Politics of Fat: Food and Nutrition Policy in America / Edition 1

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Editorial Reviews

Publishers Weekly - Publisher's Weekly
In the 1990s, Americans are more conscious than ever of the number of grams of dietary fat, the milligrams of cholesterol and the number of calories in the foods they eat. Such awareness has prompted consumers' demands that they be provided with a broader range of low-fat or no-fat food choices by retailers and producers. Yet, as Sims points out in her fascinating book, the awareness of the ill effects of overconsumption of dietary fats has resulted in only a slight decrease in the consumption of those fats. After defining dietary fat and discussing many of the reasonsgroup influences and genetic makeup, among othersthat disposes humans to choose "fatty" foods over their low-fat counterparts, Sims, professor of nutrition at the University of Maryland at College Park, contends that public nutrition policy, agribusiness and private-interest groups have often created and encouraged the American public's schizophrenic attitude toward dietary fat in food. She drives her thesis through five case studiesfederal school lunch policy, the regulatory approval of Olestra, the implementation of food labeling, the establishment of dietary guidelines and the politics of the food pyramidto conclude that "federally supported marketing order and pricing structures [promote] the sale of high-fat foods to consumers." Sims closes by suggesting that a vital public nutrition policy for the 21st century must include the consolidation of federal nutrition agencies who work toward a common goal, as well as the vigilance of advocacy groups who are unafraid to challenge federal nutrition policy that misrepresents facts about health to the public. Sims offers a rich larder of food for thought. (June)
Library Journal
Author and activist for nutrition education, Sims (human nutrition, Univ. of Maryland) focuses on federal public policies concerning nutrition and dietary fat in food. She argues that the government is more responsive to the producers of high-fat foods than to the advocates of health-promoting foods and that strong anti-consumer groups further government promotion of health-damaging foods. She also highlights the politics of fat in several federal programs, including food labeling, the USDA food guide pyramid, and olestra, and concludes by advancing a program for the government to institute a health-promoting nutrition policy. Her thesis will not startle informed readers, but she provides new facts and figures and has the credentials to persuade the general public that a problem exists. Given the seriousness of her approach, however, the question is whether the public will want to listen. Recommended primarily for academic and large public libraries with nutrition education and government-consumer relations collections.Charles L. Lumpkins, Pennsylvania State Univ., College Park
Booknews
Explores the politics of food and policy, focusing on the vexing issues of dietary fat content, known to be a health menace but also an ingredient in many popular foods. Part I presents an overview and describes the approach of the study, and Part II looks at public policy in the food system, with a case study of the National School Lunch program. Part III deals with implementing public policy in the food system, looking at federal agricultural policies, the government's role in food processing and marketing, and government as a provider of dietary advice. Case studies in this section examine food labeling reform, dietary guidelines, and the politics of the food pyramid. Paper edition (unseen), $24.95. Annotation c. by Book News, Inc., Portland, Or.
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Product Details

Table of Contents

List of Tables and Figures
Preface
Acknowledgments
Pt. I Overview and Approach 1
Ch. 1 Dietary Fat as a Public Policy Issue 3
Ch. 2 Policy Making - The Art of Sausage Making 22
Pt. II Public Policy in the Food System 43
Ch. 3 Public Policy and Bureaucracy in the Food System 45
Pt. III Implementing Public Policy in the Food System 93
Ch. 4 The Production of Fat Down on the Farm: How Much Do Federal Agricultural Policies Really Matter? 99
For Further Consideration: The Tropical Oils "Wars" 127
Ch. 5 Government's Role in Food Processing: Regulating Fat as a Food Ingredient 130
Ch. 6 Government's Role in Food Marketing: Regulatory Approvals in the Food System 158
Ch. 7 Government as a Provider of Dietary Advice 213
For Further Consideration: Commodity Promotion Programs 222
Pt. IV Summary and Conclusions 257
Ch. 8 The Politics of Fat: What Have We Learned and Where Should We Be Headed? 259
Notes 275
Selected Bibliography 299
Index 303
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