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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

Soda Or Diet Soda? A False Choice

(8) Comments | Posted January 23, 2015 | 11:05 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 | 1:24 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 | 11:56 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 | 3:43 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 | 7:00 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 | 6:59 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

(1) Comments | Posted August 1, 2014 | 2:39 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 | 5:44 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 | 8:49 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 | 6:07 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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10 Food Hacks for Workplace Wellness (PHOTOS)

(20) Comments | Posted April 11, 2014 | 9:22 AM

Americans spend almost half of their waking hours at work. For too many of us, much of that time is spent sitting in a chair. And when we leave our desk to go to a meeting or conference (to another chair, naturally), our thoughtful meeting host might be kind enough...

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Kwan Should Stop Spinning for Coke

(0) Comments | Posted January 23, 2014 | 5:03 PM

Michelle Kwan and the Obama Administration's President's Council on Fitness, Sports and Nutrition might find it easier to land a triple salchow than explain the Olympic figure skater's role as one of Coca-Cola's "Four Pack" for the Sochi winter games next month.

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Delicious and Healthy School Meals Around the U.S. (PHOTOS)

(0) Comments | Posted January 16, 2014 | 2:16 PM

Schools across the country have been working hard to implement updated nutrition guidelines for school meals. There are challenges, but schools' efforts are paying off. More than 80 percent of schools are well on their way to meeting healthy school lunch standards, including providing more fruits, vegetables, and whole grains....

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Trans Fat -- On the Way Out

(16) Comments | Posted November 20, 2013 | 1:32 PM

At long last, the Food and Drug Administration has announced its preliminary determination that partially hydrogenated oil is no longer "generally recognized as safe" for use in food.

The Center for Science in the Public Interest has been trying to reduce or eliminate the use of partially hydrogenated oil...

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Halloween Warning: Watch Out for Neurotoxic Artificial Food Dyes in M&M's Candies

(34) Comments | Posted October 18, 2013 | 6:37 PM

If you know a child with ADHD, you know hyperactivity can make it difficult for parents trying to raise happy, healthy children. And you know that the day after Halloween is one of the most disruptive days of the year!

But did you know that many food and...

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9 Funky Food Labeling Fiascos -- And 1 Solution

(18) Comments | Posted September 24, 2013 | 4:53 PM

When nutrition facts became mandatory on packaged foods in 1993, interested consumers could, for the first time, learn how many calories and nutrients were in their foods. Popular, readable, and consumer friendly, nutrition facts labels earned its designer an award for design excellence from President Bill Clinton. Ingredients list, however,...

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Reasonable Certainty of No Harm?

(3) Comments | Posted August 13, 2013 | 2:29 PM

Many food labels read like the contents of a chemistry set, not a cracker or beverage: sodium stearoyl lactylate, acesulfame potassium, sucrose acetate isobutyrate. But the real issue is not the complexity of the ingredients' names, but whether the ingredients are safe.

The Food...

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Berries Over Bugs

(214) Comments | Posted July 25, 2013 | 2:54 PM

A couple of months ago, a report from the United Nation's Food and Agriculture Organization invited the prospect of insects being a bigger and bigger part of our diets in the future. High in protein and healthy fats, easier on the environment than heftier animals like cows, pigs, and chickens,...

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Ending Food Ignorance: Education Is Too Important to Leave to Big Food

(17) Comments | Posted July 8, 2013 | 3:28 PM

Would you be surprised to know that there is a highly-sophisticated, multi-billion-dollar campaign underway designed to teach your children about food? There is. In fact, experts agree that this campaign is wildly successful. Unfortunately, the massive instructional campaign to which I refer is the $2 billion effort by...

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Frying, Lying, and Dying: Why Partially Hydrogenate a Healthy Food Into the Worst Meal in America?

(13) Comments | Posted July 2, 2013 | 11:52 AM

I've been studying food issues for 40 years, and for the past 20 years, the Center for Science in the Public Interest has been conducting laboratory analyses of popular restaurant meals. Over the years, we've published jaw-dropping nutrition numbers for things as diverse as movie theater popcorn, Kung Pao Chicken,...

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