An Attempt To End Obesity With Junk And Healthy Food
In an article published by The Atlantic magazine David H Freedman poses the statement “How junk food can end obesity.” the article focuses on how the media, and Health Food enthusiasts have been demonizing industrialized, and processed foods. When I came across David’s article, the headline caught my attention as I think everyone would agree it is quite a bold claim to make. I was interested in reading to see what facts he had to back up his claim? In the article Freedman uses his credibility to show the ethics (ethos) surrounding the statements used by those against industrialized and processed food. He uses (pathos) to help describe how less affluent societies are seemingly set up to fail when it comes to healthy food options and creating a food desert. But most of all (logos) Is used. While on work Freedman does a lot of traveling, and visited a number of different states in the process of doing his article. While visiting Wholesome markets like Whole Foods, and Trader Joe’s as well as a number of different fast food chains, and comparatively documenting the amount of calories, sugar, salt, and the amount of fat that can be found while visiting these stores.
David H Freeman is a writer, and contributing editor at The Atlantic magazine. In his past Publications David focused primarily on science, technology, as well as business, however his main focus now is on healthcare, with regards to how behavior can help prevent illness especially when it comes to obesity. In June of 2010 he published a book called Wrong: “Why experts keep failing us and how to know when not to trust them.”(Freedman, Fat and Skinner) This book looks at Journalism, top scientists, pop gurus, as well as other forms of media, and how they mislead the public with flawed advice, as well as giving the reader pointers to tell who is feeding you a line, and who is not.
In the U.S there is an ever increasing obesity problem, and misinformation published by those more interested in your money than your health. In his book from 2010 titled Wrong Freedman talks about experts misleading the public with bad advice. In his article How junk food can end obesity Freedman set out to demonstrate the falsehoods by examining some of the statements, products, and media surrounding the health food craze, and how less affluent societies are seemingly set up in food deserts unable to find affordable fruits and vegetables all while being surrounded by fast food restaurants.
In this day in age fast food is everywhere, with people eating high calorie foods with too much fat, sugar, and salts while ignoring fruits and vegetables, and not getting enough exercise. There is big business for those trying to help the obese lose weight with healthy eating, and they’ll show you how, for the price of their book, or by getting you to buy the product in their stores. David Freedman resides in a small town in Massachusetts, but has traveled the U.S for his journalism. While in Ohio he visited Cafe Sprouts, and had a fruit and vegetable smoothie it took several minutes to make came in around 300 calories and cost $9. While he agreed it tasted good the calorie count for 16 ounces was too high to him, and he hoped to find another restaurant that could possibly serve him something cheaper, quicker, and with less calories, but still tasted good. Trying for a second time In L.A to find something that met his criteria he visited a vegan restaurant called Real Food Daily. The all green vegetable juice was low on calories, and costed $7.95. Freedman Waited 10 minutes to get it, and while he prides himself that he can eat almost anything he was only able to drink a third of it, stating “It smelled like lawn clippings and tasted like liquid celery.”(Freedman, The Atlantic) These are important examples because to help with obesity people are still going to want something that is cheap, quick and tastes good. Later on he found exactly what he was looking for in Blueberry Pomegranate Smoothie. It had about 220 calories received it in seconds, and cost only $3 served at McDonald’s
His main target in the story is Michael Pollan, and Mark Bittman They are both anti processed food fanatics, who sell cookbooks showing how to cook while avoiding processed foods that are in their opinions healthier. When Mark Bittman was on The Today Show, he showed how he cooked up summertime corn. This consisted of sauteing the corn and bacon fat, and then topping it with more bacon. This is the type of mentality is hurting the obese or those seeking to lose weight as they are told to stop eating at fast-food, and use their cookbooks or start shopping at stores like Whole Foods or other wholesome food establishments. The problem they find when shopping at these stores is they still have to be careful of what they’re buying.
Not everything sold at wholesome Food shops is healthy for you, and if you’re not reading food labels you can buy something you think is healthy for you when in fact it is still loaded with salt, sugars and bad carbs. Another problem are statements saying you can eat what you want as long as the processing hasn’t masked the original origins of the plant or animal. This type of mentality leads to statements like potato chips are good for you, because you know they came from potatoes but Cheetos aren’t because you don’t know what they’re made of.
Another fact he points out is that some less affluent communities are usually stuck in food deserts. It’s easy for those who can afford to live a healthy lifestyle to say just stop eating fast food, they are usually surrounded by others who also have a like mind, and living in communities where they have wholesome Food Shops nearby. Those who are forced to live in poorer communities are often times surrounded by fast food companies. While visiting L.A Freedman visited some bodegas that had upgraded their designs to go up more of their fruits and vegetables while putting the unhealthy snacks towards the back of the store, Freedman stayed in the store and witnessed a number of customers pass by the fruits, and vegetables and head straight to the junk food table where they found what they wanted and left.
Fast food restaurants have been testing new healthier menu items trying bringing down the caloric content of their food however studies have shown that when people hear of healthy food, at fast food restaurants those items typically don’t sell well, and so they are not likely to advertise about their new healthier items. There are also startup companies working on bringing down the price of fresh produce, making it easier for poor communities to purchase the fresh produce they need, but the time it will take to bring enough farms on board to help bring down the price will take time, the question now is how long will these communities wait for the price to come down when there is less expensive and better tasting food at fast food restaurants? Freedman’s Overall hope is that fast food companies continue with their efforts to bring healthier food to their restaurants, and while even their best efforts won’t make fast food by any means a health food it could help buy time for the obese to change their eating habits.
Overall I liked his article, however I don’t believe he persuaded me in thinking that fast food restaurants can help the obese lose any weight. Fast food restaurants like McDonald’s are working on healthier items with less calories, and fat, but they will never be healthy enough to change the eating habits of many. I did like his evaluations of the health food fanatics who continue to believe that as long as the food is not processed, then it is always going to be better for you, but then turn around and show you how to cook an unhealthy dish. if anything his article has shown me that I need to read the label of ingredients on the box, and be a more informed consumer.
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