Adam Richman’s Fast Food Filth: Man v Food’s dangerous message

January 6, 2013 3:50 pm
Adam Richman

Adam Richman’s behaviour on Man v Food suggests gluttony and greed are acceptable when it comes to food

Man v Food is a television show that first aired in America at the end of 2008. It’s a food reality series that follows Adam Richman, a guy with a self-professed “serious appetite” around the United States as he gorges on some of the most calorific and ridiculously-portioned food in the world.

Throughout the 85 episodes that have aired since the show started, some of the challenges Adam Richman has attempted to complete include: eating a 2kg steak; a 7.5lb hamburger; 5 24oz milkshakes; 17 hotdogs; 2 gallons of ice cream; a 10 course meal and 10 grilled cheese sandwiches with toppings – some of which have time limits attached.

Adam Richman weight gain

Obesity is one side effect of an over-indulgent lifestyle that isn’t even acknowledged in the TV show Man v Food

Whenever I watch this show on Dave, chances are I’m lazing out on a Wednesday afternoon. Considering I’m quite a healthy and active person, for some reason, I find it difficult to take my eyes away from the screen. I do not enjoy, at all, watching the overweight and certainly unhealthy Adam Richman stuff his face with thousands of calories and celebrate like it’s some sort of triumph. With an obesity problem to rival any other in the USA, where over one third of all adults are obese, it makes me feel a bit sick to witness this celebration of such an unhealthy and indulgent approach to food. Man v Food? Since when did it become a conflict to be overcome, where the only prize is obesity?

Is Adam Richman’s Man v Food entertaining?

I don’t know whether I would call it entertaining, seeing as I feel nauseous the minute the theme tune starts playing, but it has often had my attention, and my criticism. Considering the lack of any informative, interesting facts about the science of cooking, all it means is that I can feel myself join the masses of people who are collectively losing brain cells as the minutes go by. How anybody can condone staring at a fat man pigging out on four people’s worth of food in one sitting and call it entertainment is beyond me.

From what I’ve found about Adam Richman, his secret to “keep from gaining weight” (debatable) is to become vegetarian when the show is not filming, as well as working out with a personal trainer and exercising regularly. I’m not convinced that 20 minutes on the treadmill and a few mushrooms will eradicate the effects of an 11lb pizza stuffed with all the types of deep fried meat and cheese under the sun… but that’s just me.

This show needs to wake up. Adam Richman needs to wake up. The people who allow this show to have airtime need to wake up. In a world where we’re always in pursuit of national health and wellbeing, airing a show that allows a man to eat what is undoubtedly a week’s worth of calories in one day seems backward. On another note; what if it was to be Woman v Food? Do you think people would be half as entertained, watching an obese woman sing the praises of a fried potato cake smothered in hot sauce and topped with cheese, sausage and mayonnaisey coleslaw? Probably not, in fact I imagine they would have quite a lot to say about it.

There’s something seriously wrong with firstly; allowing someone to promote their love for a vile and unhealthy lifestyle on international television and secondly; society’s acceptance of this because he’s a funny bloke. This show just seems to be demonstrating everything that’s wrong with our attitudes towards food in the Western world. Not once on the show have I heard anything about the importance of an active and healthy lifestyle, 5-a-day may as well apply to the amount of meals he recommends and there is a severe lack of a disclaimer to say to the potentially moronic audience; don’t try this at home. But that’s obvious, right?

Man v Food

Jamie’s Food Revolution controversially took the UK and the US by storm as he tried to get people to eat more healthily

Wrong. Thinking about the kinds of people that watch this show, if they’re young and impressionable, or maybe one sandwich short of a picnic (or should I say three sandwiches too many), chances are they’d love to go and see how much they can eat in half an hour before spending the evening crashed out on the sofa feeling sluggish. Restaurants, before long, will undoubtedly get wind of Adam Richman’s ridiculous idea and start creating their own food “challenges” and that would be disastrous. Stop promoting diseases of affluence. Just stop it. People in Third World countries don’t even have enough food for one day, and yet somehow it’s acceptable for First World inhabitants to waste food and gorge themselves into a life of high blood pressure, obesity and heart attacks. Something is wrong.

