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by Chih-lung Wang, JOUR 3000

 

On the first day, Spurlock felt the hamburger was delicious, and he enjoyed it very much. But over time the fast food made his health worse. He gained 12 pounds in 12 days. Maintaining his weight required only 2,500 calories every day. However, he absorbed 5,000 calories every day on his McDonald’s diet.

After 20 days Spurlock had a headache, was depressed and tired. When he had his health checked at a hospital, he could see the thick oil in his blood as it filled the test tube. The test showed his uric acid level was too high; his cholesterol had risen from 185 to 225 (normal is under 200), and his liver was becoming fatty.

Spurlock’s health report was only a warning. After 30 days, his weight increased by 24 pounds, his cholesterol was 230, and his body fat increased from 11 percent to 18 percent.

Nutritionist Dr. Lisa Young of New York University compared the calories in different size of McDonald’s meals. A portion of small French fries has only 200 calories, but a large size has 600 calories. A small Coca-Cola is 12 ounces but today one can order medium, large, or super large size, which is 64 ounces.

Who buys the super-size meal? “A lot of people,” said Christine Mophy, 46, a worker at McDonald’s. For consumers, super size seems a bargain: for a few cents more they can get a bigger meal. However, increasing already high salt, sugar, and fat content can cause health problems.

McDonald’s opened its first restaurant in 1955. By 2002, McDonald’s had 31,000 retail stores in 121 different countries and fast-food restaurant chains had multiplied to include Burger King, Pizza Hut, Kentucky Fried Chicken, and Jack in the Box.

Fast is a main feature of the fast-food restaurant, and hamburgers, French fries, and soft drinks take little time to prepare and are easy to dispense. However, they are not in themselves healthy. A hamburger contains bread, meat, cheese, and few vegetables and condiments. French fries are potatoes, oil, and salt. Soda drinks are sugar, caffeine, and carbolic acid.

“ My suggestion to McDonald’s is to put more healthy food into their menu, and change the way they cook their meals,” said Susan Kiloa, 52, who sometimes lets her children eat at McDonald’s. She suggested that McDonald’s add low-fat food to its menu and not fry everything. More vegetables in the hamburger could balance the nutrition that individuals need each day. “Sometimes I would like go to the McDonald’s with my children if I am busy or lazy to cook. However, I only go to there once or twice a month,” Kiloa said. “I prefer to cook for my family because I am concerned about their health.”

Sharon Ka‘iulani Odom, a nutritionist at Kaiser Permanente, recommended that “People eat the fast food not more than twice per month.” Odom added that they should also “exercise about 20 to 30 minutes every day.” Odom also recommended that people prepare their lunch at home and bring it to their office or school. This way, they can include more vegetables in their meals. “More vegetables and fruits, can improve your metabolism,” Odom said.
 
 
 

 

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