A June 1, 2006 article by Jay Lehr, Ph.D., on the Heartland Institute's website seconds criticisms made by ACSH's Dr. Elizabeth Whelan about Chew on This, the anti-fast-food book by Eric Schlosser and Charles Wilson:
The book attacks decisions of school boards to allow food companies to operate within public schools -- at considerable savings to those schools -- and it likewise decries the placement of soft drink machines on school grounds. Clearly, nutritional mistakes are made by many school districts, and they should be scolded -- but not demonized.
Finally, it is important to point out the dubious notion that "fast food" is an accurate or in any way meaningful label for an actual class of foods. Dr. Elizabeth Whelan, president of the American Council on Science and Health, has written that the notion that "fast food" is addictive and causes illness and death "is ludicrous. Food supports life and contributes to obesity only when it is overused -- that is, when we consume more calories (regardless of source) than are expended in exercise."
Whelan goes on to observe, "You will become overweight whether your excess calories come from beer, butter, beans, or burgers. True, many fast food establishments serve up some gargantuan portions that can, in one sitting, get you close to the desirable calorie finish line for the entire day. But ultimately, consumers must be responsible for what and how much they consume."