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food journalism
minutiae Posted 2004-01-26 11:17:34 by Jim Crawford
Last year, Morgan Spurlock ate nothing but food from McDonald's for a month and documented it:

Within a few days of beginning his drive-through diet, Spurlock, 33, was vomiting out the window of his car, and doctors who examined him were shocked at how rapidly Spurlock's entire body deteriorated.

At first blush, this makes food from McDonald's seem completely unfit for consumption, but let's focus on one detail: he gained 26 pounds over the course of a month. The month was February of 2003, so he gained 26/28 pounds per day. Since a pound is 3500 calories, this means he consumed 3250 extra calories per day.

The basal metabolic rate of the average male is approximately 10 calories per day, per pound, which means that at 200 pounds, you maintain your body weight by eating 2000 calories per day. Let's give Morgan the benefit of the doubt and say he started at 175 pounds, which gives us a nice round figure of 5000 calories consumed per day.

According to mcdonalds.com's nutrition fact chart, a super-sized double quarter pounder with cheese meal is 1790 calories. Since 3 times 1790 is 5370, he must've refrained from super-sizing his combo meal ... what, once a day? Twice? (I'm not clear on the numbers here because I don't know what size you get by default) McDonald's does offer salad, for your information. And orange juice. A diet consisting of burgers, fries and coke for three meals a day will have deleterious effects on your body no matter where you buy them.

Also, late in the article, Morgan mentions that his girlfriend is a vegan chef. I think it's a safe guess that prior to this experiment, he was likely a vegan. Who wants to bet that after a few years, a vegan's digestive system loses the ability to handle meat? This is conjecture twice over, of course, but it's a possibility worth considering.

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comments
re: food journalism
Posted by Anonymous (sugigrl) on 2004-01-27 09:04:44
yes, he's an idiot. I bet if he ate pizza for 90 consecutive meals he'd deteriorate as well. omg! that means italians are unhealthy and pizza is unfit for human consumption!
food journals
Posted by DefHo on 2004-01-29 00:36:53
I bet a diet of any one thing for 30 days is bad for you. Your body needs variety. Besides, it doesn't take a culinary expert to tell you that McDonalds food is unhealthy.
re: food journalism
Posted by Anonymous (sugigrl) on 2004-01-30 17:41:51
right, moderation you guyssssss

I wish McDonalds didn't try to be all PC with their "healthy menu" and their "veggie burger" - which may contain meat products - now that their fries are "healthier" they taste awful. I don't eat fries because I'm trying to be healthy, I eat them because they taste good. and now that they don't even do fast food well, nobody should eat there for any reason

phew where did that come from? no more m&ms for me!
food journalism
Posted by Anonymous (me) on 2004-02-03 15:46:17
so you know - yes, morgan ate 3 meals a day, that was part of the challenge, but he only super-sized when he was asked to supersize. His girlfriend is vegan but Morgan is not, he eats meat and many other non-vegan things. Part of the promise is also that he would eat everything on the menu at least once so there was variety. Salads are available, but all of the dressings are heavily sugared. Morgan certainly knew that eating that stuff for 30 days would be risky, but the point is that there are a lot of people who do just that or the equivalent. I do happen to know some of the folks that made the movie so I've seen a cut. There is quite a bit more information in the film, it's actually pretty interesting as a testament to what we feed ourselves.
re: food journalism
Posted by Anonymous (sugigrl) on 2004-02-04 15:42:25
no one eats only fast food. no one.

yes americans eat alot of it and are fat but we also drive cars instead of walk and work long hours instead of get out more, there are more factors than this "testament to what we feed ourselves"

re: food journalism
Posted by Jim Crawford on 2004-02-04 19:14:51
Thanks for the factual clarifications, You. I think my calculations stand, though, and given that the super-sized double quarter pounder with cheese meal was the "biggest" "meal" I could construct out of that nutritional fact chart, I find it hard to believe that he could've eaten other items from the menu and still made 5000 calories.

I'm not clear on whether Morgan is trying to attack fast food here, or the alleged people who eat nothing but fast food. The perception that I've seen all over the net is that the film is a condemnation of McDonalds the corporation, rather than McDonalds the lifestyle. I still think it's possible, with restraint and careful research, to make a reasonably healthy diet out of only McDonalds food.
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