Yesterday we saw Super Size Me. I liked the movie as entertainment, although it wasn’t as scientifically or statisically signifcant as it could have been. Since part of the implication of the film is that this guy’s all McDonalds diet mirrors the ill effects suffered by many Americans from eating fast food, it would have been nice for himto have a little more rigor going in. He saw 3 different doctors and a nutritionist through the course of the film. Also good would have been for him to consult a scientist/statistician about how to design the parameters of this experiment to best model what he was trying to model. Specifically, for a lot of these meals he seemed to be eating not just McDonalds food but an excessive amount of it. Not only would he have the supersized meal, but he’d also have the shake plus a sundae or something like that. I think that kind of puts the total weight gain he experienced in question. The nutritionist calculated that he was eating around 5000 calories a day, twice what he needed to maintain his weight. I think just by not eating those desserts he would have been more like 3500-4000 calories. That’s still a lot, and still a lot of it from fat and sugar, but not quite so bad.
So, while I do have some qualms about the data collection process, I found this highly engaging as entertainment and persuasive as polemic. The stuff about Sodhexo running the school cafeterias and offering highly unhealthy choices was pretty chilling stuff. I’d recommend people see this movie, and it definitely fits in with the alterations in lifestyle I’ve been trying to affect in my own life. Seeing the film makes you want to reach for the salad and fruit for sure.