FutureWire - futurism and emerging technology

Friday, August 12, 2005

Losing Weight the McDonald's Way

How bad is fast food for you, really? Filmmaker Morgan Spurlock's 2004 documentary Super Size Me might have permanently scared millions away from McDonald's, as his Mickey-D's diet made him gain weight and wrecked his health.

However, other dieters have taken the opposite tack, actually managing to lose weight on McDonald's-only diets. Merab Morgan of Raleigh, NC, ate exclusively at McDonald's for 90 days and lost 37 pounds.

It seems like there's a huge disconnect here, but there isn't really. The dieters claiming to lose weight with McDonald's food are being very careful about what they eat, choosing healthy fare such as fresh fruit over fried items. Most are also limiting their calories to 2,000 a day or less (the recommended daily calorie limit). For Super Size Me, Spurlock ate 5,000 calories a day to mimic more typical American food consumption, and also limited his exercise to match a typical sedentary lifestyle. Merab Morgan, it should be noted, is a construction worker and a mother of two, suggesting that she's probably more physically active than the average American.

Both the McDonald's dieters and Spurlock prove that there's nothing mysterious to weight loss: limit your calories, eat healthy foods, and exercise. It's also to McDonald's credit that they are offering their customers more healthy choices (though one still needs to be careful, as some salad dressings, for instance, contain high levels of fat and sugar). The burden is on customers to pay attention to what they eat and to make sensible choices.

Wherever one eats, there are two guiding principles to staying healthy: common sense and Caveat emptor.

Source: CNN Health