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Michael F. Jacobson
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Michael F. Jacobson, Ph.D., Executive Director, Center for Science in the Public Interest

Michael F. Jacobson, Ph.D., is co-founder and executive director of the Center for Science in the Public Interest (CSPI), a nonprofit health advocacy organization supported largely by the 900,000 subscribers to its Nutrition Action Healthletter. CSPI is a key player in battles against obesity, cardiovascular disease, and other health problems, using such tactics as education to legislation to litigation. Jacobson has written numerous books and reports, including Nutrition Scoreboard, Six Arguments for a Greener Diet, Salt: the Forgotten Killer, and Liquid Candy: How Soft Drinks are Harming Americans’ Health.

Entries by Michael F. Jacobson

FDA Sodium Reduction Effort Long Time Coming

(1) Comments | Posted June 1, 2016 | 2:20 PM

1978 was a big year for change.

The U.S. Senate ratified the treaty transferring sovereignty of the Panama Canal to Panama with Republican Senate Minority Leader Howard Baker supporting the Carter Administration in that effort.

Sony produced the Walkman.

The Dallas Cowboys defeated the

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Buffett Unwise to Ignore Coke's Obesity Link

(35) Comments | Posted May 5, 2016 | 11:06 AM

Warren Buffett is undoubtedly a smart and savvy investor. In 2015, Fortune reported that Buffett's Berkshire Hathaway's stock had gained 1,826,163 percent in value over the 50 years of his stewardship. A share of Berkshire Hathaway was trading for $219,000 last week.

He is not so smart when...

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In Big Tobacco's Dark Shadow, Big Soda Looks to the Developing World

(0) Comments | Posted February 11, 2016 | 10:08 AM

As Americans continue to connect the dots between soda consumption and type 2 diabetes, obesity, and other diseases, fewer and fewer Americans are drinking soda. The Dietary Guidelines for Americans recommends that we choose water over soda, local and state governments are pushing for new taxes...

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Axing Additives: A Good Start

(1) Comments | Posted September 29, 2015 | 4:17 PM

Something interesting is happening in the food industry. Panera, Subway, and Taco Bell have all promised to get rid of artificial ingredients including colorings and flavorings from some or all of their foods. Nestlé (at least for its few chocolate candies) and Kraft (for its mac and cheese) have said...

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Close to My Heart

(0) Comments | Posted September 28, 2015 | 8:31 AM

Over the long July 4th weekend, my wife, Donna, and I were enjoying several beautiful days at the Delaware beach. A highlight was taking a long bike ride through Cape Henlopen State Park, where the hot sun was tempered by a cool ocean breeze. The park abounds with red-winged blackbirds,...

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Big Food: Sounds a Lot Like Big Tobacco

(1) Comments | Posted June 2, 2015 | 5:08 PM

Food is not tobacco. From birth, we need food to sustain us. On the other hand, no one needs to smoke. But the public health community is concerned about both diet and tobacco use for a very good reason: Over a lifetime, poor diets and smoking...

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Sodium Reduction Saves States Health Care Costs

(21) Comments | Posted May 21, 2015 | 11:28 PM

"An ounce of prevention is worth a pound of cure" takes on a whole new meaning when you consider reducing sodium in the food supply -- a public health measure already well recognized as likely to prevent tens of thousands of deaths each year from cardiovascular disease alone...

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'Don't Call It Flesh-Eating Bacteria,' Say Florida Officials

(32) Comments | Posted April 28, 2015 | 12:21 PM

"Don't call it flesh-eating bacteria," state officials in Florida warn, in an effort to control the media message reminiscent of their posture on climate change. The bacteria in question -- Vibrio vulnificus -- inhabit the waters in Florida and the Gulf Coast and have been found...

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Meet the New Snake Oil, Same as the Old Snake Oil

(1) Comments | Posted April 9, 2015 | 5:47 PM


During the administration of President Woodrow Wilson, government investigators performed laboratory tests of Clark Stanley's Snake Oil Liniment -- a potion supposedly made of rattlesnake oil that offered "immediate relief" for rheumatism, sciatica, sprains, lumbago, deafness, and other ailments. The tests...

