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Chloe Hendrickson

Health 1020

Supersize Me

While examining the influence of the fast food industry, Morgan Spurlock personally

explores the consequences on his health of a diet of solely McDonald's food for one month.

Supersize Me is a 2004 American documentary film directed by and starring Morgan Spurlock,

an American independent filmmaker. Spurlock's film follows a 30 day period from February 1 to

March 2, 2003, during which he ate only McDonald's food. The film documents this lifestyle's

drastic effect on Spurlock's physical and psychological well-being, and explores the fast food

industry's corporate influence, including how it encourages poor nutrition for its own profit


Director Morgan Spurlock's social experiment in fast-food gastronomy sees him

attempting to subsist uniquely on food from the McDonald's menu for an entire month. In the

process his weight balloons, his energy level plummets and he experiences all sorts of

unexpected and terrifying side effects he also examines the corporate giant's growing role in the

lives of American consumers and explores its methods of indoctrinating young people and its

contribution to America's obesity epidemic.

The reason for Spurlock's investigation was the increasing spread of obesity throughout

the united states society which the surgeon general has declared epidemic and the corresponding

lawsuit brought against McDonald's on behalf of two overweight girls, who, it was alleged,

became obese as a result of eating McDonald's food Spurlock argued that although the lawsuit

against Mcdonalds failed much of the same criticism leveled against the tobacco companies
Chloe Hendrickson
Health 1020

applies to fast food franchises whose product is both physiologically addictive and physically


Spurlock ate at McDonald's restaurants three times per day, eating every item on the

chain's menu at least once. An intake of around 2,500 calorie within a healthy balanced diet is

more generally recommended for a man to maintain his weight. As a result, the 32 year old

Spurlock gained 24 pounds and 13 % body mass increase, increased his cholesterol to 230 mg;

and experienced mood swings, sexual dysfunction, and fat accumulation is his liver. It took

Spurlock fourteen months to lose the weight gained from his experiment. Spurlock's girlfriend,

Alexandra, attests to the fact that Spurlock lost much of his energy and sex drive during his

experiment. It was not clear at the time whether or not Spurlock would be able to complete the

full month of the high-fat, high-carbohydrate diet, and family and friends began to express

concern (Morgan).

Spurlock followed specific rules governing his eating habits:

He must fully eat three McDonald's meals per day: Breakfast, lunch, and dinner

He must consume every item on the McDonald's menu at least once over the course of

the 30 days

He must only ingest items that are offered on the McDonald's menu, including bottled

water. All outside consumption of food is prohibited. Each man should consume 2 and

cups of fruits and veggies.

He must only Supersize the meal when offered

Chloe Hendrickson
Health 1020

He will attempt to walk about as much as a typical united states citizen based on a

suggested figure of 5,000 standardized distance steps per day. He aims to keep the

distances he walks in line with the 5,000 steps (approximately two miles) walked per day

by the average American. The recommended steps an average person is supposed to take

per day is 10,000 which is equaled to five miles.

After five days Spurlock has gained 9.5 pounds. It is not long before he finds himself

experiencing Depression, and he claims that his bouts of depression, and headaches could be

relieved by eating a McDonald's meal. His general practitioner describes him as being

"addicted". At his second weigh-in, he had gained another 8 pounds putting his weight at 203.5

pounds. By the end of the month he weighs about 210 pounds, an increase of about 24.5 pounds.

Because he could only eat McDonald's food for a month, Spurlock refused to take any

medication at all. At one weigh-in Morgan lost 1 lb. from the previous weigh-in, and a

nutritionist hypothesized that he had lost muscle mass, which weighs more than an identical

volume of fat. At another weigh-in, a nutritionist said that he gained 17 pounds in 12 days


On Day 21, Spurlock has heart palpitation. His internist, Dr. Daryl Isaacs, advises him to

stop what he is doing immediately to avoid any serious health problems. Despite this warning,

Spurlock decides to continue the experiment (Morgan).

On March 2, Spurlock makes it to day 30 and achieves his goal. In thirty days, he has

"Supersized" his meals nine times along the way. Five of which were in Texas, four in New

York City. His physicians are surprised at the degree of deterioration in Spurlock's health. He
Chloe Hendrickson
Health 1020

notes that he has eaten as many McDonald's meals as most nutritionists say the ordinary person

should eat in 8 years. He ate 90 meals, which is close to the number of meals consumed once a

month in an 8-year period (Morgan).

I picked this documentary because I remember learning about it in high school. It always has

been interesting to me because America is going downhill. We always eat our and are just

gaining more and more weight. People I believe need to know what these fast food restaurants do

to their body. If they know what it is doing than maybe they will want to stop. What I have

learned while doing this study I want to carry on in my life. I want to keep myself healthy and

away from fast food all of the time. I want to teach my family how to stay healthy. Being

nutritious is a big key to your life. If you are healthy and in shape it is easier to enjoy life. It is

hard to control yourself from not eating all of the junk food but it is definitely worth it in the end.