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Don't Eat This Book: Fast Food and the Supersizing of America Paperback – 2005
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From Publishers Weekly
Though he wasn't much of an activist before his monthlong, McDonald's-eating experiment (documented in his film Super Size Me), Spurlock has since become a crusader for healthy eating. His passion is obvious in his reading of this audiobook, which delves more deeply into the issues his film raised, focusing in particular on food industry lobbyists and youth-oriented advertising. His undisguised indignation at their manipulative tactics and his contempt for the often slothful modern American lifestyle rise inexorably as he reels off statistics about calorie content, chemical additives, lack of exercise and so on. Frequently, his enthusiasm leads him to read too quickly and, without visuals showing portion sizes or unhealthy trends, the audio loses some of its impact. Spurlock also announces "sidebar" every time he begins reading what in the book are separate boxes, which is unnecessary and somewhat irritating since the information always relates to what he has been discussing. But the sincerity of Spurlock's quest and his mockery of the people behind what he sees as a national threat—he humorously mimics the voices of advertising executives and food industry honchos when reading their claims—makes this audio easy to consume.
Copyright © Reed Business Information, a division of Reed Elsevier Inc. All rights reserved. --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.
Spurlock, whose film documentary Super Size Me, earned an Oscar nomination and substantial media attention earlier this year, expands into a book his polemic against fast food in general and McDonald's in particular. He rails against America's ubiquitous burger outlets, holding them uniquely responsible for the country's obesity crisis and fretting that these corporations' overseas successes have spread worldwide the least seemly fruits of U.S. economic and agricultural success. With insight, he links Americans' expanding girth to consumers' demand for larger, less fuel-efficient vehicles, such as SUVs. He cites research demonstrating that fats are bad for people, sugar is bad for people, meat is bad for people, and advertising's seductions multiply these health perils exponentially. This is territory already well explored and thoroughly mapped in Schlosser's Fast Food Nation (2002) and Nestle's Food Politics (2003). Spurlock's ingenuous persona and his bumptious spiritedness added immeasurably to the film's charm and provided both entertainment and plausibility despite his sweeping generalizations and shaky conclusions. In print, this gee-whiz approach makes him come across as a lightweight, overshadowing and undermining whatever serious purpose he intended and whatever valid charges he might have brought against today's fast-food behemoths; however, the popularity of his documentary will spur demand for his book. Mark Knoblauch
Copyright © American Library Association. All rights reserved --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.
Top customer reviews
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!
Don't Eat this Book gives support to the issues that Spurlock initiated with the documentary film. I'm using it as a text, along with Ruth Ozeki's My Year of Meat(s) and Thorstein Veblein's The Theory Of the Leisure Class, for a university course on Media and Culture, focusing on American media/corporations and hyperconsumption.
Don't Eat This Book is easy to read and jumpstarts the discussion. Read it and see if you aren't passionately talking about it with friends over, er, lunch!
Morgan did a very good job of trying not to offend the obese people in this book. If I were writing the book I probably would not have been so nice. Fat people can blame the fast food companies and other food corporations all they want, and granted while blame can definitely be placed there, the main problem lies in themselves. They are not forced to eat unhealthy foods, yet they choose to anyway, then they complain about how fat they are and why they are sick and tired all the time. My final statement is the book was really helpful, I think people who are legitimately interested in weight loss will enjoy reading it. I didn't eat McDonalds for like a month after reading it.
I haven't seen the movie and likely won't, but this was a perfect tandem to my current desire to eat better (via Weight Watchers) and exercise more.
The prevalence of McDonald's is something I saw when I was living overseas - amazing how celebrated it was and still is. Yet at times Americans are (rightfully) criticized for exporting our McCrap. The first time I lived in Japan, McDonalds was a "piece of home" staple when the last thing I wanted was more rice. But since then (2002) I've probably had it fewer than 5 times and only once in the last three years - a post root canal shake. We used to eat there occasionally when I was little, but it was never a huge part of my childhood. However since I began reading this - often on the subway or in the gym - I found myself looking at who was in the McDonalds on my block. Not socioeconomic so much as size. It's hard not to look and judge.
His study of the (lack) of decomposition of Frankenfood/McCrap was pretty frightening. While I think we expel most of this - it makes me fear what the fat cells look like with this crap in it. If it even continues to exist - I admit, my understanding of nutrition is pretty poor. That's one of my goals as I think it will really help permanently change my eating habits. I understand Spurlock's frustration with trying to walk as little as possible - as a NYC resident I also find myself walking far more than others simply as a way of life - yet I have been overweight for as long as I can remember. The first time I remember my mom cautioning me about my weight was when I was 9/10 in 5th grade and walking home every day. Even a 1+ mile walk each day didn't make up for the sweets I was buying on the way home. Yet now I look back at some middle and high school photos and I'd love to be that thin again.
I also like how Spurlock's book didn't focus only on McDonalds but also looked at the issues at other Fast food joints, including Subway which is my "healthy" favorite. At some point in my wl journey since March 2010 I realized just how much sodium is in a foot long turkey, which has been a weekend staple. To say nothing of the spicy italian I enjoy and the tuna I was eating for a while. Wow. This book and Weight Watchers have taught me a lot about labels and what's in food. While I'm not going so far as to permanently give up processed food, I certainly want to be aware of what I'm eating and choosing appropriately.
I find it frightening how much politicking goes into the USDA pyramid. I'm learning more about better food choices, including role of carbs and trying to make better choices - but it's hard when wat you've come to know as a guide may not be as clean as I'd thought.
It's amazing to see the change in his weight, liver, blood levels that one month of McDonalds caused. While most people do not eat it for every single meal in a month, it's certainly eaten often enough to be a real health concern. Makes me wish I had some more of my blood levels to compare. I'll need to ask my endocrinologist when I see him this summer.
I think this book has started an interest for me. I look forward to reading and learning more.
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