Food Politics

by Marion Nestle
Jan 7 2008

What nerve! Benefits of chocolate questioned

Food Production Daily, my source of much interesting information about European production of functional foods, today reveals the bitter truth about chocolate. It quotes an article in The Lancet revealing that most of the beneficial antioxidants in cocoa are removed during processing. But a spokesperson for the chocolate industry says (my emphasis): “Anyone already on a healthy and balanced diet should be able to indulge occasionally in one or two squares of dark chocolate and benefit from a few health benefits as well.”

But of course. As I am always saying, promoting the health benefits of chocolate is about marketing, not health.

Jan 5 2008

Physical Activity is Increasing! (?)

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention says physical activity is increasing among U.S. adults. At least that’s what U.S. adults say they are doing. It’s almost as hard to get good information about activity as it is to get information about diet. The latest results could be true. They are consistent with some studies, but not others. If so, it’s good news but doesn’t this mean that weight gain must be due to overeating, not to too little activity (at least across the population)?

Jan 5 2008

The best functional drink ever?

I am indebted to OrangeClouds115 who writes a diary for the Daily Kos (here’s an example) for telling me about Function drinks, this one called “House Call.” The Function website says: “An apple a day keeps the doctor away? The docs at Function think that’s slightly rude.” House Call keeps the doctor away? Um, maybe not. Orangeclouds115 reports: “You should see the ingredients. It’s sugar water. They sell 4 for $5.” As I say in What to Eat, functional foods are about marketing; they are not about health.  Alas.

Jan 4 2008

FDA to OK cloned animals for food?

According to rumors, the FDA is about to approve the use of cloned animals for food. The rumors originate from the Wall Street Journal, which warns everyone to “get ready for a food fight over milk and meat from cloned animals and their offspring.” When it first approved cloned animals, the FDA asked producers of the cloned animals not to do this until consumers got used to the idea: “we are continuing to ask producers of clones and livestock breeders to voluntarily refrain from introducing food products from these animals into commerce so that we will have the opportunity to consider the public’s comments and to issue any final documents as warranted.” I guess they’ve done that and the time has come?

Jan 4 2008

Stevia is coming (maybe)

Coca-Cola and Cargill have teamed up to start marketing the sweetener, Stevia, in countries that allow it, places like Brazil and China. Europe and the U.S. do not allow it as a food additive although the U.S. permits its use as a dietary supplement. The FDA says companies have not produced evidence that the substance is safe; it considers Stevia an “unsafe food additive” and any product containing it to be adulterated. The entry on Stevia in Wikipedia explains most of what all this is about. Concerns about the safety of Stevia have not stopped Coca-Cola from filing 24 patent applications or petitioning the FDA for approval. Interesting, no?

Jan 3 2008

Michael Pollan’s new book

On Eating Liberally’s “Let’s Ask Marion” this week, I discuss Michael Pollan’s new book, In Defense of Food, his gift to the new year.  Enjoy!

Jan 3 2008

Happy new year! 100 great recipes!

Jack of Food and Bottle sends along this notice of the TV Food Network’s top 100 recipes of 2007. As he puts it, “Two Mac ‘n Cheese recipes to start you off…27 chicken recipes,7 casseroles, 2 soups, No stews, No ethnic food. (a couple of make-believes, though). Okay, so it is the worst Top 100 List I’ve seen. But hey, their millions of viewers must lop it up. Have a great 2008!”

Yum. Oh well. As someone on the TV Food Network once pointed out to me, food cooked on TV has no calories.

Jan 2 2008

More on nutrition scoring: David Katz responds

My previous post elicited a long and thoughtful comment from Dr. David Katz. His response is well worth reading. Take a look. And thank you David for writing in. Your scoring system is an interesting experiment. Will people routinely choose foods with higher scores? Will food companies change their product formulas in order to qualify for higher scores? Will people be healthier as a result? Will they be less confused about nutrition?  I will be interested to follow the progress of your system and see how it works out. Thanks again for writing and happy new year!

Page 241 of 276« First...239240241242243...Last »