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Matthew Johnson

Professor Lohmeyer

English 101: Composition

29 October 2017

Synthesis Project Dialogue

News Reporter: On tonights episode of 60 Minutes, we will be featuring an interview with

authors David Freedman and Michael Pollan. Both are highly accomplished authors who have

written about the issue of our food and health. Freedman has written for The Atlantic, and

Pollan is a professor at UC Berkeley. Tonight we will be asking questions pertaining to

Freedmans essay How Junk Food Can Obesity and Pollans essay Escape from the Western

Diet. From what I have gathered Pollan is a strict follower of the whole foods movement, and

Freedman is more hesitant to the movement. Hopefully this interview will give us and the

public some insight on this debate.

News Reporter: We will start by asking you each the same question. What is the culprit behind

obesity? Pollan you can answer first.

Pollan: I firmly believe that the culprit behind our obesity epidemic is overly processed foods.

We should simply avoid any food that has been processed to such an extent that it is more the

product of industry than of nature (424). Whole foods are a much better alternative to

processed ones.

News Reporter: Mr. Freedman, what are your views on this topic?
Freedman: I disagree with Pollans belief that processed foods are the problem. It is not how

the food is produced that is the issue. It is what the food contains. Sugar, calories, and

carbohydrates cause weight gain (517). I believe that many whole foods are unhealthier than

their processed counterparts.

News Reporter: It seems that you two have very differing opinions on whole foods. I would like

you to both further explain your beliefs. Freedman, you can answer first this time.

Freedman: Whole foods are not any healthier than processed ones. Also, they are much more

expensive. At a caf in Ohio, I had a 16 ounce fruit smoothie that cost $9 and contained 300

calories (506). A few weeks later, I had a similar smoothie at McDonalds that cost $3 and

contained a modest 220 calories (507). Our culture needs to ditch the belief that fast food is

automatically unhealthy.

News Reporter: Pollan, now your belief on the whole foods vs processed foods debate.

Pollan: My belief is that whole foods result in greater health because of how our food and

environment are linked together. Healthy food starts with healthy soil, which results in healthy

plants and animals (425). When food is processed, additives are added and it is no longer


News Reporter: The next question that I would like to ask is how do you believe our obesity

epidemic can be solved? Pollan, you can answer first.

Pollan: I believe that to become healthier we need to go back in time and eat like our

ancestors. In order to eat well we need to invest more time, effort, and resources into
providing our sustenance (425). This means eating more whole foods. Our food today is too

convenient. We spend very little time planning and preparing food (425). Processed foods

offer a quick but unhealthy meal.

News Reporter: Freedman, would you like to respond to Pollans claims?

Freedman: Yes, I would like to respond. Although some studies show that people who eat

whole foods tend to be healthier than people who live on fast and processed food, there is

simply no clear evidence that any aspect of food processing or storage makes a food uniquely

unhealthy (519-520). For the poorer population, eating whole foods is not a possibility. It is

simply too expensive.

News Reporter: Freedman, now would you like to give your solution for the obesity epidemic.

Freedman: The best solution to lowering obesity is already being practiced. Fast food

restaurants are currently offering menu items with lower calories. I experienced this personally

when I went to a McDonalds and ordered one of their new Premium McWraps. The McWrap

came at an affordable price and was lower in calories than most items served in whole foods

restaurants. This is a great way to help the public because it is a small change that doesnt

require a great lifestyle change.

News Reporter: This question is for you Pollan, what guidelines should eaters follow?

Pollan: I believe that eaters should follow three simple rules. The rules are Eat Food, Not too

much, Mostly plants (426). Eat Food means eat real foods and not processed ones. Mostly

Plants states that plants are the best type of food to eat. Not Too Much is the rule of
consuming in moderation. These rules are easier to follow than the complex nutritional

guidelines that are suggested today (426).

News Reporter: Freedman, what is your opinion on Pollans rules?

Freedman: These rules would work as long as it is feasible to follow them. Many times health

foods cannot be afforded, especially fruits and vegetables. This is why the obese regularly

choose the cheaper alternative of junk food and fast food.

News Reporter: Freedman, this next question is for you. How do you feel about sustainable


Freedman: While small farms that produce wholesome foods may be better for the

environment than larger farms, we are more likely to save and improve lives by focusing more

on cutting obesity (520). The act of converting industrial farms to small organic farms would be

much better for the environment, but it is not a feasible way to feed our large population.

News Reporter: Pollan, what is your response to Freedmans claims about food and our


Pollan: I agree with Freedman that smaller farms would greatly improve our environment, but I

disagree with him that it wouldnt provide a large benefit to our health. The healthier our soil

and environment is the healthier our food will be. Once we go back in time to when we were

closer to our food, we will experience a better lived life (426).

News Reporter: Our final question goes to Freedman. What is your opinion of the illusion that

whole foods are inherently healthier than processed foods?

Freedman: That is a question that Im glad you asked. Many whole food enthusiasts insist that

whole foods are healthier than processed foods based solely on the belief that processed foods

are bad. You can still take in obscene amounts of fat and problem carbs while eating

wholesomely (517). It needs to be known processing has little effect on obesity. The

contributors are fat, sugar, and carbs.

News Reporter: Well thank you both for answering these questions. After hearing your

statements, the public should be able to decide which side of the issue they stand on. I have to

agree with Freedman and his assertion that fast food restaurants are best suited to combat the

obesity epidemic.

Works Cited:

Freedman, David. How Junk Food Can End Obesity They Say I Say, edited by Gerald Graff,

Cathy Birkenstein, and Russel Durst, W.W Norton & Company, 2014, pp. 506-537

Pollan, Michael. Escape from the Western Diet They Say I Say, edited by Gerald Graff, Cathy

Birkenstein, and Russel Durst, W.W Norton & Company, 2014, pp. 420-427