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Distorting Nutrition Facts to Generate Buzz

(72) Comments | Posted March 2, 2015 | 2:58 PM

In mid-February, the government released a scientific report that will shape its 2015 Dietary Guidelines for Americans. Think of it as America's basic nutrition policy. Most people who read the report would have viewed it as a snore; not much has changed.

Yes, the report lifted the...

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Soda Or Diet Soda? A False Choice

(8) Comments | Posted January 23, 2015 | 10:05 AM

What's better to drink, regular soda or diet soda? This is probably one of the most common questions fielded by nutrition and health experts. I think that the answer is clear -- diet soda -- but the choice is a false one.

Coke, Pepsi, Mountain Dew, and other...

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FDA Lagging Behind on Salt

(3) Comments | Posted December 3, 2014 | 12:24 PM

The Food and Drug Administration is going from a world leader to a world laggard in at least one area of public health: reducing sodium consumption, mostly from salt.

While nations from the United Kingdom to South Africa to Australia to Argentina and many in between mount sodium-reduction initiatives to...

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Will Big Soda Learn From Election Day 2014?

(2) Comments | Posted November 6, 2014 | 10:56 AM

The real question from yesterday: Did Big Soda learn from Election Day 2014? Or is it going to keep falling for its own spin?

Berkeley's voters passed the one-penny-per-ounce soda tax with an overwhelming and resounding 75 percent. In San Francisco, proponents had a much...

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Food Day Highlights Injustices Connected to the Food Supply

(0) Comments | Posted October 22, 2014 | 2:43 PM

Restaurant workers whose base pay is $2.13 per hour. Workers in food-processing plants who trim meat -- and develop repetitive stress injuries. Farm workers who are exposed to high levels of pesticides.

Those outrages have fueled the increasingly vocal food justice movement. Many workers at fast-food restaurants are protesting in...

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Soda Pledge States the Obvious: We Will Continue to Drink Less Soda

(0) Comments | Posted September 26, 2014 | 6:00 PM

The Clinton Global Initiative is a prestigious and convenient forum for companies to announce commitments to improve their practices, be they related to the environment, human rights, development, health, or any other facet of corporate behavior. This week executives from the big three soda makers, Coca Cola, PepsiCo, and Dr...

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Nutrition Policies Can Address Inequalities

(0) Comments | Posted September 17, 2014 | 5:59 PM

Recent news coverage of a major analysis of Americans' diets over the past decade properly focused on the widening gap in healthy eating between higher-income and lower-income populations in our country. A typical headline reported: "U.S. diet improves slightly, but gap widens between rich and poor."

That trend has been...

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Federal Excise Tax on Sugar Would Be Sweet

(0) Comments | Posted August 1, 2014 | 1:39 PM

The SWEET Act is not the spoonful of sugar that will help the medicine go down for Big Soda but it is, indeed, the right prescription for the diseases brought on by excessive consumption of sugar drinks.

The Sugar Sweetened Beverages Tax Act would impose an...

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Stalling on Salt

(0) Comments | Posted July 2, 2014 | 4:44 PM

Don't bother reaching for that shaker of salt next time you eat out. The chain restaurant industry has already decided for you how salty you like your food, and they think you like it plenty salty!

Salty enough that nearly 100,000 Americans will die this year because of...

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Meet the Anti-Mediterranean Diet

(2) Comments | Posted May 15, 2014 | 7:49 PM

There's much to be said for the so-called Mediterranean diet -- diets low in red meat and high in fish, nuts, vegetables, beans and heart-healthy fats like olive oil. But if that's the diet you want to eat, you certainly aren't going to find it at "Italian" chain restaurants in...

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Fed Up With Big Soda?

(31) Comments | Posted May 7, 2014 | 5:07 PM


Every once in a few years, a documentary about food captures the public's imagination and inspires people to make changes in their lives and in our food environment. The latest, and perhaps the most strategic, of these is Fed Up, the...

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