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Lift Big, Sing Big, Look Great Doing It.

Sunday, June 29, 2014

Is Fast Food Bad For You??

Fast food is a huge part of American culture and has spread all across the world. It's a multi-billion dollar industry. But, is it bad for you? 

Well, it ain't great for you. (No shit, right?) But how bad is it for you, should you never eat it, can it in fact kill you? There's a lot of negativity surrounding this kind of food and a stigma that goes with choosing to consume it. People actually feel shame for going through a drive thru. They hide their faces with hats and shades so nobody will judge them.

So, I'll share some thoughts, some stories, some anecdote and some research on both sides and we'll think this through like big boy and girl pants wearing adults, shall we?

The Argument:

People like to cite the movie Supersize Me and all the adverse affects our dear Morgan Spurlock endured after eating Mcdonald's every day for 30 Days. 

But everybody knows about that noise...

There is this study about obesity and pregnant women and students in regards to proximity to fast food...

"We investigate the health consequences of changes in the supply of fast food using the exact geographical location of fast food restaurants. Specifically, we ask how the supply of fast food affects the obesity rates of 3 million school children and the weight gain of over 3 million pregnant women. We find that among 9th grade children, a fast food restaurant within a tenth of a mile of a school is associated with at least a 5.2 percent increase in obesity rates. Among pregnant women, models with mother fixed effects indicate that a fast food restaurant within a half mile of her residence results in a 1.6 percent increase in the probability of gaining over 20 kilos, with a larger effect at .1 miles. The effect is significantly larger for African-American and less educated women."

*full paper here.*

Or there is this article on NBC New's:

"But a new study from U.S. and Irish researchers puts a precise number on it. They found that for every extra fast-food transaction in a country — every time someone bought a hamburger or a serving of fried chicken — the average BMI went up by 0.03."

And we all know that they use ingredients that are questionable:

  • "Premium Egg Blend" containing: glycerin, a solvent found in soap and shaving cream.
  • Lettuce leaves with propylene glycol, a substance found in anti freeze and sexual lubricants.
  • Chili that contains silicon dioxide, which is found in quartz or sand.

that's some tasty lookin silicon dioxide. Dust that shit on my chili, please.


Most studies against fast food rely heavily on a basic fallacy of correlation being causation. These people ate fast food and happened to gain weight, but their diets didn't consist specifically of an all fast food diet, their activity levels were varied, and it wasn't focused enough to make a generalization that eating fast food causes health concerns. And, even if it is weird that some of these things are found in your food, they are considered safe to consume by humans.

Even when you look at the Spurlock experiment, you have to diagnose what that fucker actually did and why it made him gain so much weight and why he had so much adverse affects.

  • He must fully eat three McDonald's meals per day: breakfast, lunch, and dinner.
  • He must consume every item on the McDonald's menu at least once over the course of the 30 days (he managed this in nine days).
  • He must only ingest items that are offered on the McDonald's menu, including bottled water. All outside consumption of food is prohibited.
  • He must Super Size the meal when offered, but only when offered (i.e., he is not able to Super Size items himself).
  • He will attempt to walk about as much as a typical U.S citizen, based on a suggested figure of 5,000 standardized distance steps per day, but he did not closely adhere to this, as he walked more while in New York than in Houston.

However, he frequently was also consuming ice cream (mcflurries, cones, shakes, sundaes) and regular cokes with either dinner or lunch, or both, so his calorically dense food choices were suddenly becoming more and more dense with every sip. About 1/3 of Spurlock's calories came from sugar. His nutritionist, Bridget Bennett RD, cited him about his excess intake of sugar from "milkshakes and cokes". It is revealed toward the end of the movie that over the course of the diet, he consumed "over 30 pounds of sugar, and over 12 lbs. of fat from their food". So, basically, Spurlock went on the world's worst (or best depending on your opinion) dirty bulk with almost no real physical activity.

He would have experienced similar complications if he was over eating on basically any other high calorie, high fat diet. And although I'm sure the quality of the food did play a factor, it wasn't THE deciding factor in his health complications near the end of the documentary. Eating upwards of 5,000 calories a day while being overall extremely sedentary is an obvious recipe for a health and dietary disaster.

Tom Naughton made a comedic reply entitled Fat Head where he suggested that Spurlock's calorie and fat counts didn't add up. And, had Spurlock published the food log of his McVenture, he may have a foot to stand on with his argument. Naughton has a page on his web site that lists every item (including nutritional information) he ate during his fast-food month. 

Soso Whaley, an independent film producer, made a YouTube movie reply titled Me and Mickey D's, in which she also ate all meals at McDonald's, yet lost weight—20 pounds over 60 days; 30 pounds in 90 days. Whaley's results were quite different because of the reduced calorie diet, and inclusion of exercise.

"It's still bad for you! Just think of all of that sugar!!!!"

You best listen, child. Alan Aragon back hands your bull shit assumptions in this video:

In this video he talks about the "toxicity" of sugar, it's" cancer causing" capabilities, and basically all sugar fallacys you can concoct in your noggin.

"What about childhood obesity!?!?!"

What about it, suckah?

"When children eat more than they need, their bodies store the extra calories in fat cells to use for energy later. If this pattern continues over time, and their bodies do not need this stored energy, they develop more fat cells and may develop obesity.

No SINGLE factor or behavior causes obesity. Obesity is caused by many things, including a person’s habits, lifestyle, and environment. Genetics and some medical conditions also increase a person’s chances of becoming obese." - Medline Press

But this isn't just true about children, this is true about EVERYONE. Get active and fuel your body, OR don't eat as much. These are your choices. Literally, you have no other choice. You can eat a variety of foods, including fast food and still lose weight and be healthy.

