Morgan Spurlock's book was an absolute wake up call for an individual that hadn't given serious thought to the dangers of fast food... ME
I had heard of Mr. Spurlock's documentary "Super Size Me" when it came out over a year ago and remembered seeing the trailers on television showing an individual (the author of this book) that ate McDonald's food (and ONLY McDonald's food) for a month. I remembered seeing him turn from a lean young adult into a man with a bulge in his tummy, and I remembered how towards the end of the trailer he didn't look like a very lively person any longer. When I saw the trailer I immediately wanted to see this film but then it was out of the theaters and didn't get the opportunity to finally watch this entertaining story until recently (and after I finished reading "Don't Eat This Book").
For anyone that has seen "Super Size Me", I think "Don't Eat This Book" is even better. As is usual, the book form is able to go into even greater detail than what you see in the documentary, and Mr. Spurlock adds information such as:
Lab test results of McDonald's food and how the #s compare to the ones the big M advertises (hint: they are worse than what the company states)
A list of all the food companies that cigarette companies own but don't want you to know about (the # of companies and brands is shocking)
My personal favorite being how long McDonald's food will last if left out in the open to rot like regular organic matter should (hint: we're not talking hours or days or even weeks here people, try YEARS)
I would estimate that over my lifetime I have probably drank over 20,000 soft drinks (I wish I was kidding) and that comes out to probably somewhere around over 3 MILLION CALORIES (from sodas alone)!!! The entire time I knew that I was drinking sugar and water but it wasn't until I read this book that I learned about the hideous difference between the regular Domino sugar packets that people put in their coffee and the evil that is High Fructose Corn Syrup. As I continued reading this book, I learned about the Frankenstein nature of HFCS and how it's not just sugar, but more like sugar on super steroids. I became sickened as I truly understood the parallels that these food/soft drink companies have with cigarette manufacturers, and I was/am very angry. After thousands upon thousands of Mountain Dews, it was like a light bulb turned on in my head and I felt used. My first trip to the supermarket saw me look at label after label as I began to find the label for "High Fructose Corn Syrup" in things I would have never expected, even things like Wheat Thins. Why in the world does HFCS belong in a cracker?!?!?!?
Needless to say, this book was a true eye opener for me, and I have begun to read some other books regarding the corporate fast food industry and how it has ruined countless Americans lives. I am trying to watch what I eat right now (I hope this behavior lasts long term), and I now better understand that the big food corporations aren't just here to make money from you buying their products, they have also used chemistry to their benefit to make sure you KEEP coming back for more.
This book should be required reading for anyone that wants to learn more about what they put in their mouths.
***** HIGHLY RECOMMENDED
Being a fan of the film "Super Size Me", when walking through a book store, I stumbled across this (having not known it was on its way) and picked up a copy. Had some time to read it. While I suspect it will stand alone reasonably well, this is in reality a companion piece to the movie "Super Size Me"-- it makes a number of references to the movie, and pretty much assumes you've seen it.
Essentially, Spurlock discusses his impetus to go on the project-- 30 days of nothing but McDonald's food and decreasing his physical activity to match that of an "average" American. The results are astounding-- I won't ruin the movie (or the book) by discussing it in depth, but suffice to say that the increased consumption of saturated fats, calories, and lack of nutrients has an overt negative effect. Spurlock also discusses the difficulty he had afterwards with shedding the excess weight he gained.
But perhaps more importantly-- Spurlock discusses nutrition and fitness, in our homes, in our school systems. He discusses what makes a successful lifestyle change (and note that he doesn't really talk about diets per se-- his comment is that any diet is invariably doomed to failure due to the temporary nature of it). He also evaluates any number of fad diets, including a good slam at the low carb craze and Atkins diet (which caused me to be confused as to why a previous reviewer seemed to indicate he was advocating a low carb lifestyle). He also discusses Jared and the Subway diet and really analyzes why Jared lost so much weight-- the conclusions are what most people trying to lose weight doesn't want to hear-- the only way to lose weight is to eat better and exercise more.
