Monday, July 12, 2004

I watched Super Size Me yesterday... and if the intended effect of the movie-documentary is to make sure viewers are so repulsed by the effects of fast food on the human body that they will never want to eat fast food ever again, then it certainly worked. Incidentally, Morgan Spurlock, the director of this documentary, didn't set out with this goal in mind. On the contrary, his decision to go on a 30-day, 3 McDonald's meals a day McBinge diet, was inspired (shall we say) by a lawsuit brought against McDonald's by two young girls who were suing McD's for making them obese. Now, things like this could only happen in America. Anyway, Spurlock was so outraged by this frivolous lawsuit - a suit which the judge said was only valid if the plaintiffs could prove conclusively that a McD's diet was the reason why they were obese - that he decided to embark upon such a diet and see what exactly the results were.

At this point, I'd just like to stress that in their defence, McD's had stated that the food they were serving was healthy, so it wasn't as if this diet was as ridiculous as it seemed.

Now, there were two rules to this diet:
1. If McDonald's didn't sell it, Spurlock couldn't eat it. This included water.
2. If he was asked to Supersize a meal, he was obliged to do so, and to eat the whole meal... a meal which would now consist of a quadruple burger, half a pound of fries and four pints of soda.

It was terribly disturbing to see Spurlock McPuke after finishing his very first Supersized meal.

Needless to say, as almost everyone knows by now, by the end of the 30 days, Spurlock had gained 24.5 pounds (11.4 kgs), increased his body fat by 8% and pretty much turned his liver to "pate". It took 13.5 months before he lost all the weight that he had gained during these 30 days. In addition, he had probably caused irreparable damage to his heart, doubling the chances of suffering from a heart coronary later in life.

Now that is seriously scary. There's virtually no nutrition in fast food and even the salads are loaded with calories. Now, I used to indulge in fast food once or twice a month whenever I was really busy, and I tend to eat it every day when I'm travelling because it's cheap. Not anymore. It's just too disgusting.

I've friends who argue that Spurlock shouldn't be singling McDonald's out seeing as we all have free will and therefore can make our own choices. Still, with the kind of power that these corporations wield, they do have a very strong ability to buy influence, whether it's through the media or by lobbying politicians such that favourable laws are passed and unfavourable ones are kept out of the legislature. A case in point is the Cheeseburger Bill that was passed in March 2004 by Congress which disallowed people from bringing lawsuits against companies for making them obese.

Super Size Me is a great documentary with a powerful message that - thankfully - isn't hammered into you by the director, unlike some other documentaries. It's incredibly entertaining and hilarious. Highly recommended!

Favourite moments
When the lawyer who's representing the two girls is asked why he's suing McDonald's: You mean other than the monetary compensation? You want to hear a noble cause?

The (former) VP of the Grocers Manufacturers Association: Yes, we're aware that this nation is becoming more and more obese. And we're part of the prob... we're part of the solution! (scene stops)
Spurlock: Did you just hear that? Did you hear the VP of the GMA just say that we're part of the PROBLEM?

When they played the Blue Danube during the stomach stapling operation. Gruesome but cute.

No comments: