Linking Fuhrman’s “Fast Food Genocide” to the Lebanese Obesity Crisis

This blog post is based on the book ‘Fast food Genocide’ By Joel Fuhrman with Robert. B.Phillips.

Duration: 5 minutes

Introduction

This book gives an extensive read at some of the deceptive tactics some of the biggest food conglomerates in the United States are practicing today. While I am Lebanese, I thought that I would share some of the main take-aways from this book and explain it to my Lebanese audience. 

Obesity has recently become problematic in Lebanon with 27.4% of Lebanese men and 28.8% Lebanese women afflicted with the disease. (bariaticnews.net)  So, tying in this book to this very real issue, one of the questions that I find myself asking is how can we hold fast food companies accountable in Lebanon? 

Let us have a look at some of the insights from this book:

  • Fuhrman uses the term fast food in this book to describe all types of processed foods. Fuhrman describes fast food as being “a war against people” in the first chapter. He goes into this idea by describing some of the health-related issues that arise from a “diet reliant on fast food”, which include ADHD, autism, diabetes. I was surprised by the ADHD and autism link as I never thought there was a neural link between food and humans, clearly, I was wrong. 
  • Furthermore, fast food was also linked to a lowered IQ, thyroid disease, and the development of some severe types of disease not limited to autoimmune dysfunction, depression and cardiovascular issues. While the diseases that could be traced back to food were an area of great surprise for me, it also enticed me to question the systems that cover up such horrendous acts. It suddenly became no surprise to me that Fuhrman described the fast food industry as a “genocide” as they actively seek to cover up the dangers of their products. 
  • Of course, Fuhrman described this exact system as targeting urban populations, with minorities in his mind. Lack of access is just one of the factors that allow for processed food to be consumed by intra-city populations, another is the addictive nature of the foods. Putting this into a broader context where Fuhrman compares this crime to that by the deaths committed by the cigarette industry, with fast food as being larger of a culprit and you find a global systematic undermining of our health. 
  • In his book ‘Fast Food Genocide’, Fuhrman describes just what mechanisms drugs and food share that make them highly addictive, with a more disturbing note on how messing up our hunger queues allows for the cycle of over-eating to continue, along with the accumulation of visceral fat. 
  • A great take-away that I got from this account of fast food crimes was the need to go back to organic, un-processed foods to reclaim our health. If I can transmit this message to my Lebanese audiences, I would implement a daily habit of eating something grown, quite literally, ‘food from the ground’. So it could be a daily habit of consuming an apple, tomato or avocado as just a few healthy examples. 

I will follow back with more insights from this wonderful read as I have just begun the book. 

To sum up with a message from the first chapter: Engage in critical consumption of food and try to eat “close to the earth”. 

Conscious consumption as the antidote to fast food consumption

Much to my dismay but perhaps not as tragic as I may make it seem to be, understanding the economic systems that profit from obesity has shed light onto why advertising is so powerful in my food choices.

Lebanese-specific Fast Food Consumption

Brands in Lebanon are highly integrated into the family-unit, so a personal shift can simply be in viewing food choices as a daily habit (and one based on grown food) rather than an automatic process that is unarticulated by anything but previous habits.

In the spirit of the ‘thawra’, I follow in the shift of Lebanese consciousness to start questioning the practices of fast food corporations in the country. 

With an open mind, perhaps we can implement a system that rewards good health and pave the way forward to a healthy generation, in mark with the spirit of change but more with resolution to start serving our own people. 

Let me know your thoughts by posting a comment below. 

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