Thursday, April 27, 2006

A super size threat

Last night I watched a free CD, courtesy of the Guardian newspaper, entitled ‘Supersize Me’. It follows the misfortunes of Morgan Spurlock who sets out to find just what effect spending a whole month eating only from the menu at MacDonalds will have on his health.

His quest had been prompted by the ballooning number of overweight people in the US and the plethora of diseases that this obesity has triggered among the country’s population.

Prior to his one month MacBinge, Spurlock checks out with a number of medical specialists together with his GP to assess his current state of health which will act as a benchmark, and receives good results; he starts out as a healthy man.

But after only ten days of this self-imposed experiment, in which he sets himself the task of eating only from the MacDonalds menu, including several supersize portions, his health begins to suffer. His principal symptoms at first are headaches which can only be assuaged by another helping from the MacRange after which he feels temporarily fine again. This alone suggests some sort of addictive additive in the food and leads him to discover that this addiction leads many habitu├ęs of Mac’s to get hooked on their products.

His first medical check-in after only ten days show increased levels of cholesterol in his bloodstream and increased body weight. Another fortnight on the stuff and his medical advisors are suggesting he quits the experiment as Spurlock’s health begins to plummet. By the end of the month he finds himself barely able to climb the stairs to his apartment and only an eight week crash course on a healthy diet restores his health and weight to what had been before he began the experiment, although speculation remains over what permanent damage may have been done to his constitution.

Although few, if anyone, gorges on MacDonalds three times a day, many people do eat in their premises upward of six times a week, every week of the year with the same effect on their health.

But the most insidious side to the MacDonalds spectre is its ability to hook yougsters into its grasp through the icon of the happy clown, the addictive and superficially appealing contents of its food high in sugar and fat, the play facilities they provide for kids and the way their restaurants lay on extravagant spreads for children’s birthdays, a winner for unwitting parents.

And this really gets to the crux of the matter. It isn’t just a case of a vast conglomerate doling out unhealthy food, it’s the psychology behind their operation which is so sinister, using ingredients, like drugs to hook its adictees giving them a craving to come back for more and in the process ruin their health.

There’s a covert operation working here. The movers and shakers behind these monolithic fast food giants seem to have a remit to lure us into bad health deliberately with their habitual customers putting on weight, damaging their health and mental capability. But in an effort to reduce their weight the sharks from pharma take over by enticing these poor unwitting folk with all manner of quack pills that claim to reduce that weight without having to exercise. Big pharma also scores once again as the medical profession doles out all manner of medications to supposedly address the symptoms of obesity. So once MacDonalds have made a mighty profit out of their customers, the baton is handed over to the pharamceutical companies who then make vast profits out of remedial medicines. The whole thing is one giant con.

Spurlock’s film also highlighted in no uncertain terms, the dumbed down image of the average American. They appear as casualties of the relentless forays by the large media and food corporations who have systematically robbed much of the population of its cognitive ability. Couple this with the dumbing down of education in the US over many decades where children aren’t even taught the constitution anymore, and where big fast food giants dominate the daily dietary intake of the kids with their sugar-laden drinks filled with caffeine and aspartame and fatty re-constituted foods, it’s no wonder that America seems to be a country of zombies, idle Joe six-packs and pizza guzzling nerds. And that’s just the way the elite run corporations want them, an acquiescing bunch of jelly fish.

Furthermore, add to that the strong and persistant lobbying by the food industry in all departments of government where corrupt congressmen take bribes to ensure the contuinuance of the status quo and they’ve pretty well got it stitched up.

Let this be a lesson in life. After we are born life becomes rather like a walk down a vast high street in which the most prominent choices are the big glitzy stores enticing us in to buy designer clothes, fast cars, fast food all to immediately gratify our basic inbred instincts and provide vast profits for their perpetrators. The designer clothes are made in third world countries where the workforce lives on a dollar a day, the cars come from former third world countries that also employ labour at a fraction of the price that their western equivalents would have earned on the production line, the fast food is expediently made out of animals reared in vile mechanised factories and comprise of all sorts of additives and adjuncts which eventually fry your mind and incapacitate your body.

Yes we’ve all been there and done it. But once you free yourself from the peer pressure of the touting big combines and wander off down the side streets, you become aware that the inbred need for these diversions is uneccessary and a world of healthier choice exists. Unglamorous but nutritious food, fresh fruit drinks without additives and all manner of healthy alternatives.

But for the majority, their unquestioning robot-like attitude alludes them of these snares and by the time they are forty their lives have been irreversably destroyed in this covert programme by oligarchical corporations to capture us in their relentless grasp and lead us to our early demise.

Following the release of Spurlock’s film, MacDonalds changed their menu policy, providing more salads and laying off the heavy promotion of their super size range. But in true arrogant corporate mafia style they refused to accept that the policy change was a result Spurlock’s findings. We are the ones who can destroy the likes of the big corporations like MacDonalds by shunning their hype and products and pursue healthy, alert lives instead. Do it!