Homepage > Saggistica > Alimentazione > Terra Grassa Recensioni

Terra Grassa

Fat Land
Da Greg Critser
Recensioni: 29 | Valutazione complessiva: Media
In questa sorprendente esposizione, il giornalista Greg Critser guarda oltre i titoli sensazionali per rivelare perché quasi il 60% degli americani è ora in sovrappeso. Il reportage con gli occhi acuti di Critser e l'analisi dalla lingua acuta rendono un libro disarmantemente divertente e davvero allarmante. Critser indaga i molti fattori della vita americana - dal supersize al Super Mario, dall'alto contenuto di fruttosio


Starlin Navarra

When this book first came out in 2003, it was an eye-opener, and I can see why. Critser traces the roots of how so many Americans became so obese, and it's a complicated maze of changing diet fads, changing child-rearing ideas, fast food conniving, school lunch deterioration, families who don't have time to sit down to a meal or who eat out all the time, the invention of high-fructose corn syrup, food politics, a bit of genetics, and more. I have to admit, I'm one of the obese, though I've been losing weight and keeping it off for the past 2 years. I learned a LOT from this book. For years obesity was seen as a self-esteem issue rather than a health issue. The solution, as Critser says, will not come easily because, "A culture that condones obesity, whether consciously or unconsciously, undermines any attempts to convince people to pare down." (p. 149). Do you know why high-fructose corn syrup is so prevalent in foods today, even those that don't really need sweetening? Because it is not only 6 times sweeter than sugar and cheaper than sugar, but it also has preservative properties, prolonging shelf-life and mouth feel. Prior to the '80s, type 2 diabetes was almost exclusively an adult disease, but now children are increasingly diagnosed with it. I read a book recently about an Israeli girl's 2 years in the Israeli army, which is mandatory for boys and girls when they graduate from high school and before they enter college. If they instituted such a thing here in the U.S., how many of our high school graduates would be physically unfit to serve? This book gave me so much to think about, and would be a great book discussion book--if you could get people to talk about it.
Wakerly Maxfield

There were some good points made in this book about the childhood obesity epidemic in the United States. I enjoyed the first half of the book more so than the second half. The first half discussed the history of our food supply and key players in this history, plus a lot about how child rearing changed during the last generation. This book states the obvious many times but at the beginning of the book, I was still intrigued enough to keep reading.

The second half of the book is more technical, deals with diabetes and other health issues, plus the author has some suggestions on how to solve some of our problems. I was not as entertained toward the end.

Considering the book has been around for many years, I am interested in reading a more up to date book. I think there are some things that have changed, maybe for the good, maybe not.

I know at one point, probably during a chapter on excessive, needless snacking, I just had the urge to go open a bag of chips and dig in. And I did! But, a couple chapters later, probably during a chapter describing our lazy attitudes and inability to get off our butts, I got motivated and had to stop and get on the treadmill for half an hour. So in some ways, this book was an interactive book!
Melnick Cleaver

Want to know why America is fat? This book will tell you. Since I have read this book, I have eaten McDonald's once in the last year or so (and that was because I was drunk). Very interesting to see how much the country has changed in 60 years since the war. The book starts there, how with budget cuts to the P.E. department and importing cheap (and very fattening) substitutes for homegrown goods can really cause a whole nation to pack on the pounds.
Greta Yagecic

Well written book. The author writes about several reasons that have brought Americans to the obesity crisis that we face - from politics to school food programs to the way society views fatness throughout the past 30 years. He cites many studies, gives examples of programs that are work and why. I felt guilty for being sedentary while reading the book:-)
Myrtle Carruba

I read this many years ago, and have been telling people about it ever since because it's amazing how many people don't know why America had an epidemic of obesity first. Ten years ago, everyone in Europe was laughing at fat Americans, blaming the epidemic on their super-sized portions and assuming lazy people just ate too much fast food. Now the same thing is happening, firstly in the UK and now in the rest of Europe. Many people are mystified. The answer has been around for years, but the focus on low fat food and exercise has obscured it, and Greg Critser's book hasn't achieved the popularity it deserves.

