Super-sized: Man loses 56 lbs eating nothing but McDonald's

A personal responsibility parable for you on a slow news Friday. Turns out this guy was first in the news two months ago, when he’d lost 37 lbs on the all-McD’s diet. (The “Today” clip below was recorded in early January.) It worked well enough for him that he kept going with it. Two months later, he’s at 56 lbs and counting.


Is that normal, by the way? Averaging 10 lbs per month in weight loss after you’ve already dropped nearly 40? I thought weight loss slows down as a diet advances.

“It’s kind of scary to realize that in nine days, I’ll have spent half a year of my life eating nothing but McDonald’s,” he told TODAY.

“I’m not bored of the food, but I am missing other foods. I am craving seafood. In fact, my first night when I am done with this, I’m going to have some shrimp and some scallops and some salmon. Maybe some asparagus on a bed of rice pilaf.”…

While enjoying his weight loss, Cisna is particularly excited about the results of his blood tests: He says his total cholesterol dropped from 249 to 190, including a 25 percent decrease in his LDL or “bad cholesterol.” Despite concerns that he was eating too much salt, Cisna said his sodium levels and blood pressure are normal…

Cisna said he’s not a paid spokesman for McDonald’s, though local franchises donated his food. He was largely inspired to do the experiment by Morgan Spurlock’s 2004 documentary, “Super Size Me,” which Cisna called “irresponsible journalism.”

It’s not a perfectly well-balanced diet, with little fiber and lots of salt, but it gets the job done. Turns out what you’ve known since you were six years old is true: if you eat less (2,000 calories a day, being careful to hit your RDAs in protein, carbs, sugar, and fat) and exercise regularly (Cisna walked 45 minutes daily), you will lose weight — regardless of where you’re eating. As the man himself said, “It’s our choices that make us fat, not McDonald’s.” I’m surprised he didn’t land a speaking spot at CPAC.


All of which means that Spurlock’s movie is nonsense, right? Well, yes and no. Here’s a typical daily menu for Cisna. Is this what the average McDonald’s diner is ordering?

Minute Maid OJ
Sausage Burrito
Fruit and Maple Oatmeal

Fruit and Yogurt Parfait
Premium Southwest Salad
Apple Slices

Large Diet Coke
Premium Grilled Chicken Classic Sandwich
Hot Fudge Sundae
Small Fries

Lots of fruit by McD’s standards and none of the ol’ McMuffin/Big Mac favorites. Cisna did eat some of those, he says in the clip, but they pushed him towards the recommended daily allowances so quickly that he had to cut calories overall to stay within the guidelines. That doesn’t defeat his basic point — eat wisely no matter where you are and you’ll control your weight — but it does mean that losing weight on a traditional McDonald’s menu would be more … challenging. (One of Spurlock’s very stupid self-imposed rules for his own experiment was that he was required to say yes if the McDonald’s worker taking his order asked him if he wanted to supersize his meal.) I expect that’s how Spurlock’s defenders will end up spinning this. If not for “Super Size Me,” they’ll say, McD’s never would have phased out supersizes and never would have introduced the healthier menu items that Cisna’s benefiting from. Fast-food places have cleaned up their act over the last 10 years as the public’s grown more aware of health problems related to obesity. Cisna’s just riding the wave that Spurlock helped set in motion.


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