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Sodas are astonishing products. Little more than flavored sugar-water, these drinks cost practically nothing to produce or buy, yet have turned their makers – principally Coca-Cola and PepsiCo – into multibillion dollar industries with global recognition, distribution, and political power. So how did something so cheap come to mean so much and to have such devastating health and food policy consequences?
Soda Politics is a story of the American food system at work, written by the incomparable NYU scholar and public health champion Marion Nestle. It is the first book to focus on the history, politics, nutrition, and health impact of soda, asking how we created this system, what its problems are, and what we can do to change things. Coke and Pepsi spend billions of dollars a year on advertising and lobbying to prevent any measures to limit soda, a product billed as “refreshing,” “tasty,” “crisp,” and “the real thing” that also happens to be a major cause of health problems, from obesity to Type II diabetes. They target minorities, poor people, and children, and are involved in land and water grabs in underdeveloped countries, where they also have redoubled their efforts at building their market share.
In fact, the marketing practices of soda companies are eerily similar to that of cigarette companies – both try to sell as much as possible, regardless of the health consequences, in any way that they can. And the public is starting to scrutinize sugary sodas in the same way that they do cigarettes. Soda consumption is falling, and Americans are only partially replacing soda with other sugary drinks. This did not happen accidentally: the fall in soda sales is a result of successful food advocacy. Soda Politics provides the overwhelming evidence to keep up pressure on all those involved in the production, marketing, sales, and subsidization of soda.
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