The answer is simple: the American government made commercial deals with the palm oil industry in Malaysia and developed High Fructose Corn Syrup (HFCS) using the corn grown in the industrial-scale farms of the USA. Both these substances are cheap, increase shelf life of food and both cause obesity. In the UK, the food industry adopted them later, and lo and behold, the nation's weight increased. The same thing is now happening in Europe. The reason nobody has noticed is that palm oil can be labelled as vegetable oil which we have been conditioned to think is more healthy than butter, so consumers are unable to tell if products contain palm oil. High Fructose Corn Syrup is usually labelled as glucose-fructose syrup in the EU. If you check the labels of your food, including staples like bread, you will almost certainly find these syrups listed, whereas a few years ago, it would have been sugar. This is why diets which emphasise 'clean eating', home cooking, reduction in processed carbohydrates and low fat proteins are so effective; they cut out the processed food which has been tainted by the food industry's adoption of these ingredients. Back in the 1960s, '70s and '80s, when I was growing up, I ate home-baked cake with butter icing every day, had half a Mars Bar every day at lunchtime, ate normal cooked meals in the evening and was never overweight. My mother cooked everything from scratch, including burgers, fishcakes and roasts, and all using butter, sugar and full milk. We are all victims of the food industry's powerful lobby. It's time the people were given back the right to food which doesn't make them ill.

Rant prompted by a friend sharing this Guardian article: http://www.theguardian.com/business/2...
Wittenburg Cavicchi

I don't understand where I got on this kick with these industry-expose books, I seem to find them utterly fascinating, even if they're about something I already know. I guess it's the exact why and how and history of what we all know to be true that holds the draw for me. I already knew the funeral industry was a scam, but seeing exactly how the ruse is perpertuated in Mitfords' "The American Way Of Death" kept me chewing until the very last page.

Greg Critser's "Fat Land" is no exception. Aside from Samoa and its immediate neighbors, Americans are the fattest people on the planet. We all know this. We all know that it's a result of too much bad food and too little activity. So what, if anything, is there to write about, much less to fill a couple hundred pages? Plenty, it turns out, and it's all fascinatingly juicy stuff.

The 1970's saw America in a perilous economic position, much like the one we stand in in 2008. In a desperate effort to alleviate the crunch and keep farmers in work and food on the tables, American economists began to redraw the maps on where our foods come from and what goes into them. The introduction of palm oil from overseas and the explosive manufacture of corn syrup at home led to a horiffic spike in the amount of sugar, fats and aclories we consumed. The search to stretch the household dollar a little more led to the jumbo packaging we now know....fat, it turns out, IS where it's at, as far as the bottom (no pun intended) line is concerned. Fat isn't merely a moral issue, Critser posits, but a social, economic, governmental and global competition issue.
Lantz Elway

Book lives up to its title, using current stats, empirical data, and lucid explanation as to why America is so massive. Similar to Fast Food Nation, and Spurlock's Supersize Me in intent, Fatland is broader in investigation than the former, less visceral than the latter, and the result is an even-handed account that examines the multiple, often over-lapping factors, many of them political, feeding the fat epidemic.

This book covers the usual subjects--lack of PE in the public schools, sedentary lifestyle, gargantuan portions, etc.--as well as the unusual, less often discussed--the corn lobby's highly lucrative by-product, high fructose corn-syrup, and the gerrymandering of the food pyramid and the not so non-partisan government agency headed by the even less non-partisan presidential appointee who gets to make it.

Some chapters are positively galvinizing they are so convincing, others less so, and it would be more persuasive if the various chapters (which thematically organize the explanations) were more tightly connected, but loaded with common and not so common sense, and so very, very engaging.
Vada Brigante

This book has total false advertising. On the back, it says that "reading this book will take ten pounds right off of you", or something like that. (I probably shouldn't use quotes if I don't actually want to get up off the couch and get the real quote, huh?)

I read this book slowly, over at least a couple months. During that time, I gained at LEAST ten pounds. Yes, I am pregnant. But whatever. I was hoping the book had magic powers that would at least keep me even on the scale.

So, the book was interesting, but not riveting. That's why it took a couple months to finish. It's a big picture, sociological look at why obesity is such an epidemic in America now. (Fun fact: I have a bachelor's degree in sociology! My reason: it was a short major.) The author starts like 60 years ago and goes to our current day. It talks about PE cut from school, high fructose corn syrup, fast food in schools, portion sizes, family dynamics, class differences, blah blah blah... lots of stuff. You can still be healthy and not fat in America nowadays, it's just more work because the whole world is encouraging us to be fat! (Fun fact #2: if you get your body fat tested in your 7th month of pregnancy, the results come back all skewed. I did it today at a Health and Wellness Fair, and it said I had 33% body fat! I am morbidly obese (not)! Funny, huh?)

