Food Politics

by Marion Nestle
Jul 9 2008

Calories: more than you ever wanted to know?

Mark Schrimsher writes to tell me that his CalorieLab site has just posted a U.S. map indicating the states with the highest levels of obesity.  The site has a calorie counter for a huge number of items and meals, and does things like adding up the calories expected to be consumed in the Nathan’s hot dog eating contest–19,600.  Did this happen?

Jul 8 2008

San Francisco gets sued over calorie labeling

If you missed the fight between restaurant trade associations and the New York City Health Department over calorie labeling, you get another chance: San Francisco.  San Francisco’s city attorney wants fast food places not only to post calories, but also saturated fat, sodium, and carbohydrates (check out the link for all the documents in this case).    Is this a good idea?  Aren’t calories enough?

Jul 6 2008

Statin drugs for 8-year-olds?

The nutrition committee of the American Academy of Pediatrics has just issued a new set of recommendations for cholesterol screening.  The advice of this august body?  Screen 2-year-olds for high cholesterol and start prescribing statin drugs at age 8.  OK, they are just recommending this for kids with risk factors, such as high LDL cholesterol (the bad one), family history of heart disease, obesity, diabetes, metabolic syndrome, etc.   This sounds great for doctors, testing labs, and drug companies.  Is it a good idea for kids?  Which kids?  Who is going to pick up the tab for this?

Jul 4 2008

The Perishable Pundit takes me on

Yesterday, July 3, Jim Prevor, the Perishable Pundit, published a long series of posts (his ninth collection) on the tomato recalls.  One of the last in this bunch is in response to some comments I sent him.   We disagree about a number of points.  But if it were easy to achieve safe food, we’d have it by now.  I think it’s great that people like Jim are thinking seriously about these issues.  See what you think of this debate.

Jul 3 2008

Latest stats on GM crops

Think what you like about genetically modified crops; farmers love them.  How else to explain the latest data from USDA?  GM soybeans are leveling off a bit – at close to 90%–and corn at close to 60%.   The public doesn’t like GM much.  They aren’t labeled.  What’s in this for farmers?

Jul 3 2008

Luther Burgers?

It’s getting to the Fourth of July silly season, so thanks to Jack Everitt for making sure that I know about Luther Burgers–hamburgers in a Krispy Kreme donut bun. They even have their own Wikipedia entry. Don’t you need to know about such things? This is another food joke, right? Thanks (?) Jack.

Jul 2 2008

European students examine obesity policy

Thanks to Herman Lelieveldt for sending this link to a group of papers prepared by his students at the Roosevelt Academy in Middleburg, The Netherlands: The Politics of Food and Fat. It’s always interesting to look at these issues from another perspective, in this case European.

Jul 1 2008

Calories in alcoholic beverages revealed!

Consumer Federation of America (CFA) has a new Alcohol Facts chart out that compares the calorie content of alcoholic beer, wine, and hard liquor. CFA produced it to fill the regulatory gap in labeling of alcoholic beverages–they are regulated by an arm of the Treasury Department (Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, and Firearms) and viewed as revenue generators, not something that might affect health. It’s amusing to see where the calories are…

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