Student Essay


For the last few months, the students in my Freshman English class have been researching, reading, drafting, editing and finally publishing ‘real world’ essays about the truth of Fast Food and obesity in America. As a class we were shocked by so many statistics and dissected Eric Schlosser’s book “Chew on This” to learn as much as we could. One of my students, I will call her “E” for privacy sake, asked if she would be able to publish her essay on the City Year Denver Blog. We agreed to post her essay not as a reflection of the views of City Year but as an opportunity to display a student’s hard work. Below is her essay, entitled “Food or Poison”, Enjoy!
– Arielle Ortmann

Food or Poison?
By “E”

Why do you think people are so addicted to fast food? Is it because the chemicals are so powerful they make kids ask for more? Or is it the advertisements with celebrities that kids love?

Some people might think that it’s the fast food consumers’ fault that they are obese. Probably because some people might say that they are the ones buying that food and making that choice; In reality, the fast food industries are so secretive that they are poisoning us with deadly chemicals and we don’t even know it. The reason some fast food restaurants keep the ingredients private is so that consumers don’t stop buying their products. Consumers should blame the fast food companies and factories for their obesity.

One example of how fast food restaurants have brainwashed us, making us forget what we’re eating, is in the sodium amount in foods, “The sodium in restaurant meals is so high that if you cut it to where it should be to be considered healthy, it’s not going to sell well”(Blame-a-Fat-America).This is because most fast food restaurants are putting so many unhealthy products in that it’s getting to the point where they are putting cow poop and grass cuttings in our food. Some people might not get grossed out and keep eating it. Surprisingly,“The U.S. government does not require flavor companies to list the ingredients of their additives”(Schlosser 113).

An example of why there are some many different flavors is “Natural flavors and artificial flavors sometimes contain exactly the same chemicals produced through different methods”(115). Because of this, the industries say that the natural flavors are good and artificial flavors are bad but in reality they are made with the same chemicals in the same factory. Still, most consumers believe eating ‘natural’ flavors is a healthier choice. This explains why companies are marketing that they put less artificial flavors and more natural flavors.

Why do some consumers say that fast foods haven’t changed at all since they have been opened? For example, “For the past twenty years food companies have tried hard to use only ‘Natural flavors’ in their products”(115). This argues that the fast food industries lie to every consumer and customers fall for their lies. If only the consumers knew what was put into their food.

The fast food industries have made consumers want fast food more than ever. For example, “After being hit by a car on dundee road, one kid asked some friends, as medics loaded him into an ambulance, to bring his burger to the hospital”(204). This is so ridiculous that consumers are so addicted that they want it in the deadly and wonderful situations in life. Some people might even want it in their graves too.

So the question is, do you still want to go to the golden arches, or the big bell, or even visit the little redheaded girl? If you try to eat fast food only once a week and maybe try to investigate what exactly you’re eating to see what’s in your food , then you’ll think about what you have eaten for the past years.


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