But really its the school system bit thats most interesting, about how fast food/junk food companies are taking over our school systems by offering funding that the schools desparately need to get in the door and then turning out generation of brand-imprinted kids. And he points out how the junk food dealerspush personal responsibility onto the eight year olds ("the parents need to teach good choices" as though any parent will convince an eight year old that carrots are a better idea than Oreos....).
Spurlock also doesn't leave anyone out to dry-- his book is full of suggestions for lifestyle changes, and contact information for model school systems and driving change in our own environments.
Most importantly, Spurlock presents this in an easy to read manner injected with humor and wit, and the book is a fun read. And yeah, it is pretty goofy his diet, but I think it made its point pretty well. For anyone interested in nutrition, and certainly for anyone whose seem "Super Size Me", this is essential.
Oh, and if you haven't seen "Super Size Me"-- go out and rent it! You won't regret it!
From the person behind the documentary Supersize Me, this book looks at the fast food industry in America. He explores the ways in which fast food is marketed to children, the supersizing of the fast food menu and the accompanying rise in conditions like obesity, heart disease and diabetes, even among children.
The average school cafeteria has replaced its food with sugary and sweet items like pizza and soda, that is, if the cafeteria hasn't actually been turned into a food court. Cash-strapped schools are obligated to let soda and candy vending machines in school, for a cut of the money, while physical education is being eliminated. Diabetes is supposed to be an "adult" disease; in the last few years, it has started to show up in children under 10 years old. Most nutritionists recommend limiting fast food to no more than once a month. How many people, or families, can honestly say that they can do that? In 2005, obesity related diseases will come close to smoking as the biggest killer of Americans; the estimate is that 400,000 people will die from such diseases. As an experiment, put a plate of McDonald's fries under glass, for several months. What will happen to the fries? The answer is: basically nothing. They might start to smell, but there will be little or no decomposition to the fries. One can only wonder what is in the fries or the vegetable oil to cause this to happen.
Part of this book is also a chronicle of his 30 days on the "McDonald's Diet" for the film. He got three different doctors to independently keep an eye on his health, which basically fell apart. He suffered bad headaches and chest pains, he couldn't focus mentally and his cholesterol and blood pressure rose dramatically. Oh, and he also gained more than 24 pounds.
A measure of liver function is the presence of an enzyme in the blood called serum glutamic pyruvic transaminase (SGPT). During his month of McDonald's food, his number rose from 20 to 290; under 40 is normal. Another enzyme to measure liver function is alanine transaminase (ALT); his number skyrocketed from 17 to 471, before settling at 240. Again, under 40 is normal. Is it any wonder that a child born in 2000 has a 1 in 3 chance of developing diabetes from poor dietary habits?
This is a gem of a book. Filled with lots of information for all Americans, it is very easy to read, and is helped with bits of humor that Spurlock spreads all over the book. This is very highly recommended.
Compared to Eric Schlosser's FAST FOOD NATION, this is a light tongue and cheek work on an issue of growing importance. While I don't discourage readers from this book, it is basically a repeat of Schlosser's earlier work made less academic for the everyday reader. It has a Fast Food approach to it subject.
When Spurlock is not talking about his vegan girl-friend and other spurious material, there are some nuggets of information worthwhile here. These digressions almost trivilize the book at times. This is basically the companion piece to the author's DVD on the subject: SUPER SIZE ME. A video worth seeing. Still, Spurlock has an entertaining style at times, and he elaborates on some aspects of Schlosser's earlier work. I would consider this an easy read for those who don't want to tackle Schlosser's longer and more serious style. The author does provide some useful websites for people to look at, and while not up to Schlosser's standard, it can be entertaining at times. This book can serve as a useful addition, or introduction, but by no means a substitute to other more serious works on this subject.
In short, anything that brings attention to the Fast Food epidemic engulfing this country and the world is worthwhile. View Spurlock's video, and read Schlosser's book as well. If you just read this work on its own you won't be getting the complete picture. A useful and amusing introduction to a very serious topic.
