello, my name is Bert and I am a fellow writer and a food industry worker. I am currently interning in a public health research institute, working on an obesity study, as well as a “restaurant Intervention.” I have kept up with your wonderful blog and I have purchased the audiobook version of Food Politics and have enjoyed the intelligent, well thought out treatment you give of such a delicate subject. I am experimenting in writing my own blog and would like to share it with you and your readers. I admire your work in this field and would appreciate any feedback you or your readers wish to share. The blog began as a chronicle of a restaurant cook frustrated with aspects of the industry. I am revitalizing it now that I have my undergraduate studies underway and am interning at a public health research institute. I hope that this subject might be of interest to some of you and also be a source of entertainment. The title of my blog is to-serve-man (http://to-serve-man.org). Thank You!

Sincerely,

Bert

  • Juan Febles
  • October 31, 2012
  • 11:38 pm

Hello,

I hope you are having a wonderful day today, I came across to a great piece of content that I believe to be relevant to you and your readers but you should be the judge of that.

Here’s the link to a video that Burt’s Bee made recently, which I believe is very artistic and inspiring.

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=wruYxgj79cI

If you find this video entertaining and appropriate to your site feel free to post it there and if you have any questions or comments please just let me know.

I look forward to hearing what you think!

Thanks,
Juan Febles

Hi,

I have been reading your blog with great interest. I think it is
wonderful and hope that I might be able to give you something new to
write about. I own a full-service personal training and fitness
company and recently published a book that I think your readers would
greatly appreciate. I would like to be considered for a guest post
where I can discuss the book and the benefits of portion control for
children , or possibly a book review on your blog.

I own a full-service personal training and fitness
company and recently published a book that I think your readers would
greatly appreciate. I would like to be considered for a guest post
where I can discuss the book and the benefits of portion control for
children , or possibly a book review on your blog.

I have also included the link
to the paperback version that is not available for sale online at
Amazon. Below the link is a description of the book. I hope that if
you enjoy the sample and want to see or hear more about the book, you
will contact me at your convenience.

Here is a link to the website that explains the book: http://www.serveitupfood.com

Here is the link for the paperback version:

http://www.amazon.com/s/ref=nb_sb_noss?url=search-alias%3Daps&field-keywords=serve+it+up%2C+laura

If you don’t want to click on the link, you can search at Amazon.com
“Serve It Up, Laura”

The book is called Serve It Up and it is the
first ever book that offers meal plans and ideas for serving
kid-friendly foods in a portion-controlled manner. After surveying
hundreds of parents, I took into account their most commonly served
foods to create 50 meals that are represented in my book. This book
is designed to help adults feed their children popular kid foods by
pairing foods in an appropriate and beneficial way. The
ground-breaking idea is that children will be able to eat the foods
they already eat, but do so by placing certain foods together so they
are satisfying the USDA guidelines and recommendations for daily
calories, protein, fat and carbohydrates.

For example, does your 7 year old sedentary daughter need the same
amount of calories as your 12 year old active son? The reality is no,
but how much more food does your son need? Many people do not know the
answer to this question, or for that matter, where to even begin in
making sure children are receiving the calories they need. Every five
years, the USDA releases recommended calorie that every child
should aim to eat daily. These calorie counts are determined by the
child’s age, gender and activity level. Serve It Up uses the USDA
Nutritional Guidelines and gives you fifty popular, kid-friendly meals
in the appropriate serving sizes.

As you know, today many homes have two working parents and it is
harder to provide healthy, home-cooked meals than in the past.
Children are often busy with school, sports and after-school
activities and because of this schedules are busy and it is easier for
parents to feed their children prepared foods. In addition, some
children are reluctant to try new foods and many parents feel guilty
giving into fast and processed foods. This book will help alleviate
some of that guilt! Many fast and processed foods items, if served in
the proper portions, can still help children maintain a normal body
weight and body mass index (BMI).

Please do not hesitate tolet me know if you have any questions or if
you are interested in
receiving the book.

Sincerely,

Laura

  • Maureen MacLaren
  • October 25, 2012
  • 5:51 am

Diabetes, especially Type2 is a major and growing concern .
The prime concern for diabetics is knowing the value of the CARBOHYDRATE content of their food.

Food manufacturers seem to have overlooked this,and you have to read the small print on the packaging, of you can find it in the first place to find this information, and then it is usually given per 100gm.

Can you please persuade the manufacturers to include the carbohydrate value along with everything else on the front of the packaging.

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