June 18, 2008

In The News: The McDonald's "Diet"

In case you haven't heard, a Virginia man named Chris Coleson lost 70 pounds in 6 months eating nothing but McDonald's.

For whatever reason, several media outlets are having a field day with this one.

I, personally, don't see what's so newsworthy here.

Not only is this not new (a woman shed 37 pounds in 2005 by eating every single meal at the Golden Arches for 90 days), it's also simply the result of very standard nutrition advice: eat less calories and you will lose weight.

Works like a charm!

In Mr. Coleson's case, it is estimated that he reduced his daily intake from 3,000 - 3,500 calories to 1400.

Yup, that'll do it.

The fact that he accomplished this by only eating two meals a day doesn't sit well with me.

Between lowering his calories so drastically and eating only twice a day, I suspect his metabolism may have been affected negatively.

Remember, you could feasibly lose weight eating nothing but ice cream, Kit Kat bars, or French fries, as long as you lower your caloric intake to the required levels.

The problem, of course, is that it doesn't take that much ice cream (or that many French fries) to reach, say, 1500 calories.

Additionally, an ice-cream-only diet would provide a good amount of certain nutrients (fat and calcium) and leave you entirely deficient of others (vitamin C, fiber, vitamin E, potassium, etc.)

Choose wisely (vegetables, fruits, legumes, non/low-fat dairy, lean protein) and you can eat a larger quantity of food for that same amount of calories, all while meeting your nutrient needs.

Mr. Coleson's McDonald's diet -- which, fortunately, the fast food chain is not taking credit for -- is low in fiber, high in sodium, and devoid of whole grains and legumes.

Relying so heavily on one restaurant to lose weight is dangerous.

What happens when Mr. Coleson goes over to someone else's home for dinner, or has to cook for himself? If he hasn't learned any new skills or concepts that will allow him to keep the weight off once he stops visiting Ronald the Clown's house every day, he'll be back to square one.

I'm so f'ing tired of fad diets!


Cookster said...

Don't know what it's like in the states, but here in Australia you could eat a fairly balanced, nutritious diet from McDonald's - including salads, multi-grain rolls, lean beef burgers, natural fruit juices, lean chicken breast meat, cholesterol and TFA-free french fries, yoghurts... there are even Heart Tick meals on sale. Better Maccas than some other restaurants!

Andy Bellatti said...

I don't deny that there are "diet friendly" options at McDonald's that could fit into a healthy meal pattern every once in a while, but eating nothing BUT McDonald's for 6 months is unnecessary and not the healthiest way to lose weight.

There are no multi-grain rolls at McD's here in the US.... remember, though, that multi grain does not always mean "whole grain." A multi-grain roll could be made from the milled, fiberless flours of 5 or 6 different grains.

La Diva Laura said...

I lived in Australia for 10 years and it is right behind the U.S. for overweight people! Because of the lack of competition from other food chains, i.e. Wendy's, Burger King, Hardees, etc. Maccas has has more market share than any other fast food chain in Australia. In Sydney, there seemed to be a MacDonalds on every corner. Fortunately, in Australia you have a lot more choice for "fast" food with mom and pop "milk bars" that you can get home made sandwhiches with salad on fresh bread. But I must note, I do remember a lot of chiko rolls and chips for snacking and meals!!!