100 lb. Club - "Super Size Me!" Ate Only McDonalds for 30 Days

05-23-2004, 10:55 PM
Here's an article from MSN.COM about the guy who ate only McDonalds for 30 days. For some reason, I really like the idea of the study. I'd like to see the movie!!!

MORGANTOWN, W.Va. - Morgan Spurlock set out to make a movie. He ended up a crusader. And all it took was 5,000 calories a day.

To produce “Super Size Me,” his riveting and often revolting indictment of American eating habits and the fast food industry, Spurlock ate nothing but McDonald’s food and drink for 30 days. He says he consumed 30 pounds of sugar and 12 pounds of fat.

Monitored by three doctors, the filmmaker ate three meals a day, tried everything on the menu at least once, accepted super-size portions when offered and refused anything he couldn’t buy at the restaurant.

The result: He ballooned by 25 pounds and got sick.

A funny, scary idea
At the beginning, it sounded funny, Spurlock says. Stuffed from a Thanksgiving dinner in 2002, he saw a news report about two teenagers suing McDonald’s for allegedly causing their weight gain and health problems.

What would happen, he wondered, if he ate nothing but McDonald’s for a month?

A great film, he figured. And critics say it is: The 98-minute documentary won a best directing prize at the Sundance Film Festival and opens nationwide Friday.

With deadpan delivery, animation and graphics, and a way of making common sights like a Big Gulp container seem shocking, Spurlock is able to keep the film lighthearted even as he argues fast food may be why the number of obese Americans has doubled since 1980.

Some moments trigger both gasps and chuckles, like when a group of children studying photographs can identify Ronald McDonald — but not Jesus.

“I don’t like to be told what to do or preached to,” Spurlock says. “I wanted it to be entertaining and leave it up to you to decide what to do.”

Becoming a believer
But in discussing his film and his mission to help Americans eat better, Spurlock is intense and on message, as determined as a politician seeking office. Enthusiastic about his new-found pulpit, he tends to dominate conversation with rapid-fire, statistic-filled answers.

“When you make a movie that affects people the way this film does, you have an obligation to get the message out, to lead this dialogue and lead this discussion beyond the film,” he explains. “I’m a believer now.”

Spurlock returned to his native West Virginia last week for special screenings with health educators in Wheeling and Morgantown, and at a film festival in Charleston. At 6-foot-2 and 185 pounds, he’s back to the long and lean shape he was in before his experiment.

West Virginia, however, has become the nation’s second-fattest state behind Mississippi with 24.6 percent of the population considered obese. The state agency that insures public employees invited Spurlock to help bolster its multimedia portion-control campaign.

“This is a very frightening film for the food industry because it’s a film that shows that eating their food on a very heavy basis is dangerous,” says the 33-year-old from Beckley, who grew up on mom’s home cooking and whose girlfriend is a vegan chef. “A lot of Americans are on a path to being very sick.

“There’s no thought about what we’re eating and what’s going to happen to our bodies next week, next month, next year,” he says. “The last thing they want you to do is think about what you’re eating because they’re making millions by you not.”

McDonald's reacts
‘...watching [Spurlock] force-feed himself to the point of vomiting and getting a rectal exam is not how I prefer to spend my free time.’
— Cathy Kapica
McDonald’s global nutrition director

Since Spurlock finished his film, McDonald’s has begun eliminating super-sizing and is rolling out healthier choices. On May 11, it begins offering adult Happy Meals with salad, bottled water and pedometers.

Company spokesman Walt Riker has said the changes have nothing to do with the film, which he calls “a super-sized distortion of the quality, choice and variety available at McDonald’s.”

The film is not about McDonald’s, Riker says, but about Spurlock’s decision to act irresponsibly by eating 5,000 calories a day — “a gimmick to make a film.” U.S. health officials recommend 2,200 calories a day for most men.

Adds Cathy Kapica, McDonald’s global nutrition director: “I don’t want to judge what people consider to be entertainment, but watching him force-feed himself to the point of vomiting and getting a rectal exam is not how I prefer to spend my free time.”

Spurlock, a nonsmoker and nondrinker who works out regularly, acknowledges his diet may have been extreme but believes it’s comparable to many Americans’ eating habits.

“As much as they can say this is unrealistic, this food is rooted in the reality of how we live our lives,” he says.

Dangerous diet
At the start of his 30-day binge, doctors use words like “superb,” “perfect” and “outstanding” to describe Spurlock’s blood and cholesterol levels and his overall health. He has 11 percent body fat and is declared above average in fitness.

He stops exercising because most Americans don’t. His muscle turns to mush, and his body fat soars to 18 percent.

Before long, the doctors call his condition “obscene” and “outrageous,” comparing the liver damage that Spurlock has begun to suffer to that of an alcoholic. One cites the onset of a benign liver condition called nonalcoholic steatohepatitis. It is usually seen in obese people.

It took Spurlock 14 months to get back to his original weight, and his liver is now normal.

