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The Omnivores Dilemma is a book written by Michael Pollan and published in 2006. In this book, he tries to answer a straightforward question of what we should have for dinner. A keen discussion has been made concerning the modern methods of food preservation so, that it is possible to know their long term effects on human body. It also talks about the large use of corn in making fast foods. “It would be impossible to calculate exactly how much corn Judith, Isaac and I consumed” (Pollan 115). The Omnivores dilemma also focuses on otter issues such as organic compounds in foods. It presents the Dilemma the Americans find themselves in whether or not to grow their own food and buy industrially processed food. This essay critically analyses the concept of fast foods as it appears in the Omnivores Dilemma and other outside sources.
In his book, Pollan clearly shows that most Americans decide on their foods to eat on the basis of tradition, culture and sometimes style. This should not be the case since Americans should be in a position to choose foods on the basis of their nutritional proponents. “Growing corn and nothing but corn has exacted a toll on the farmers soil” (Pollan 118). This book explores the methods and systems of producing food in America, corn being the most grown crop to produce food. His analysis shows how the corn plant came to dominate the diets of Americans. Pollan uses this to critic the choice of fast foods as a preferable meal than other options that are seemingly more nutritious.
In Chapter Seven of Michael Pollan’s book, he discusses the fast foods and he begins by showing how his son's excitement about going out for lunch in a fast food joint. The obsession of his son with fast foods like Pizza shows the failure by the culture of Americans to emphasize on the importance of nutrition. The author outlines that most Americans children eat fast foods every day. This may be detrimental to their health considering that fast foods are not as nutritious as foods from directly from the firm, grown with minimum use of fertilizers and other artificial compounds. Therefore, it is right to argue that socialization of American children takes place in cultures that use fast foods, and they become obsessed with the use of Fast foods. “Judith, my wife was less enthusiastic” (Pollan 109). The reaction of the Author's wife as it appears in the book show that she prefers a well cooked home meal to fast foods. This is a clear sign that the perception of fast foods in America is so different among people of different ages.
The author stipulates the creative technique used by the fast food restaurant to include salads in the Menu. This is usually an intentional move to raise the objection of children whenever they are with their parents in fast food joints. All the foods ordered when the author and his child are in a fast food restaurant all belong to different parts of the Industrial food chain. Diane Martindale in his article exposes a fact that Americans spend a lot of money in fast foods. “Americans spend about half of their food budget on meals and drinks consumed outside the home, and consume about a third of their daily energy this way” The author in the quest to explain the obsession with fast food in America presents a fact that Nineteen percent of today’s American meals are usually eaten in the cars (Pollan 110). This is a clear fact to show the American’s love for luxury at the expense of their health and nutritional aspect of the food they eat. The fast foods according to the way the author presents this scenario are specially made in environmental friendly way, and they can be eaten in the car without pollution of the environment. This is because they are waste free and intensely auto mobile friendly. A good example of such fast foods is the precondimented hamburger which Pollan mentions in his book.
As it has appeared in the Omnivores Dilemma, there is about 33% of the children it this place take fast foods since healthier food is said to be more expensive considering the high cost of living in the United States of America. The writer also communicates to his audience that the cars used in America have distinct modifications. “The car has cup holders, front seat and rear, and, except the salad all the food can be readily eaten with one hand” (Pollan 111). These modifications make it convenient to eat and drink fast foods with an exception of salads (Keim 2008). It comes out clearly that food, which is corn sweeten, is the comfort food for Americans and corn makes key ingredients in a Mc Nugget. Processing of meat takes place in industries and packed with no bones makes the Americans think that it did not originate from animals. Pollan too critics’ fast food eating trends in America. He does this by presenting a key fact that 90% of energy found in corn is worthless if it is no eaten direct. Therefore, the Americans should spare this energy but not processing industrial fast foods since they are a waste in the end.
In the following chapters of the book, the author articulates several methods that can be use to boost the economy of the United States; he develops easy ways that can be used to capture suns energy to grow grass. Grazing of this grass appropriately would lead to reduction of fourteen billion pounds of carbon in the atmosphere every year. These are measure that can be used to counter the hazardous effects of the fast foods use on the environment and human health. As the saying goes, ”Cheap is expensive” the use of fast foods as a “favorite and economic” food has disastrous results especially to the state of public health in the United States. The effects of using fast foods are long-term and indeed their consequences are dire. The food taste delicious and appears natural to some point, but the food is full of flavors and additives. These foods have also been found to have a lot of sugars in it which results to the high level of diabetes cases in the United States. “A large body of scientific evidence shows that irradiation reduces the nutritional value of food and leaves byproducts in the food that are themselves health hazards” (Diane Martindale 2012). showing that processing of food is disfuctional. Also, the increase in population of the obese children is due to excessive use of fast foods. Also, dumping the wrappers of fast foods carelessly pollutes the environment. Considering that these wraps are bio-non degradable, they have long term effects to the fertility of the soil, and hence Agriculture is hampered. Considering that Agriculture is a key pillar of the economy, this is an immense challenge. The massive waste that results from fast food industries also causes a human health hazard. Dumping of wastes from these industries occurs in potentially rich land, and it pollutes both the soil and water for consumption by human beings. The negative health effects of fast foods may include type-2 diabetes, liver disease, cancer, and Asthma and Cardiovascular disease. “In both types of meat at every location, a telltale configuration of nitrogen and carbon traces showed that the animals had eaten corn-heavy diets; in the case of beef, 150 out of 162 samples came from animals that ate nothing but corn. Fries were prepared in corn-based oil.” (Blandon Kleim’s 2012)
Pollan presents the environmental effects of fast foods especially considering the effects of gases emitted or used during the making and preservation of these foods. In the recent past, a chemical analysis carried out across the United States, has shown that millions of fast food industries in the United States rely on corn. It has also shown that most cow and chicken meals served in the United States restaurants are always served with corn (Martindale 2012). This has prompted criticism on the role that the government plays on the poor eating habits of the people of United States. “Chemical analysis from restaurants across the United States shows that nearly every cow or chicken used in fast food is raised on a diet of corn, prompting fresh criticism of the government’s role in subsidizing poor eating habits.” (Keim’s 2008) This idea of using corn in every meal in the United States is not only detrimental to the nutritional quality of the foods used in the United States but is also uneconomical “It requires large amounts of fertilizer and pesticides, both of which require large amounts of fossil fuel to manufacture.” (Martindale 2012) This shows that fast foods are not only poor in their nutritional aspect, but they are also expensive especially to the States that use them in large amounts as staple foods.
In conclusion, it is so clear that the effects of fast foods in the United States are extremely fatal. Therefore, it is necessary for the people of the United States of America to avoid fast foods or perceive the Idea of fast foods with extreme caution. The parents in the United States should feed their children with foods that are natural and not industrially processed foods. Pollan’s recommendations to save the people of the United States from pre disposure to hazardous effects of fast foods are so practical and applicable. The ministries concerned with environmental conservation should do something to ensure the environment is safe from pollution by wastes from fast food industrial firms. Also, scientists in the United States should educate the people of the hazardous effects of fast foods.