Mad Cowboy Interview 04: Dr. Suzanne Havala Hobbs

"Here's the issue:  when you have a substance that is known to harm health, it's ubiquitous in the food supply, you don't have a real choice. In situations like this, I think it's appropriate for a government to intervene, and exercise the power to regulate that ingredient and remove it from the food supply.  I heard somebody make an analogy to lead or arsenic... if we had arsenic being added to foods, wouldn't people call for government intervention to have that removed?"

Suzanne Havala Hobbs, DrPH, MS, RD is a nationally recognized author on issues relating to food, nutrition and health policy. Among the topics addressed in her column are meal planning and cooking tips, food trends and federal policies on dietary guidance and food safety. She is a licensed, registered dietitian and a clinical assistant professor in the Department of Health Policy and Administration, School of Public Health, The University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill.

Her advice has been quoted in Parade, SELF Magazine, Shape, Vegetarian Times, The New York Times, Runner's World, New Woman, YM, Omni, Sassy, and Harper's Bazaar and in appearances on Good Morning America, Weekend Today in New York and the Susan Powter Show.

She is the author of the new book: Get the Trans Fat Out: 601 Simple Ways to Cut the Trans Fat Out of Any Diet, Being Vegetarian for Dummies, Vegetarian Cooking for Dummies, The Natural Kitchen, The Complete Idiot's Guide to Being Vegetarian (First Edition), Good Foods, Bad Foods: What's Left to Eat?, The Vegetarian Food Guide and Nutrition Counter, Shopping for Health: A Nutritionist's Aisle-by-Aisle Guide to Smart, Low-fat Choices at the Supermarket, Being Vegetarian, and Simple, Lowfat & Vegetarian.

She is a contributing writer for Bottom Line/Personal and nutrition editor for Vegetarian Journal. She has been a regular contributor to SELF Magazine and serves on the editorial advisory board of Vegetarian Times. Her nutrition column, "On the Table", reachs 400,000 readers weekly in the News & Observer of Raleigh, North Carolina, and the Charlotte Observer.

Suzanne is a member of the American Public Health Association, American Dietetic Association, National Association of Science Writers, Association of Health Care Journalists, Association of Food Journalists and the American Society of Journalists and Authors.

This edited interview took place by phone in mid-December 2006. Part 1 covers her personal and academic background, trans - saturated - and unsaturated fats, the recent New York City Health Board decision to ban trans fat in restaurants, and the "Food Police." Part 2 focuses more on her new book, different approaches to changing diet, Jack LaLanne, and what she'd do if in charge of all US Food-related isues.