Responses to Atlantic Junk Food Article

Here are several articles that have been written in response to my recent article in The Atlantic. They are, not surprisingly, highly critical of it. (There isn’t much point in writing a whole article to explain how you agree with another article.)

Salon_website_logoSalon: The Atlantic’s latest silly idea is wrong: No, fast food won’t cure obesity by Deena Shanker
Written by a True Believer of the wholesome foodie movement. Big Food is evil and must die! Just tell the poor obese to eat farm-fresh vegetables and they’ll drop their Big Macs and buy everything at farm stands, and everyone will be healthy!

GristGrist: No, fast food isn’t good for you: In defense of Pollanites by Nathaniel Johnson
Written by a smart guy, but unfortunately he focuses in one small, relatively unimportant part of my argument and treats it like it’s my whole piece. See my comment under the article and his response.

mj logo.inddMother Jones: Why the Atlantic’s Defense of Junk Food Fails by Tom Philpott

It was really sad to see this piece. If any publication should have empathy for the plight of the unhealthy poor, you’d think it would be Mother Jones. But no, this was just a dopey, rote screed by an Atkinite, that small but incredibly loud cult of ultra-low-carbers who have become the LaRouchians of the dietary world. Calories don’t matter! Exercise doesn’t help! Eat all the fatty foods you want! It’s all about the carbs! The Atkinites like to claim that everyone else is stuck in the “low-fat craze” of the 1980s. They don’t like to mention that the low-carb craze dates to the 1860s. For the record: It’s best to trim both carbs and fat. Ask your doctor, or any obesity expert.

imagesUS News & World Report: The Myth of Healthy Processed Food by Melanie Warner
I would have expected this piece to be the least sympathetic to my argument, because it’s written by Melanie Warner, whom I call out in my article as one of the more prominent anti-processed-food voices. But this was probably the fairest and smartest of the pieces, in that it at least acknowledged some of the points I make about the ways the wholesome food movement leaves out the poor obese. (But it was still very critical.)

Forbes_LogoForbes: Food And Racism: No Not Paula Dean, At “The Atlantic” by Todd Essig
I’m a racist, because I suggest poor people are particularly hard hit by obesity. (You can’t make this stuff up.)

Forbes_LogoForbes: Why Junk Food Can’t End Obesity: The “Milkshake Study” vs. “The Atlantic” by Todd Essig
I don’t even know what this odd piece is claiming, but it seems pretty critical. Are any editors awake over there at Forbes?

Junk Food Cure?

Click here to watch my interview on CBS This Morning with Charlie Rose, Gayle King and Norah O’Donnell. 

To read my article in The Atlantic entitled “How Junk Food Can End Obesity,” click here.

Screen Shot 2013-07-03 at 10.10.13 AM

You can also watch my web-only interviews by clicking on the links below:

Food fight? Writer takes on whole foods movement (2:10)

Can junk food giants turn the tide on obesity? (1:03)

Screen Shot 2013-07-02 at 8.57.21 PM

Junk food diet: eating healthy at the drive-thru

Click here to watch my June 21st appearance on MSNBC’s The Cycle.

To read my article in The Atlantic entitled “How Junk Food Can End Obesity,” click here.

Screen Shot 2013-06-24 at 2.37.41 PM

Click here to watch my July 4th appearance on Canada’s CTV “AM” morning news show.

Screen Shot 2013-07-04 at 12.48.50 PM

Searching an end to obesity: a look at processed foods

Click here to watch my June 21st appearance on MSNBC’s Morning Joe (segment begins 3:25).

To read my article in The Atlantic entitled “How Junk Food Can End Obesity,” click here.

Screen Shot 2013-06-24 at 6.45.11 PM

How Junk Food Can End Obesity

mag-issue-large

Demonizing processed food may be dooming many to obesity and disease. Could embracing the drive-thru make us all healthier?

From my cover story in the July/August issue of The Atlantic 

Late last year, in a small health-food eatery called Cafe Sprouts in Oberlin, Ohio, I had what may well have been the most wholesome beverage of my life. The friendly server patiently guided me to an apple-blueberry-kale-carrot smoothie-juice combination, which she spent the next several minutes preparing, mostly by shepherding farm-fresh produce into machinery. The result was tasty, but at 300 calories (by my rough calculation) in a 16-ounce cup, it was more than my diet could regularly absorb without consequences, nor was I about to make a habit of $9 shakes, healthy or not.

Inspired by the experience nonetheless, I tried again two months later at L.A.’s Real Food Daily, a popular vegan restaurant near Hollywood. I was initially wary of a low-calorie juice made almost entirely from green vegetables, but the server assured me it was a popular treat. I like to brag that I can eat anything, and I scarf down all sorts of raw vegetables like candy, but I could stomach only about a third…read more.

Warped Sense of Time Heightens Temptations

ImageImpulsivity arises from a tendency to want small imminent rewards more than big future benefits. How can we correct our skewed values to care for our future selves?

From my article in Scientific American

(Preview only, full article requires subscription or payment) 

Walk into any fast-food restaurant, and you can watch a small crowd of ordinary people doing something that is utterly irrational: eating junky, excess-weight-inviting food likely to leave them feeling bad about their bodies and open to a host of serious ills. We literally line up to trade our health and self-image for a few minutes of pleasant mouth feel and belly comfort—because the latter is right here, right now, whereas the former is months, years and decades away…read more.

Innovative Rebel: High-Tech Camera Maker Jim Jannard

After founding Oakley–and selling it for $2.1 billion–Jim Jannard is taking on the film industry with Red, his high-tech-camera company. But playing the innovative rebel can work against you, especially in Hollywood.

From my recent article in Inc. Magazine

Image

One day in 2005, video-software engineer and entrepreneur Ted Schilowitz’s cell phone rang. “Ted? It’s me, Jim,” said the caller. “Let’s do it.”

“Uh … do what?” Schilowitz recognized the caller as Jim Jannard, the man who had founded sunglasses powerhouse Oakley and sold it for billions, and who had consulted with Schilowitz a few months before about a project that had led to a dead end.

“That thing we talked about. The camera. Remember?”

Yes, he remembered. Jannard, a camera nut, had persuaded him to look into what it would take to build a digital video camera whose output would look as good as film–and be much smaller and cheaper than a film camera to boot. Such a camera would represent an enormous leap beyond existing digital video cameras, whose relatively murky images limited their use by Hollywood pros.

Schilowitz, an expert in the workings of video technology, had investigated, and he had come back to Jannard with the bad news: Though every element of this hypothetical camera, from the body to the software, would be tough to develop, the sensor–the light-sensitive chip that replaces film in capturing an image–was a doozy. No existing image sensor on earth could match movie film…read more.