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Emma Graves

Mrs. Lohmeyer

English Composition

19 March 2017

Wholesome Food Movement vs. Junk Food

What do you think of when you think of junk food? A bag of chips? Some fries from

McDonalds? Maybe your mother lecturing you about not eating so much unhealthy food? David

H. Freedman has a different view of junk food than most people. In his essay, How Junk Food

Can End Obesity, Freedman claims that junk food companies are in a unique position to rid

America of some of their health issues, such as obesity (511). Not only are junk food companies

in a unique position but Freedman also believes that they can do a better job at it then the

marketed natural, healthier foods, or wholesome foods as Freedman calls them (506-9). He

claims that junk food companies are more accessible to people with their cheaper prices while

the wholesome foods are more expensive, and that junk food companies are making healthier

changes to their products. While Freedman is pitting junk food and wholesome foods against

each other, he is missing a better solution where they could work together to improve the health

of America instead of competing.

However, Freedman does not see junk food and wholesome foods as a way to

compromise but instead focuses more on the negatives of the wholesome food movement

compared to the positives of junk food. Throughout his essay, he goes on to support the claim

that junk food is better than wholesome foods without presenting the positive side of the

wholesome foods and trying to find compromise. One way that he supports this argument is with
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examples of junk food and fast food companies that are making positive changes to their

products, such as McDonalds White Delight McMuffin which has fewer calories and fat than the

Egg McMuffin (524). He also points out the engineering work that is being done for the food

industry by using the example of Fona International, a flavor-engineering company outside of

Chicago, and the work that they have done in giving food a taste of a flavor even when it is not

in the product. Freedman explains an example of this by saying the smell of vanilla can

essentially mask reductions in sugar of up to 25 percent, (529). In addition to Fona

International, he also gave another example of a food engineering company in Maryland, Tic

Gums, that can, make low-fat foods taste, well, creamier; give the same full body that sugared

drinks offer to sugar-free beverages; counter chalkiness and gloominess; and help orchestrate the

timing of flavor bursts, (530). Besides these examples, he also explains the more quiet

changes that McDonalds and other fast food companies have done like reducing fat, shrinking

portion sizes, and adding healthier options to their menus (525). There are challenges that these

companies face with these changes but Freedman views the biggest one as the wholesome food

movement (533).

The wholesome food movement is what Freedman describes as the movement of people

who shop and eat at grocery stores (such as the Whole Foods chain, the name sake of the

movement) and restaurants that use natural, simple, and unprocessed foods (509). His arguments

against the wholesome food movement are that the movement demonizes industrialized and

processed foods, that many of the products of this movement are just as unhealthy as junk food,

and that the movement only benefits an elite minority and will exclude those already struggling

with obesity (506-537). Freedman supports these claims well. He explains that the wholesome

food movement does not have any proof that the industrialized and processed foods that they are
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against are actually harmful to anyones health (519). He also pokes holes in the wholesome food

movements statement of having healthier food by pointing out that many of their products are

just as unhealthy as junk food (506-8). Next, he explains that the products of the movement are

expensive and there for will only be accessible to those in higher classes (510). Finally, he

proved that this movement will not benefit those already struggling with obesity and bad food

habits because these people are unlikely to begin eating wholesome foods over their present

eating habits (510). Overall, Freedman is a big advocate for junk food advancing with healthier

options and he believes that the main enemy and obstacle of this is the wholesome food


From the moment I read the title of the essay to half way through the essay, I was

extremely skeptical. In fact, when I first read the title How Junk Food Can End Obesity I

nearly had to do a double take. I told the title out loud to my peers and their reactions were

confusion, disagreement, and disbelief. This is not surprising because Freedmans view is not

one shared by many and it contradicts much of what we hear about junk food today. However,

about half way through the essay, I began to understand Freedmans point of view and agree with

some of his opinions. There is a prominent need for healthier food and the junk food industry is

in a unique position to accomplish this, but junk food cant do this alone. Freedman spends much

of his essay undermining the wholesome food movement, when in reality it is just as necessary

in order to achieve a healthier future. In order to achieve a healthier future, both junk food and

food from the wholesome food movement are needed to be active in order to promote healthier

products and a more health based culture.

