Supersize me



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Super Size Me
Why are Americans so fat?
Morgan Spurlock is the producer/director/protagonist of Super Size Me.
He demonstrated that a man can live for a month on fast food alone but… with which consequences? He often went to the doctor and he had serious health problems.
The film also explores the horror of school lunch programs, declining health and physical education classes, food addictions and the extreme measures people take to lose weight and regain their health.

Super Size Me is a 2004 documentary film, directed by and starring Morgan Spurlock, an independent United States filmmaker. It follows a period in which he eats only McDonald's fast food, three times a day, every day, for thirty days, eating everything on the McDonald's menu at least once—and stops exercising regularly—and it documents the physical and psychological effects this has upon him. In addition, Spurlock explores the corporate influence of the fast food industry and how it encourages poor nutrition for its own profit.
Spurlock, age 33, was healthy and slim, with a body mass of 185.5 lb (84.1 kg). Spurlock's height is 6 feet 2 inches (1.88 m). After thirty days, he gained 24.5 lb (11.1 kg), an increase of 13% of his body mass. He also experienced mood swings, sexual dysfunction, and nearly catastrophic liver damage. It took several months to lose the weight he gained and return to normal.
The driving factor for Spurlock's investigation was the increasing spread of obesity throughout U.S. society, which the Surgeon General has declared "epidemic", and the corresponding lawsuit brought against McDonald's on behalf of two overweight girls, who, it was claimed, became obese as a result of eating too much McDonald's food. Spurlock points out that, although the lawsuit against McDonald's failed, much of the same criticism of the tobacco companies applies to fast food franchises.
The experiment
As the film begins, Spurlock is physically above average, as attested to by three doctors he enlists to track his health during the month-long binge. All three predict the "McMonth" will have unwelcome effects on his body, but none expect anything too drastic, one citing the human body as being "extremely adaptable".
Spurlock starts the month with a McBreakfast near his home in Manhattan, where there is one McDonald's per ¼ mi² (0.6 km²). The month also sees an increase in his use of taxis, as he aims to keep the distances he walks in line with the 2500 steps walked per day by the average American. Spurlock has several rules which govern his eating habits:
• He must eat three McDonald's meals a day;
• He must sample every item on the McDonald's menu at least once;
• He cannot purchase anything not on the menu including aspirin; Bottled water is on the menu, so he may drink it.
• He must "Super Size" his meal whenever the option is specifically verbally offered (and only then).
Day 2 brings Spurlock's first Super Size meal, which he spends approximately half an hour eating.
After five days Spurlock has gained almost 10 pounds (5 kg). It is not long before he finds himself with a feeling of depression, and not much longer until he finds his bouts of depression, lethargy and headaches are relieved by a McDonald's meal. One doctor describes him as "addicted". By the end of the month he weighs about 210 lb (95.5 kg), an increase of almost 25 lb (11 kg) which takes him five months to lose again.
He could only eat McDonald's food for a month, so Spurlock refused to take any medication at all.
Spurlock's girlfriend, Alexandra Jamieson, attests to the fact that Spurlock has lost much of his energy during his experiment. It's not clear at this time if Spurlock will be able to complete the full month of the diet, and friends and family begin to express worry.
Around day 20 Spurlock experiences heart palpitations. Consultation with his doctor, Dr Daryl Isaacs, reveals that Spurlock's liver is "pâté", and the doctor advises him to stop what he is doing immediately to avoid any serious heart problems. Despite this warning, Spurlock decides to continue the experiment.
Spurlock makes it to day 30 and achieves his goal. All three doctors are surprised at the degree of deterioration in Spurlock's health.
After the completion of the project, it would take Spurlock several months to return to his normal weight. His girlfriend Alex, a vegan chef, began supervising his recovery with her "detox diet”.
The movie ends with a rhetorical question, "Who do you want to see go first, you or them?" with a tombstone for Ronald McDonald as a backdrop.
Alongside Spurlock's personal travails are interviews and sections detailing various factors that could account for the USA's high obesity rates. He discusses the lack of healthy food available in many US schools, the "luring in" of youth by advertising and McDonald's kid-friendly play parks and clowns, and the relationship between food companies' stockholder profit and their customer health concerns.
Subsequent to the showing of the film at the 2004 Sundance Film Festival, McDonald's phased out its Supersize meal option, and began offering healthier menu items in addition to its customary fare, though McDonald's denied that this was in reaction to the movie.
In April 2006, when British newspaper The Guardian distributed a free DVD of the film, McDonald's placed a full-page advert on the back, which included a telephone number for complaints.
In the United Kingdom, McDonald's placed a brief ad in the trailers of showings of the film, pointing to the website The ads simply stated, "See what we disagree with. See what we agree with".
In the website, I found several criticisms of Spurlock's film.
• Spurlock made no attempt to provide concrete sources for many of his facts, such as his claim that the average American only walks 2500 steps a day.
• His experiment includes forcing himself to eat three meals a day, even when not hungry which can cause rapid weight gain due to the stretching of the stomach. This is also one of the common problems in persons who are obese due to over eating. His diet was also between two and three times the Recommended Dietary Allowance of 2000 to 2500 calories (8,400 to 10,500 kilojoules). (Note-Morgan did not say that he must eat 'only' three meals a day. He often consumed large milkshakes as desserts.)
• Morgan also quit exercising which also may have been a large contribution to the reason he gained so much weight in such a little time. Maybe if he continued his regular exercise routine the results would have been different.
Rebuttal experiments
In the Netherlands Wim Meij, a reporter with the Algemeen Dagblad (a Dutch newspaper), did a similar experiment. However, instead of choosing just any meal from the menu, he carefully chose his menu. He actually came out at least as healthy as he was before he started his 30-day experiment. He lost 6.5 kg (14 lb) and also other things (like his blood pressure) were affected positively.
In New Jersey, USA, documentary filmmaker Scott Caswell also did a similar experiment. The results of his diet can be seen in his movie, which is titled Bowling for Morgan. It can be seen for free at Like Spurlock, Caswell consumed only McDonald's food, but opted for the healthier choices and did not gorge himself. Over the course of the experiment, he lost 19 pounds and his cholesterol fell sharply.
Soso Whaley, of Kensington, New Hampshire, made her own film about dieting at McDonald's, called Me and Mickey D. The film follows Whaley as she spends three 30-day periods on the diet. She dropped from 175 to 139 pounds, eating 2,000 calories a day at McDonald's. The film was funded by the Competitive Enterprise Institute (Whaley holds a C.E.I. fellowship).
Raleigh, North Carolina, resident Merab Morgan went on a 90-day diet in which she ate McDonald's exclusively, but she limited her intake to 1,400 calories (5,900 kilojoules) per day. She lost 37 pounds in the process. Article on CNN
Professor James Painter, chair of Eastern Illinois University’s School of Family and Consumer Sciences, made the documentary Portion Size Me. The film follows two graduate students, one a 254-pound male and the other a 108-pound female, as they ate a fast-food diet for a month but in portions appropriate for their size. Both students lost weight and their cholesterol improved by the end of the experiment.[7]
NOTE: Weight loss is automatically achieved by expending more energy than is consumed in the diet. This can be done by decreasing total calorie consumption and/or by increasing physical activity.