Friday, August 12, 2005

McDonald's diet? Some say it works (article)

Inspired by the documentary "Super Size Me," Merab Morgan decided to give a fast-food-only diet a try. The construction worker and mother of two ate only at McDonald's for 90 days -- and dropped 37 pounds in the process.

Wait, how is that possible? Doesn't McD's kill you? Why is she different?

Morgan, from Henderson, North Carolina, thought the documentary had unfairly targeted the world's largest restaurant company, implying that the obese were victims of a careless corporate giant. People are responsible for what they eat, she said, not restaurants. The problem with a McDonald's-only diet isn't what's on the menu, but the choices made from it, she said. [...]
"Just because they accidentally put an apple pie in my bag instead of my apple dippers doesn't mean I'm going to say, 'Oh, I can eat the apple pie."'

Being responsible for your own actions? Gobbledygook!


Big Red Lance said...

I'm assuming you mean "gobbledygook" with sarcasm. Super Size Me is a very interesting documentary, if only for the fact that you can see how bad that food is for you if you actually ate it non-stop for a month. However, what the documentary takes to far (what the guy who made it wants to say) is that we should completely ban this type of food. To that, I say "gobbledygook." What I put in my mouth for nutritional purposes (barring that it is some sort of deadly narcotic) should be my choice, period.

Do you agree?

Ookami Snow said...

I am saying that people can choose what they in, and in what amounts. And if done properly even McD's can be the basis of a healthy lifestyle (they have fruit, milk, salads... to eat).

People need to stop blaming things on others when it is their own decisions that lead to the problems.

Braveharte said...

It is interesting that you compare the nutritional food choice to narcotics. Why shouldn't food be treated like a narcotic? Why do we ban narcotics? Usually it is because they cause danger to a person's health right? or perhaps to the health of the people around the person (there may be a case that this is the stronger reason although it does not apply well to all narcotics)? Food acts on a person's brain in many of the same ways that drugs do. It often has addictive properties to it and produces the same pleasurable rush as drugs. It is quite clear that some foods cause major health problems. For some people food is as much a life altering addiction as drugs. I don't necessarily think that we should ban foods (unless they are found to be incredibly dangerous--maybe transfats?) but it is interesting that we believe that it shouldn't be regulated when essentially certain foods are just like narcotics. I realize that the difference comes in the need for food and the need to enjoy food in order to continue to want to consume it. Is it possible for food to be too dangerous though? To be too good (and addictive?)? Just a thought.

Ookami Snow said...

When am I comparing a food to a narcotic?

Big Red Lance said...

Braveharte - Equating narcotics and fast food is simply ludicrous!!

Meth and Cocaine are illegal, primarily because the INSTANT the substance hits your system, you're chemically dependent.

Yes, you can get hooked on Big Macs, but I don't I don't see anyone knocking over a McDonald's to feed their habit. Ever heard of anyone forging a check, diving into a dumpster or performing a sexual favor in order to get Chicken McNuggets? Didn't think so.

Meth and Cocaine can also kill you very quickly, whereas fast food takes a long time to kill you. In fact, you could eat two Big Macs everyday for the rest of your life and be perfectly healthy, so long as you exercised and watched what else you ate. There is no "exercise" to eleviate the effects of meth.

Go to any college campus right now, and you'll see a bunch of football players competing in two-a-days eating massive amounts of cafeteria food, a lot of which is as bad or worse than what they serve at McDonald's. Those guys are in peak physical condition.

We need drug laws to protect ourselves from drugs and the crimes people commit to get the drugs. We don't need laws to protect ourselves from getting fat. What you choose to put in your mouth to satisfy your nutritional hunger is one of your most basic rights as a human being.

Government does not know best.

Braveharte said...

Lance- Equating narcotics and fast foods is far from ludicrous... in fact addiction researchers do it all the time.

I'm afraid that you are sadly mistaken in both your perceptions about the dangers of narcotics and the dangers of unhealthy eating.

First you indicate that Meth and Cocaine cause instant chemical dependence. Meth is quite addictive and since it is a newer drug I don't have any good statistics on it, but cocaine is actually not very addictive. Only 3% of people who try cocaine develop a dependence and 10% of people who used monthly become dependent. When cocaine users were surveyed, only 3.8% said that they tried to quit and were unable. By contrast, 18% of cigarette users said that they tried to quit and were unable. Yet, cigarettes which are much more likely to cause an INSTANT chemical dependence are perfectly legal.

Of course no one is knocking over McDonald's to feed their habit, Big Macs are easily obtained and therefore have no need to do anything illegal. People also don't generally forge checks for cigarettes and alcohol, but that doesn't mean that the substances are not addictive and dangerous.

