“The ‘calorie is a calorie’ argument is widely used by the processed food industry to explain that weight loss isn’t really about what you eat but about how many calories you eat,” writes New York Times columnist Mark Bittman in a March 20, 2012, “Opinionator” post about Marion Nestle and Malden Nesheim’s new book, Why Calories Count: From Science to Politics (University of California Press 2012). Initially interested in how calories are processed by the human body, Bittman concludes after interviewing Nestle that “the situation is not so simple,” with many factors beside calorie intake determining how metabolism regulates weight. “It’s hard to lose weight, because the body is set up to defend fat, so you don’t starve to death;” explains Nestle, “the body doesn’t work as well to tell people to stop eating as when to tell them when to start.”

Nestle suggests that more is needed to reduce obesity rates than advising individuals to consume less calories. Agreeing with Bittman that “the calorie is political,” she advocates several policy changes that would affect the food safety system, farm subsidies, school lunch programs, and front-of-package labeling regulations. “Stop marketing food to kids. Period. Just make it go away,” Nestle tells Bittman, in addition to nixing health claims on food packages “[u]nless they’re backed up by universally accepted science. Which would get rid of all of them.”

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For decades, manufacturers, distributors and retailers at every link in the food chain have come to Shook, Hardy & Bacon to partner with a legal team that understands the issues they face in today's evolving food production industry. Shook attorneys work with some of the world's largest food, beverage and agribusiness companies to establish preventative measures, conduct internal audits, develop public relations strategies, and advance tort reform initiatives.

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