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Stuffed: An Insider's Look at Who's (Really) Making America Fat

by Hank Cardello, Doug Garr

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741162,398 (3.4)1
Member:alynnk
Title:Stuffed: An Insider's Look at Who's (Really) Making America Fat
Authors:Hank Cardello
Other authors:Doug Garr
Info:Ecco (no date), Hardcover, 272 pages
Collections:Your library
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Tags:@own: to be read, review copy, @review: to review

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Stuffed: An Insider's Look at Who's (Really) Making America Fat by Hank Cardello

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Warning, this review is as much rant as review!
[a:Hank Cardello|1324371|Hank Cardello|http://photo.goodreads.com/authors/1234215452p2/1324371.jpg] spent many years as a marketing executive in America's food and beverage industry (General Mills and Coca-Cola are just two places he worked). A bout with chronic fatigue syndrome somehow brought to his attention the health problems of obesity and poor nutrition that the late 20th and early 21st century American diet has caused. While he is no conspiracy theorist, he believes that the food industry (and by this he means primarily the processed food industry) has been a big part of the problem, and that it can be a major part of the solution. His book details a number of ways in which improvement could be achieved in restaurant meals (including fast food), supermarkets, school lunch menus and the product of large food processors.

Mr. Cardello makes a lot of good points and has some fascinating ideas. I think what bothered me about his thesis was his full acceptance of the idea that the only way out of our troubles is further use of industrial food-processing -- "better eating through chemistry." Specifically, he seems to believe that parents have no recourse but to serve their children what the processed food industry provides. I was especially annoyed at his concern for parents who have trouble deciding whether to serve their children sugar-sweetened soda pop or diet soda "when water is not an option." I can think of a few situations where water would not be an option, but they are not ones in which most families find themselves.

Like me, Mr. Cardello appears to have grown up in the 50s and early 60s, when obesity rates were lower. I remember how my family ate at home (and we usually did eat at home); soda pop was a rare treat and even ice cream was mostly for birthdays, not a permanent fixture in the freezer. Most of our desserts were homemade from scratch, and we were encouraged to play outdoors. None of us were overweight as children. Our weight problems seemed to begin when we had money and freedom to buy what my father called "pogy bait" on our own.

I know that I made nutritional mistakes with my children; for example, giving them apple juice in bottles rather than water (and I can't recall, in the 70s, anyone saying that was a bad idea!) Better parent education might be part of the answer. Mr. Cardello's ideas for sneaking nutrition into fast and processed food might be good ones, but I don't believe we have to sit passively by and wait for the food industry to save us from ourselves. Read [a:Michael Pollan|2121|Michael Pollan|http://photo.goodreads.com/authors/1222103457p2/2121.jpg]'s [b:In Defense of Food|315425|In Defense of Food An Eater's Manifesto|Michael Pollan|http://photo.goodreads.com/books/1203535494s/315425.jpg|3100234] or [a:Barbara Kingsolver|3541|Barbara Kingsolver|http://photo.goodreads.com/authors/1198341619p2/3541.jpg]'s [b:Animal Vegetable Miracle|25460|Animal, Vegetable, Miracle A Year of Food Life|Barbara Kingsolver|http://photo.goodreads.com/books/1167733922s/25460.jpg|1582285]. Get a cookbook with fast, tasty recipes for suppers you can make at home -- [b:Desperation Dinners|179768|Desperation Dinners|Beverly Mills|http://photo.goodreads.com/books/1172474160s/179768.jpg|173685] and [b:Let's Eat In|95963|Alice, Let's Eat Further Adventures of a Happy Eater|Calvin Trillin|http://photo.goodreads.com/books/1171308057s/95963.jpg|168362] are two of my favorites. We can take charge of our own nutrition.

I do think anyone who is interested in food and health would get something out of this book, and it's a fairly quick read. Recommended with reservations. ( )
  auntieknickers | Apr 3, 2013 |
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Amazon.com Product Description (ISBN 0061363863, Hardcover)

For more than thirty years, Hank Cardello was an executive and adviser to some of the largest food and beverage corporations in the world. For more than thirty years, he watched as corporate profits-and America′s waistlines-ballooned: fattening consumers meant fattening profits. Now, in this fascinating and timely book, Cardello offers a behind-the-scenes look at the business of food,

providing an insider′s account of food company practices, failed government regulations, and misleading media coverage that have combined to place us in the middle of a national obesity epidemic.

With insights culled from Cardello′s time in the food industry, Stuffed explores how food companies have spent the last fifty years largely ignoring healthier fare in the name of their bottom lines while pushing consumers toward "convenience" food and supersize portions without considering the health consequences. From grocery aisles to restaurant booths to boardrooms, Cardello reveals the hidden forces that have long shaped your supermarket purchases and menu selections. He examines the black-and-white mind-set that has produced the carefully targeted marketing strategies that have maximized profits for the food industry and led to weight gain for you.

But Cardello makes clear that the food companies should not take all the blame. They are merely a cog in a larger system that′s broken, and here Cardello illustrates how the government and the media have only made it harder for Americans to make nutritious choices. Highlighting both bit players and high-profile voices of change, Cardello explains the fundamental risks to one-size-fits-all regulatory solutions and the bigger dangers posed by letting the food pundits confuse the health conversation.

More than simply a chronicle of how we got here, Stuffed also puts forth a groundbreaking blueprint for the future of the food industry. In debunking the common myth that "healthier" has to mean higher costs and unpalatable tastes, Cardello provides novel but concrete steps that food companies can take to fatten their profits and slim down their customers. In addition, he stresses the realistic role that consumers must play in America′s new health equation, explaining that unless they demand healthier food with their wallets, America will continue to tip the scales for years to come.

(retrieved from Amazon Mon, 30 Sep 2013 13:41:38 -0400)

(see all 2 descriptions)

A food industry insider blows the whistle on American food corporations, discussing how the boardroom decisions and slick marketing machines of restaurant chains and food packagers have spurred the obesity epidemic and created the nation's most serious health crisis.… (more)

(summary from another edition)

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