Let's look at a more reliable measure of addiction--changes in behavior, loss of job, separation from loved ones. All of these "signs of addiction" are prevalent in food addictions just as they are in narcotic addictions. We have 600 lb people who cannot leave their house. They've lost their jobs, become divorced, and literally eat themselves to death. What is a more serious substance abuse recovery than gastric bypass surgery? These people cannot just exercise themselves out of their addiction to food. Certainly most people can control their food intake, but likewise most people can control their casual drug intake.

As far as danger, most drugs are slow to kill you just like in food addiction. Certainly it is easier to kill yourself by an overdose on drugs than on food, but let's look at the stats for illegal drug deaths. In 1985 (I know it's old, but it is indicative of the trend), 200,000 people died from alcohol related deaths, 320,000 died prematurely from tobacco, and 3562 died from ALL illegal drugs combined. I also know that heart disease is one of the top killers in the united states. Illegal drugs do not generally cause instantaneous death. Like tobacco, alcohol, and food, they work slowly by damaging the brain and liver and kidneys. In fact, many of the dangers of illegal drugs come from their unregulated production and consumption (dirty needles, cocaine cut with gasoline, etc.).

Sure your football players may be fit now, but what are the stresses on their heart and joints going to cause when they are 50? I actually have no idea what happens to football players, but I would suspect that the linesmen die younger than the running backs.

If drugs weren't illegal, people wouldn't commit crimes to get the drugs so this point is ridiculous. If the government needs to protect people from using drugs than why not control what they eat to? I agree that choosing what you eat is an important right, but people used to think that drugs were too (many still do about alcohol and tobacco). When does something become so dangerous that it needs to be stopped? When 3% of people who try it become addicted? When 10% of people who eat the food die from it? How do you draw the line?

Big Red Lance said...

Bravehearte - Look let's not get into a whole drug legalization debate here. Many people have made good arguments for and against drug legalization. That is meant for another separate discussion.

Back to the matter at hand: Should we ban fast food, or regulate what people can and can't eat? I say absolutely not. Nuturing your body (eating) is perhaps the most basic life function. Freedom to choose how you do that is your most basic human right.

However, you do bring up a good point about people blowing up and hitting 600 lbs. It's sad. I truly do feel for someone who does that to their own body. The example you posted above is a very thoughtful argument and it requies a thoughtful response, and here it is: So What?

Yes, people will eat themselves to death. But please imagine the alternative: a government that tells you what to eat and when to eat it. Call me crazy, but that just plain freaks me out. (I just got back from the Iowa State Fair and had an "Extreme" Tenderloin. I may be feeling a little self-righteous here.)

Because someone else has not taken responsibility for their own health does not mean that I should have to give up my freedom.

The answer here is not more rules; it's freedom and people using that freedom to make good decisions.

nettymus said...

Drugs being illigal has nothing to do with them being adictive. It has to do with them being dangerous. Drugs can kill a person instantily, and it's not always becase of the way it was produced (just as drinking a bottle of Everclear can kill you...your system can't handle that). It also has to do with them being dangerous to others. Hallucinogens impair judgement, stimulants impair perception as do depressants.
As for drinking, There ARE laws against drinking so much alcohol that you become intoxicated (publically, anyway).
Further, scientists compair the ADICTIVE properties of food and drugs, and the mood altering properties of say, chocolate. The food efects are never as potent as drugs, because drugs are in a pure form, and food is usally not. Food is not like drugs in the ways that make drugs illigal.

Braveharte said...

The dangers of drugs is only a portion of the reason that they are illegal. Societal factors play a large role in the history and legislature of drugs. Otherwise, Marijuana would be legal or cigarettes and alcohol would be illegal. Drugs rarely (compared to the number of times they are used) kill a person instantly. You are more likely to die driving your car than from a drug overdose. As far as the dangers to other people, that is certainly true of hallucinogens, but it is also true of alcohol. Sure there are some laws in some areas about pulic intoxication, but they are rarely if ever enforced. Additionally, I think that food can be nearly as powerful a mood alterer as drugs. Talk to a diabetic when they are at an extreme in blood sugar. (For that matter, talk to Nicole when she's not been fed recently). Certainly they are not as dangerous to other people (as I mentioned in my previous posts), but certain compounds in processed foods such as transfats are as dangerous to the individual taking them in terms of shortened lifespan as talking drugs. Particularly, people who are susceptible to addiction.

Okay, I'm tired of this topic because I'm just repeating myself here. So I will cease to post after these concluding remarks. Do I think the government should regulate McDonalds's? No. People can eat it or not as they choose. I am mostly trying to get people to think about the things that they believe to be true. Do I think the government should regulate man-made food additives that have a strong potential to kill people (such as trans-fats)? Yes. Why not? They regulate everything from what's in toothpaste to over the counter medicines. If it's killing people it shouldn't be used! Think how much of your tax payer money is going to pay for health care for people's heart disease from trans fats. They don't even taste good.

The End.

nettymus said...

I'm just trying to get you to think about the other side as well