Tuesday, March 01, 2005

Downsize Me

Anyone who has seen the movie "Super Size Me" will be interested in this article from the National Post that reports on an Edmonton man who has mimicked the month-long, all-McDonald's diet practiced by director Morgan Spurlock in the film. He's lost weight.

Clearly, I'm not a big fan of the corporate-bashing ideology that underpins projects like "Super Size Me". Although the film didn't go as far down that path as I feared before I saw it, drawing many conclusions (besides symbolic ones) from such an experiment would be unwise. The Edmonton teacher's story confirms what many studies have shown: exercise is more important than food intake in determining health. Most studies indicate that active, overweight people are "healthier" than thin, sedentary people.

UPDATE: I don't want to rag on nutritionists, because I know some personally (ironically, one who lives in Edmonton) and they do some excellent and useful work, but I thought the following quote was rather humo(u)rous:

"Just because he's saying there's weight loss, doesn't mean it's healthy weight loss. It may not be sustainable," said Megan McCrory, an associate professor at the School of Nutrition and Exercise Science in Kenmore, Wash. "He's probably losing weight because he's burning more calories than he's eating."

Probably? Isn't that pretty much the only way to lose weight? I totally agree with her that not all weight loss may be healthy, but if the metric for success is weight loss, then by all means, let's measure the pounds lost and I think we can be pretty confident that a negative caloric balance was the cause.


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