Super Size Me

knvb

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The Associated Press
Updated: 7:51 p.m. ET May 12, 2004

MORGANTOWN, W.Va. - Morgan Spurlock set out to make a movie. He ended up a crusader. And all it took was 5,000 calories a day.


To produce “Super Size Me,” his riveting and often revolting indictment of American eating habits and the fast food industry, Spurlock ate nothing but McDonald’s food and drink for 30 days. He says he consumed 30 pounds of sugar and 12 pounds of fat.

Monitored by three doctors, the filmmaker ate three meals a day, tried everything on the menu at least once, accepted super-size portions when offered and refused anything he couldn’t buy at the restaurant.

The result: He ballooned by 25 pounds and got sick.

A funny, scary idea
At the beginning, it sounded funny, Spurlock says. Stuffed from a Thanksgiving dinner in 2002, he saw a news report about two teenagers suing McDonald’s for allegedly causing their weight gain and health problems.

What would happen, he wondered, if he ate nothing but McDonald’s for a month?

A great film, he figured. And critics say it is: The 98-minute documentary won a best directing prize at the Sundance Film Festival and opens nationwide Friday.

With deadpan delivery, animation and graphics, and a way of making common sights like a Big Gulp container seem shocking, Spurlock is able to keep the film lighthearted even as he argues fast food may be why the number of obese Americans has doubled since 1980.

Some moments trigger both gasps and chuckles, like when a group of children studying photographs can identify Ronald McDonald — but not Jesus.

“I don’t like to be told what to do or preached to,” Spurlock says. “I wanted it to be entertaining and leave it up to you to decide what to do.”

Becoming a believer
But in discussing his film and his mission to help Americans eat better, Spurlock is intense and on message, as determined as a politician seeking office. Enthusiastic about his new-found pulpit, he tends to dominate conversation with rapid-fire, statistic-filled answers.

“When you make a movie that affects people the way this film does, you have an obligation to get the message out, to lead this dialogue and lead this discussion beyond the film,” he explains. “I’m a believer now.”

Spurlock returned to his native West Virginia last week for special screenings with health educators in Wheeling and Morgantown, and at a film festival in Charleston. At 6-foot-2 and 185 pounds, he’s back to the long and lean shape he was in before his experiment.

West Virginia, however, has become the nation’s second-fattest state behind Mississippi with 24.6 percent of the population considered obese. The state agency that insures public employees invited Spurlock to help bolster its multimedia portion-control campaign.

“This is a very frightening film for the food industry because it’s a film that shows that eating their food on a very heavy basis is dangerous,” says the 33-year-old from Beckley, who grew up on mom’s home cooking and whose girlfriend is a vegan chef. “A lot of Americans are on a path to being very sick.

“There’s no thought about what we’re eating and what’s going to happen to our bodies next week, next month, next year,” he says. “The last thing they want you to do is think about what you’re eating because they’re making millions by you not.”

McDonald's reacts
‘...watching [Spurlock] force-feed himself to the point of vomiting and getting a rectal exam is not how I prefer to spend my free time.’

— Cathy Kapica
McDonald’s global nutrition director


Since Spurlock finished his film, McDonald’s has begun eliminating super-sizing and is rolling out healthier choices. On May 11, it begins offering adult Happy Meals with salad, bottled water and pedometers.

Company spokesman Walt Riker has said the changes have nothing to do with the film, which he calls “a super-sized distortion of the quality, choice and variety available at McDonald’s.”

The film is not about McDonald’s, Riker says, but about Spurlock’s decision to act irresponsibly by eating 5,000 calories a day — “a gimmick to make a film.” U.S. health officials recommend 2,200 calories a day for most men.

Adds Cathy Kapica, McDonald’s global nutrition director: “I don’t want to judge what people consider to be entertainment, but watching him force-feed himself to the point of vomiting and getting a rectal exam is not how I prefer to spend my free time.”

Spurlock, a nonsmoker and nondrinker who works out regularly, acknowledges his diet may have been extreme but believes it’s comparable to many Americans’ eating habits.

“As much as they can say this is unrealistic, this food is rooted in the reality of how we live our lives,” he says.

Dangerous diet
At the start of his 30-day binge, doctors use words like “superb,” “perfect” and “outstanding” to describe Spurlock’s blood and cholesterol levels and his overall health. He has 11 percent body fat and is declared above average in fitness.

He stops exercising because most Americans don’t. His muscle turns to mush, and his body fat soars to 18 percent.

Before long, the doctors call his condition “obscene” and “outrageous,” comparing the liver damage that Spurlock has begun to suffer to that of an alcoholic. One cites the onset of a benign liver condition called nonalcoholic steatohepatitis. It is usually seen in obese people.

It took Spurlock 14 months to get back to his original weight, and his liver is now normal.

“When you go to the doctor, what you eat is one of the last questions asked,” he says. “The impact of food on your body, your well being, is so immense. But there’s no money in people eating broccoli. There’s money in people eating pills.”

Spurlock will spend the summer promoting his movie, then take his message to high schools and colleges. In all, he’ll be devoting another year of his life to the cause.