First of all Freedman is correct, junk food has an important role to play in the future of

healthy food. In his essay, Freedman stated, According to a recent study Americans get 11
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percent of their calories, on average, from fast food, with this information it is obvious that the

wholesome foods movement cannot act alone in improving Americas health (525). Junk food

and fast food are cheap, and accessible options that many American families benefit from, and by

making these healthier it would be giving these families an opportunity to have a healthier future.

The American families that want a healthier future and cant afford to pay for the wholesome

foods would have an alternative when junk food becomes healthier so that they can get the same

opportunity to be healthy.

In addition to junk food, the wholesome foods also have a place in providing a healthier

future. The wholesome foods appeals to different clientele than junk food does, but it is still very

prominent in the lives of Americans. According to the Pew Research Center, 68% of American

adults have bought organic food during a 30 day time span (Funk and Kennedy par. 2). The

wholesome foods movement provides customers with natural, organic, non-processed healthy

foods which appeals to some people more than junk food (which is often processed and non-

organic) might to others. It is clear to see that both junk food and wholesome foods are providing

their service to many people. In this case, the wholesome food movement shouldnt be seen as

the enemy but more of as a competitor and a motivator, like a teammate. When the wholesome

foods are in the race with junk foods to provide healthier foods to an up-and-coming healthier

age, they will compete to do better and to provide healthier foods, which will insure that progress

will be made. However, in this competition there is room for both fast foods and wholesome

foods to provide a healthier future and without each other it is likely that neither team would be

as motivated to compete.

It is likely that David H. Freedman would disagree with this point of view. Throughout

his essay, the wholesome food movement was the antagonist to his underdog protagonist of the
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junk food companies. In How Junk Food Can End Obesity Freedman used many examples of

the negative products in the wholesome food movement and these examples included products

he had tried that tasted bad or were not healthier than the junk food options (506-508). His claim

is that the examples that he uses are not rare but he also fails to mention any good examples

that the movement is known for, such as fruits and vegetables (510-11).When Freedman

examined the views of wholesome movement, he completely picked them apart, using their lack

of evidence against them when he did not provide any evidence either. As well as being based on

little fact, he also believes their views to be misdirected towards the environment instead of

obesity, and open to a small group of people (520). However, this should not be the main focus.

Instead of focusing on the negativity of the wholesome food movement, it is better to focus on

the positive. Both the wholesome foods and the junk food companies are making progress

toward a healthier futurethe wholesome foods are promoting a healthier culture with the trend

of more health conscious consumers and junk food companies are making healthier changes to

their products. Also, while the wholesome food movement might not agree with Freedmans

views, it might agree with other peoples views. With the wholesome food movement, the other

side is allowed to have the freedom to practice their views on healthy foods. Even though

Freedman does not agree with some of what the wholesome food movement is doing, this

doesnt make it bad or wrong.

In order to truly end obesity, we cant leave out one group or the other that are both

fighting for the same cause because we will need both in order to restore health in America. Both

wholesome foods and junk food have a role to play because they both appeal to different people

and different ideas of healthy foods. Instead of considering the wholesome food movement as

enemies, like David H. Freedman does, it is best to consider them as a competitors in a race to
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restore health in America. The more organizations and movements that are involved in the race,

the better the chance is that someone will win it. Both the wholesome food movement and the

junk food organizations have flaws, but together they can promote healthier food and provide

healthier options to a large, diverse group of people. Freedman has the right idea when he

explains that junk food can help end obesity, but it is not a task that junk food can handle alone.

In a healthier future, we will all be able to have access to healthier foods (no matter what type of

healthy food it might be) and see that junk food might not be all that bad.
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Work Cited

Freedman, David H. How Junk Food Can End Obesity, They Say/ I Say. Gerald Graff, Cathy

Birkenstein, and Russle Durst. 3rd ed. New York. W.W. Northon & Company, Inc.,2015.

506-537. Print.

Funk, Cary, and Brian Kennedy. 2. Americans Views About and Consumption of Organic Foods,

Pew Research Center. 1 Dec. 2016. Web. 29 April 2017.