Cover image for Unsavory truth : how food companies skew the science of what we eat / Marion Nestle.
Unsavory truth : how food companies skew the science of what we eat / Marion Nestle.
First edition.
Publication Information:
New York : Basic Books, [2018]
Physical Description:
310 pages ; 24 cm
The food industry and nutrition -- A cautionary tale : drug company influence -- The unusual complexity of nutrition research -- How sweet it is : sugar and candy as health foods -- Promoting meat and dairy consumption -- Research on healthy foods: marketing, not necessarily science -- Coca-Cola : a case study in itself -- Conflicted advisory committees : then and now -- Coopting researchers : the American Society for Nutrition -- Influencing nutrition education and practice societies -- Justifications, rationales, excuses : isn't everyone conflicted? -- Disclosure-and its discontents -- Managing conflicts : early attempts -- Beyond disclosure : what to do? -- Stakeholders : take action.
"Is chocolate heart-healthy? Does yogurt prevent type 2 diabetes? Do pomegranates help cheat death? News accounts bombard us with such amazing claims, report them as science, and influence what we eat. Yet, as Marion Nestle explains, these studies are more about marketing than science; they are often paid for by companies that sell those foods. Whether it's a Coca-Cola-backed study hailing light exercise as a calorie neutralizer, or blueberry-sponsored investigators proclaiming that this fruit prevents erectile dysfunction, every corner of the food industry knows how to turn conflicted research into big profit. As Nestle argues, it's time to put public health first. Written with unmatched rigor and insight, Unsavory Truth reveals how the food industry manipulates nutrition science--and suggests what we can do about it"-- Provided by publisher.


Call Number
Material Type
Home Location
664.00973 NES Book Adult General Collection

On Order



Whenever we turn on the TV, flip a page in a magazine, or glance at a flyer in the grocery store, we are constantly bombarded with nutritional advice. Almond products can boost your memory! Milk helps build up your bones! Cereal is part of a doctor-approved balanced breakfast for growing girls and boys! Study after study tells us what we should eat, how much, and when. Words like "superfood" and "guilt free" convince us that we're making the right choice when we pluck an item off the shelf and head for the checkout line. We count on nutrition science to guide us through the overwhelming choices in our local grocery store and helps us make the best decisions for our health.

Except it often doesn't. Many of these studies we rely on to make decisions are not funded by unbiased third parties-they're actually funded by companies seeking to buoy their own products. As renowned food expert Marion Nestle reveals in Unsavory Truth , most nutrition societies, committees, and departments are actually in the food industry's pocket. Whether it's a study claiming moderate exercise is enough to cancel out the calories in sugary sodas (backed by Coca-Cola) or a report about how blueberries can reduce the risk of erectile dysfunction (backed by the US Highbush Blueberry Council), the food industry has learned how to turn selective disclosure and partisan probes into major profit. Like Big Pharma has corrupted medical science, so Big Food has corrupted nutrition. In a nation where more than two-thirds of adults and one-third of children are considered overweight or obese, it's never been more important to put our public health first. With stricter legislation for food companies and researchers, stricter policies for societies and journals, and better consumer education, Nestle argues that we have a fighting chance to get our country's nutrition back on track.

With riveting prose and unmatched investigative rigor, Unsavory Truth reveals how big food companies took over nutrition science-and how we can take it back.

Author Notes

Marion Nestle is Paulette Goddard Professor of Nutrition, Food Studies, and Public Health, emerita, at New York University, and Visiting Professor of Nutritional Sciences at Cornell. She has a Ph.D. in molecular biology and an MPH in public health nutrition from UC Berkeley. She lives in New York City.

Reviews 1

Publisher's Weekly Review

Nestle (Soda Politics) delivers a groundbreaking look at how food corporations influence nutrition research and public policy. Her focus, influenced by her own experience as a nutrition researcher, is on the myriad conflicts of interest created when food corporations fund research projects into public health. She opens with a Coca-Cola-backed study as an example of how corporations sponsor nutrition research that ultimately supports their own marketing goals-in this case, by backing researchers who showed exercise as more consequential than diet for influencing body weight. Nestle goes on to find many more examples of corporate-backed studies affecting the often misleading marketing consumers receive about the health benefits of various foods, including in the meat, yogurt, and milk industries. She also provides solutions for managing these conflicts of interest, acknowledging that not all industry-backed research is biased or false. To this end, Nestle cites several examples of organizations, such as World Obesity, that are paving the way for establishing ethical standards when using corporate funding. However, she insists that it is imperative to eventually disengage research from food industry funding altogether. General and specialist readers alike will appreciate this important message for consumers. (Nov.) © Copyright PWxyz, LLC. All rights reserved.

Table of Contents

1 The Food Industry and Nutritionp. 1
2 A Cautionary Tale: Drug Company Influencep. 13
3 The Unusual Complexity of Nutrition Researchp. 29
4 How Sweet It Is: Sugar and Candy as Health Foodsp. 45
5 Selling Meat and Dairy Foodsp. 61
6 Research on Healthy Foods: Marketing, Not Necessarily Sciencep. 75
7 Coca-Cola: A Case Study in Itselfp. 91
8 Conflicted Advisory Committees: Then and Nowp. 107
9 Co-opted? The American Society for Nutritionp. 125
10 Nutrition Education and Dietetics Societies: Industry Influencep. 141
11 Justifications, Rationales, Excuses: Isn't Everyone Conflicted?p. 157
12 Disclosure-and Its Discontentsp. 173
13 Managing Conflicts: Early Attemptsp. 189
14 Beyond Disclosure: What to Do?p. 203
15 Stakeholders: Take Actionp. 217
Acknowledgmentsp. 233
Abbreviationsp. 237
Notesp. 239
Notes to Tablesp. 287
Indexp. 291