In a recent released film “Super Size Me,” filmmaker Morgan Spurlock documented his 30 day binge on only McDonald’s foods. Spurlock had to follow the McDonald’s diet, which had three rules; the first rule was that he could only eat food that was available over the counter at McDonalds. The second rule was that he had to super size his meal whenever an employee asked him. The last rule was that he had to eat everything on the menu at least once.
Over the course of the 30 days Spurlock gained 27 pounds while raising his cholesterol and making himself sick. This documentary may have appeared unrealistic to a lot of people since no one in their right mind would eat McDonald’s three times a day. Although Spurlock’s diet was unrealistic, America’s obesity problem is very realistic. If America’s obesity problem is left untreated it could surpass smoking as the number one avoidable cause of death.
So are fast food company’s to blame for Americas obesity problems? This question is very complex, I believe that while fast food companies are not the sole problem, I feel that they are playing a major role in helping it along and should be held responsible. Of course no one forces you to go into McDonald’s to eat, or for you to order a double quarter pounder cheeseburger, but little is known about the actual health problems related with eating such things.
Some facts that reveal this obesity problem is that French fries are the most eaten vegetable in America. Or that if you ordered a super sized coke, fries and Big Mac you would have to walk seven straight hours just to burn it off. So, how did fast food places become such a problem? The reason is that they have influenced almost every aspect of our culture, transforming not only the American diet, but also our landscape, economy, workforce, and popular culture.
We all remember playing on the playground at McDonalds or Burger King when we were young and looking forward to our happy meal with a cool little toy. We are brought up on such foods because they are familiar to us, their good, fast, cheap, and sometimes fun. The economy also relies on fast food companies because an estimated one out of every eight workers has at some point been employed by McDonald’s, and the nation’s 3.5 million fast-food workers are the largest group of minimum-wage earners.
On the other side fast food companies are now starting to add healthier items and options to their menus. For example McDonald’s now offers bottled waters as an option to the sugar packed sodas. Wendy’s also now offers healthy options for their kid’s meals like milk instead of soda or a fresh fruit cup in place of fries. Although these options are steps towards making people think about what they are ordering, it still isn’t enough.
More publicity needs to circulate about this growing problem. The reason why so many people don’t know a lot about the dangers of fast food is because many news companies are afraid to air unfavorable information against such companies like McDonalds because they fund a lot of advertising dollars and sponsor a lot of sports events.
The obesity problem is not stopping any time soon unless people take an initiative to really think about what they are eating. With all of the diet products out there America is looking for a quick and easy solution to shed pounds. I feel that although fast food companies are providing some healthier choices on their menus I feel that the need to add more healthier options and to post nutritional facts in restaurants that are easily readable and accessible.
Do I think people should immediately stop eating fast food? No, of course not, I still will be hitting the local Wendy’s late night drive thru or McDonalds for a number two but now I will think about how many times I am eating there a month and think about how much that cheeseburger might cost me in the long run.
Posted to the web Shawn Rice