Cover image for The crazy makers : how the food industry is destroying our minds and harming our children
The crazy makers : how the food industry is destroying our minds and harming our children
Simontacchi, Carol N.
Personal Author:
Publication Information:
New York : Jeremy P. Tarcher/Putnam, 2000.
Physical Description:
300 pages ; 24 cm
Our food and suffering -- Building the infant brain -- Nourishing a baby's brain -- Feeding your child's brain -- Feeding the adolescent brain -- Feeding the adult brain -- A case for optimism -- A recipe and menu primer.
Format :


Call Number
Material Type
Home Location
Item Holds
RC347.5 .S56 2000 Adult Non-Fiction Non-Fiction Area
RC347.5 .S56 2000 Adult Non-Fiction Central Closed Stacks

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In the tradition of Silent Spring, The Crazy Makers is an indictment of American food processors and what they are serving the nation. Are they distributing food, or manufacturing products that redefine what we think food to be? How far afield of true food has the search for profit and the need to meet consumer trends led food manufacturers? Nutritionist Carol Simontacchi shows how the pseudo-foods being promoted today--from infant formulas to health-conscious prepackaged meals--are, in fact, physically eroding our brains. While it has been proven that food choices contribute to degenerative diseases like cancer, diabetes, and heart disease, Simontacchi maintains that our mental condition is also at risk. Examining the relationship of diet to changing levels of chemicals in the brain, Simontacchi finds that: * consumer baby-formulas and baby foods can be harmful to an infant's brain development; * ingredients and residues such as MSG and neurotoxins are present in our children's food, hidden by misleading labels; * stripping essential minerals from the foods being served to teenagers can be linked to anorexia nervosa, bulimia, poor cognition and behavior; and * schools that strike deals with fast-food companies are among the worst saboteurs of a child's healthy diet and mind.Based on new research, information retrieved via the Freedom of Information Act, and a formal study conducted by Simontacchi of schoolchildren's eating habits, The Crazy Makers identifies how the new "foods" may be driving us crazy. Notes. Index.

Reviews 3

Booklist Review

The current standard American diet is appropriately abbreviated as SAD, at least according to clinical nutritionist Simontacchi. Advertising and the drive for maximum profits, she says, have turned food suppliers into agents of damage to, if not ultimate destruction of, the minds of people of all ages in the U.S. Although she states that more research is needed in certain areas, Simontacchi clearly describes the direct and indirect dangers of SAD. Greatly increased consumption of sugar and salt, the removal during processing of vital parts of grains and other foods, and the rise in eating outside the home are destroying Americans' health and ability to think. Simontacchi describes and documents the internal chemical damage SAD does to the structure and function of the brain. Accordingly, she pillories schools for making soft drink vending machines available and the replacement of the fat in many foods with sugar. But the book isn't only a tirade, for Simontacchi also provides practical suggestions for improving nutrition and daily family life. --William Beatty

Publisher's Weekly Review

Why have depression rates soared in the post-WWII era? Why does one in four adults have a mental health crisis in any given year? According to Simontacchi, a clinical nutritionist (Your Fat Is Not Your Fault), the cause is a diet that consists of processed food deficient in crucial nutrients. Turning her attention first to the eating patterns of pregnant women, Simontacchi finds a connection between prenatal nutritional deficiencies (in fatty acids and B complex vitamins, among others) and "hidden" defects, which show up not at birth but later, as poor memory and the inability to concentrate. She also reports on a small study she conducted with teenagers: one group was given a nutritious breakfast drink and the other group was not. The youths who received the drink, she discovered, felt better in six areas of emotion, such as anxiety, depression and vigor. She also finds links between the poor eating habits of teenagers and fatigue, depression and self-destructive behavior. Throughout, Simontacchi documents her arguments with reference to mainstream journal articles and nutritional studies. But her tone is sometimes overwrought: "We are being systematically starved," she writes, eating not real food but "toxic food artifacts" made by food manufacturers. Her comments about the superiority of breast milk over formula may plunge into guilty despair anyone who didn't breast-feed her children for at least a year. But in a more positive vein, she offers pro-active strategies for improved nutritionÄincluding pages of sensible suggested recipes for improving not only physical but mental health as well. (June) (c) Copyright PWxyz, LLC. All rights reserved

Library Journal Review

Simontacchi, a certified clinical nutritionist and the author of several books on nutrition, claims that processed food products are affecting healthy brain development during all stages of life, from infancy to adulthood. Processed foods lack essential nutrients and contain coloring agents, artificial flavors, toxins, and other substances that may be linked to anorexia, bulimia, poor cognition, mental illness, depression, headaches, fatigue, and other ailments. Simontacchi challenges many contemporary views about the foods we eat and takes the food industry to task for destroying our bodies and our brains by manufacturing "food artifacts." Her blanket condemnation of processed foods and her failure to discuss the cultural, genetic, and psychological causes of these illnesses may turn off many readers, who will find her solutions questionable. Nevertheless, she backs up her assertions with references to research showing the impact of poor nutrition on human health and brain development. She recommends unprocessed organic foods, plenty of fruits and vegetables, and the appropriate combinations of fats, vitamins, minerals, proteins, and carbohydrates to maintain healthy brains. A multistep approach to better nutrition and menus to help achieve it are also included. Recommended for nutrition and alternative medicine collections.DIrwin Weintraub, Brooklyn Coll. Lib., NY (c) Copyright 2010. Library Journals LLC, a wholly owned subsidiary of Media Source, Inc. No redistribution permitted.