Teacher Loses 37 Pounds After Three-Month McDonald’s Diet

To be fair, he also exercised every day

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Robert Galbraith / Reuters

Remember the 2004 documentary Super Size Me and its blatant lack of a twist ending? Guy eats only highly processed, high-fat McDonald’s food for one month. Guy’s health deteriorates. The end.

Science teacher John Cisna tried out a similar experiment, but saw drastically different results. After eating nothing but McDonald’s for three months, the Iowa man lost 37 pounds and saw his cholesterol level drop significantly, local TV station KCCI reports.

Cisna enlisted his students to help him plan out a 2,000-calorie daily diet plan consisting only of food sold by the fast food giant. They also tried not to exceed recommended allowances of nutrients like carbohydrates, proteins, fat calories and cholesterol.

For breakfast, Cisna typically ate two egg white delights, a bowl of maple oatmeal and 1 percent milk. For lunch, he’d usually opt for a salad. And for dinner he’d order a more traditional value meal, including items like Big Macs, ice creams and sundaes. After Cisna told the owner of the local franchise about the experiment, he was so interested that he agreed to provide all the items free of charge.

During the experiment, Cisna walked for 45 minutes every day, and by the 90th day he reported that he’d lost 37 pounds. He also reported that his cholesterol had dropped from 249 to 170. He said he was able to get healthier simply because he made smart choices.

“It’s our choices that make us fat,” Cisna told KCCI. “Not McDonald’s.”

[KCCI]

95 comments
HE
HE

Imagine if he had been eating real food.

Just because you look slimmer, does not mean your insides are doing that great. There are more important things than the number on a scale.

philbrazier
philbrazier

Wow, food is such a sensitive topic for us all. I can't agree with comments like "It doesn't matter what you eat" and just by keeping your calories and weight down you are being healthy. I worry that in the short term (20yrs) bad dietry choices may not show any obvious signs, but in one's 40's and 50's things like high blood pressure, diabetes, heart disease and cancers are being seen. If you choose to eat healthy (plant based, fruits, legumes etc), surely your chances of being healthy and active in your later years is increased!

the.model.clair
the.model.clair

I honestly think that his walking for 45 minutes a day was what helped him NOT McDonalds.

JezidiahCooke
JezidiahCooke

I love this. Thank you for going through all this to prove the obvious. It's a crying shame it took someone doing all this to show that we have control over our lives and we give it to corporations so we can pretend it's the fault of someone else.

forestjames3
forestjames3

The media hype over McDonald’s food is now laid to rest. Get this: people actually do have choices and they are smart enough to make their own. You can do worse by eating at home with junkfood snacks, sweets, and food that has so many additives that it is not healthy. Smart choices over the long run is what matters. Eat healthy most of the time and enjoy your food. If you stress out every time you eat healthy then you are going to have a heart attack from the stress. I had a dietary intolerence and had to be on a special diet for 7 years. I hated eating. Then i followed this weight loss program http://www.easyweightlossfast.com. I lost 20 pounds in just 2 months.

Fred11212
Fred11212

I can't believe you people. 


IT DOES NOT MATTER WHAT YOU EAT!! As long as you're under the required calories to maintain weight on your body, you will lose weight. Same thing if you are over your maintenance level.


Clearly there will be side-effects of eating horribly (Vitamin & Mineral deficiencies), but you will still lose weight.


2000 calories was probably quite a bit under his maintenance level, thus he lost weight. End of story.

zelskid1
zelskid1

Did manager advertise this story

DiegoDelgadoG
DiegoDelgadoG

Sure, plenty of healthy choices in Mc Donalds menu. Thank you but I rather look for choices elsewhere.


FinnishCanadian
FinnishCanadian

This is a stupid way to lose weight.  Anyways,  I lost twice as much weight (30kgs) in about 4 months by eating much healthier foods and exercise.  Not only did I lose weight I gained muscle, improved my fitness e,g (125 max bench press) from 80 kg max, 

peperoldan61
peperoldan61

Less weight and lower cholesterol are only two biometrics considered "healthy" here. What about the long-term effects of eating meat products, saturated fat, simple carbohydrates, gallons of corn syrup, trace residues of pesticides and herbicides, hormones and antibiotics given to industrial farm animals, etc.? Do the research before you think fast food is "safe" and "healthy".

k.kaprow
k.kaprow

I went on an internet comments diet and lost 37 IQ points.

