Are outside forces influencing your food choices? According to Dr. Marion Nestle, nutritionist and author of What to Eat, food companies, marketing and even the government are helping make your decisions for you. Dr. Nestle talks with Dr. Oz about how much we're eating and how safe our food is.
According to Dr. Nestle, there is too much food available in the United States—about twice as much as is needed for every man, woman and child. Meanwhile, food companies are trying to sell as much food as possible in a very competitive environment, and at the same time, trying to show quarterly growth to appease stockholders. This vicious cycle changes things in ways we aren't even aware of, Dr. Nestle says. "Portion size has increased [and] large portions do three things—[they] have more calories, encourage people to eat more calories and cause people to underestimate the number of calories they're eating."
Another issue Dr. Nestle says she is concerned about is food safety. She says that recent scares involving spinach and pet food illustrate the need for a much better system of food safety regulation. "The industry would do better if we had a stronger regulatory system," Dr. Nestle says. "I think it's good for business because it establishes a level playing field, makes people trust the industry and it's the right thing to do."
Dr. Nestle admits that creating such a regulatory system would be costly and tough to implement. "As long as we have a business environment in which no one wants regulation, it's going to be difficult to do this."
Published on June 12, 2007