A review of The Unhealthy Truth: One Mother’s Shocking Investigation into the Danger’s of America’s Food Supply—And What Every Family Can Do to Protect Itself by Robyn O’Brien
After her baby daughter had a severe, face-bloating reaction to eating scrambled eggs, the result of a food allergy, Robyn O’Brien got to work. O’Brien (a.k.a. "the Erin Brockovich of the food industry"), along with Rachel Kranz, chronicles the hazards of American food in The Unhealthy Truth: One Mother’s Shocking Investigation into the Danger’s of America’s Food Supply—And What Every Family Can Do to Protect Itself (Broadway Books, $14.99). O’Brien is a self-described "Type-A" personality, mother of four and the founder of the AllergyKids Foundation. She makes the science of allergies, food sensitivities and immune system reactions readable and her self-reflective concern throughout ("My God, I thought. What if that happens to Tory?") mirrors the near-panic felt by so many parents whose kids" systems can’t handle common foods like peanuts, cheese, milk, bread, eggs and shellfish.
The book follows O’Brien’s own journey of discovery, from the toxins and over-sterilized environments that may be working against kids" immune systems, to the need for proper food labeling, to the vast amount of foods containing soy—which can lead to both digestive problems and hormonal imbalances (soy can increase the body’s estrogen levels, which in turn is linked to everything from breast cancer to fertility problems to prostate cancer).
The journey leads to the industries producing additive- and preservative-laden foods and the cozy relationships between industries and researchers that ensure these foods aren’t better regulated. In fact, by the time the book’s through, you may be a little frightened to venture into the grocery store at all.