Food Politics

by Marion Nestle
Oct 24 2007

Doing something about diabetes and obesity in New York City

City University and the Public Health Association of New York City have just released their long-awaited report, “Reversing the Diabetes and Obesity Epidemics in New York City: A Call to Action.”  The report focuses on public health–rather than individual–causes of these problems and makes recommendations about how to change the environment to make it more conducive to eating better (less, I call it) and moving more.   It’s a good place to go for data on the extent of these problems.  Enjoy (?)

Oct 24 2007

The selling of Alli

Glaxo, the company that makes Alli (a.k.a. Xenical), says it has sold 2 million packages of the diet drug since June when the FDA approved over-the-counter sales. How did Glaxo do this? In interesting ways, says the Wall Street Journal.

The New York Times says the company says 70% of people taking the drug say they are losing weight. Maybe so, but under some coercion. Eat too much fat while taking the drug and you can expect some messy side effects.  There has to be a better way….

Oct 24 2007

More on diet and hyperactivity

Remember that paper in the Lancet I discussed a bit ago–the one about food additives and hyperactivity? It’s being taken so seriously that the New York State Assembly Committee on Mental Health, Mental Retardation, and Developmental Disabilities is holding a hearing on it on October 30. If you have strong feelings about the relationship of food additives to hyperactivity in kids, here’s your chance to get them heard.

Oct 24 2007

Doritos and the Colbert presidential campaign: A good source of funding?

Eating Liberally’s “kat” took me to see Frank Rich’s interview with Stephen Colbert last night and what fun that was! But no such thing as a free event, apparently. Today, kat wants to know what I think about Doritos’ sponsorship of Colbert’s campaign. Take a look at her question and my response and weigh in on this, please. Even if it’s a joke…?

Oct 23 2007

Unsafe meat: now we know why?

So now we know (courtesy of the New York Times) why E. coli O157:H7 recalls are becoming more frequent: the meat industry isn’t following food safety rules. These rules were require meat and poultry producers to develop and monitor plans for producing safe food, and to test to make sure the plans are working. Two problems here: the companies aren’t bothering to follow the rules, and the onsite USDA inspectors aren’t bothering to enforce them. Standard food safety rules–HACCP and pathogen reduction–work really well, but only if designed, followed, and enforced to the letter and spirit. I keep asking: what will it take to get Congress to act on the food safety issue?

Oct 22 2007

FDA hearings on salt

The FDA has just announced that it will be holding public hearings on November 29 to discuss issues related to salt labeling.  Right now, the FDA considers salt Generally Recognized as Safe (GRAS) for human consumption but petitions from Center for Science in the Public Interest and other groups are challenging that designation.  Should the FDA instead regulate salt as a food additive?  How could the FDA best use its regulatory authority to help Americans reduce their salt intake?  Expect fireworks at this hearing as the various stakeholders–health advocates vs. industry–weigh in.

Oct 22 2007

Antioxidants: Too much of a good thing?

Evidence continues to accumulate, little bit by little bit, that fat-soluble antioxidants and antioxidant vitamins–in this case, lycopenes, lutein, and beta-carotene vs. vitamin E–interfere with each other’s absorption. Here’s the short description and here’s the original paper so you can see how the little bits accumulate. For me, the take-home lesson is easy: eat food, not supplements.

Oct 21 2007

No end to supersizing

Here’s Lisa Young’s MSNBC summary of her latest observations of what fast food chains are doing about portion sizes–the same or bigger, in a word. If you want to read the article on which it’s based, look under Publications. Enjoy (?)

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