Does Blaming "Big Food" Sell More Books?

In the last hundred or so years, miraculously, the food and ag industry have nearly solved the problem of food scarcity, a gigantic problem that's bedeviled humanity for nearly our entire history.

And yet, weirdly, many food intellectuals today shake their fists at "Big Food" and blame it for making us all fat! Talk about having an appallingly short institutional memory.

As examples, see any of Marion Nestle's blog, see Michele Simon's fiery book Appetite for Profit, or see former FDA commissioner David Kessler's book The End of Overeating. All of these authors dump the bulk of the blame for obesity at the feet of the food industry.*

It's as if the very moment there's plenty of food, somehow it's no longer our responsibility to think about how much of it we should eat.

Another way to think about this is to consider it from the standpoint of book sales: what would the average reading consumer rather buy: a book that tells readers they are responsible for the food they put in their bodies… or a book that tells readers it was never their fault in the first place?

Which message do you think the typical reader would rather hear?

Readers do you find this ironic at all? Or do you agree with the agri-intellectual argument that the food industry makes us fat?

READ NEXT: How to Resist Irresistible Food

* Jayson Lusk's excellent and well-argued book The Food Police is one of the vanishingly few books out there taking the opposite side of this debate, as well as articulating the disturbing and illogical implications of many standard agri-intellectual arguments. See my interview with Dr. Lusk as well as his intellectually omnivorous food industry reading list.

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1 comment:

Anonymous said...

It's controversial, but I think that agri-business/jobs/commuting all play a role - in addition to our own poor choices.

People in general do not have the time to soak & cook a pot of beans - so they choose fast food or processed food.