This is in the interest of national health. Stop whinging about the pressure on the NHS for diseases resulting from luxurious lifestyles and then allowing short-minded shows from the US to plague our country with their ideas of what classifies good food. If we are trying to reduce the amount of cases of obesity and get our country back into shape, take out of our children’s heads the thought that huge portions of fatty food is the way to go, and show them an apple. Show them how to peel a carrot and make a vegetable soup. Don’t get me wrong, I’m not trying to promote any request for censorship here, simply trying to take away any niggling voices in the back of the minds of the impressionables in our country that say it’s a good idea to idolise Adam Richman. He is, without a doubt, one of the world’s worst role models.

Entertaining or not, Man v Food is disgusting and dangerous as is its star Adam Richman. America, you can keep your backwards, unhealthy and indulgent TV shows; Jamie Oliver is just one example of someone who has spent years trying to make a difference in the way we eat as a country and Adam Richman is on his way to undermine all of that. Don’t expect obesity levels to decrease in any country if you’re giving shows such as this one airtime. We’re living in a contradiction and it’s time that changed.

  • Andy Melling

    Turning anything and everything into a competition is the American way, and when it comes to over indulgence they are unrivalled!

  • AdminCharlie

    I must confess, I have been known to go to a restaurant and order a family size pizza on occasion – I see it as a challenge for some reason. I always feel pretty disgusting afterwards too… Must be American television seeping into my veins…!

  • TRex166

    As an American, I absolutely agree with this article.  The young women here seem to think Richman is “adorable” and the young men want to be him….and if you disagree they get downright nasty.  Richman gets nasty on his twitter page if someone takes him to task.  I think Jaime Oliver is spot on for his thoughts and he should not give up on us over here in the United States.  We need better role models than Adam Richman, and he even has a new show on “The Best Sandwich in America”.  We don’t need anymore of him nor of his type of show!

    • Mark Milton

      who is “we”.. the market will decide if his show is cancelled..people like it so it really doesn’t matter what you think..i personally don’t care if someone is’s their life..if you use the excuse about healthcare cost then why not ban all dangerous activities(i’m joking of course)

  • At the end of the day people can make their own minds up about what they can and cannot eat, they don’t automatically need to consume those types of food on a daily basis because its aired on tv. The food he eats of man vs food looks amazing, and to be honest here in the UK we could do with a few of these eateries to mix it up a bit. What we have here are chain restaurants and the same boring takeaway stores selling kebabs and pizza etc. We need reform in the fast food world, a place where you can get a huge dirty sandwich would do very nicely indeed. Its not the food that kills the person, its the persons stupidity for not realising when they have had enough. Aka greed. I think i might start my own pig out spot actually. Cheers

    • ehodson

      All good points, and even if it is the individual’s problem to distinguish between what is enough and what is too much, you can’t deny that Man v Food is a TV show glorifying greed! It seems to give out some warped message about attitudes to food. If people don’t listen to governmental health warnings etc. and get everything from TV (more common that we would like to admit), then this show is the perfect excuse for an obesity epidemic. Good luck with your pig out spot though 😉

      • I agree that it glorifies greed but i don’t believe that what people see on the TV necessarily controls how they themselves should act. Government health warnings won’t control what people consume, and neither will the TV. Its about people realising what is sensible themselves. Its common knowledge for everyone that eating greasy/fatty foods isn’t good for ones health when it is consumed on a daily basis. If people want to get obese and torture their bodies it isn’t down to TV setting a bad example, its down to said persons inability to understand what is reasonable for them.

        Aside from this, i still wonder how people can not pay attention to the way they look when they are on the slippery slope to obesity. Naivety? Stupidity? Eat what you want but limit it to a sensible amount and don’t be so naive. Not hard is it?

        I guess you won’t be attending the opening day of my Big Eat pig out spot then…..

        • ehodson

          That is true – but it’s all about temptation. If somebody wafted a three-cheese pizza in front of your face then ate it in front of you, of course you would be more tempted to getting one of your own and eating one than if that weird pizza scenario i just created had never existed. If you don’t show people that restaurants are making burgers as big as your head, you wouldn’t know about/be tempted to try them.

          Richman looks gross these days and watching him scoff down thousands of calories in one sitting makes me wonder how he doesn’t have rickets or something – with the emphasis that our government are putting on healthy eating and the like, Man v Food should at least come with a disclaimer?!

          And maybe I will, I’m always needing topics for my articles…!

  • Emily

    This article is paragraphs too long.

  • Ishtra

    A massively entertaining TV show. Supersize food meets supersize challenges meets supersize charisma. Adam Richman’s ability to maintain his boundless enthusiasm and good humour in the face of stomach turning challenges is pretty impressive.

