by Marion Nestle

Currently browsing posts about: Let’s Ask Marion

May 5 2008

Eating Liberally Asks Marion: agribusiness and the global food crisis

I forgot to post the link to Eating Liberally’s last question (and my answer) about how agribusiness is influencing the current crisis over rising food prices. Here it is.

Mar 27 2008

Eating Liberally’s Question: Breakfast

So what do I think of the importance of eating breakfast? Here’s what I told Eating Liberally’s KAT.

Mar 1 2008

Eating Liberally asks Marion: Wal-Mart

This week’s Eating Liberally’s Ask Marion question: Can Wal-Mart contribute to sustainability?  It’s a stretch, but I tried to address the question.

Feb 25 2008

Eating Liberally: Food Biotech

The Ask Marion question this week has to do with whether there is anything good about food biotechnology. This is a good week to ask since the industry’s genes have been leaking again, this time into corn that is not genetically modified. Apparently, according to Food Chemical News (and I do love the way these things are described) “Dow AgroSciences had earlier informed the agencies that it had detected extremely low levels of an unregistered plant-incorporated protectant (PIP), known as Event 32, in some Herculex RW and Herculex XTRA Rootworm Protection seed lines. Seed containing the PIP was inadvertently sold to farmers by Dow’s affiliate, Mycogen Seeds, and planted in 2006 and 2007.” Translation: The Mycogen Co. sold seeds containing an unapproved gene to be planted with conventional corn. Oops, and not the first time.

Jan 31 2008

Eating Liberally asks Marion: What’s the deal on CCF?

Eating Liberally has been following this week’s discussion of the Center for Consumer Freedom (see comments to my previous post) and asks: What’s the story on that group? The group denies that the tuna industry funds its pro-methylmercury campaign. OK. Who does fund it?

Jan 26 2008

Eating Liberally Asks Marion: is the “obesity epidemic: a myth?

In this week’s “Let’s Ask Marion,” Eating Liberally’s kat wants to know what I thought about the recent piece in the New York Times about the fat acceptance movement. Her questions are always exceptionally thoughtful. My answers try to be. Enjoy!

Jan 15 2008

Food allergies

This week’s “Ask Marion” question on Eating Liberally is about food allergies, something I wouldn’t wish on anyone–too little known, and too much at stake.  Take a look.

Jan 11 2008

What’s the deal on saturated fat?

A reader, “rj,” sends a link to an article in Men’s Health (“What if bad fat isn’t so bad”), and asks about: “The supposed inconclusive evidence for sat fat being the culprit in atherosclerosis. Personally, I couldn’t find any credentials of the author but nevertheless would be much interested in your thoughts on the matter.”

My thoughts: As I keep saying, nutrition science is complicated and this article, by an excellent science journalist, is the latest in a series by excellent science journalists (see, for example, the recent books by Gary Taubes and Michael Pollan) to point out the inconsistencies in data on saturated fat and heart disease risk. Let me make several quick points: (1) All fats–no exceptions–are mixtures of saturated, unsaturated, and polyunsaturated fatty acids (2) Saturated fats occur in greater proportions in animal fats–meat and dairy foods, (3) Some epidemiologic evidence–but not all–suggests that people who eat a lot of meat and dairy foods have a higher risk of heart disease than people who eat a lot of fruit and vegetables (this is correlation, not causation), (4) The same clinical studies that show how trans fats do bad things to blood cholesterol levels also show that saturated fat does too, although not as much (But: people take in a lot more saturated fat than trans fat), and (5) Saturated fat is a single nutrient and the studies reviewed and discussed by the journalists take saturated fat out of its dietary context.

Out-of-context studies of single nutrients are exceedingly difficult to interpret. At the moment, today’s dietary (not single nutrient) advice is the same as it has been for the last fifty years. As I put it in What to Eat, “Eat less, move more, eat plenty of fruits and vegetables, and don’t eat too much junk food.” Michael Pollan gives exactly the same advice: “Eat food. Not too much. Mostly plants.” Do this, and you really don’t need to give a thought to single nutrients.

I discuss the politics of diet and disease recommendations in my book, Food Politics (now out in a new, expanded edition), and this particular question in “Ask Marion” on Eating Liberally.

Does this help at all? Thanks for asking.