The chapter talking about diabetes and heart disease and arthritis and cancer and everything... that made me excited to have my baby and drop all this extra weight that's giving me a back ache! In the meantime, it's almost 10:00 and time for my nightly bedtime snack. Tonight I pick: ice cream.
Rik Montaivo

Ok, I let this book linger for far too long, partially because of busy times at work. However, everytime I picked it up, I couldn't put it back down. Sure, a lot of the information in this book has been covered in other more popular books and films ("Fast Food Nation," "Super Size Me," etc.) but this is the first book that really looks at how all the external influences overlap.

For example, instead of just blaming the fat problem on fast food, this book also looks at how our diet (what makes up our food) has secretly changed without many of us knowing it, or at least being highly attuned to the changes. Sugar has been replaced by corn syrup, palm and coconut oil has replaced olive oil, more calories are being packed into smaller servings, etc. etc. That, coupled with America's dramatic shift in the work force from blue collar to white collar as well as the decrease in public school funding has all collectively made us more prone to be fat. In other words, Greg Critser lays out, we could seemingly eat the exact same stuff as our thinner grandparents did and end up morbidly obese because our world has rapidly changed around us.

It's a great correlation and really raises the alarms that we need to better understand exactly what it is we are eating and doing and make dramatic changes to counter the effects.
Youngran Trumps

In Fatland, Crister traces America's obesity epidemic to Richard Nixon. Earl Butz, Nixon’s secretary of Agriculture initiated a new free trade policy to reverse declining farm incomes and rising consumer prices. The policy change coincided with Japan pioneering high fructose corn syrup and Malaysia making palm oil commercially viable. These three ingredients made Americans fat.

During the 1980s fast food restaurants discovered customers would pay for value and returned for larger sizes. Fullness became a relative concept as chains super sized servings through the 1990s. And Americans ate it up, increasing the number of meals consumed outside the house.

Here my narrative diverges from Crister. Crister discusses how the government, church, and media all lowered standards to make fat people feel accepted. Unlike the 1950’s, fat people were no longer shamed as ugly, unhealthy gluttons. But the casual link between what these institutions say and what people do is dubious. Nancy Regan's “just say no” and the war on drugs didn't stop Americans from using drugs, Catholics get divorced and have abortions despite the church teaching, and the media’s condemnation didn’t stop Trump from the wining the Electoral College. But truly, each of these three institutions are too diverse to paint with a single brush.

Crister finds additional obesity causes by poverty: poor whites in Appalachia and the rural south, inner city blacks, and new immigrants from Latin America. He finds the last group whipsawed by hunger in their native country and excess in their new.

Crister concludes with some interesting science on how the body will more likely store high fructose corn syrup as fat than glycogen, how obese mothers are more likely to pass on obesity to thier children and how Latin American immigrants oxidize fat differently. He further catalogues all the health consequences of obesity from diabities and heart disease to asthma and acne.

In the end he finds obesity to be a class issue inversely related to socioeconomic status. The educated rich know the cost of excess and the rich shame fat. Crister’s own health journey started when someone called him a fatso. Stigma, not media, political, or religious oratory can be effective, but not at the price society pays.

I struggled though Crister's USA Today prose. He refers to an actuarial study by MetLife and then later as by Metropolitan Life. He refers to East LA as our Ellis Island, missing the point that Ellis Island was a pass through station in front of a major railroad terminus. Immigrants came through Ellis Island and if they passed they got on train to somewhere else. That's not east LA. He terms Appalachian whites as chronically impovrished, but in the same sentence, he describes inner city blacks as structurally poor when the same endless cycle of poverty equally plagues both groups.