    I really don’t think it promotes gluttony either. Watching Adam – a fat man with the meat sweats – chomping on a hamburger the size of his head doesn’t inspire me to dash to Maccy D’s. The people it does inspire to do that clearly have a problem already, something they should take responsibility for themselves.

  • Gordon UK

    In the UK we are just starting to have an obesity problem that comes nowhere(yet) near the massive overindulgence,such as the restaurants that Adam Richman cause.
    It is no excuse for people to try and say that this doesn’t encourage people to eat in this disgusting,unhealthy and revolting way,it obviously does.All the places Adam goes to are obviously thriving.So much so that he has no difficulty in finding 85 of these heart attack food stops to film in(all different restaurants) What message do they give to the young people of the USA,”OK kids stuff yourself every day with unhealthy food,and you will still be healthy”,who do they think they are kidding?Please don’t use the excuse that it’s just entertaining,because that just is not enough to excuse this travesty of food.What annoys me also is just what they do to the food.It starts as decent ingredients,then it is minced,mashed and generally pulverised. Add lashings of fats and salt,decimate the taste with lots of chilles and there you have it.You notice vegtables are never served,unless they are in the sloppy mess that passes for edible food.Someone proposed a UK TV version of this programme,but luckily they couldn’t find any restaurants here serving such large quantities of crap.It would have been howled off of the TV anyway.

    Adam Richman is 38, I wish him a long and healthy life,but if he carries on oin this way he won’t live long,and more to the point nor with the viewers that copy him.

  • Kayleigh

    It’s common knowledge that Adam Richman does not eat like that 365 days of the year. He will be filming for a DAY at whichever restaurant he’s at, so I would say that yes, a vegetarian diet for the rest of the time probably DOES keep him in good nick. Yes, the portions are pretty disgustingly sized and yes, they are definitely excessive with all the cheese and bacon etc, but you can see it’s all good honest food! I say it wouldn’t hurt to have somewhere in the UK you can get decent, homecooked food where you get your actual moneys worth, instead of paying a fiver for a tiny, shrivelled, squashed excuse for a burger from McDonald’s. I agree that it does give a bit of the wrong message about eating habits but then again I think people are smart enough to know that you’re not going to go about day to day eating a pizza the size of a table. It’s meant to be for fun, outrageous, away from the norm. He seeks out the weird and the wild, and that’s what the show is all about.

  • Avtiogirl

    You’re the type of woman who also says violence on tv causes teens to kill and sex on tv causes teen pregnancy, right? This is entertainment – there are certainly worse things to watch than a man stuffing his face with junk food. If you don’t like it don’t watch it – stick to the stuff you know. And by the look of you nutrition and exercise certainly aren’t your strong points hahaha.

  • Gilder 74

    i find this article extremely immature, badly punctuated, and poorly researched. There is however, one salient point with which I agree: Yes there should be some sort of disclaimer which advocates healthy eating & exercise, and does not promote Adam’s life style as healthy or normal . The rest of the article however is just one persons opinion; a person who thinks she can stereotype and categorize an entire viewing audience, based on what I can only imagine very little life experience, and who clearly has no idea how bias toward what ‘she’ perceives as a ‘healthy life style’ she is being.

  • Tom

    Wow this is a popular subject. I think the article is a bit harsh on the show. Yes obesity is a problem, but I’ve always been of the opinion that you can eat junk every now and then, so long as you work it off. Whenever I eat in a restaurant I order the biggest thing on the menu, preferably with a starter and dessert too, yet I am very fit because I exercise. I think most people realise he doesn’t eat that stuff all the time. And you always retain the option to not watch it if it so offends you.

  • MVF<3

    Man v Food is an epic programme which as you say does not even acknowledged obesity, therefore doesn’t promote nor encourage it. As for Adam, obviously the things he eats are not entirely healthy but that is the beauty of it. “Whenever I watch this show on Dave, chances are I’m lazing out on a Wednesday afternoon. ” hardly an active lifestyle you have yourself… “How it is entertaining is beyond me”,if you don’t like it don’t watch it, and certainly don’t write an article about it, portraying a falsely persieved message. And as for Women V’s Food, I think that’s a great idea, maybe you should star in it????

  • Steve

    Whilst you could have made an interesting commentary about obesity, what you have instead stated is you hate the programme and it nauseates you to watch it but you still watch it? Why? This is the same as watching something that you know is going to offend you then complain about it. Now, I do watch his programmes, I find them entertaining but what I’m never going to do is ever eat that much food or even attempt it. Take it for what it is.

