Super Size Me was one of the most popular documentaries of the last decade. Yet another, lesser known film that approaches and analyzes the American obesity epidemic, Simply Raw, also offers great information on the current dieting issues troubling our country. This sample comparative essay notes how they each help to highlight the problems facing the average American on a daily basis and is only one of the many essay writing services offered by Ultius.
Super Size Me and Simply Raw: Reversing Diabetes in 30 Days both follow the journey of two separate but related causes affecting the American diet. The diet, or the basic food intake, of an average American usually varies somewhere between these two films. In Super Size Me, Morgan Spurlock adapts a diet where he only eats McDonald’s food for thirty days. By only eating this way, Spurlock shows his audience the perils of living such a lifestyle as he documents. The diet that Simply Raw promotes takes a complete contrast to that of Super Size Me.
In this film, six different Americans, all suffering from diabetes, switch their diets to veganism in the hopes of combating the disease. The idea of raw veganism, as promoted by filmmaker Aiyana Elliot, makes individuals give up food with many unhealthy substances for the body. Though these two films take a look at the extreme differences of the American diet, their messages can link together. Combining the dietary ideas offered by the two documentaries, the viewer can create a healthy diet in the modern food world.
The dangers of convenience
Super Size Me serves as a warning to the general population. Throughout the course of his extreme diet, Morgan Spurlock develops more and more medical problems. Starting as a relatively healthy male, by consuming exclusively McDonald’s food, he finds his health continually declining. The message that fast food creates an unhealthy lifestyle becomes increasingly clear as the film continues. This message carries serious weight to it considering that obesity plagues many Americans’ lives and forms the largest growing health problem within the United States.
Spurlock uses his film as a means to shock the audience into seeing the startling truth of the fast food industry. Though the meals appear cost and time effective, the dangers to one’s health still form a serious health concern. This message applies even more so to those that suffer from diabetes. The problem of maintaining a healthy diet becomes increasingly difficult for a group that cannot eat such unhealthy offerings (Spurlock, 2004).
The benefits of consuming raw foods
Filmmaker Aiyana Elliot takes the idea of veganism to an extreme in Simply Raw: Reversing Diabetes in 30 Days. The film pushes for people that suffer from diabetes to make extreme changes to their diet in the hopes of combating the disease. She suggests that there are benefits to abandoning products such as:
- Refined sugars
- Junk foods
- Processed flours
She also claims that six diabetic patients can effectively reverse the harm that diabetes causes to their bodies by adapting these changes. The major focus of the diet that Elliot promotes stems from the idea that cooking food destroys the living antioxidants and enzymes that raw foods contain. It, therefore, becomes necessary to adapt a diet that consists of eating foods in their natural, raw state.
After a 30-day period, the patients’ health improves, prompting Elliot to imply that a vegan diet can cure diabetes. The American Medical Association, however, still claims diabetes as an incurable disease. They feel that the efforts taken by individuals to maintain a healthy life style to combat the disease still run the risk of experiencing high blood sugar and high blood pressure if they do not maintain their healthy diets and exercise. Though the claim that Elliot makes appears somewhat over the top, there lies truth within it (Elliot, 2007). Coupled with proper nutrition education, this type of lifestyle can do much to battle diabetes as well as obesity.
The trials of eating right
For an average person in the United States, maintaining a healthy diet becomes more and more difficult each year. Constantly bombarded by advertisements of the affordability of fast food, it can be hard to avoid it completely. On the other side of the issue, eating an overly healthy diet becomes increasingly costly for the individual. The most important aspect for someone to consider remains exposure to information. Realistically, it is not possible for every person to have a perfect diet. However, by informing the population the dangers of an extremely unhealthy diet, a person likely will adapt a healthier lifestyle. The idea of educating the general population clearly can be seen as a shared idea between the films. They both serve as calls to action. Though the way they show vastly different examples of dieting, their overall message remains linked.
As Spurlock appropriately asks:
“Where does personal responsibility end and corporate responsibility begin?”
Corporations and consumers must meet in the middle. The responsibility to choose what to eat and how to maintain a healthy diet does rest with the consumer, however, corporations must make it possible for people to have affordable alternatives to standard fast food. The government can also be involved in this process by regulating cost and helping to provide a cheaper, healthy alternative. Additionally, the government can require the food industry to meet certain standards on the quality of the food it serves to the public. Though not an easy process, undertaking these steps help the entire population. In the end, the truth of the matter rests on everyone’s shoulders. This issue must be solved by systematically working together from all parties involved.
Elliot, Aiyana dir. Simply Raw: Reserving Diabetes in 30 Days. Perf. Gabriel Cousens. Raw for Thirty, 2007. DVD.
Spurlock, Morgan dir. Super Size Me. 7 May. 2004. DVD.
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