The topic of unhealthy eating is a significant issue because it affects nationwide public health through obesity and other metabolic diseases worsening the population’s well-being and incurring massive healthcare costs as well as decreasing the overall quality of life for millions of Americans. In How Junk Food Can End Obesity, written by science journalist and author David H. Freedman, he argues that junk food produced by Big Food is not the nemesis of healthy eating but instead should be viewed as a solution to change the nationwide eating habits for the better. The author’s argument is valid and based on solid logic because the arguments are evidence-based and adhere to the common sense of human evolution and nature.
The greatest strength of Freedman’s first argument is that he acknowledges the reality over wishful thinking regarding power dynamics in the food industry. The author states that “despite the best efforts of a small army of wholesome-food heroes, there is no reasonable scenario under which these foods could become cheap and plentiful enough to serve as the core diet for most of the obese population—even in the unlikely case that your typical junk-food eater would be willing and able to break lifelong habits to embrace kale and yellow beets” (Freedman par. 11). Freedman’s point is that reinventing an entirely new food industry based on wholesome foods is not a practical solution for replacing the current Big Food due to the lack of economic feasibility as well as the limited size of the market. The author’s assumptions are based on logic, which is valid because the modern, wholesome food movement cannot create an extensive food infrastructure on top of the largest food giants since the market dynamics facilitate competition, where the Big Food is most likely to win.
The greatest strength of Freedman’s second argument is that it is based on solid evidence from nutrition science. The author states that “clearly you can take in obscene quantities of fat and problem carbs while eating wholesomely and to judge by what’s sold at wholesome stores and restaurants, many people do” (Freedman par. 26). Freedman’s point is that the current idea that anything wholesome and unprocessed is false because these types of foods can be unhealthy depending on the quantity and typology of each particular food. The examples the author uses help to emphasize that food cannot be labeled healthy just by being unprocessed because various unprocessed or wholesome foods contain varying amounts of salt, sugar, and fat.
The greatest strength of Freedman’s third argument is that it appeals to common sense that people’s choices are highly impacted by a deeply innate mechanism of food preferences developed over millions of years of evolution. The author states that “it’s not exactly a scientific study, but we really shouldn’t need one to recognize that people aren’t going to change their ingrained, neurobiologically supercharged junk-eating habits just because someone dangles vegetables in front of them, farm-fresh or otherwise” (Freedman par. 49). Freedman’s point is that healthy food cannot be forced onto people. The examples the author uses help to emphasize the importance of being strategic when attempting to alter individuals’ food preferences.
In conclusion, after careful consideration, Freedman’s argument that Big Food should be used to promote healthy eating is more practical, realizable, and based on sensible logic and firm evidence.
Freedman, David H. “How Junk Food Can End Obesity.” The Atlantic, 2013.