Morgan Spurlock is back with a well-needed follow up to his thirty day fast food diet that hit the DVD market as `Supersize Me'. In his DVD, Morgan took us on a journey with him as he proved that fast food is not, in any way, shape or form, nutritious. Regardless of how fast food may flaunt nutritive additives, a meal it does not make.
I am extremely pleased to have read, and be able to recommend, this book. There are many sources out there for those of us who have already been aware of the horribly detrimental effects fast food is having on our health, but Morgan has captured the attention of the people, and now brings the facts into print with a well written, easy to read, and factual book.
Morgan challenges us to do only the logical steps to understand what he is speaking about, like taking that burger out of the bun and actually looking at it. It's gray and flaccid, industrialized meat product. He exposes the lies of the industry, like the years long delay McDonald's made on its promise to change out the unhealthy oil they use. He investigates the impact of McDonalds in other countries and collects varied opinions of them. He provides disgusting information on the meat industry. He points out the ties between government lobbyist's and the all powerful food companies, including Sodexho, who provides your children's lunches. Most importantly, he points out the obvious connection between fast food and diseases that are sweeping our nation, like type 2 diabetes.
It's true that the people themselves are the ones ultimately responsible for what they shove into their pieholes, but the fast food industry is notoriously lax on providing truthful information to the masses. McDonald's nutritional charts are up to thirty percent inaccurate (in their favor) according to the lab results Spurlock obtained from an independent lab.
It's true that most issues are skimmed in this book, it is a fairly thin novel, but the pertinent facts are there and are backed up by other media and written materials. Spurlock makes several references to Fat Land, by Greg Critser, I book I have also read, which goes into far more detail than Don't Eat This Book, but never got the media attention that Spurlock has latched onto. This is definitely a great, easy-to-read, and informative book that deserves a great deal of attention.
Fat Land by Greg Critser
Fast Food Nation by Eric Schlosser
Slaughterhouse by Gail A. Eisnitz
These three books will round out and confirm what Spurlock has brought up in this follow up book to his thirty days of hell in fast food heaven. Enjoy!
on October 12, 2005
"Don't Eat This Book" picks up where books like "Fast Food Nation" & "Fat Land" leave off. Although this is not a particularly quick read (and a bit dry),
it is very informative. It is less about Morgan Spulocks debut film "Super-Size Me" and more about fast food, junk food over eating and nutrition. One
thing I particularly like about this book is that he goes in to detail about the caloric content of many fast foods going as far as comparing the caloric
intake of a meal at one fast food establishment to another which yield some surprising results. What you think is a healthy dining choice may not be at
all. Morgan stresses the importance of eating whole foods and home cooked meals. "Don't Eat This Book's" message is simple; If you eat good healthy food
and exercise you will be a healthy person, if you do the opposite you will not live a healthy and happy life. I reccomend this to anyone interested in
nutrition, health or obesity!
on July 26, 2007
In the summer of 1970, my doctor said I was overweight and needed to lose about 30 pounds. I was 35 and weighed 195. He prescribed diet pills to curb my appetite. It worked. In two months I was down 30 pounds, and the diet pills were a fun experience. Of course, when I went off the pills and back to my normal lifestyle my weight went right back up. At that point, I became interested in nutrition and fitness and started reading books along those lines. Adelle Davis and Carlton Fredericks pop into my mind. There were others. Later, I read "The Fat of the Land" by Michael Fumento. I had developed a taste for books that muckraked through the American way of life, particularly that part which centers on food, nutrition and physical fitness. It's been a worthwhile education.
A couple years ago, I greatly enjoyed Morgan Spurlock's wonderful documentary movie/DVD "Supersize Me." It should be required viewing for all Americans. Then about a month ago, while browsing through the bargain bins of a large bookstore, I stumbled upon Spurlock's "Don't Eat This Book" for only $5.98. It's well worth it at twice the price. I bought it in an instant. This book, of course, is the companion to the "Supersize Me" movie/DVD.