DavidKyle
DavidKyle

Its none of big governments business what we eat but the last line sums it up well it is "our choices that make us fat, not Mc Donalds"  


it may be fair for the government to provide guidance for our choices.  put warning labels, etc but not to dictates what or how much we consume.


It  should be noted that the US Senate Select Committee recommendations for healthy diet were heavily influenced by special interest groups and are not scientific at all.  The majority of the recommendations have proven false or very suspect. 


I would not trust the government to make the best decisions about my health. 

jbigs
jbigs

So he experimented with McDonald's foods....I am more concerned that he has the MONEY to experiment with!! Maybe teachers really do get paid enough...hmmmm...

DustinSchlesner
DustinSchlesner

My God what is wrong with the commenters on this thread?  The point of this experiment was to show how simple weight management can be.  Keep intake reasonable and get some exercise.  No super walking, no testing bio-marker, no obsessive compulsive weight lose idiocracy.  That was the point.  All he wanted to see if it was possible even with fast food.  Nothing more.  This isn't a knock on supersize me.  This isn't an advertisement for McD's.  It is a simple science experiment.

JedJustin
JedJustin

Put McD's arches on clinical trials. :)

Dan11
Dan11

Regardless of what you consume if you eat around 2000 calories a day and exercise for an hour a day you will lose weight if you are over-weight.  People that are over-weight generally consume 3000 plus calories a day and do not exercise.  This isn't some big mystery that the billion $ weight loss industry cashes in on.  Pick one of the 1000 diets out there that are difficult to maintain indefinitely or simply eat what you want in moderation, do not consume more than 2000 calories and exercise.  One paragraph instead of an entire book of BS. 

bugmenotbugmenot
bugmenotbugmenot

Once again proving the food police wrong.. McDs can be healthy if you eat the correct amount and exercise.  You know, McDonalds has been around for ages now, isnt it funny that ALL OF THE SUDDEN out of the BLUE, it started to be an "issue" when big brother and the left decided it was not "healthy"


Is eating 20 cheeseburgers good for you? No.. but the amount most people eat, will never ever cause a problem being that 99% of all health problems are genetic in nature and nothing you can do will avert them.

VapourRumours
VapourRumours

This is time magazine right? like. TIME Magazine? Why is this an article on here? No really. Who knew when you compared two different studies, that the outcomes would be different? The variables are completely different, and not to mention the fact that this is 10 years later, 10 years of McDonalds being under the public eye for being unhealthy. I am not angry at time magazine, I am worried about the fact that a science teacher, a man that is supposed to teach scientific method, feels comfortable with comparing these two completely different studies.

digdigdigdig
digdigdigdig

@forestjames3  McDonalds added a lot of the salads, egg white breakfast, etc. this person ate AFTER the "Super Size Me" controversy brought a lot of attention to the lack of healthy options on the menu, and showed that there would be a demand for more vegetables, lower fat, etc. So the first guy couldn't have made the same choices that this one did. There are ways to "hack" the old mcdonalds menu (for example, when I was vegetarian, I made "grilled cheeses" by ordering a big mac without the meat) but it was way more limited than it is now, a few years later. If you grew up in the 80s-90s or before you'd understand.

JezidiahCooke
JezidiahCooke

@FinnishCanadian I agree this isn't the best or wisest way to lose weight but it debunks the myth that Micky D's is always bad no matter what.

Recon
Recon

@peperoldan61 What about when you walk out of your door and get kill by a car? Jesus people its just food omg

JezidiahCooke
JezidiahCooke

@peperoldan61 The sad fact is most people don't really care about pesticides, etc. And that's a good thing because otherwise the global community would have a hard time feeding itself. Oh, I don't say that because we lack resources. We just lack people that are greed-less enough to gather those resources and provide them to those that need them.

JezidiahCooke
JezidiahCooke

@k.kaprow If you applied yourself you could have run into a dresser, burnt down your neighbors house and gotten a college degree inbetween.


Underachiever!

ragingbullarizona
ragingbullarizona

@k.kaprow While reading ridiculous comments, Not yours, I lost 37 IQ points. What I'm also trying to say is I love people like you that have wit. Thank you for this post. 

DavidKyle
DavidKyle

@jbigs one of the issues with fast food is that among our food choices it is relatively less expensive., which encourages eating more of it.  I think that almost any teacher could afford it.  possibly not a Mc Donold's employee, but surely a teacher.


although teachers get paid less than they should relative to their skills and education, they are by no means poor.  They are clearly middle class.  If they worked more than 7-8 months a year they would get paid a lot better but teaching is an honorable profession that in spite of  teacher's unions claims are fairly compensated.

krislankay
krislankay

@jbigs It says the manager comped all the meals. Learn to read..damn

Eyegeethree
Eyegeethree

Finally, someone with some sense. The entire point of this article is to show that weight can be managed without extreme diets and zero fast food. At No Point in the article does he implied that McDonalds HELPED him lose weight, nor that if someone wants to lose weight, that they should eat McDonalds everyday. The logical fallacies in most of these comments are ridiculous.

