Research Paper

Daniel Wood
SuperSize Me
The documentary I chose was “SuperSize Me,” 2004. I hadn’t seen the documentary before and
I’d only heard about it from some friends. They were the reason that I hadn’t seen it; they really didn’t
like it. But I choose to watch it as I happen to enjoy fast food and I figured that it might be helpful for
me research a little bit into the things that I like.
“SuperSize Me” starts off talking about how obese the average “America” has become. Their
premise is that we have been eating at home for thousands of years and have not ever been so obese.
That we also have been eating at sit down established restaurants for at least several hundreds of years,
and that has not had the kind of effect that fast food has had on the American populace in just a short
period of time. They explain that there were two young girls whose families were suing McDonalds
because of their obese state but they could not get anywhere with the case because there was no
conclusive proof that it was the fast food that was bad for the girls. Morgan Spurlock decided to give us
conclusive proof and something to see and visualize showing the effects of eating only McDonald’s fast
food for 30 days.
Morgan Spurlock chooses to eat at only the McDonald’s Restaurant for 30 days. He had no
nutritional background before he started this documentary. He also did not appear to have any
alternative motives other than the fact of those two girls that could not win a law suite without concrete
data. Because he did not have any nutritional background, he had to go to several experts before
starting. Just before he started his 30 days, he is checked out by several doctors, a practitioner, a
cardiologist and a gastroenterologist. As well as contacting physiologist and a fitness trainer. All of the
professionals deem him to be in great physical and mental health. Even above average in physical
health. So he begins his 30 days with the rules that he has to eat everything at least once on the
McDonald’s menu and if given the option to “Supersize,” he must do so. He is also limited to the
amount of exercise that he can have during the time to simulate the average American’s exercise habits.
At the start of the 30 days, Spurlock weighed in at 185.5lbs and was 6 feet 2 inches tall.
Through the first 5 days, he gained 9.5lbs brining him to 195lbs. He referenced a 3 days hump meaning
that after the first 3 days of the diet, he would be able to handle it. Those first 3 days were rough
though, his first meal took him almost half an hour to eat 1 sandwich and fries.
Because of the saturated fat that was consumed, he had lost much of his energy and sex drive at
only half way through the experiment. He had lost most of his muscle mass before and though he was
only 13lbs heavier, more than just the difference in weight was due to gain in fat.
At the end of the 30 days, he had gained 24lbs. Several of the doctors had asked him to stop
along the way, specifically when he had heart palpitations 3/4s the way through. He finished the 30
days though and was able to show that a healthy diet should probably not include any fast food
restaurant food.
In the documentary, we are told that Spurlock is consuming over 5,000 calories a day. The
standard intake per day varies per physical stature and gender, but in most cases, he in consuming over
twice as many calories as any one person should intake per day.
Though starting at a healthy level, as seen by several doctors, and a cholesterol level of just 185,
Spurlock finished up the 30 days with a horrible Cholesterol level of 230 after gaining a 13% body mass
Compared to what is seen in our book, Spurlock did not eat any unprocessed fruits or
vegetables. He did eat some parfaits and shakes, but even those had as many or more calories than a
Big Mac. They obvious did not have the sort of organic, fresh fruits and vegetables that it recommends
we intake on a daily basis.
The documentary was published in 2004, and it remains as prevalent today as it was back then.
Possibly even more than it was at the time it was published. We learned that through the eating of such
unhealthy foods, our hearts and livers and most other parts of the body can suffer. After the end of 30
days, Spurlock was showing the same symptoms as that of an alcoholic where there were no symptoms
before. During the film it showed that he had become addicted to the food; it kept him happy when he
ate it but when he did not, he was depressed and moody. Those are the same effects that many illegal
drugs show as well. We can learn from this and ask ourselves if it is worth the risk to be overweight and
happy when we eat, or just happy and healthy all the time.