Wednesday, December 14, 2005

Booknote: Don't Eat This Book

Title: Don't Eat This Book: Fast Food and the Super Sizing of America
Author: Morgan Spurlock
Publication Information: New York: G.P. Putnam's Sons, 2005
ISBN: 0-399-15260-1
Genre: Nonfiction

Morgan Spurlock went on a 30 day diet where all he ate was McDonald's food to prove the bad effects of fast food on people. He documents his experience in the documentary Super Size Me. The book provides a follow-up to that film, but it also gives more information and facts on the harmful effects of fast food and on the rising waistlines of Americans. The book combines facts, some figures, and a good amount of humor to make its point. The back contains extensive notes to show that everything stated is documented. The fast food companies, especially McDonald's, do not fare well in this book. Spurlock discusses everything from where the food comes from to the advertising campaigns. He discusses at length how children are targeted by these companies, and while it can be argued that parents should have a better role in educating their children on how to eat healthy, what Spurlock demonstrates is that parents find themselves in an uneven playing field.

The book also discusses the role of the American government, which pretty much is non-existent since Spurlock demonstrates that agencies like the FDA safeguard the interests of big food companies and not the consumers. For those readers concerned about schools, Spurlock talks about how schools have allowed fast food companies to run their food services with detrimental results to students health. Add to this the removal of physical activities like P.E. due to finding cuts and the fact that the food companies pay well for running those food services, and the results are clear.

This is a book that may make readers feel angry. For some, it may mean they will not want to eat fast food again, especially once they realize where it comes from. For others, it may spur them to at least try to modify their eating habits or get some exercise. For those who have not seen the film, Spurlock gives details of how he did on his physical exams before and after the experience. His health suffered considerably. This is a book that every person should be reading, and hopefully, it may spur them to do a bit more to take care of themselves. I certainly know I could do better, so it has given something to think about. It is highly recommended. It is very engaging, and Spurlock is a good writer who catches your attention. I could not put this book down.

Similar books:
  • Eric Schlosser, Fast Food Nation: The Dark Side of the All-American Meal (2002). By the way, Spurlock makes various references to this book as well as others.
  • Barbara Ehrenreich, Nickel and Dimed: On (not) Getting By in America (2001). This is not about food, but I think readers of the Spurlock book may find topics like the ones Ehrenreich discusses of interest as well.

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