All of the books or DVDs say about the same thing, but they say it in very different ways. Americans eat too much and they don't get enough exercise. Thus 2/3 of Americans are significantly overweight and the problem is getting worse every decade. Just look around you. In addition, the typical American diet is overloaded in fats, sugars. salt and deficient in fiber, whole grains and fresh fruits and vegetables. Everyone seems to know this but solving the problem is another matter. Morgan Spurlock dips his oar into the murky water. I don't know that he sets forth anything that's new and startling, but he comes across as an excellent spokesman and provides information of which every American should be aware.
It's a good book. It's well written. He has good knowledge of nutrition. Plus, he's very funny while being deadly serious. The book is very entertaining at the same time as very educational. It's an unusaul combination. Spurlock takes on "big food," "fast food," congress, the USDA, the FDA and a host of other organizations that tend to rule our lives in one way or another. Read his account and then think about what he says. It may change your lifestyle for the better. Then read it again and again over the years just to maintain your lifestyle in a reasonible direction.
As a major part of the movie/book, Spurlock spent a month eating at the "Golden Arches." Every meal. If anyone suggested supersizing, he went along. Then he and a group of doctors/nutritionists chronicled what happened to him over that month. If you eat in any fast-food restaurants, or any restaurants for that matter you should read this account. It's eye opening, plus it's funny. Mickey D comes in for most of the pointed criticism, but the same thing could be applied to all. Personally, I think he came down a little too hard on Subway. After all, if you're knowledgeable you can get a perfectly acceptable meal there. Plus, it you really have to have a hamburger now and then he could have mentioned that In-and-Out makes theirs out of all fresh ingredients. But he was an easterner, and that's mostly in California.
on December 5, 2005
Although written in an almost flippant style, this is a very important book. It brought home the duplicity of the fast food industry even more so than Fast Food Nation (also an excellent read). I plan to see the Supersize Me documentary very soon.
During and after reading this books I became much more conscious about the food I was eating and actually am now spending some time reading food labels and looking up the chemicals listed on the 'net.
Parent, especially, need to read this book.
on February 4, 2007
A tragic-comic and enlightening account of the making of the filmmaker-author's McDonalds restaurant marathon, during which he ate every meal for a month at the fast-food giant, with deleterious health results. This grisly read inspired my husband to try to replicate the never-decaying cheeseburger experiment, which Spurlock describes in the book (a cheeseburger left on a high shelf will simply dessicate, not rot, because it is so full of chemicals). Baskin-Robbins' heir John Robbins wrote a similarly eye-opening, stomach-churning book "Diet for a New America", which throws bright light onto the corporatization of mega-farm, mega-food practices. Highly recommended.
on July 3, 2006
I saw SSM when it came out a few years ago and loved it, but it wasn't until recently that I came upon Morgan Spurlocks book and I have got to say that I loved it and his writing style. While reading it, his truth just hit me. What the heck am I doing putting fast food in my body ??? What for ??? In this day and age eating healthy doesn't have to mean tastelessness and deprivation. Not at in the least. This last week I've completely removed soda and fast foods from my diet, upping the veggie and grain content and I cannot tell you how much better I feel. And honestly, the thanks go to this man for putting this book out there for the public to benefit from.
Some of the reviews I've read do bother me. Some people seem intent on belittling and criticizing the author and I can't understand why ? For trying to open up peoples eyes and help them ? For choosing McDonalds to focus on ?
Well, some people will never be ready to be unplugged from the Matrix I guess and will fight to the death to protect it. Even if that accepted institution (in this case, McDonalds) peddles poison to the general public. It's funny, but I thought that people who peddled poison where put in prison and hence, out of business. Not if you're a gigantic, wealthy corporation, I guess. There's that evil double standard again.
And then there's other reviews that come across as very simply, defensive. As if daring to criticize the Great McFood King is tantamount to unAmerican behaviour.
Quite frankly, I don't understand how anybody could criticize a book that helps people.
Keep up the great work, Morgan !!!