In the essay, Don’t Blame the Eater, David Zinczenko warns consumers about the perils of fast foods and agrees that they are bad for an individual’s body. He manages to show that the consumer is not always at fault but that the food industry’s relentless marketing and countrywide presence predisposes people to poor eating habits. He uses rhetorical questions throughout the essay and gives personal reflections of his childhood, when he was fascinated with fast foods. However, he is categorical that the prevailing circumstances at the time forced him to resort to fast foods. Through his tone, imagery, and personal narrative, the reader can tell that he is opposed to the manipulation of the food industry that leads children to obesity and ill health. For the above reason, the overriding argument that Zinczenko presents is that fast food companies play a crucial role in the dramatic rise of obesity and the resultant diabetes cases.
The author opens with a childhood story of how he was forced to eat fast foods after his parents split up. His mother had to work hard to foot the bills while his father kept away to rebuild his life. Consequently, he was left with only one option, which was to resort to fast foods. He proceeds to give some startling statistics about diabetes and obesity in the country. He also highlights the changes that have been witnessed across the country due to the systematic breakdown of society. For instance, he notes that the country used to spend about $2.6 billion on health care in 1969. However, he is astonished that the figure has since skyrocketed to an overwhelming $100 billion. In addition, he notes that before 1994, genetic disorders were the main cause of diabetes among children and that a measly 5% of childhood cases have links to diabetes. However, he quotes current NIH statistics that indicate 30% of diabetes type 2 is recorded in minors.
They say Americans should know better than to eat meals in a fast food restaurant. However, he observes that one can spot over 13,000 McDonald’s restaurants but would find it hard to locate a single place selling grapefruits. This analogy is important as it highlights the people’s fascination with fast foods, much to the detriment of their health. In addition, it shows the systematic breakdown of society because parents no longer teach their children the best eating manners, which effectively condemns the young ones to food with questionable nutritional value. For instance, the author’s personal history shows that circumstances beyond his immediate control forced him to fall into the fast food trap, and was only able to redeem his image when he joined the army and had access to credible information.
They say that Americans’ steady drive towards obesity and diabetes is driven by ignorance. For instance, he says that Americans are fascinated with eating those foods for which they have no idea regarding calorie content. The author gives a systematic breakdown of some of the foods that are most popular with Americans and says that they contain twice as much calorie as what the government recommends. In addition, the author says that American children have a right to sue a fast food restaurant whenever they develop obesity because the companies do not give sufficient advice or warnings about their foods.
I say the author’s arguments are valid because fast food companies relentlessly market foods that contain calorie levels beyond what the government advises. In addition, the society is careless about some of the food choices they make. Parents do not take the opportunity to give their children a firm foundation in health education. Consequently, children grow up feeding on junk foods oblivious to the health dangers such foods contain. In addition, when some parents abandon their families for their own selfish purposes, they clearly abdicate their duties because the essence of having a family is to enable people to live together and share responsibilities. It is instructive that families that do not stay together cannot develop the strong bonds required to enjoy a meal together. For instance, the author reveals that his father abandoned the family and went to seek a new meaning to life. He left the author under the care of his mother, who was too busy to take adequate care of the young man. Consequently, the author had no option but to resort to junk foods as they were the only available meals to him.
They say that naysayers believe the people are to blame for the food choices they make. The worrywarts argue that people should be held squarely responsible for the choices they make and should never apportion blame to the government or the manufacturers of these fast foods. However, the author responds by arguing that the fast food companies are to blame for the rising cost of health care as evidenced by the ballooning healthcare budget. In addition, he opines that the fast food companies usually work in concert to ensure that the population remains ignorant about the contents of the foods the companies sell. For instance, he argues that the companies target children, but they do not educate them of the risks inherent in the foods. They do not disclose the health hazards the food presents, which ultimately confuses the young and impressionable shoppers. In addition, he argues that these companies do not take the time to label their products to enable shoppers to make informed decisions. Consequently, the people end up purchasing potentially harmful goods without understanding the implications of their actions.
I say the author might also have added that the state does not play a critical role in controlling the actions of some of the food companies. The government has a duty to protect the people against unscrupulous traders. It is instructive that the government grants licenses to some of the food companies, and so it has a responsibility to follow up and ensure the companies comply with the provisions of their licenses. The state should ensure that potentially harmful foods do not make it to the market because they may affect the people negatively. In addition, the author could have argued that the health care department has a duty to educate the public concerning the danger that fast foods. In essence, I say the rising cost of health care should be an indicator that the current policies are ineffective.
I say the story the author tells in paragraph 3 and 4 supports his story because it highlights the problems that children go through and which ultimately drives them towards fast foods. He is lucky because he got the opportunity to access literature that taught him the value of eating healthy foods. However, the same issue could be used to argue against his stance, which says that fast food restaurants are squarely to blame for obesity and the resultant diabetes. For instance, his story does not state what role fast food restaurants played in leading him towards junk food. It is only evident that he blames the breakup of his family and his mother’s busy work schedule for the choices he made. In addition, he says he got lucky when he joined the Navy Reserves and got the opportunity to access health magazines that taught him the importance of eating healthy foods. For the above reasons, I say that Americans have a responsibility to seek relevant information about healthy lifestyles. I say one cannot feed on junk food alone and then blame the fast food companies for his obesity or diabetes.
In conclusion, I say the author succeeds in making it clear to readers that the topic is significant. He uses real life experiences, quotes statistics, and elaborates the main points. However, what is important is for all Americans is to agree that a crisis exists, and then to work out solutions that would help forestall a catastrophe. I say the rising cost of health care should inform policy makers that Americans are living unhealthy lifestyles. Subsequently, the government should initiate education programs that teach people about healthy eating habits. Evidently, casting aspersions cannot lead to a workable solution. However, I say the best approach to a sober debate should be to blame neither the eater nor the manufacturer of the fast foods. On the contrary, it should address the core issues at hand and then make recommendations for healthy living.