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Posted on Mon, 29 Aug 11

Super Size Me: the Study

In award winning documentary Super Size Me Morgan Spurlock eats only McDonalds for 30 days and manages to gain 11.1 kg (24½ lbs) develop high cholesterol, liver damage, mood swings and sexual dysfunction. A study in Sweden has also found that 4 weeks of fast-food is tremendously detrimental.

A group of healthy Swedish medical students ate at least 2 fast-food meals a day for 4 weeks while doubling their calorie intake and decreasing their physical activity (1). At the end of the study they increased from an average of 67.6 kg to 74.0 kg in weight, increased their waist circumference and developed insulin resistance. Remarkably, their liver looked like they had been on an alcohol binge after just 1 week on the diet.

After Super Size Me it took Spurlock over a year to lose the weight he gained, the Swedish students however were not so successful. Six months after the study they managed to lose most of their weight, but not all of it, and a year later they had started to gain weight (2). After 2.5 years they were still packing on the pounds faster than normal suggesting there may be long-term effects from a fast-food binge.



1. Kechagias S, Ernersson A, Dahlqvist O, Lundberg P, Lindström T, Nystrom FH; Fast Food Study Group. Fast-food-based hyper-alimentation can induce rapid and profound elevation of serum alanine aminotransferase in healthy subjects. Gut. 2008 May;57(5):649-54.

2. Ernersson A, Nystrom FH, Lindström T. Long-term increase of fat mass after a four week intervention with fast food based hyper-alimentation and limitation of  physical activity. Nutr Metab (Lond). 2010 Aug 25;7:68.

Tags: Super Size Me, Fast Food, Weight Gain

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