Obesity theme continued…..

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A lot of guys came up to me at St. Louis and started talking to me about the post about HVAC/heating making people fat/skinny, from a while back. It sort of amazes me how many people are really interested in the topic. The movie “Super Size Me” came up in conversation more than once.

I kind of have a rant about that movie that I’ll share –

First of all, it was totally unfair to McDonald’s. The movie was about gluttony, plain and simple. I’ll challenge any person to try to eat those quantities of calories and not do serious damage to their system. And you can eat anything you want. As healthy as you like. You just have to overeat by nearly 4000 calories a day. That would be more than double, maybe triple, your caloric intake a day, for a month straight. Or around 3 weeks, if you’re the guy from the movie. Can you imagine having to eat Thanksgiving dinner 3 times a day for 3 weeks. And that might not be enough eating to satisfy the amount you need to eat to gain weight like the guy in the movie. He gained over a pound of fat a day. Overeating is not good for you. It is that simple. Overeating 3 meals a day is really bad. It is that simple.

But, eating at McDonalds 3 meals a day, for a month wouldn’t necessarily be that bad for you. Even if you did it like the rules of the movie, minus the overeating part. If you just ate everything on the menu in rotation, but with normal caloric intake, you would be fine. I eat at McDonalds a fair amount. When I’m racing, I probably eat breakfast at McDonalds at least 20% of the time. The main reason is a time consideration. When there is no time consideration, I go elsewhere. But McDonalds does has a predictable menu for breakfast. I order hotcakes only and a side of scrambled eggs. Sometimes I get milk, sometimes hot tea. That is it. It works.

I ate breakfast at McDonalds virtually everyday last winter when I was roofing my building. That was for two months straight. I was there at 6 am, with all the old guys in farmer’s ball caps, drinking their senior coffee. I usually got hotcakes, but when it was going to be cold out and I knew I wasn’t going to be eating lunch ’til late, I’d order the whole big breakfast with hotcakes. Originally I was giving the sausage to Bromont, but eventually I ended up eating everything they gave me. Including what they call hash browns. I didn’t even like them-not the taste nor the consistency, but I ate them anyway. And I lost nearly 10 pounds during that time. Eating nearly the worst food I’d eaten since I was a teenager, I lost more than a healthy amount of weight. I know that wasn’t the reason for the weight loss, but you can’t say that eating out at a fast food place makes you obese.

Now, the only time I eat at McDonalds, other than breakfast, is when I’m driving home late and Bromont wants for a plain hamburger. He gets a plain hamburger and I do sometimes. And sometimes a chocolate sundae, sans nuts. And hot tea usually. There is no doubt about it that the food tastes good, but I just don’t eat it much. Other than McDonalds, I have no idea what the other hamburger/fast food places serve, so I don’t really have much of an opinion about them.

I’ve seen some pretty great cyclists eat a horrible diet and have stellar results. Don Myrah for example. When he was beating up all the MTB riders and winning Cyclo-X Nationals, he ate food that would make the guy from Super Size Me looks like his vegan girlfriend. I saw him and his brother polish off a 9 X 13 cake pan of layer bars. You know the things with a graham cracker crust, with chocolate and butterscotch chips covered in sweeten milk and coconut and then baked. They fill you up like cheese cake. If I eat more than a couple small pieces I feel like shit. And they ate 1/2 a pan each and were still moving normally. And that was normal for them. And he rode great.

So, back to the theme. The movie was unjust. And you get fat when you eat too much. By too much I mean too many calories. As cyclist, we get to eat a ton of food. That is a definite plus. But, we also need some more vitamins and minerals. But, not as many as you think. So, we can indulge ourselves, on a daily basis, if desired, with whatever extra calories we want. As long as you eat a basic healthy diet for starters, don’t worry so much about the content of the extra. But, make sure it isn’t just extra. That is what is going to make you fat.

Eat too many of these and you'll end up looking like the guy below.

10 thoughts on “Obesity theme continued…..

