Movies I’m Looking Forward To: “Pom Wonderful Presents The Greatest Movie Ever Sold”

Morgan Spurlock made a name for himself with the documentary Super Size Me which I found both entertaining and informative. Now he’s back with a new film about product placement in movies which he financed entirely with product placements. Check it:

Yeah, that looks like it’ll be fun.

Fast Food and Portion Sizes

Not the usual post that shows up here, but I found an interesting article with some conclusions that came out of the Documentary “Super Size Me” by Morgan Spurlock. First off, if you haven’t seen the movie go check it out

Back to the topic at hand, the article, “Self-Experimenters: Filmmaker Gained Weight to Prove a Point about Portion Size”, is an interesting look into the aftermath of doing such an experiment as Morgan did.

Morgan Spurlock’s “really great bad idea,” as it would later be called, came to him after a gluttonous Thanksgiving meal. Jeans unbuttoned, stomach engorged with turkey—and eyeing a second helping—the 32-year-old playwright noticed on the television news that two teenage girls from New York City were suing McDonald’s for allegedly making them fat.

“It was the dumbest thing I’d ever heard of,” Spurlock recalls thinking. Until, that is, a McDonald’s spokeswoman appeared on screen to deny any link between the chain’s food and the girls’ obesity, claiming that Big Macs, Chicken McNuggets and the rest of the gang were nutritious. “That was even crazier than the lawsuit,” says Spurlock, now 37. “If it’s so nutritious, I should be able to eat it every day.”

I agree with him, most of those lawsuits against McDonalds are pretty stupid. At some point the user has to be held accountable. I will say that companies such as McDonalds can be very deceptive in their advertising and marketing, as well as statements from their spokespeople about having healthy meals. If McDonalds wants to make the statement their food is healthy, we should hold them accountable for such a statement.

To prove the statement by the spokesperson was ludicrous at best, Spurlock set out on a crazed diet of nothing but McDonalds for 30 days. If their food is healthy there should be no problem right?

But what most alarmed his physicians was the damage to his liver, which became so engorged with fat that it could have been marketed as pâté. “I expected his triglycerides would increase temporarily, his blood pressure would go up, he’d feel miserable,” said Dr. Daryl Isaacs, Spurlock’s general practitioner. “I never expected an acutely fatty liver. By the third week he had the liver of a binge alcoholic.” All three physicians ordered Spurlock to stop, but he nervously stuck it out.

Aside from the obvious issues with the diet like weight gain and cholesterol, he also experienced more severe or shall I say scary by-products of the diet such as lack of sex drive, heart palpitations, and the above issue: the liver of an alcoholic.

Spurlock’s self-experiment brought attention to unusual obesity-related illnesses. Lisa Ganjhu, Spurlock’s gastroenterologist, says the film increased public awareness of nonalcoholic steatohepatitis (NASH), a severe liver inflammation that is not due to alcohol but rather brought on by rapid weight gain; it is associated with insulin resistance and metabolic syndrome. Fredrik Nystrom, a professor of endocrinology and metabolism at Linköping University Hospital in Sweden, replicated Spurlock’s experiment with 18 subjects, nearly all of whom experienced the same rapid liver damage, but recovered after they ended the fatty diet.

It seems a diet high in crappy food can have some drastic side effects. The movie has a pretty eye opening scene where the doctor is trying to explain this phenomenon (at least at the time it was) to Spurlock and he was completely dumbfounded and surprised at the results. He recommended Spurlock stop the diet immediately. What surprised the doctor was that all estimates and best guesses assumed his cholesterol and heart issues would stop Spurlock before a bad liver would.

The other interesting thing brought up in the movie and article:

The striking documentation of his health problems put fast food purveyors on high alert. “Food portions in America have increased in parallel with rates of obesity,” Lisa Young, adjunct professor of nutrition at New York University, wrote in a recent study published in the Journal of Public Health Policy. Obesity in adults skyrocketed in the U.S. from 15 percent in 1980 to nearly 33 percent in 2004, according to the U.S. Centers for Disease Control, putting Americans at greater risk of heart disease, diabetes and cancer. Young says that the average daily U.S. food intake per person has increased up to 300 calories since the 1980s.

Within weeks of the movie’s May 2004 debut at the Sundance Film Festival, McDonald’s pulled Super Sizes from its menu, saying the move was designed to simplify diners’ choices. “The only thing that got McDonald’s to reduce its portions,” Young tells Scientific American, “was the publicity of the movie.”

Food portions have increased at a very close rate to obesity rates. Something confirmed by a study I read in a book by that asshole on TV… oh yea Dr. Phil. Anyways, the study mentioned looked at food portion sizes in Europe (I think specifically Great Britain and France) and America and also looked at obesity rates and average weight of adults. The study found that portion sizes in America are about 24% greater than Europe and the average weight is also about 25% greater. Something that goes right along with the study mentioned in the quote above from the article.

Anyways, my weight loss plan for the last 8 months has just been to eat less and exercise more along with getting some help from what appear to be decent sources of information (the authors of this book got a team of researchers together and poured through over 10,000 studies and research to find the best info). So far I am down 15 lbs, have a ton more energy, and I haven’t really gained any fat weight.