Food has become both friend and foe, says longtime author and health and wellness coach Richard Fast. Obesity has exploded worldwide, but the usual suspects – lack of physical activity and personal responsibility for dieting – are not the prime reasons for this rise, he writes. Three in four Americans are considered obese, Fast maintains, but food companies still reject the link between consumption of ultra-processed foods and the obesity epidemic.
Although the author has no medical credentials, intense research cited in the text plus practical knowledge and first-hand applications convinced him that worldwide obesity is a result of typical Western-style diets. Writing with a thriller’s “what happens next” flair, Fast pulls in the reader, starting with the first packaged breakfast cereals, which replaced the eggs/bacon/porridge of decades ago.
Attractively illustrated and clearly expressed, the author builds to an indictment of processed foods and the Big Food industry. The plot thickens with the introduction of cheaper and larger food portions, fast food outlets, high-fructose corn syrup sweeteners and sophisticated marketing – in short, today’s addictive, ultra-processed convenience foods.
Avoiding a dry recitation of medical studies, Fast makes his point with easy-to-understand research and anecdotes. In one study, a physician subjected himself to a month of processed foods including pizzas, fried chicken and sugary cereals and gained 15 pounds. When Fast cites the fictional Dr. Faust’s deal with the devil, he connects fiction and reality: “Let’s recognize it for what it is; a carnival of trickery and deceit that generates billions of dollars in profit for Big Food at the expense of our declining health.”
While Fast makes a convincing argument that changing to unprocessed fare will show an almost immediate health benefit, the reader must look elsewhere for details on how to purchase and prepare these foods. As the author connects processed foods and the food industry to the obesity epidemic, however, he validates the need to change our food consumption to improve overall health.
Also available as an ebook.