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Don't Eat This Book Hardcover – May 19, 2005

3.9 out of 5 stars 74 customer reviews

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Editorial Reviews

From Publishers Weekly

Fact-packed and funny, this offshoot of Spurlock's Oscar-nominated documentary Super Size Me serves both as a substitute for and addition to the movie. Spurlock spent a month not exercising and eating nothing but food from McDonald's, filming his declining health and ballooning size. It was a terrific premise for a movie; the book provides even more of its backstory and outtakes. Spurlock describes America's obesity epidemic, its relation to the fast food industry, the industry's cozy relations to U.S. government agencies and how the problem is spreading worldwide. He details the long-term and often fatal (albeit well-known) health hazards of the high-fat, high-sugar, factory-farmed fast food diet combined with the sedentary lifestyle prevalent among Americans. The statistics, while grim, aren't as compelling as Spurlock's often humorous descriptions of his own gradual disintegration into exhaustion, mood swings, liver deterioration and high blood pressure as his month progresses. Spurlock's wisecracks make the statistic-laden information easily digestible and possibly useful as a classroom text. He includes inspiring examples of schools that provide healthy, local (even student-grown) food in their cafeterias, and offers lists of resources for parents and educators wanting to make changes in their own communities. Spurlock is surprisingly optimistic about the future, and his book is a powerful tool in his rip-roaring campaign to turn around America's love-hate relationship with fast food. Agent, Elyse Cheney Literary. (May 19)

From Booklist

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

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Product Details

  • Hardcover: 320 pages
  • Publisher: Putnam Adult; First Edition edition (May 19, 2005)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0399152601
  • ISBN-13: 978-0399152603
  • Product Dimensions: 6.1 x 1.1 x 9.2 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 1.2 pounds
  • Average Customer Review: 3.9 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (74 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #1,217,905 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Customer Reviews

Top Customer Reviews

By Dan McKinnon VINE VOICE on September 29, 2005
Format: Hardcover
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)!!!
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Format: Hardcover
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.
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Format: Hardcover
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.
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