“I look at my film as a snapshot of your life. This 30 days is what could happen to you in 20, 30, 40 years if you continue to eat the way most Americans eat,” he says. “You can develop all these health problems ... that can be stopped right now if you change the way you eat and start exercising.”
Keeper, when you're ready.
 

sensei_hanson

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I saw Super Size Me last Tuesday at Fifth Ave.

This new-wave of guerilla documentaries (given the success of Michael Moore) means we'll all be seeing more of these scathing social commentaries-meets-Jackass type docu-shockers in the near future.

Super Size Me is (based on the McReview Scale, with a Double Quarter Pounder reflecting excellence and the Fillet O Fish reflecting poor) a McRib with a side of fries and a diet coke. You remember the McRib? With Sinbad singing the hook on the commercials? It was blatant soul-food advertising, but who can resist the witty repartee of Sinbad? Those were sweet...wait....I was going somewhere with this....hmmmm.....Sinbad....comic genius....McRib.....mmmmm.....McRib......

Right. The movie. America is a fat, fat country. In Manhattan, which covers 44 square miles, there are 83 seperate McDonalds restaurants available to consumers. Better still - the Philadelphia Children's Hospital operates a McDonalds restaurant in the hospital lobby. Even better still - over 4,500 schools in the United States today offer Taco Bell products in their lunch menus. While Spurlock engages in his death diet, he also takes time to look at the hideous school lunch programs going on in the US today. I was stunned to see how many kids have solved the nutritional rubix cube with a lunch consisting of Gatorade, chocolate bars, salt-n-vinegar chips and Hot Tamales. I thought I had a monopoly on that one.

SSM is highly recommended, especially when you head to Maccy Dees immediately afterwards for a 20-pak of Nuggets and a strawberry shake. Ask yourself: why the hell are McNuggets shaped like boots? That shite is all fcuked up. I'm hungry.
 

SC

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Well don't Super Size Me!!!

In the great words of Besty (today), "I've cut down on my MC D's intake quite a bit and even I've noticed the weight loss..." :D

I absolutely loved this film, and hope anyone who relies on the fast food industry (for convenience) takes in this flick. I found myself yelling at the screen while watching a very large 14 year old girl say " I can't afford the Jared Subway diet..." Fcuken "make the damn sandwich yourself, you lazy mo fo":mad:

Mogran Spurlock must really love his country to put himself at such a high health risk for 30 days. It was amusing every time he put a Big Mac towards his lips. He was 'lovin' it' every intake... The doctors couldn't believe their eyes when reviewing his health charts and you could see the sparkle leave his eyes within only 5 days of the "diet".

For the sake of your sex life, attitude and awareness, cut down your fast food intake by 1/12 and see how you feel. 10 bucks says that Knvb, Dial 9-1-1 and/or Regsi wouldn't be such a bitter poster on this site! :)

'Drive through' it is Sensi, but this time I'll be passing the food 'pick up' window and running for the veggie stand...I can feel 'clogging' just thinking about my last quarter pounder with cheese. :eek: :( :mad: :confused: :rolleyes: :mad:

+SC :eek:
 

Keeper

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Finally managed to watch Super Size Me last night and was astonished -- beyond all else mentioned by other above -- at the dramatic weight gain Morgan Spurlock endures. 25 pounds in 30 days? Yikes.

Also, for those who still may not have seen it yet, the DVD offers a few bonus gems. In particular, The Smoking Fry in which Morgan attempts a simple in-office experiment between various McDonald's items and a "real" burger and fries. The results between the burgers are more or less unsurprising, but the french fries are nuts, man. After 10 weeks, after all other food items have sat and become mold-laden, the McDonald's fries still look like they were bought only the day before. Creeeeepy.

On the wagon starting now . . .
 

striker14

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sensei_hanson said:
Ask yourself: why the hell are McNuggets shaped like boots?
Man...that is freakin' hilarious...never thought of that before!! :p

Gross story...in the Summer, I was camping with Family and my brother-in-law showed up in the evening with Rotten Ronnies (camping...Rotten Ronnies...usually don't mix)...he came from work! He had nuggets...dropped one...so he threw it on the fire...I SHITE YOU NOT...next morning, got up...went to start the fire for breakie...the damn nugget was still there and didn't look like it had been touched...SICK :eek:

Saw the movie...disgusted me...have only eaten Rotten Ronnies once since...and thought of the movie the entire time! Good on the rich bastard!!

striker14
 

White Knight

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The health food experts have said that eating supersized meals from Macdonalds and other fast-food chains is not a good idea. Super-sized does not mean more food - it means more fat, grease and calories.

On another note... I met a girl in 1995 who was a Macdonalds Big Mac hamburger addict. Every time she saw a Macdonalds in Vancouver she had to eat a Big Mac, regardless of whether she was hungry.

When I met her she weighed a measly 100 pounds and was too thin. I saw a picture of her from 1993 where she weighed 150 pounds. She had gone from over-eating Big Macs to vomitting, unfortunately.

It is a shame what a negative influence that Macdonalds et al have had on society!
 

SC

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Well, I've learned a lesson here... One must vomit to keep the weight off :rolleyes: Thanks for coming out Wayne Knight.

