Eric Schlosser exposed the unhealthy side of the American diet with his 2001 best-seller, Fast Food Nation. Now, he takes on the fast food industry again with Chew On This, which focuses on the foods kids like to eat.
"An enormous amount of marketing is being aimed at children right now to persuade them to eat foods that are very unhealthy, and really they are getting their nutritional information from junk food ads," he says, adding that his book attempts to show in a very matter-of-fact way "what kids are eating, where it is coming from, and what it can do to their bodies."
Schlosser traces the history of fast food restaurant chains, charts the increases in marketing to kids and reveals what is really in fast food. He points out that "a typical fast food hamburger patty will have parts of hundreds of different cattle just because of the way it is manufactured now in enormous factories. It doesn't come from a local butcher shop anymore."
And fries -- one of the most popular items on the menu - are flavored with beef Schlosser says. "That's one of the reasons why they taste so good. And the beef flavoring doesn't bother me as much as the amount of transfat in these fries. Transfat is a new man-made kind of fat. It is very bad for your heart, raises your cholesterol and kids shouldn't really be eating any of it."
Schlosser acknowledges that fast food restaurants have begun to offer a few healthier options. He also applauds the soda industry for its decision to stop selling sugary drinks in schools. But he says that is just the first step and calls on corporations that advertise to kids to give them a more responsible message and healthier choices.