A nutritionist at the Center for Science in the Public Interest looks at the fat and cholesterol question, and how we can improve our own eating habits--and, most critically, the institutions and forces that affect our food supply and our nutritional beliefs. There are three groups controlling the action: those powerful lobbies, the meat, egg, and dairy producers; the government, which is inclined to do their bidding; and, least important, traditional nutritionists--who have been brought up and educated by the two former groups. A bit part is played by the big disease organizations--American Heart Association, American Cancer Society--which are relatively quiet about nutrition; their advice sometimes varies from state to state, and is softest where farming is strong. Hausman's task is also to challenge what she calls the most fundamental assumption in nutrition: that ""it is the study of beneficial elements in food""; it is also, she argues, the study of the harmful elements. She traces the history of the fat and cholesterol controversy, and finds that evidence of the harmful effects of a meat-/egg-/dairy-products-heavy diet has been around for decades; it was not, however, until Carter's consumer-oriented appointees, and the Senate Select Committee on Nutrition and Human Needs tried to do battle with the food industry, that the official line began to change. Addressing readers' personal concerns, Hausman lays out some of the non-publicized evidence indicting high cholesterol foods and then gets down to specific suggested foods and daily diet changes. A broader guide may be preferable for individual diet planning, but no other book equals this for the political and institutional aspects of the problem.