Fat Land: How Americans Became the Fattest People in

1. From the introduction to Fat Land: How Americans Became the Fattest People in
the World by Greg Critser
Fatness was hardly a new issue for me. My wife and my physician had been after me
for some time to do something about my problem, the former quite gingerly, the
latter not so. My doctor, in fact, had recently suggested that I consider a new weight
loss medication. At the time, I had promptly brushed the idea aside. Now, the sting
still fresh, I reconsidered: Why not? And so, for the next nine months, I put all of my
extra energy into the task of shedding my excess avoirdupois. In modern America,
this, I would find, was a rite in itself, replete with its own social institutions (health
clubs), tonics (Meridia), taboos (Krispy Kreme), and aspirational totems (Levi’s 501
regular cuts). I was apparently ready for this rite, for, to my delight, I slowly but
surely lost the weight. What followed was encouraging, if somewhat predictable:
congratulations from friends for “sticking to it”; enhanced self-esteem; a new
wardrobe; a newfound confidence and spring in my step; phone calls from J.Lo. and
Julia. Yet the more I contemplated my success, the more I came to see it not as a
triumph of will, but as a triumph of my economic and social class. The weight loss
medication Meridia, for example, had been effective not because it is such a good
drug; even its purveyors freely admit it is far from effective for most people. What
had made the drug work for me was the upper-middle-class support system that I
had brought to it: a good physician who insisted on seeing me every two weeks,
access to a safe park where I would walk and jog, friends who shared the value of
becoming slender, healthy home-cooked food consumed with my wife, books about
health, and medical journals about the latest nutritional breakthroughs. And money.
And time.
2. From the introduction to The Sexual Politics of Meat: A Feminist-Vegetarian
Critical Theory by Carol J. Adams
People with power have always eaten meat. The aristocracy of Europe consumed
large courses filled with every kind of meat while the laborer consumed the complex
carbohydrates. Dietary habits proclaim class distinctions, but they proclaim
patriarchal distinctions as well. Women, second-class citizens, are more likely to eat
what are considered to be second-class foods in a patriarchal culture: vegetables,
fruits, and grains rather than meat. The sexism in meat eating recapitulates the
class distinctions with an added twist: a mythology permeates all classes that meat
is a masculine food and meat eating a male activity.
3. From the introduction to Food Politics: How the Food Industry Influences
Nutrition and Health by Marion Nestle
In a competitive food marketplace, food companies must satisfy stockholders by
encouraging more people to eat more of their products. They seek new audiences
among children, among members of minority groups, or internationally. They
expand sales to existing as well as new audiences through adversiting but also by
developing new products designed to respond to consumer “demands.” In recent
years, they have embraced a new strategy: increasing the sizes of food portions.
Advertising, new products, and larger portions all contribute to a food environment
that promotes eating more, not less.