Supersize Me and The Omnivore’s Dilemma Review

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In the film “Super Size Me”, Morgan Spurlock starts a month of McDonald’s diet in order to test if eating McDonald’s would put him on the fast track to becoming obese and if the experiment is dangerous. Similarly, Michael Pollan, from The Omnivore’s Dilemma, traces back the food that everyday people eat through four different food chains.

The food chains are industrial, where crops are grown and then shipped to supermarkets, industrial organic, where crops are grown in large industrial farms with natural fertilizers and then sold at supermarkets, local sustainable, where crops are grown in a farm containing different types of crops and animals and this food travels to a farmer’s market, and hunter-gatherer, where you have to find, grow, or gather your own food. There are many parallels between Morgan Spurlock’s “Super Size Me” and Michael Pollan’s The Omnivore’s Dilemma. Three parallels between the film and the book include the risks of eating fast food harmful, chemicals contained in fast food, and the development of super-sized foods.

In “Supersize Me,” Morgan Spurlock states the different types of risk factors related to overeating fast food. In one part of the film, he states that in only 30 days, he gained 24½ pounds, had a fatty liver, his cholesterol shot up to 65 points, his body fat percentage went up from 11% to 18%. This doubled his risk of coronary heart disease, and heart failure. He also felt that he was exhausted and depressed, had massive headaches and mood swings. He also stated that the weight gain from eating fast food has been linked to health problems such as hypertension, stroke, gallbladder disease, osteoarthritis, sleep apnea, endometrial cancer, breast cancer, prostate cancer, and others.

This shows that fast foods are common factors that contribute to several types of health issues such as heart failure and cancer. Similarly, Pollan suggests, on pages 76 and 77 of The Omnivore’s Dilemma, that the Centers for Disease Control estimates that ⅓ of American children born in the year 2000 will develop diabetes. Diabetes can later cause blindness, amputation, and early death.

The control center also theorized that kids in the U.S. today may have shorter lifespans than their parents. The accompanying graph, on page 77, shows the percentage growth of obese children through the years 1976-2006. This shows that fast food can increase the rate of obesity and other serious health related conditions which can shorten the lifespans of the world’s future generation. These show that both Spurlock and Pollan link fast food to health problems and pertains fast food as the bridge to death. Likewise, both the film and the book focused on supersized fast food.

In the film, Lisa Young, a Professor of Nutrition in NYU suggest that when fast food chains first opened, there was only one size. But now, the original size is deemed as “small” and contains fewer calories than the “supersize,” which might have at least 3 times the calories of the original size. For example, when Burger King first opened, they had a 12- ounce small and a 16-ounce large. But now, the 12 oz is “kitty,” the 16 oz is “small,” then there is the medium which is about 25 oz, the 32 oz cup and the “supersized” 42 oz cup. She also states that a “supersized” Seven Eleven drink has 600-800 calories and 48 teaspoons of sugar.

This shows that supersized products have made making healthy choices harder than ever and has contributed to making the consumer’s health bad by contributing more calories, sodium, and sugar. Correspondingly, Pollan also touches on the topic of “supersize” products. Pollan states on page 81 that McDonald’s french fries had 200 calories in 1960 and through time, increased calories up to 610 by 2001.

The sidebar also shows that a large soda in McDonald’s had 32 oz of soda, which is about 310 calories. While the Double Gulp is 800 calories. Paragraph 3 of page 81 states that Wallerstein’s discovery of “supersized” increased profits and gave people more food to eat. This shows that supersized products helped consumers eat more food by buying a supersized food instead of feeling piggish and buying another serving.

But this supersize serving also affects the consumer’s health by providing the consumer with calories that are usually gained in a full day. These show that both Spurlock and Pollan thinks that “supersized” products contribute too many calories that might affect the health of consumers negatively, they also think that the main reason the companies started “supersizing products” was to raise their incomes/profits at the same time, “helping” the consumers choose options in which they gain more servings of fast food.

In addition, both the film and the book show how harmful processed food is. Spurlock states in ”Supersize Me” that McDonald’s suggested, in defense of their work, that “it is a matter of common knowledge that any processing that its food undergo serve to make them more harmful than unprocessed foods.” This shows that McDonald’s confesses that their own food is harmful for the consumers. Likewise, the book states, on page 99, that dimethylpolysiloxane is an antifoaming agent that keeps foam from forming when the nugget is fried. But this agent is a suspect in the cause of cancer.

Another example of a harmful chemical used in processed McNuggets TBHQ which preserves, the freshness of the nuggets, but digesting five grams of TBHQ can kill you. Some side effects of TBHQ include “nausea, vomiting, ringing in the ars, delirium, and suffocation.” This shows two examples of chemicals that are used to make McNuggets and how they are harmful to one’s health. These show that Spurlock and Pollan both agree that there are many harmful chemicals in McDonald’s such as TBHQ on the McNuggets, that could eventually lead to death.

In conclusion, both “Supersize Me” by Morgan Spurlock and The Omnivore’s Dilemma by Michael Pollan talked about the risks of eating fast food, why supersized servings were created and how they are harmful, and how certain chemicals in the McDonald’s meal can cause death and diseases.


Cite this paper

Supersize Me and The Omnivore’s Dilemma Review. (2021, Jun 21). Retrieved from https://samploon.com/supersize-me-and-the-omnivores-dilemma-review/



What does Michael Pollan argue in The Omnivore's Dilemma?
1. Michael Pollan argues that the American food system is broken and that the only way to fix it is through government intervention. 2. He also argues that the best way to eat is to focus on eating whole, unprocessed foods.
What health problems did Spurlock suffer from after eating the McDonald's diet?
Spurlock suffered from liver damage and high cholesterol after eating the McDonald's diet.
What is the message of Super Size Me?
The message of Super Size Me is that fast food is bad for your health.
What kind of physical and emotional effects did the McDonald's diet have on Spurlock?
Twelve years later, Spurlock still has serious side effects, like the fact that it's now much easier for him to gain weight quickly because of the extra fat cells he now has. But the physical side effects of the experiment were only the beginning. He experienced intense mood swings, depression, and lack of a sex drive .
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