Marion Nestle is a consumer activist, nutritionist, and academic who specializes in the politics of food and dietary choice. Nestle received her BA, PhD, and MPH from the University of California, Berkeley. In 1988, Nestle was appointed Chair of New York University’s Steinhardt School of Nutrition, Food Studies, and Public Health. She held that position until 2004, when she became the Paulette Goddard Professor in the same department.
Nestle is the author of numerous books, including "Food Politics," which explored the way corporations influence our nutritional choices, and "What to Eat," an survey of how to navigate the modern American supermarket. Aside from her books and teaching, Nestle writes a popular blog for the Atlantic Food Channel.
Question: How should one feed their pet?
Marion Nestle: Yeah, pets are in many ways just like people. Just like people can eat lots of different kinds of diets and they’re perfectly healthy diets. Think about the difference between Mediterranean and Asian diets, for example. They’re really different and yet people can thrive on it. The same thing is true of cats and dogs. You can feed them a lot of different kinds of foods and they’ll do just fine.
Question: What should pet owners watch out for?
Marion Nestle: Well, you need to make sure that they’re getting all of their vitamins and minerals, and that the calcium and phosphate balance is appropriate for bones. But beyond that, you want to feed pets a varied diet in the same way that you want to feed yourself a varied diet. And if you’re eating a healthy diet, a really healthy diet, you can feed your pet what you’re eating. With a coupe of supplements, they’ll do just fine.
Question: Human food?
Marion Nestle: I mean if you think about it for a minute, that’s how those animals were eating, well I guess cats I guess were out hunting, but dogs, the way that dogs got tamed and they descended from wolves over thousands and thousands of years, but everybody thinks that the way that happened was that they started hanging around garbage dumps. And if you’ve had a dog, one of those dogs that isn’t finicky, you know that dogs will eat anything.
Question: Even meat?
Marion Nestle: I mean, they were carnivores originally. They descended from carnivorous wolves, so they do just fine with meat. You don’t want to give them bones unless you’re watching them very carefully because the bones can shatter and do bad things. But you want to be careful about the bones.