Health and Fitness
- Current Events
Title: Don't Eat This Book: Fast Food and the Supersizing of America
Author: Morgan Spurlock
Publisher: G.P. Putnam
Web Page: http://www.penguin.com
Reviewed by: Paul Lappen
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 bron 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.
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