The McDonald’s Weight Loss Program

Hello!!! I hope 2014 is treating you well! And that your resolutions are coming along nicely!

Should you be already discouraged and wanting to see more results (faster results) – especially with weight loss. Do not get discouraged making healthy changes and habits and seeing that show up on the scale does not happen overnight.

With that being said- here is an idea of something NOT to try.

For those of your who haven’t heard – there is a story going around now about a science teacher from Iowa who ate McDonald’s at each meal, every day- for three months.

Here is the link to the story via Time.

So let’s cover the key points, he is a science teacher so he is clearly a trained nutrition professional.  Oh wait.

To be fair he and students did set specific parameters (according to the Time article).  He reportedly stuck to 2000 calories a day, and also tried not to exceed recommended allowances of nutritinets like carbohydrates, protein, fat calories, and cholesterol.

Well what about sodium?

What about saturated fat, and total fat (as fat calories are not the same as fat or saturated fat grams)?

To be fair he walked 45 minutes each day, and was reportedly NOT restricting calories prior to his little experiment.

The result?

Mr. Cisna (the teacher) reports he lost 37 lbs, and reported that his total cholesterol (only one lab value of 4 done on a lipid panel) decreased from 249 (a high value) to 170 (a value within target range).

Sharing the words: “It’s our choices that make us fat, not McDonald’s” in an interview.

Great job for him for losing weight.  Hopefully he can maintain it with continued healthy choices.  My issue with this as a whole is, this guy was still not eating healthy nutritious food.

He states an example of a breakfast he would take in would be:

2 egg white delights mcmuffins, 1 bowl of oatmeal, and 1% milk




Extra Value meal of some variety (including Big Macs) and was even including sundaes and ice cream.

He was clearly making smart choices (typed this blogger sarcastically).  This really hones into the concept of Fitting your Macros.  Remember macros (macronutrients) are carbs, fat, protein.  They are the nutrient groups that provide calories into our diet.  It is possible to lose weight by staying within your macros – even if you are not making healthy food choices.

Sure this guy saw a reduction in weight and total cholesterol.  What about his blood pressure because, as you will see in a minute- there is no way he stayed within 2000mg of sodium per day.  And sure his total cholesterol dropped- that’s a good thing, but what about his triglycerides?  His LDL (bad cholesterol), and HDL (good cholesterol).  Those are the other three things measured on a lipid panel (the test done to check cholesterol levels).  I would venture the biggest result he saw was the weight loss, and that’s purely due to the fact he stuck within a macronutrient guide, closely monitoring his macro intake (which the common individual does not do) and started incorporating physical activity- NOT because he was making healthy food choices, and watching his portion sizes.

fast food 1

You know because McDonald’s and fast food in general is so well known for their appropriate portion sizes.

Lets break down what he was actually getting in a sample day:

Egg White Delight Sandwich x 2 

300 Calories//40 calories from fat//14 g of fat//6 g of saturated fat//1540 mg of sodium//60 g carb//36 g Protein


290 Calories//35 calories from fat//4 g fat//1.5 g saturated fat//160 mg of sodium//58 g of carbohydrate//5 g of protein

1% Milk

100 calories//20 calories from fat//2.5 g fat//1.5 g saturated fat//125 mg of sodium//12 g of carbohydrate//12 g of carb//8 g protein

Salad – let’s say the Southwest Salad with grilled chicken (not fried) 

290 Calories//70 calories from fat//8 g fat//2.5 g of saturated fat//650 mg of sodium//28 g of carbohydrate//27 g of protein

+/- the dressing which would add:

100 Calories//50 Calories from fat//6 g of fat//1 g of saturated fat//340 mg of sodium//11 g of carb//1 g of protein

Diet Pop or Water (we will just assume here- if anything I’m rounding his macros down)

Big Mac Extra Value Meal (again we will hope he opted for diet soda)- and say he chose the “medium size”

Big Mac 

550 Calories//260 Calories from fat//29 g of fat//10 g saturated fat//970 mg of sodium//46 g of carbohydrate//25 g of protein

Medium Fries

380 Calories//170 calories from fat//19 g of fat//2.5 g of saturated fat//270 mg sodium//48 g carbohydrate//4 g protein

Fruit and yogurt parfait

150 Calories//20 Calories from fat//2 g fat//1 g saturated fat//70 mg sodium//30 g of carbohydrate//4 g of protein

Hot Fudge Sundae

330 Calories//80 Calories from fat//9 g of fat//7 g of saturated fat//170 mg of sodium//53 g of carb//8 g of protein

So here is our grand total:

2060-2340 Calories//615-725 Calories from fat//78.5-91.5 g of fat//25-32 g of saturated fat//3785-4055 mg of sodium//282-316 g of carb//109-114 g of protein

Since his weight and height are unmentioned- it is hard to actually calculate his needs.

There is clearly a reason he didn’t include trying to meet the RDA (Recommended Dietary Allowance) of sodium- since that recommendation is < 2300 mg of sodium per day.  They also recommend 10% (or less) of calories coming from saturated fat.

They also recommend limiting added intake of solid fats, and added sugars, as well as refined grains – all things he was in fact consuming on a daily basis.

The very bottom line of all of this is: he lost weight by carefully counting calories, and fitting them into his macro needs- BUT HE DID NOT LOSE WEIGHT BY EATING HEALTHY NUTRITIOUS FOODS! 

That is the main issue I have with this, but now due to the fact that in past weeks this has blown up in the media.  So now due to the trickle down effect individuals now may have the idea that: “oh, I can eat 3 meals a day at a fast food restaurant, and lose weight and be healthy”.

Again not only did he NOT consume the most nutritious foods- he did seem to put a lot of effort/time into tabulating and planning the foods he ate – which the average person does not do.

Please.  I beg you.  Eat real food people, fast food is part of the 80/20 rule (eating healthy 80% of the time to indulge 20%)- but fast food falls within that 20% part- it shouldn’t be consumed daily.

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