“When you go to the doctor, what you eat is one of the last questions asked,” he says. “The impact of food on your body, your well being, is so immense. But there’s no money in people eating broccoli. There’s money in people eating pills.”

Spurlock will spend the summer promoting his movie, then take his message to high schools and colleges. In all, he’ll be devoting another year of his life to the cause.

“I look at my film as a snapshot of your life. This 30 days is what could happen to you in 20, 30, 40 years if you continue to eat the way most Americans eat,” he says. “You can develop all these health problems ... that can be stopped right now if you change the way you eat and start exercising.”

05-24-2004, 02:08 AM
What an interesting read. I can't stomach the taste of McDonalds food, thank God.

05-24-2004, 02:20 AM
I want to see that movie as well. I heard is was slow but it delivers a powerful message none the less. I don't know about 3 meals a day coming from McDonalds and calling it the normal way americans eat. I mean I know I used to eat horrible but the highest calorie count I ever had was 3000. I thought that was absoutlely horrific... but 5000?

Anyways seems like a good movie to see for sure, good thread.

Btw unlike Raelynn, I LOVE Mcdonalds....:( wish I didn't

Goddess Jessica
05-24-2004, 02:34 AM
I saw it. I loved it. I never found it slow, not the least bit (which is very hard for a documentary). Very very good.

The most disturbing part was when they explored school cafeterias. I was sooo mad. They had menu days that the entire meal added up to more than 1,200 calories. Unacceptable.

Steph, as far as americans eating 3 meals a day at McD's, I agree it's not totally realisitic but that wasn't the point. Suprisingly, the evidence he presents shows that we eat there A LOT more than we realize.

Excellent movie. Must see.

05-24-2004, 07:30 AM
I'm surprised McDonald's is not suing him yet.

I posted about this movie back when it hit Sundance. Will probably go see it this week.

The only thing I really like there anymore is the orange drink, when I'm not feeling good. Then I went on their website & there's a ton of sugar in it. :high:

05-24-2004, 01:27 PM
Apryl, Thanks for the article. I would love to see that documentary. Unfortunately, I like McDonalds too, but I don't go there to much anymore. I've cut back from once a week to maybe once a month at the most.

05-24-2004, 01:33 PM
After reading the article I agree with the point he is trying to get across but I don't agree with him using McDonalds to prove his point. It's not McDonalds fualt that we are overweight it's are own fualt. Nobody made us put the food in our mouth. He could have made his point buy eating a high fat high calorie diet from the grocery store. I don't think it's right putting the blame on a business that is just giving america what it wants. If we were not out to make the wrong choices places like McDonalds would change there menu. I think it's a great idea to make america think about there diets but don't try to pass the buck. The blame is all our own.

05-24-2004, 02:57 PM
I heard this is one of the reasons they have come out with the new adult happy meal! Go Active Happy Meal. I must say, its pretty darn good too. P.S I was excited to see the article originated in Morgantown WV I went to college there (WVU).... GO MOUNTAINEERS! ha ha (I know, most of you probably have never heard of them!)

05-24-2004, 03:41 PM
I have a friend who is a WVU fan.

05-24-2004, 05:20 PM
I've heard of them, Gretchen! I was accepted there, but didn't go.

And as far as 5,000 calories a day being abnormal...most Americans severely underestimate the number of calories they eat in one day - some studies say by as much as 40%! Also, if you have a binge eating disorder or are a compulsive overeater, 5,000 calories a day is nothing! I have had binges where I've eaten as many as 15,000 calories in one sitting.

And Jessica, I SO agree about the school lunches! A few years back, there was an uprising here about all the extra fat they were adding to the veggies, so instead of cutting the fat, they just cut the serving size. :rolleyes:

05-24-2004, 10:58 PM
Wow.... school lunches bug me. That's why I always bring my own!

But, I guess if it was the difference between a kid going hungry or eating something hot... hmm.

I probably eat McDonalds 3 times a YEAR. The only fast food places I have a real weakness for are Subway and chinese.

Goddess Jessica
05-25-2004, 02:34 AM
Howie, I think you should see the movie before making that decision.

05-25-2004, 09:10 PM
I'm jugding him more on his radio interveiw where I heard it right from his mouth. I don't need to see the movie to know I don't agree with his veiw. I do plan on seeing it when it is on TV and I don't have to pay for it.

05-27-2004, 11:55 AM
Very interesting. I don't think that is representational of how Americans or Canadians eat though. I'm sure we eat more calories than what we think we do and I'll bet a lot of people don't realize the nutritional content of their favourite foods. I would have been more impressed if he had done it in a way that was more like the average person. ie breakfast at home, coffee and donut for snack, fast food or vending machine lunch and then supper at home either made at home or take away. I'd say that is more likely the average person eats. Doesn't mean that any of these are good choices and likely still add up to more calories than the person needs. Obviously or the majority of people wouldn't be overweight.