  1. David L. Miller

    Steve, this is what I was looking like, kind of back in March. I weighted 225 lbs and felt like a blimp. Started riding 20 miles when ever I could. Each day that passed made me want to get out there more. 28-30 miles is now my ride. Not in racing shape, but now weigh only 190 lbs.

  2. drew holbrook

    Balance and moderation. I love Mcdons consistent predictable. Lynne C eats at least twice a week Lowest body fat in a woman that I know besides Catherine

  3. Brian

    A few things of interest:




    Basically “junk food” in calorie controled packets while in negative energy balance.

    But…….(High calorie malnutrition)http://www.informaworld.com/smpp/content~db=all~content=a713680799 (you may need library access to see this)

    Basically, many overweight and obese individuals eat such a poor diet, that even though they are overweight, they are nutrient deficient (vitamins, minerals, phytochemicals, etc)


    It is a very complex issue. But, in simplest terms, more calories than you burn leads to weight gain and metabolic problems (T2D, CVD, elevated BP, etc). But ~ 20% of highly overweight individuals are pottentially genetically (metabolically) protected against negative outcomes other than more fat (bone and joing issues due to weight). Conversely, there is another condition caused by sedentary lifestyle that leads to “metabolically obese, normal weight”. Basically people who tend to have a high percentage of body fat, but are not “overweight or obese”. They are not metabolically healthy though.

    In an ideal world (from an overall health from positive lifestyle perspective), individuals would choose nutrient dense diets (veg, fruit, lean meats, good fats, etc) as the base of their diet and also exercise.

    Athletes (who train a lot and thus have large energy expendatures) typically need “junk food” as part of their diet to be able to consume enough total calories.

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  5. Kermit


    You got me here. Have enjoyed the site. Especially the stuff about the old days, and long expanse of time and space covered in your riding/racing days.

    Am partially in agreement about Mciky D’s.

    Just please check out the New York Times about the “Pink Sime” meatscrapes/body part pieces added for goodness to the recipe.

    Why worry -Great Plains- mad scientist- has built many fanciful meat machines, no joke, and patented them- to put out very large blocks of meat stuff.

    He also has approval from the FDA to clean the special meat- that is remove the E-coli by injecting it with ammonia under pressure.

    His companies self-inspect their product for the govm’t.

    This is the part I don’t think so much of feeding my son or myself anymore.

    Back in 1994 when I was building a large house in Vinland, KS with a crew, the guy on the site next to ours told us about his friend.

    Friend had a bright idea, he contacted a large coffee company and started purchasing the coffee they swept up off of the floor to sell to be served to prisoners in Kansas.

    Seems like good stuff compared to the “Pink Slime”.

    Bon Appetite, Quality not Quantity or is it both?


  6. Bob

    I’m with you on this one. All someone needs to do is compare the nutrition information for a meal at any casual dining restaurant (Outback, Fridays, Chilis) to what the FDA recommends for an entire day and you will see some scary stuff. Calories in and calories burnt – even it out.

  7. Bil Danielson

    Steve, you are spot on here… The original article, it seems, is no longer available but here is a synopsis of one I tagged some time ago…

    RALEIGH, N.C. (AP) – Inspired by the documentary “Super Size Me,” Merab Morgan decided to give a fast-food-only diet a try. The construction worker and mother of two ate only at McDonald’s for 90 days – and dropped 37 pounds in the process.

    It was a vastly different outcome than what happened in the documentary to filmmaker Morgan Spurlock, who put on 30 pounds and saw his health deteriorate after 5,000 calories a day of nothing but McDonald’s food.

    Morgan, from Raleigh, thought the documentary had unfairly targeted the world’s largest restaurant company, implying that the obese were victims of a careless corporate giant. People are responsible for what they eat, she said, not restaurants. The problem with a McDonald’s-only diet isn’t what’s on the menu, but the choices made from it, she said.

    Morgan used nutritional information downloaded from McDonald’s Web site to create meal plans of no more than 1,400 calories a day. She only ate french fries twice, usually choosing burgers and salads. Those choices are a stark contrast with those made by Spurlock, who ate every menu item at least once.


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