Prose reflects thinking and this is true in Crister's solution to obesity. His solution reflects the have it now thinking that causes obesity and spur fad diets. A better solution has a longer horizon. We need a cultural change. Better education and prosperity can help. Agricultural policy needs to encourage Organic, nutrient rich food farmed sustainably. Food stamps need health guidelines. Junk food taxes should be analogized to the cigarette tax. Obesity is the new smoking. The social stigma will trail the positive agents of change.
Engeddi Abaja

Greg Critser’s Fat Land was an informative novel, but lacked creativity and excitement to keep the reader focused and interested. The novel was all about the growth of obesity as an epidemic in the United States. There were some interesting focuses that the book addressed. However, it was boring to read because there were a plethora of statistics and historical references rather than in depth commentary and opinions about the issue.
The book talked about the decline of physical education as part of the problem. The physical fitness tests that students have come to despise were at one time much more intense. They included such tasks as the pull ups test, push ups test, and timed mile. As we have gotten away from those exams, the author claims that students have began to feel that they have to do less to be considered fit. In addition, it mentioned the increase of time spent watching TV rather than exercising was described in detail. Obviously, sitting around in front of the television is less healthy than taking a run, and the amount of people doing this was continuously increasing. Finally, the other main point made in the novel was the growth of the fast food industry. This created an inexpensive, simple, and convenient way to feed a family. Naturally, individuals started to eat a lot of fast food for this reason. However, the food itself was processed, unhealthy, and the portions became extremely large.
One of my favorite parts about this novel is how the author does not attribute the increasing obesity of our country to one factor. It seems as if people are searching for one solution to the problem, but Critser is intelligent in addressing various factors that need to be improved upon in order to create a healthier America. However, so much of the information in this book is common sense. People know that fast food is bad and that physical education is not what it used to be. Also, most individuals are aware that they spent too much time watching television. Nothing written was groundbreaking information, and it was not presented in a way that made the reader enjoy the novel. I would not recommend this novel to anyone else, for although it is factual, it lacks interesting details.
Giustina Kovacevic

Much of the information in this books was redundant and repeated in slightly different form in each chapter. The chapters were far too long, which is how you cram 7 chapters in to over 100 pages, and yet despite being comparatively short the writing is dry and took me a while to plod through. This book is also very left biased (please, nanny government, fix the fat people for me!) and very anti-fat biased despite ample research that it is the sugar and refined grains in our diet, not naturally occurring fats, that are the cause of most of our diet woes. Though this is pointed out in the text a couple times it is negated by equally frequent bashing of saturated fat. For instance, while the book points out that obesity has gone up at the same rate as high fructose corn syrup consumption, the book also encourages a tax on non-skim milk. This despite research from the lauded Nurses Study that shows whole fat milk may be especially beneficial to women during their reproductive years. (See The Fertility Diet and Real Food for Fertility)
Thevenot Botz

I read this after "Fast Food Nation" and it's a great companion piece. I learned things I hadn't known about how US foreign policy under Nixon is responsible for two common ingredients in the American diet: hydrogenated palm oil and high fructose corn syrup. I love learning about history that took place during my childhood that I was unaware of, like astonishing inflation in the price of food in the 70s. Who knew?

I assert that it is impossible to read this book without changing your diet. My boyfriend calls me the HFCS Nazi because I am always reading labels, trying to choose products with real beet or cane sugar (like Izze sodas).

This book is not as reader-friendly as fast food nation, but because it limits its scope to two food additives, it's pretty easy to digest (pun intended!)
Decca Tichnell

This interesting and well-written book does more than the usual, "Fast food is evil" ranting. Critser says hard things about fast food and the processing of it, but this book is most interesting and valuable for the other reasons he discusses (with an amazing number of footnotes) for the putting and keeping on of American poundage.

Critser writes with a great deal of genuine interest and compassion. He makes a solid case for the lower classes and minority groups which he says are at the greatest risk of disease and poor health. Things like the suburbs, private schools, removal of PE from high school, un-healthy food costing less than actually healthy food, etc.