SteveSirRahHarris
SteveSirRahHarris

It's not necessarily a knock on Supersize Me, but when it is truly compared to the movie, it is.

People need to also realize that many of the healthy choices on the McDonald's menu (and many other fast food joints) in the past few years are a result of the movie.

Simple experiment, yes. Weight management is simple and it's exactly how it's stated in the above comment. Now the side effects from eating "junk" is a different article all together...

MelissaMisuraca
MelissaMisuraca

@DustinSchlesner yeah, because everyone's bodies are the same!  it doesn't matter if you have disabling mobility conditions, hormonal imbalances, or other problems- just don't be a lazy pig and you'll be skinny!


you, sir, are completely uninformed about the reality of fat and how bodies work.  good job.

MelissaMisuraca
MelissaMisuraca

@Dan11 You, sir, are an idiot.  I know lots and lots of people who can't lose weight on 1500 cal a day and moderate exercise.  That may be true if you're a healthy young male, but it is certainly not true for everyone.  If it were, my size 0 daughter who eats 2500 or more calories a day and is pretty sedentary would be hugely fat.


It's JUST NOT HOW BODIES WORK.  Seriously.  A little research on how food converts into energy and how it's used and stored would do you some good.

DanielHoppe
DanielHoppe

@bugmenotbugmenot genetics plays a major role; it always does. However, very few people have genetics which are so defective that a healthy lifestyle will not produce a healthy individual up to at least the age of 55+, particularly with regards to widespread, chronic diseases such as diabetes and cardiovascular disease. 

DavidKyle
DavidKyle

@VapourRumours science should challenge our beliefs and former conclusions or it is not science.  The first experiment proved what is well known that if you eat junk you will not be healthy,  the second was not to prove this point but another which is if you make better choices you will have better health.  I am sure that there are some healthier choices on the menu now but even back then there were better choices than were made in the movie which clearly set out to make a point and as such was quite biased.  It should also be noted that a case study of one in either case cannot be assumed to be true for all. 

mcrich
mcrich

@VapourRumours

Sounds like you might be worried people can be accountable for their own actions and make their own decisions.  There is a comparison to be made;  #1)  If you stuff yourself and don't exercise with the purpose of getting fat you will.  #2) If you make good choices and eat in moderation you can stay fit.


Go figure...

And yes, a science teacher can teach facts

jbigs
jbigs

@krislankay @jbigs  @krislankay...you're right I didn't read the whole article, however if the owner DIDN'T agree to comp all the meals, the teacher WOULD have paid for them so my comment still holds! damn...

Brock9
Brock9

@MelissaMisuraca @DustinSchlesner Wow, oversensitive much?  True there are a small number of people in the world who have issues that would keep them large regardless of personal choices, but for the large majority of the population, food choices impact weight.  


Nowhere in this article did they state that every person can lose weight at McDonald's, or even that this was a scientifically defensible study.  If you have issues, do your own study to show how oversensitive people with limited self-awareness wouldn't be able to lose weight at McDonalds no matter what they ate, but spoiler alert, the reason might be chronic denial.

Brock9
Brock9

@MelissaMisuraca @Dan11 I'd say that you need to do your own research, but Dr. Kyle did you a favor below and summed it up pretty well.  You need an attitude check and some self-awareness pills.

BellaVendetto
BellaVendetto

@MelissaMisuraca  I have hypothyroidism and hormone imbalances.  It used to be much easier for me to lose weight, but part of the problem is that my disorders are not regulated.  I understand this, but I don't expect the whole world to know. Why on EARTH are you calling people idiots simply because they might not be informed about YOUR disease.  If you want people to understand and take you seriously, then educate them, don't harass them.

jaysonk29
jaysonk29

@MelissaMisuraca @Dan11  " I know lots and lots of people who can't lose weight on 1500 cal a day and moderate exercise."

Then you know a lot of mutants that have the crappiest mutant powers ever. In other words, I call BS.
Also, I'm disabled and able to exercise just fine, so don't speak for me like you tried above.

