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Diet, Nutrition, & Health: Fast & Processed Food

A topic guide covering aspects of diet, nutrition, and health.

Internet Resources

Super Size Me

Oscar-nominated director Morgan Spurlock's social experiment in fast-food gastronomy sees him attempting to subsist uniquely on food from the McDonald's menu for an entire month.

Source: Kanopy

Perspectives

Fast Food Genocide

From the #1 New York Times bestselling author of Eat to Live and The End of Diabetes, an unflinching, provocative exploration of how our food is killing us and the ways in which we are unwitting participants in an unprecedented and exploding health crisis. Fast food is far more than just the burgers, fries, and burritos served at chain restaurants; it is also the toxic, human-engineered products found in every grocery store across America. These include: cold breakfast cereals; commercial and preserved (deli) meats and cheeses; sandwich breads and buns; chips, pretzels, and crackers; fried foods; energy bars; and soft drinks. Fast foods have become the primary source of calories in the United States and consequently the most far-reaching and destructive influence on our population. The indisputable truth is that our highly processed diet is the source of a national health crisis that is exploding into a genocide with unseen tragic implications. Heart attacks, strokes, cancer, obesity, ADHD, autism, allergies, and autoimmune diseases all have the same root cause - our addiction to toxic ingredients. New York Times bestselling author, board-certified physician, nutritional researcher, and leading voice in the health field Joel Fuhrman, M.D., explains why the problem of poor nutrition is deeper, more serious, and more pervasive than anyone imagined. Fast Food Genocide draws on twenty-five years of clinical experience and research to confront our fundamental beliefs about the impact of what we eat. This book identifies issues at the heart of our country's most urgent problems. Fast food kills, but it also perpetuates bigotry and derails the American dream of equal opportunity and happiness for all. It leaves behind a wake of destruction creating millions of medically dependent and sickly people burdened with poor-quality lives. The solution hiding in plain sight -- a nutrientdense healthful diet -- can save lives and enable humans to reach their intellectual potential and achieve successful and fulfilling lives. Dr. Fuhrman offers a life-changing, scientifically sound approach that can alter American history and perhaps save your life in the process.

Fast Food Nation

Are we what we eat? To a degree both engrossing and alarming, the story of fast food is the story of postwar Amerca. Though created by a handful of mavericks, the fast food industry has triggered the homogenization of our society. Fast food has hastened the malling of our landscape, widened the chasm between rich and poor, fueled an epidemic of obesity, and propelled the juggernaut of American cultural imperialism abroad. That's a lengthy list of charges, but Eric Schlosser makes them stick with an artfulmix of first-rate reportage, wry wit, and careful reasoning. Schlosser's myth-shattering survey stretches from the California subdivisions where the business was born to the industrial corridor along the New Jersey Turnpike where many of fast food's flavors are concocted. He hangs out with the teenagers who make the restaurants run and communes with those unlucky enough to hold America's most dangerous job -- meatpacker. He travels to Las Vegas for a giddily surreal franchisers' convention where Mikhail Gorbachev delivers the keynote address. Heeven ventures to England and Germany to clock the rate at which those countries are becoming fast food nations. Along the way, Schlosser unearths a trove of fascinating, unsettling truths -- from the unholy alliance between fast food and Hollywood to the seismic changes the industry has wrought in food production, popular culture, and even real estate. He also uncovers the fast food chains' efforts to reel in the youngest, most susceptible consumers even while they hone their institutionalized exploitation of teenagers and minorities. Schlosser then turns a critical eye toward the hot topic of globalization -- a phenomenon launched by fast food. FAST FOOD NATION is a groundbreaking work of investigation and cultural history that may change the way America thinks about the way it eats.

McLibel

McLibel is the unlikely but true story of how a pamphlet called "What's Wrong with McDonald's?" led to the longest trial in British history. In what has become front-page news around the globe, the trial pitted the multibillion dollar corporation against five members of London Greenpeace accused by McDonald's of libel. Three activists capitulated and apologized; two persevered. McLibel tells the story of the "McLibel Two" and the two-and-a-half-year trial in which the jeans-clad and impoverished defendants represented themselves against the best powdered-wig lawyers McDonald's could buy. Does the fast-food chain exploit children? Depress wages? Level South and Central American rain forests? Subject its cattle and chicken to mass slaughters? A final chapter explores these allegations and details the $98,000 verdict against the activists Morris and Steel, which is widely viewed as a moral victory for the defendants and a public relations fiasco for McDonald's. Environmental reporter John Vidal covered all two and a half years of the trial. In the tradition of Michael Moore's Roger and Me, he brings this David and Goliath story to life, shedding light on the corporate machinations of a secretive multinational company, the British legal system, and the implications for any individuals inclined to critique a $30-billion-a-year powerhouse.

Pandora's Lunchbox

If a piece of individually wrapped cheese retains its shape, colour, and texture for years, what does it say about the food we eat and feed our children? Former New York Timesbusiness reporter and mother Melanie Warner decided to explore that question when she observed the phenomenon of the indestructible cheese. She began an investigative journey that takes her to research labs, food science departments, and factories around the country. What she discovered provides a rare, eye-opening-and sometimes disturbing-account of what we're really eating. Warner looks at how decades of food science have resulted in the cheapest, most abundant, most addictive, and most nutritionally devastating food in the world, and she uncovers startling evidence about the profound health implications of the packaged and fast foods that we eat on a daily basis. From breakfast cereal to chicken subs to nutrition bars, processed foods account for roughly 70 percent of our nation's calories. Despite the growing presence of farmers' markets and organic produce, strange food additives are nearly impossible to avoid. Combining meticulous research, vivid writing, and cultural analysis, Warnerblows the lid off the largely undocumented-and lightly regulated-world of chemically treated and processed foods and lays bare the potential price we may pay for consuming even so-called "healthy" foods.