  • Chill3d

    Obviously a trolling article written to provoke a reaction.

  • joey5

    Oh get a life. At no point does Adam promote eating a huge amount is a good idea. It’s entertainment. I watched gladiator the other day it did not inspire me to cut my widest head of with two crossed short swords. The reason English people watch this show is because we can’t understand how American’s can eat such rubbish.

  • joey5

    Oh and as far as comparing Adam Richmond to Jamie.Oliver that is just stupid. Adam would win hands down. Nothing makes me feel like eating unhealthy like Jamie Olivers far fake cockney face.

  • TAR

    Thank you for being brave enough to write this article ehodson! Well done.

  • Cindy

    I also agree with this article…but it’s people and shows like this that make me a shamed to be associated with America. America brags they are number 1…but not when they act like this. I love Bill Maher’s statement, “America, a stupid country with stupid people”. How true this show makes that statement.

  • I love how you put “(debatable)” after writing about Adam Richman’s secret to “keep from gaining weight”. Great read, I think one of the reasons why his show is so popular is because people find it horribly fascinating. And for cooking knowledge I have happened to learn about the different names of calorific batter-laden chicken that shot states to fame (e.g. Maryland chicken) so I guess this show isn’t that bad(!)

  • bob

    I don’t think Man vs Food can be blamed for what it does, it simply shows what America has to offer.

    The restaurants and diners Adam Richman visits have been in business for years and decades, very successfully, selling their signature dishes of fried [something] with melted cheese or chocolate covered [whatever] stacked up 11 inches high with whipped cream and toppings.

    He isn’t to blame for America’s problem, they have several more shows that love to show how much food Americas can eat. ‘You Gotta Eat Here’ (same thing but no challenges), ‘diners, drive ins and dives’ (same thing but no challenges), ‘Outrageous Food’ in which some guy who talks to everyone like the bruce almight type local news man sent out to cover the feel good stories, making 50ft pizza and 200lbs cookies.

    With 1 in 10 Americans struggling to eat once a day, and 2 out of every three people overweight or obese and (I think) 1 in 4 (maybe 5) people with type 2 diabetes. America is a cartoon that has no idea how out of control its getting.

    Last point: ‘The Biggest Loser’ and many other weight loss shows in America like MTVs ‘I Used to be Fat’ of ‘Obese: A Year to Save My Life’ are constantly proving that with a healthy diet and exercise plan you can drop the wieght and regain health but year after year they have to make more seasons because no one is taking on board the advice these shows give. Go to the gym or just walk more and eat some salad.

  • I could take the article more seriously if it came from a writer living in a country with actual cuisine, (i.e., anyplace but England). Seems to me this bib-dribbling has more to do with the First World problem of watching too much television.

    • Richard P.

      What a tedious comment. Firstly, it really doesn’t matter where you are from to be able to judge a television program about the kind of food Adam Richman eats. So don’t be pedantic…

      Secondly, Britain does have it’s own cuisine – a very broad cuisine at that, from the traditional sunday roast with yorkshire puddings etc. to the scottish haggis to the take-away fish & chips in the newspaper. Simple foods maybe, but foods that are much enjoyed and loved. I really hope you aren’t from America because American food really is just an adaption of everyone else’s food – in bigger portions. Not to mention, britain already had its own cuisine around the time it was inventing america however many hundred years ago so pipe down sunshine.

      If you are not American, then my apologies, although your comment is still facetious and entirely irrelevant to this article.

      I agree with the author – the program is disgusting and whilst we can’t help but watch it, that doesn’t mean we have to endorse it. It’s ok for most of us who might not actually get affected by it, but there are those who do get affected by this kind of stuff on TV and promoting obesity is not something we should be proud of. However, trash tv is at the end of the day trash tv.

      An enjoyable article with some good sense behind it but unfortunately nothing will change about this.

      • If the comment is so tedious, you certainly spent a long time (and incorrect grammar) telling us how much you don’t care.

    • antiadamrichman

      If you read her bio, you would see that she is living in France… pretty good cuisine there I’d say.

  • Pants85

    Omg!get a life!! It’s just a bit of fun and if people wana over indulge as a treat then let them!!its people like u that have allowed for political correctness to go mad!! Believe it or not, some people r able to have self discipline!!

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