Saturday, January 24, 2004

A Story Too Good to Check?

This has all the hallmarks of a hoax, as far as I'm concerned, but hey, why let scientific plausibility get in the way of an entertaining piece of corporation-bashing?

LAST February, Morgan Spurlock decided to become a gastronomical guinea pig.

His mission: To eat three meals a day for 30 days at McDonald's and document the impact on his health.

Scores of cheeseburgers, hundreds of fries and dozens of chocolate shakes later, the formerly strapping 6-foot-2 New Yorker - who started out at a healthy 185 pounds - had packed on 25 pounds.

But his supersized shape was the least of his problems.

Within a few days of beginning his drive-through diet, Spurlock, 33, was vomiting out the window of his car, and doctors who examined him were shocked at how rapidly Spurlock's entire body deteriorated.

"It was really crazy - my body basically fell apart over the course of 30 days," Spurlock told The Post.

His liver became toxic, his cholesterol shot up from a low 165 to 230, his libido flagged and he suffered headaches and depression.

I don't dispute the message he's trying to get across - that making McDonalds happy meals a staple of one's diet is a bad idea - but I just don't believe that this guy is being completely honest. He claims to have gained 25 pounds in 30 days, or about 0.83 pounds/day; assuming that 1 pound of fat contains 3,500 calories, he would have had to be consuming at least that much extra throughout the time period in question, or about 6,000 calories/day for a man of his weight and a moderate level of activity - and this on the extremely dubious assumption that his digestive tract would have extracted every last bit of nutrition from his food intake. I'm extremely doubtful that most of us can synthesize fat quite that rapidly - assuming he isn't lying, most of his weight gain would have come from water retention. As for the liver toxicity claims, I say bullsh*t - who is to say this guy wasn't ingesting other, less orthodox, substances during the period in question?