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Super Size Me

Documentary director Morgan Spurlock features as the guinea pig in this film about the fast food industry. Inspired by America’s obesity epidemic, he goes on a diet of McDonald’s three times a day for thirty days straight in order to examine the effects of fast food consumption on the body and mind. The effects of the trial are harrowing: His body mass increases by 13%, his cholesterol levels skyrocket, fat accumulates in his liver, and he experiences mood swings and loss of libido. Super Size Me will completely change the way you think about eating and living.

Super Size Me accomplishes the feat of being both entertaining and horrifying. It investigates how the fast food culture in American schools, corporations and politics is driving nationwide obesity. In between meals, Spurlock drives across the country and interviews a host of health and nutrition experts, lawyers, school workers, and a surprisingly trim man who has eaten over 19,000 Big Macs yet maintains a healthy cholesterol level. We also meet an industry lobbyist who states that consumers need to be educated about nutrition and perplexingly proclaims that “we’re part of the problem and part of the solution”.

The film investigates the industry’s political lobbying and advertising campaigns. We learn about some of the disturbing strategies McDonald’s uses to acquire customers. It is particularly effective at getting children hooked at an early age through mediums they love, such as birthday parties, toys, clowns and playgrounds. In certain areas, the McDonald’s playground is the only one the community has. In one of the most shocking scenes of Super Size Me, Spurlock shows pictures of Jesus, George Washington and Ronald McDonald to a group of first graders, and Ronald is the only one that all of them can identify.

Spurlock is a likeable host, both witty and engaging. Despite his criticism of the fast food industry, he does not place the blame solely on corporations, and at one point asks the rhetorical question of where personal responsibility stops and corporate responsibility begins. Towards the end of the experiment, he is a changed man. The exuberant and healthy host we meet at the beginning of the film has transformed into a puffy, weary and depleted man. He has experienced first-hand the damaging effect of junk food on the nation. All in all, Super Size Me is a fascinating and informative insight into the fast food industry and its link to the American obesity epidemic.

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  • k

    His results were faked, and the entire film was basically anti-McDonald’s scaremongering, “poor people are stupid” and “fat people don’t get any sex”. It’s also thanks to this asshat that McDonald’s can’t advertise fuckin’ Happy Meals anymore and had to get rid of all their characters and their super size option, particularly because he claimed without evidence that they have a kid-fattening agenda, don’t list their nutritional info anywhere and have a mission statement from their CEO to make people sick and unhealthy from eating there for every single meal. On top of this, he actually tried to claim in a bonus experiment that McDonald’s fries aren’t actually fries because they don’t rot when left in an airtight container for a long time but all the burgers do–which is thanks to the oil and salt they’re loaded with, not some big conspiracy where the fries, which are processed and supplied by McCain in Canada, aren’t actually goddamn chopped potatoes–and equated the containers to a human stomach. Yes, cause the human stomach is an airtight container that food sits in for months, right? Spurlock, did veganism turn your brain completely off or something? Hell, the fucker even tried to claim credit for McDonald’s having salads, falsely stating at one point they didn’t have any before he “exposed” their EVIL PLANS.

    Yeah, that’s another thing to remember, he’s apparently a vegan. He didn’t let anyone know he’s one, of course, he only mentioned his girlfriend is one, because it would’ve made his vomiting after a single McDonald’s meal, something literally no one else on the planet has done, seem less ZOMG SCARY.

    Want a good film of this nature? Try Tom Naughton’s Fat Head instead, a film where a guy actively proves Spurlock wrong by actually losing weight while eating nothing but fast food for a month. He accomplishes this by NOT fucking gorging himself on the unhealthiest food choices, eating more meals than he claims or cutting out his usual physical activity. While he’s at it, he also exposes exactly why Spurlock is a total fraud. In the process, he gets actual doctors and nutrition experts to help him explain why everything you know about healthy eating is probably wrong or half-true, inform us about good and bad cholesterol, expose the real reasons behind the so-called “obesity epidemic” and point out why fat =/= unhealthy by default. Yeah, Naughton encourages viewers to try the paleo diet in the end, but at least it comes off more as a suggestion and doesn’t demonize anyone in the process.