Don’t Eat This Book by Morgan Spurlock

Why I Read It: I like books that have me questioning industrialized goods, even food.

Where I Got It:

Who I Recommend This To: Need some motivation to cut down on your fast food habit? Try this book.

Narrator: Morgan Spurlock (author)

Publisher: Penguin Audio (2005)

Length: 7 CDs

Fast food is all around us. Basically, it is anything you don’t have to cook yourself, from the Burger King Whopper hamburger to Lean Cuisine’s frozen pasta dinners to Uncle Ben’s instant rice (like just add hot water from the tap and wait a few minutes). Living on a small farm, we usually have home cooked meals. However, there are just some days when we are out, off the farm and fast food looks like a good idea. This book was a good reminder of the variety of known health hazards associated with eating fast food regularly and also a brain tickler on what we don’t know about long-term health risks associated with regular intake of junk food.

Morgan Spurlock created a documentary, Super Size Me (2004), in which he eats nothing but McDonald’s food for 30 days. This book was a follow on to that filled with various statistics about the American obesity crisis, industrialized food, and food advertising. Spurlock guides the reader through a sea of facts, making them easily accessible through his narration. The book is sprinkled with funny incidents (such as how Spurlock came up with this idea) and the various reactions of friends, family, and doctors. In avoiding fear tactics, he keeps the reader from shying away from finishing his book.

While I have read a few books about the health hazards associated with industrialized foods, I learned some new things from this book. The rate of increasing obesity in America is alarming and the associated increase of obesity in countries that adopt American fast food is saddening. Until very recently, many fast food restaurants did not make the nutrition information available to consumers, including that small amount of beef flavoring used on supposedly vegetarian fries.

While I have no illusions that the world will give up junk food, I do believe that consumers should have easy access to all nutritional information associated with their food. And that is why I read these books; they make me think and reinforce the reasons I support local farmers markets and grow my own food.

What I Liked: The no frills facts; the stats on advertising and lobbying in American government to support industrialized foods; the quirky anecdotes thrown in.

What I Disliked: Sometimes I tired of all the numbers, especially if they weren’t related to something I could visualize.

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