I should be called an 'expert' as well, because I could have told you the same thing ;) .

What the hell is KNVB's excuse then? He should be the poster child for Fast Food Establishments... He's kind of a freak of nature, and yet he's a 'freak against nature'? :confused:
 

LucVanLierde

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I watched this last month and for some reason I havent eaten at Mcdonalds since. Mcdonalds or Macdonalds either or I havent gobbled a Big Mc in a month.
I do feel that he gave an honest report on the diet side to the fat indefference plague that is sweeping the states and most of the western world, BUT, the big issue is lack of excercise. He ate and sat around like a lump of shite. I guarantee that if i went on his diet for a month and went on a triathlete exercise regime for the days of the diet i would end up in better shape then that went i started.
Americans are are fat because video game sales have overtaken box office reciepts
and television has replaced teh family pet.

I would be the guinea pig to this study if any film students are interested. I would lose weight on this diet, i would be fukcing ripped.

This movie is ultimately bullshit and can be proven otherwise.
 

suckit

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don't watch the movie.
boring,
slow,
and unrealistic.

who in hell would eat breakfast/lunch and dinner at mcdicks for 30 straight days.
not to mention, over-order and supersize at the same time.
while going from being an athlete to sitting on the couch all day.
the same thing could result from the over repetition of any given activity.
for example: dail 911, running head first into walls. as you can see, its making him stupid.

i still eat at mcdonalds whenever i want.
this movie proved nothing.
 

cerebral smallsy

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if i'm not mistaken he qualified this entire "experiment" at the end by saying exactly what you two have just said.
surely you don't think he is trying to prove that mcdonald's or fast food for that matter is the only cause of obesity and associated illness?
of course the movie is bullshit. i think he is well aware of that. it's a commentary on the fast food culture and, much like other documentarians in today's limited attention span world, is required to be over the top to drive the message home.
my two timbits...now excuse me, my mcchicken is getting cold.
 

SC

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LucVanLierde said:
He ate and sat around like a lump of shite. I guarantee that if i went on his diet for a month and went on a triathlete exercise regime for the days of the diet i would end up in better shape then that went i started.
Luc, if you paid attention to the movie Morgan Spurlock did as much exercise as the 'average' american would do in a day-week-month. Clearly he was taking the piss out of phat, unhealthy Americans in the best possible resourceful way .

I'd like to see you get ripped up on a diet of McSmacks and form a documentary about the body builder's culture.

Just for the record, anyone can eat whatever they want, but don't bitch about your lack of health to others. :rolleyes:

You are the one in control :)

+SupersizemeSC
 

LFC2

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A bit short sighted. You missed the whole point, or any point, of the movie. The reality of North American culture is that for the most part we are a continent of extremely apathetic people. Nothing changes without the event of a crisis. Without showing the absolute extreme of this issue, would anybody have paid attention to his message? I watched it a week or so ago right in the middle of my own personal xmas overindulgence. I know fast food is not good for me, nor any other poor diet. Sometimes you need to be slapped across the face to have it reaffirmed. A must watch for all.

As an aside, that Subway chick who was crying cause she could not afford the Subway diet, wow. Shocking stupidity. Wonder where she got that from? Maybe her fat mom standing beside her nodding in agreement???


suckit said:
don't watch the movie.
boring,
slow,
and unrealistic.

who in hell would eat breakfast/lunch and dinner at mcdicks for 30 straight days.
not to mention, over-order and supersize at the same time.
while going from being an athlete to sitting on the couch all day.
the same thing could result from the over repetition of any given activity.
for example: dail 911, running head first into walls. as you can see, its making him stupid.

i still eat at mcdonalds whenever i want.
this movie proved nothing.
 

Dial 9-1-1

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I think Super Size Me (like any "documentary") definitely does spin things to help the argument being made (i.e. making sure they point out every obese person within the camera's distance). However, if it was a crock of shite, then I'm sure Mcdonalds would have already paid for their own documentary proving otherwise and sued the crap out of the film maker and everyone else involved. The fact they haven't, well...I guess that speaks volumes.

I was a "heavy" Mcdonalds user 3-4 times per week, easily...and I always supersized. I've had breakfast there once in 5 months it's been since I saw the movie. It's all Tim Horton's for me now!
 

steve1234

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Its all about moderation. If it was strictly down to fat content in food, there would not be a chippy standing. Fish and chips for lunch, pudding and chips for dinner, and look at the Scots an outstandingly svelt people.
 

sid

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suckit said:
nothing like a cauliflower/cheese soup on a winters night.
you would be better eating a shite sambo instead of shite soup

sid
 

deb

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Here in Australia, MacD's has launched its "We're a healthier version of MacDonald's than they've got in America" campaign. It has included the information that their chicken mcnuggets are now made with 100% chicken breast meat. My question is - what were they made from before???? :confused:
 

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Firstly, I'm very happy for you and your cricket team. It's always nice to get a few wins on the board every now and again. Of course, there's always the 2006 Ashes tour to look forward to :p !

Secondly, I have a query. Were the eunuchs in question from the SA cricket team and did they blame their lack of form on the missing "nuggets"?
 

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