I'm at uni, but the machine I want is being used, so behold, a thread based on NewScientist:
tl dr; A scientist did a clinically controlled study based on the idea behind Supersize Me
, and finds some interesting things out about how the body deals with your dietary intake.
An excerpt which summarizes some counter-points to the idea of the movie (McDonalds is bad for you no matter what):
The study at LinkÃ¶ping University in Sweden is the first to try to replicate Morgan Spurlock's Super Size Me under laboratory conditions. The backlash against his film has, however, prompted several alternative experiments in the past couple of years designed to vindicate the fast food industry. You may question the funding, motivation and scientific credibility of these, but they do seem to confirm the simple truth that you can lose weight no matter what you eat, provided you consume fewer calories than you burn.
In 2004, Dutch journalist Wim Meij spent 30 days eating solely at McDonald's, but choosing mostly salads. He lost 6.5 kilograms.
Also in 2004, US documentary film-maker Scott Caswell lost 8.6 kilograms after a month ofeating only at McDonald's. He charts his progress in a movie Bowling for Morgan, but gives no details about what he ate, except that he avoided supersize meals and drank only water or diet soda.
The 2005 film Me and Mickey D follows New Hampshire resident Soso Whaley as she spends three 30-day periods eating 2000 calories a day at McDonald's. She lost a total of more than 16 kilograms.
After 90 days eating only at McDonald's but limiting herself to a daily maximum of 1400 calories, North Carolina construction worker Merab Morgan claims she lost more than 16 kilograms. Following a similar regime but eating 2500 calories a day and sticking to diet drinks, Texan air force sergeant Deshan Woods claims to have shed around 6 kilos over 90 days.
To make the point that obesity is not so much a matter of what you eat but how much, James Painter from Eastern Illinois University got two students to eat fast food for a month in portions calculated as appropriate for their size. Both lost a little weight and their taste for fast food. Painter made a film of his experiment, Portion Size Me, which he hopes will be used by nutritionists to educate students' fast-food choices.
Now, this whole study is actually pretty damn interesting. Firstly, it's apparent that if you're obese you've been pretty damn committed to the task of eating in the first place. Like, ridiculously so.
But secondly, the results in the variance of the effect that the 6600 calorie diet had on people are amazing. Some people put on muscle mass rather then fat and didn't suffer any apparent liver problems, others suffered almost the same as the movie. Some people appear to deal with the extra calories by increasing their body temperature (and thus basal metabolic rate).
So, I suppose the discuss questions are: what the hell is going on with the rate of obesity in the first place, and do you think there's much merit in the apparent find that really, it's quantity that is the most important factor in regards to losing weight, and pretty much everything else is secondary provided you avoid something like scurvy.