While driving the other day my ears perked up to a news story on the radio. It was about a man who ate nothing but McDonalds for 3 months, and didn’t drop dead of a heart attack. In fact, are you ready for this?… He actually lost weight.
Most of us have heard of Morgan Spurlock of Supersize Me fame and his 30 day all-McDonalds diet. His results, while scary, were not unexpected. He gained nearly 25 lbs in 30 days, but worse still, his cholesterol shot up by 65 points.
Morgan literally went from being healthy to very sick in the span of a month.
So when I heard this 30 second news highlight about a man who ate McDonalds for 3 months and got healthy, I had to investigate.
What I learned blew me away. It was a mix of shock and disbelief.
John Cisna, a high school science teacher, lost 37 pounds (along with 7 inches off his waist!), but more importantly ended up with significant decreases in his cholesterol, HDL, LDL, Triglycerides, and Cholesterol to HDL ratio.
John literally went from being very sick to much healthier, in 90 days, on an all-McDonalds diet.
[Lifts chin off floor.]
I was flabbergasted. Dumbstruck. Stupefied.
How could this be?
I wondered if physical activity factored at all in to this experiment. And, it turns out that it did, but not as much as you’d think would be required to eat McDonalds every day and still lose weight.
John simply began a daily walking program. He walked at a brisk pace for 45 minutes each day. He touches on this at the 2:42 mark in the video below.
The video is a little campy, especially the end where he does the before and after summaries, but I do like elements of his message.
Specifically, he posits that we don’t get fat because of where we eat, rather, the choices we make. He made daily choices that saw him land in the 2,000 cal or less range each day, which fueled his weight loss.
As he points out, just limiting himself to 2,000 calories would result in weight loss even if he did nothing else, because of his previous caloric intake. When he added movement [exercise] into the mix, it drove even faster weight loss.
Still, I was skeptical as to how healthy his approach was. Sure he lost pounds and inches, but how could eating all that processed food not translate to unhealthy and unfavourable results with respect to his blood sugar, cholesterol, blood pressure, etc.?
I’m still scratching my head at his results.
But then again, maybe not.
If I revisit my own hypothesis from a year ago, perhaps this isn’t as bizarre as it appears.
I believed then that if an individual burned more calories than they consumed, on a regular basis, they would lose weight.
My year of sweat project was to prove that I didn’t need to deprive myself of the foods I loved (pasta, desserts, bread), providing I moved my body enough to neutralize those calories.
- Burn more than you consume and you’ll lose weight.
- Burn equal to what you consume and you’ll maintain weight.
- Burn less than you consume and you’ll gain weight.
It’s really just simple math.
At the end of the day, while an all-McDonalds diet worked for John, I think general portion control + sound nutritional choices combined with daily exercise is the simple but proven way to achieve better health in a sustainable fashion.
What do you think?