Very eye opening and motivating.
Ko Ackmann

The idea of the book was great; explore all of the myriad reasons why Americans have become morbidly obese as a whole and possibly what could be done to prevent this from further damaging future generations. By the time that I got about 100 pages into it the only aspects of the issue that the book had covered were advertising, advertising in schools and school funding. I kept picking the book up and then putting it back down after about five pages when I finally decided to give it up and mail it to the person I promised it to months ago.
Pattani Mccole

Good read on how the Standard American Diet has changed with the influence of Agriculture, political interest, generational upbringing, and technology. At first, it was very difficult for me to get into this book because, to me, it was just a lot of fact reading. One of the chapters really hit my interest and then I could not put the book down. With that being said, I think I will re-read in the future.
Hachman Defosses

Supersizing ourselves and our kids

About three-quarters of the way through this intensely felt jaunt through Krispy Kreme land and the Golden Arched environs of fat land America, journalist Greg Critser makes an interesting political observation. He's talking about Monica Lewinsky and Bill Clinton, recalling that Monica said the President always left his shirt untucked to hide his belly and how that was perhaps a connection between the two (their protruding bellies, that is). And then Critser reflects, "If the right wing in this country is still really moralistic about sex, the left is moralistic about food..." (p. 149)

He goes on to note that educated people are supposed to be in control of the amount of body fat they have. This observation is in tune with the disturbing truth he chronicles: namely those people from the lowest educational and socioeconomic levels of society are the ones becoming the fattest. He cites studies showing that the percentage of obese African, Hispanic, and Native Americans is higher than that of other groups, and that those people who are living at or near poverty levels are the most likely to be obese and are the most likely to have obese children. Yet Monica Lewinsky and Bill Clinton are not exactly candidates for remedial education or payday advances. What is going on?

Epidemic. Something as deadly as a killer virus is on the loose in America today, and although obesity is most prevalent at lower economic levels, it hits all segments of society. Since reading this book I have found myself eyeing the populace. Every time I pass by a Burger King or a Carl's Jr. or a McDonalds or a Taco Bell I check out the clientele, those walking up and those sitting high and large in their expensive SUVs at the drive-up window. And when I see them, I say to myself: they are being supersized.

Just how bad is it? According to a table on pages 182-183, in the year 2000 19.8 percent of Americans were obese. That's one in every five. This figure shot up from 12 percent in 1991. But it's even worse than it appears. According to figures on page four, 61 percent of Americans are overweight. That's most of us! And about "25 percent of all Americans under age nineteen are overweight." We have supersized ourselves into a health care nightmare in which the total cost of obesity to HMOs is "$345.9 million annually, or 41 percent of the total" for just eight obesity-related diseases. (p. 148) But the larger cost to our society in terms premature death, reduced quality of life, and cost of work days lost due to obesity cannot be measured, but in dollar terms is well into the hundreds of billions of dollars annually.

How did it happen? First, as Critser observes, food got cheap, relatively speaking, thanks to the growth of big agriculture. And then came the use of corn syrup (fructose) in sodas and other fast and snack foods. This may have been the most significant development of all because fructose, according to Critser, is used by the body differently than other sugars and leads to changes in fat oxidation, insulin resistance and increased fat storage often resulting in Type 2 diabetes. (See pages 136-139 for how this apparently works.) Type 2 diabetes, long a threat to middle-aged, overweight men and women, is now a threat to children. Critser also points to the invasion of our schools by snack and fast food vendors as fostering the epidemic. They seduced financially-strapped school districts into allowing them to pepper the school with their ads and their products. TV advertising of junk foods to kids and the rise of sedentary video games are other factors. Shorter and non-existent physical education classes at our schools is perhaps as big a factor as any.

Furthermore, quite frankly, we were looking the other way. In particular, while feminists and others were obsessing over anorexia and bulimia (a tragic but minuscule problem compared to obesity) and calling fat a feminist issue (p. 123), the real truth of a fat epidemic was sweeping the land. While fashion magazines and Hollywood were being condemned for giving women body image problems, the real media blitz was going on all around us, especially on Saturday morning TV where the fast and junk food purveyors were indoctrinating our children into supersizing themselves.

What's to be done? Will the purveyors of high-fat, high-fructose foods be treated like the tobacco industry, their advertising drastically curtailed and their products demonized? Will home owners allow themselves to be taxed enough to pay for real physical education classes in our schools? Will being fat become such a social stigma that people will take it upon themselves to slim down? Critser sees education and parental involvement as the key to helping our kids avoid becoming overweight. I agree and believe that it will take nothing less than a sea change in our values from the worship of all things big to an appreciation of modesty and restraint and a realization that bigger is not necessarily better.

In addition to this well presented and readable book, I also highly recommend The Hungry Gene: The Science of Fat and the Future of Thin (2002) by Ellen Ruppel Shell for another view on the epidemic.

