Monday, December 8, 2008

Super Size Me

Super Size Me is an excellent documentary written, produced, directed by and starring Morgan Spurlock. Spurlock's film follows a 30-day time period (February 2003) during which he subsists exclusively on food and items only purchased from McDonald's.

The film documents this lifestyle's drastic effects on Spurlock's physical and psychological well-being, and explores the fast food industry's corporate influence, including how it encourages poor nutrition for its own profit.

During the filming, Spurlock dined at McDonald's restaurants three times per day, sampling every item on the chain's menu at least once. He also super sized his meal every time he was asked. Spurlock consumed an average of 20.92 megajoules or 5,000 kcal (the equivalent of 9.26 Big Macs) per day during the experiment. As a result, the then-32-year-old Spurlock gained 24.5 lbs. (11.1 kg), a 13% body mass increase, and experienced mood swings, sexual dysfunction, and liver damage. It took Spurlock fourteen months to lose the weight he gained.

The stated driving factor for Spurlock's investigation was the increasing spread of obesity throughout U.S. society, which the Surgeon General has declared "epidemic," and the corresponding lawsuit brought against McDonald's on behalf of two overweight girls, who, it was alleged, became obese as a result of eating McDonald's food.

Spurlock points out that although the lawsuit against McDonald's failed (and subsequently many state legislatures have legislated against product liability actions against producers and distributors of "fast food"), much of the same criticism leveled against the tobacco companies applies to fast food franchises (except that these companies never lied about their product), although it could be argued that fast food, though physiologically addictive, is not as addictive as nicotine.

Buy this classic documentary on DVD today...

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