“Don’t Blame the Eater” Summary and Response

It is often said that the people themselves are to blame for consuming so much unhealthy food. In “Don’t Blame the Eater” a different narrative is presented. Author David Zinczenko promotes the idea that fast food companies are mostly responsible for the increased rate of childhood obesity. To begin his essay, Zinczenko first presents the counter-argument that mocks the kids suing McDonald’s for making them fatter. But he himself was one of those kids. Growing up in a situation where his choices were limited to cheap options such as McDonald’s and Pizza Hut. Unlike most, he was able to turn his life around by joining the Navy Reserves during college. He goes on to explain why the companies are at fault. For one, the sheer amount of availability makes fast food chains such as McDonald’s – which has more than 13,000 locations just in the United States alone – convenient. Another reason he brings up is that lack of information about the food being sold. Calorie information is rarely provided when food is served and when is it, they make it hard to understand. An example provided explains that with a 310 calorie salad comes with a packet of dressing that has 280 calories per serving. This makes it seem as if the meal is relatively healthy. But what most people do not realize is that the packet contains 2.5 servings, which adds a whopping 700 calories. In conclusion, David Zinczenko shows how fast food companies promote a cheap and easy way to obtain extremely unhealthy foods without providing much-needed information.

Personally, I agree with all of David’s points. Calorie labels are difficult to understand and as a result of young people often eat far more calories than is recommended for a healthy diet. They show us how many calories are in a serving and the majority will assume that the meal is just one serving. But most of the time it is much more than just one. Fast food has become more and more readily available making it hard to avoid. I find myself eating fast food more and more often. With a tight schedule, I don’t have the time to stop home and cook myself a meal. Instead, I stop at one of the closest fast food restaurants and grab a bite to eat from there. It’s quick, it’s cheap, and it’s everywhere. And I’m not alone in this. Students all over the United States lead busy lives. From extracurricular activities to jobs to hanging out with friends, they rarely have the time or energy to cook themselves a healthy low-calorie meal. And since they are kids, they don’t even have the money to go out and purchase healthier meals because they are almost always much more expensive than fast food. So in an effort to save a buck or two, they opt for the cheaper, less healthy option.

But fast food companies are not all to blame. The parents and children themselves must take responsibility as well. While the children are not making smart choices the parents do nothing to stop them. Parents should manage and control as much of their children’s diets as they can while they still can, to influence them to lead a healthier life. If parents take their children to these fast food restaurants, they show the kids that it is a good option, which causes them to reach for fast food in the future. But if parents and children won’t change their ways, it will be up to the fast food companies. For starters, they should provide more than just a few healthier options. They must quit turning healthy options into high-calorie meals. These companies should also be forced to provide nutritional information such as calories with all meals, whether they are pre-prepared or not. Even just a basic count of calories in the entire meal without any misleading would be a step in the right direction.

David Zinczenko discusses an important topic in his article and then it is a problem. Using the information he has provided, we can come up with our own solutions to the problem presented. In conclusion, fast food companies are to blame for the increase in unhealthy eating and need to find a way to promote a healthier lifestyle than they are currently presenting.


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