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Fast Food Nation vs. Super SIze Me

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Obesity in America is rapidly growing and one of the biggest factors is the fast food industry. It affects everyone in some type of way, and in fact one in four Americans will visit a fast food restaurant daily. Super Size Me, a documentary by Morgan Spurlock, opens many eyes to how regularly eating a high sugar and fat diet can affect the body. Fast Food Nation, a book by Eric Schlosser, reveals the history of fast food and takes a look at the fast food industry itself. Though the two pieces are very different, they are both cracking down on a worldwide issue, the fast food industry. The main purpose of the two pieces mentioned above is to bring attention to the fast food industry. Though many might not think much about it, fast food is all around us. You can hardly drive a couple miles into town, or even watch television without seeing some sort of fast food advertisement. In fact, the average child will see 10,000 fast food advertisements on TV per year. Super Size Me and Fast Food Nation have both gotten a lot of attention and make people think twice about what they are eating.

Though fast food industries are marketing to all ages, they have one main target-children. This is one subject that both Fast Food Nation and Super Size Me have in common. They both express how companies like McDonald’s draw the attention of children, as well as their parents and grandparents. For example, advertising icons like Ronald McDonald and his sidekicks, or the playhouses found in many fast food restaurants. Even on television, commercials are geared toward children. In fact, the average child will see more than 10,000 fast food advertisements on TV per year. These marketing tactics not only make kids want to eat there, but it also instills brand loyalty that follows them throughout their adulthood. Super Size Me and Fast Food Nation both bring about attention to the fast food industry but they focus on various parts.

In Fast Food Nation, Eric Schlosser, expresses that today’s slaughterhouses and meatpacking industries are unsafe, unsanitary, and that the employees are being treated poorly. The main focus of this book was to reveal where our meat is coming from and also talk about the bringing about of fast food. In Super Size Me, the focus is geared toward the “specs” on fast food like your fat and carbohydrate intake, and the effects it has on your body. Super Size Me provides a prime example of the changes your body endures, as well as bringing attention to the health problems that could occur because of the consumption of large amounts of fast food. “Obesity is a very serious issue and if it is left unabated it has the potential to surpass smoking as the leading cause of preventable death in America”.

While both Fast Food Nation and Super Size Me are drawing attention to how unhealthy fast food is, what they say is unhealthy are two different things. In Fast Food Nation, Schlosser focuses on what is going into the food and uncovers some dirty little secrets that workers would not want consumers finding out about. For example, Schlosser discusses the use of chemical components that are used in the food to make it taste and look good. Schlosser also investigated various industries and notes that the nature of food poisoning is changing. Before the rise of big meatpacking plants, people would become sick from bad foods in a small, localized area. Now because meat is distributed all over, an outbreak of food poisoning from one area can cause a nation-wide epidemic. In Super Size Me, Spurlock focuses on what is at risk with the consumption of fast food.

After Spurlock finished his experiment of eating McDonald’s for 30 days, he had consumed 30 pounds of sugar and 12 pounds of fat. He doubled his risk for liver and heart disease and had a fat accumulation in his liver. His doctors warned that if he continued this diet for much longer it could potentially end his life. The amount of fat and sugar that is contained in McDonald’s food is outrageous. It won’t take long to start seeing the effects of eating fast food regularly. Fast Food Nation and Super Size Me both bring about much needed attention to the fast food industry. Super Size Me provides a realistic approach to the consumption of fast food and Fast Food Nation presents a crude awakening to the horrors of the meat packing industry. They both bring attention to the fast food industry but differ on the ways in which fast food is unhealthy. Many have different opinions on these two pieces but I can honestly say, my dollar menu days are over.

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