--Dennis Littrell, autore del romanzo giallo, "Teddy and Teri"
Ardeth Bloomsburg

It'll get you looking at labels if you aren't already, not to mention you'll never look at fast food the same again--a real eye opener...
Rojas Haire

it was a quick read that didn't leave a lasting impression; although now I more fully understand the politics of fat
Angelique Calver

The thing I liked about this book was the author examined the issue on its own terms without revealing any agenda other than concern for the shocking fact that most Americans are now overweight or obese and this is associated with a whole raft of negative health outcomes for the individuals in question. For example, in what could be interpreted as a shot at the pro-business right, he reveals how big processed food companies maximize their profits by doing things to food that make it much higher in calories. On the other hand, he mentions how the entrance of large numbers of women into the workforce has negatively impacted the eating patterns of millions of people, which would be unmentionable on the feminist left. Overall, he offers an exhaustive set of reasons as to how this came to be and why it a problem. My one beef is that while he mentions it, I wish he spent more time separating the very real perils of being overweight from related but different issue of how some people have embraced a cult of the body that is signified by things like obsessive fitness regimes, fad diets and plastic surgery; one need not embrace these things to recognize the importance of general health and fitness.
Saturday Weidman

I enjoyed this book immensely, not only due to my passion regarding the subject matter but also because Critser writes in a genuinely engaging way. I appreciate how he brought both the medical and sociological studies of the effects of obesity, what may contribute to it, and so on. By doing this, Critser brings not only the medical consequences into clear view, but also the social and historical contexts that lead and continue to facilitate the health crisis.

This book was written in 2003, so some of the examples and figures he cites are dated at best. However, his analysis of things like America's food supply and the marketing strategies used by various fast food companies are still incredibly relevant today.

While I would not necessarily recommend this book to someone who wants to have a comprehensive understanding of the obesity epidemic in the western world as it is today - both because of the book's age and its American focus - it is a good case study and primer on how the current obesity epidemic fits into a broader historical context that can help someone to understand these issues today.
Fachan Lea

I read this book and also watched the documentary Supersize Me! Oh my gosh, I have never been more motivated to give up bad habits than I have after finishing both! I am swearing off fast food, have been motivated to increase my activity level and am angry at what has happened to this country in just a few short decades. We have been fooled and brainwashed people! I am blown away at how it could happen and how it continues to happen. Both the documentary and this book were produced almost 16 years ago and the problem of obesity has just gotten worse! Wake up America, we all have to snap out of the trance we have been in and fight back!
Bean Dubovsky

I thought this included a lot of good historical information showing what things contributed to rise of obesity in the United States. I was especially interested in the rise of convenience foods and eating away from home, which contributed/s to a much higher overall calorie intake. I was also surprised that snacking is a relatively new thing, as it's so commonplace today.

I have seen information that also shows how the low-fat dietary recommendations of the US government play into obesity, so I would be curious how that information plays in.

Excellent book overall.
Lubow Gasiewski

The idea wasn't bad but I think there's more to the obesity epidemic than what he suggests. For example we all know that to be healthy we need to exercise and eat less, but why don't we do it? Addiction to fatty foods, self-destructive behavior, etc. but these aren't mentioned. And he fat shames quite a bit with very little focused on a solution (other than for school kids).
Calle Wansitler

Book has a lot of historical information of how political / economic changes under Earl Butz affected our diet, mostly to the negative. Author does a good job of highlighting the many inputs to the obesity problem we now face in the US.
Claiborne Callan

The book was alright but got a bit boring at times. What the author says is that, ultimately, being fat is very bad for you no matter your age. The book is loaded with facts to support that claim, but since the book was published in the late 90’s, some of the facts are out dated.
Dehlia Shabina

The price of abundance is restraint concludes Crister in Fatland.

Crister traces the roots of America's obesity epidemic to the Nixon administration. Agricultural secretary Earl Butz opened up free markets to help farmers and steady rfood pr
Anatol Vis

Some interesting history about the food industry but in some sections does have a bit of a fat shamey vibe
Octave Dubay

Starts fairly strong but quickly goes flat. It reads like an unfocused research paper that spews facts out.

Lascia una recensione per Terra Grassa