PhilCooper
PhilCooper

@MelissaMisuraca@Dan11  A certain number of calories are used each day to just maintain one's body temperature at 98.6°F, so even without exercise one will lose weight if the calorie intake is less than the calories expended.  It's simply physics and chemistry.

DavidKyle
DavidKyle

@MelissaMisuraca@Dan11 I am a physician (please note that I have lost 20# since that picture was taken) and I can vouch that what Dan11 said is true for the majority of people. reasonable calorie intake and moderate exercise is enough for most to lose weight.  There are a few exceptions but having counseled many a person for weight loss I have found that most significantly underestimate their intake and significantly over estimate their activity level.


Genetics is an often neglected part of the equation in that persons are often programed to be larger or smaller but still habits make the largest part of the reason some are slim and some are morbidly obese.



It is true that not every person has the same ideal fuel mix.  for most, carbs are death, but some can eat heavy carbs and do quite well but these are usually the kind of people who exercise because its "fun" which is not the majority of us.


Still the general weight loss equation works burn more calories than you eat no matter what source and you will loss weight. 


your thin daughter is likely fairly  active if she eats as many calories as you suggest. sometimes activity comes in the form of fidgety  behavior (which would not count as exercise in the traditional sense of the word but can burn a lot of calories).


since you attacked Dan11 and suggested he do some homework, what make you such an expert?

DanielHoppe
DanielHoppe

Melissa, the fact that a skinny person can consume a lot of calories and remain skinny does not also mean that an obese person can consume very few calories and remain obese.

VapourRumours
VapourRumours

@mcrich @VapourRumours  It's not that. it's that he is presenting a study with different variables as an argument to "supersize me". I don't care about McDonalds. His argument is irrelevant to "supersize me". If this was presented as "hey guys look what I did" then it wouldn't matter. But from the first sentence it is comparing it to the movie. Which was a completely different study, with a completely different approach. I am worried that a man that is teaching scientific method is sincerely presenting it as if it were a valid argument against the "supersize me" documentary. I could even understand if it were presented in a manner where it was comparing McDonalds back then, to McDonalds today. But it's not.

the.model.clair
the.model.clair

@jbigs @krislankay  average single male spends 363 a month in groceries. if he spent about $15 a day at mcdonalds, he would only be spending 87 more dollars than had he gone to the grocery store.

Brock9
Brock9

@jbigs @krislankay Seriously?  Why would you even bring that up?  Everyone makes mistakes so the first comment was acceptable... but the second one is just embarrassing for you.  


How do you know that he would have done the experiment if it wasn't free? Even if you did, eating at McDonald's regularly does not typically reflect wealth.  Even if it did, is your responsibility to tell him how to spend his money?  And even if it was, clearly you didn't have a science teacher as good as him to teach you that making a sweeping claim based on one data point has almost completely no value whatsoever, so one 'wealthy' teacher really does not mean that teachers get paid enough - he could have a trust fund, or have won the lottery, or have a wealthy spouse, or any other number of reasons that would make your claim completely and totally irrelevant.  


I think I just lost 5 IQ points just from trying to understand how you think (or whether you are capable of it)..  





Brock9
Brock9

@VapourRumours Neither the article or the teacher seem to be trying to disprove SuperSize me.  Instead, they're both communicating the lesson that you seem to be so upset about - that with different variables, results can change.  They both acknowledge the differences in variables across both tests, and also identify the cause for the different outcome in a very clear quote in the last sentence of the article.


Further, I haven't seen the movie in years but I'm pretty sure the most commonly arrived-at conclusion of viewers of SuperSize me is that McDonald's will makes you fat.  If that is true, this study actually IS a valid way to disprove the conclusion that McDonald's always makes you fat (because he only ate McDonalds and became less fat, therefore it can't always be true).


Where is your problem?

VapourRumours
VapourRumours

@ipaylei2 @VapourRumours Now here is someone that is actually making a valid point. But the article was not written with that message in mind. Had it been presented in that manner i would not have had a problem with it.

ipaylei2
ipaylei2

@VapourRumours "Supersize me" is still being taught to be relevant today, I know that it's still being referred to in health classes a decade later. His experiment is a valid display of showing students to not believe everything they see, to doubt and question the scientific process. It also was a handy way to lose weight, eat free food, and make for an interesting story. My hats off to him.

VapourRumours
VapourRumours

@mcrich @VapourRumours you attacked points I didn't even make. but I restated my point. that it has NOTHING to do with society, NOTHING to do with McDonalds. And Everything to do with the fact that this is not a valid argument to the study that was presented in the movie "Supersize me"