Monday, October 11, 2004

Super Size Me Not

I got a chance to finally see the documentary Super Size Me. Even though the documentary was informative, I fear a lot of people will still walk away by grasping the wrong concept. Here's my interpretation of the movie.

First, here is the given of all fast food restaurants. Minimizing calorie content is on the bottom of the priority list for these places. We live in America where bigger is better. And if one restaurant is offering more food per dollar, the other restaurants have to compete. Another thing they do is they load their food as much carb and fat as possible. Its a cheap but effective way to make their food taste better. If you don't do both, you might as raise a white flag in the fast food industry race. So I can't really blame McDonalds for continuing to increase the sizes of what one everyone knows to be a complete meal (burger, fries, and drink). This combined with the extra fat and carbs is a bad combination.

From here on, I think we can seperate people into two major groups. The ones who can see that the portions have grown to outrageous sizes, and the other group that hasn't seen this increase in portions of food because its been so gradually applied to the fast food industry.

Speaking from personal experience, the very few times I've gotten things Super Sized or Biggie Sized, I remember not being able to finish the french fries, and throwing alway a nearly full tub of soda. Seriously, how often does a normal person finish the super sized fries and drink? To be honest, I have never seen someone finish a Super Sized drink before watching the movie Super Size Me. Say you were brave enough to finish the buger and fries with a few gulps of coke. You'd probably not have an appetite to eat for the entire day. But Morgan Spurlock does it 3 times a day for 30 days. By force feeding yourself to prove a point that you can gain a lot of weight with fast food like that you can gain a pound a day easily. Its apparent that he did everything possible to gain as much weight as possible especially when you watch him eat the whole cake at the very end.

Sure there are the few exceptions who have just totally fallen victim to the rhythem of McDonalds and the likes of continuing to increase the portions of the food. These people are the ones in real trouble. If they finish each meal then continue finishing the meal served to them even though the sizes of the meal keeps getting bigger. Just consuming an extra 500 calories more than you're used to on a daily basis will equal to an extra pound a week.

Some quick math:

Consuming 3500 extra calories a day will make you gain a lb a day. the nutritionists kept telling Morgan that he was consuming double the calories he needed on a daily basis (approximately 3000 extra calories). He ends up gaining ~25 lbs. (3000 calories * 30 days = 90000 total calories. 90000 calories/3500 = ~25 lbs.) Its no coincidence. If Morgan went to Subway and ate 6000 calories a day, he probably have gained the same amount of weight. If he had his vegan chef girlfriend feed him 6000 calories a day, he would have gained the same weight. His LDL and other stuff might have not been that bad. I'll give him that.

So what's McDonalds guilty of? McDonalds is as guilty as everyone in the fast food/excess food business (Wendy's, Burger King, Jack in the Box, Claim Jumpers) for gradually increasing the size of our meals just for business competition without the care of the health of the people in the US. This change in meal sizes has had a global affect of what everyone (at least in the US) thinks are regular portions of food that even in our own home cooking, we have forgotten what one serving is and we just end up eating more at every meal.

This movie is a really good reality check that tells us that we need to start consuming the right amount of food, not what we're being served.

One little weird thing about the movie. There was this girl who was apparently over weight that Morgan interviewed when Jarrod (from the Subway commercials) came to her school. I don't know how she got this idea into her head, but apparently Jarrod convinced her that the only thing that worked for him and the only thing that will work for her is eating Subway at least twice a day. And she started kinda tearing up with her mom because she said didn't have the money to go to Subway twice a day. I thought that was an odd little part of the movie that didn't have a place. I thought it was put in there for humor and only that. Unless Jarrod is really making these claims. Does Subway really have their hands that far up Jarrod's ass? Even Jarrod should know you can easily get fat eating 2 Subway sandwiches a day for sure if that's all you plan on doing to lose weight. If that girl interpreted Jarrod's message that way, he really needs to change his speech because people are getting the wrong idea.

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