Sunday, April 04, 2010

What the Fast Food Diets Show

Some years ago an anti-corporate Lefty spent a month at McDonald's consuming vast amounts of food in a very short period of time—far more than the average person would possibly consume. He then produced a film about the evils of McDonald's, as opposed to the evils of moronic, self-inflicted harm. After this documentary became something of a fad on the Left other people went on McDonalds' diets but with different results.

Soso Whaley decided she would try the same thing but with different rules. For two months she only ate at McDonald's. Instead of eating more than average she paid attention to the calories, eating between 1,800 and 2,000 calories per day. Where the film producer, eating extra meals per day, gained 25 pounds in a month, Whaley lost 18 pounds during her experiment. She ate every item on the menu at least once and didn't restrict herself to salads either. Chris Coleson, of Virginia, at two meals a day a McDonald's over a period of some months and lost 86 lbs. Merab Morgan went on a McDonald's only diet for 90 days and lost 37 lbs.

I tend to eat two meals a day and only do three when i have long days at conferences. And, according to various calorie calculators I can have somewhere around 2,000 to 2,100 calories per day without gaining weight. Based on that it would mean I could have two Big Mac meals per day at McDonold's without gaining weight. The average Big Mac is 540 calories, the average large fries is 500. I drink diet Coke at McDonald's which is zero calories. So two Big Mac meals per day would put right in the zone where I'm supposed to be. I could do worse with a salad actually, depending on the dressing I use. A Ceasar salad with chicken and salad dressing could be 560 calories, or 20 more than a Big Mac.

Similarly we have seen people eat at Subway and lose weight and eat at Taco Bell and lose weight.

My schedule is such that during the day I tend to stop for fast food but usually make dinner at home in the evening. About nine months ago I weighed myself and was a bit shocked. I hadn't done so for some time and discovered that I was about 30 lbs heavier than I had assumed. So I started paying attention to calories. I still do fast food every day but I changed how I eat.

My work week is pretty much the same. I like variety so I have five different restaurants I frequent for lunch. I have roast beef sandwich with regular chips and a side salad one day per week. I have a salad bar one day per week. I eat a foot-long sub at Subway one day per week, and eat four tacos at Taco Bell one day per week. And I repeat one of these on another day. Every couple of weeks I even have a large Big Mac meal.

Everywhere I went to only diet drinks with zero calories, which actually helps a lot. I also started drinking non-fat milk at dinner. I cut out doughnuts, except as a rare treat, stopped having bowls of ice cream and chocolate bars. Again, all of this I will eat sometimes. And the result, without any extra exercise, has the lose of between 37 lbs and 38 lbs. Yet I eat at one of those evil "fast food" establishment almost daily.

What all this tells me is that the anti-obesity crusaders, like most prohibitionists, have it wrong. Food doesn't cause weight gain, people do. We have entire campaigns blaming inanimate objects for what people do. Porn doesn't rape. Guns don't kill. Big Macs don't cause weight gain. All these things are what people do. Thinking, rational human beings, make decisions as to how they will use inanimate objects and some make bad decisions. But the fault doesn't lie with the object acted upon but with the human making the choice.

You can lose weight at fast food restaurants if you choose to do so. And you can grow morbidly obese eating only the "healthiest" of foods.

The salad bar I frequent once a week attracts some very obese individuals. And it is something to watch them eat and eat and eat. I get a large plate of salad and add carrots, cucumbers and olives and use the low-fat French dressing. I take two small bowls of grapes. I have three garlic bread sticks and two pieces of a blueberry bread along with diet Coke. That is my meal there.

The beached whales however, frequently end up with two or three plates full of selections from the salad bar. They might consume four or five whole eggs along with copious amounts of breads, pizza slices and the like. Their plates tend to be piled high with foods. I would estimate that some of these people consume more calories in that one meal than they should consume during the full day. Of course, one excuse the obese use to justify their self-destruction is that they are "eating healthy" while ignoring the amounts of food they shovel into their mouth at each meal.

When my weight shot up it was my fault. And when I realized what I had done I changed how I acted and that changed the results. I take responsibility for it.

People are responsibile agents. Objects are not. You can lose weight on fast food diets and you can gain weight on them as well. To blame McDonald's for your obesity, to blame porn if you are a rapist, or to blame guns for crime, is just so much bullshit. Rape is the responsibility of the rapists, not a magazine. The crime is caused by the person holding the gun, not the gun. And it is the piggy shoveling copious quantities into his gut who is responsible for his obesity—not the food that is on his plate.

And now, for me, I'm going to head out for a late lunch at whatever fast food place I can find that is open.

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