Not So Fast

A young fella saw an elderly couple sitting down to eat lunch at a fast food place. He particularly noticed that they had ordered just one meal. As the youth watched, the man carefully divided the hamburger in half, then counted out the fries, one for him and one for her, until each had the same amount  The old guy then began to eat, but his wife just sat there watching him. The teen decided to ask the seniors if he could buy them another meal. The old gentleman replied, “Oh no. We’ve been married over fifty years and everything has always been and always will be shared, 50/50.” The teen then asked the wife when she was going to eat and she replied, “O soon, but at the moment it’s his turn with the teeth.”

In 2003, Melvin Spurlock produced a documentary entitled, Super Size Me.  In the film, the health-food advocate eats only super-sized meals from McDonalds.  He does so for one month, three times a day (breakfast, lunch, supper) and ends us consuming over 5,000 calories daily or the equivalent of 10 Big Macs every 24 hours.  Also, Spurlock does not exercise except for the 2,000 steps the average person takes every day.  Monitored by physicians, the 32-year-old puts on 25 pounds in weight, 13% more in body mass, and his cholesterol level skyrockets to 230.  He also experiences mood swings, heart palpitations, and fat accumulation in his liver.  It then took Melvin fourteen months to lose the weight gained from his experiment – using a vegetarian diet, designed and supervised by his wife, a chef who specializes in gourmet health recipes.

Super Size Me made over $20,000,000 (twenty million dollars) at the box office and was nominated for an academy award in the short-film category.  Melvin Spurlock also filed a lawsuit in court against McDonalds on behalf of all the people he claimed it had made obese.  The general consensus was clear – fast food is a killer.

Ten years later, high school science teacher, John Cisna,  decided to do the same thing as an experiment for his high school biology class.  He, too, would eat only meals from McDonalds three time a day.  But instead of just one month, the teacher would do so for three months.  However, here’s the difference, Cisna would limit his fast food consumption to 2,000 calories per day, as designed by his students.  So typically – for breakfast (two egg white delights, a bowl of maple oatmeal and one-percent milk), for lunch (a salad), and for dinner  (the more traditional value meal, including items like cheese burgers, french fries, milk shakes, apple pie, etc.). His local McDonalds so liked the idea that they even agreed to provide all of his meals free of charge.  Also, the teacher would exercise with a daily 45-minute walk.

The results?  Fifty-two year-old John Cisna lost 37 pounds in weight, trimmed his waist size by 7 inches, and lowered his cholesterol from 249 to 170.  All just the opposite of Melvin Spurlock.

The bottom line?  The now svelte six-footer states, “This experiment wasn’t something where someone could say, ‘Oh sure, he went to McDonalds but, he only had the salads.’ No, I had the quarter-pounders with cheese, the triple-thick milkshakes, the hot-fudge caramel sundaes, everything on the menu.  The point I was trying to make is this – it’s all about choices, we all have choices.  And it’s those choices, not McDonalds, that make us fat.”