"Do you have examples, Ol' Yeargain?"

In fact, I do. Recently, this man lost 56lbs on an all McDonald's based diet. Instead of going on an all Mcdonald's supersized binge, he was on a diet that was in his caloric number that just happened to be all McDonald's purchased items. He supplemented his diet with light cardiovascular exercise and actually saw improvement in his health.

Take a look at these fellas:

These guys are the Hodge twins. They've been fat, skinny and skinny fat. Now they are ultra fit YouTube phenoms. They make their living from YouTube videos and apparel. 

Recently they have been on a cut to get into a very lean aesthetic for a photo shoot and they have been eating fast food pretty much every time they get finished working out. No, neither of them are ordering double quarter pounders super sized with a sundae, but neither are most people eating that once or twice a day like in Spurlock's mcsperiment.

Also check out Furious Pete eating the entire dollar menu...The guy is jacked, super strong, and has super human eating capabilities...check out his YouTube channel.

"But Ol' Yeargain, People don't neeeed that much food!" 

People don't need a lot of fucking things. But people want a LOT of fucking things, and our market, economy and community rises to provide these services for people. Whether it's food or property. 

I've even heard some nonsense about how fast food is engineered by evil corporations to make you fat and even some conspiracies about how it's utilized to subdue the poor. I know a lot of fat, rich fucks who don't touch fast food and a lot of shredded, aesthetic, healthy bros with not a penny to their name who eat the shit out of some McDonald's.

Fast food provides a service and options that may or may not be affordable for the average American, they have no plans to get you fat and to keep you that way. You don't have to have an agenda when literally millions of people are throwing their money at you. They've set up a system that is an infinite money making machine that has no real competition, they just got to stay current and not offend too many minorities, which is easy enough when you have the kind of lawyers and marketing team a company like that can afford.

Frankly, fast food restaurants are an easy target. They aren't rich in vitamins or minerals, the macros aren't exactly easy to fit into a well balanced diet, and if you're a regular ignorant yolo, you're gonna over eat on it and see adverse affects. However, if you're a reasonably intelligent person, understand the basics of nutrition (calories in vs. calories out) and have a sense of personal responsibility, then you're not gonna worry yourself about companies like McDonald's taking advantage of you. They can't steal your money, you have to give it to them willingly.

The Individual

People fail to account for the individual. I've literally eaten McDonald's hundreds of times and not once gotten sick, including at one point where I ate there every day for about a week or two. It was fuckin awesome. But a few months ago, I got food poisoning from a Chipotle. Hippy mutha fuckas.  

I was also a lot fatter back when I was taking in McDonald's on the regular, but I never remember thinking "this is causing my woes." My weight was because of my overall life choices, not just one or two McDonald's trips. In fact I continued to eat there even when dieting. Actually, I ate a lot of fast food when I was first dieting, and I was seeing results. The scale was going down every day. 

The weight loss equation takes multiple parts, you can't just stare at one part and assume that that pesky X is what's causing your grief. More than likely you did something or neglected something else in order to not find the sum of the whole. 

Determining Food Choices

Guys, I don't eat clean, there is no need to. However, if you observe some of my behaviors on Instagram (@TheOperaBro Follow me!), you'll notice that I often reach for low fat, low carb, no fat, no carb options.

Pita Pizzas on deck, bitches.

You probably see that and think I'm doing so to be "healthier." You're way off. In fact, one could argue that because of all the things manipulated in some of these non fat, low carb, no sugar concoctions that they are more processed. I think I almost have to agree. But, frankly, I give no fucks. 

I reach for these items because they don't taste that much different than their full fat, full carb low protein alternatives and that leaves me with all sorts of potential to sneak in more food, including tasty treats like cookies, ice cream and cereal to top off my macros for the day.

Dat ice cream and chocolate chip cookie life doe!!!!

What do you really want?

Do you really want Mcdonald's, or do you want a thin slice of meat, cheese, and a lot of ketchup? Cuz I can replicate that perfectly for you with 1/2 the fat. Most of the time when I crave something, I just crave the texture of it, not the actual menu item. What about THAT menu item do you want? 

The other day my friends and I were talking about why we crave Taco Bell and realized that it wasn't the meat, tortillas, or even the quality of the was the baja sauce. That shit is fuckin tangy, sweet, ands gots herbs, spices, and some tasty tasty fats...I'm on the hunt to find it in the grocery store...

My version of the Quesarito from Taco Bell. I call it the "Kasey-rito."

But, really, at the end of the day, you have to ask why you're eating some of this stuff. Is it the quality or the convenience?

Eating for Convenience.

This is a big obstacle for those who have ridiculous schedules (ol' Yeargain currently.)

Most of the time I have an hour total to consume all of the food needed for several hours, and I have to spend every minute preparing and putting that together. But, so be it. I got more finite numbers to work with, I love the way it tastes and I'm satisfied and full at the end of the day.

I understand it's easy to swing through a drive-thru and grab something, and you can be your own best judge on whether something will fit into your plan for that day (depending on your individual goals). You shouldn't feel guilty about having to do this. If want to eat something, either eat or don't. Don't make it a moral dilemma. If you're displeased with the way you look, do something about it by understanding how many calories you're consuming through the whole of the day and work with your schedule around that.

Is "Junk Food" Addictive?

Huffington Post talking about what makes junk food so addictive:

"Consider this: In a Connecticut College study released just yesterday, neuroscience students found that eating oreos activated more neurons in the pleasure centers of rats' brains than did consuming cocaine or morphine."

I would also argue that there is a distinct difference, because one is food and rats are instinctively after things that will aid to their survival, where we (humans) seek pleasure in all things (including: eating, drinking, smoking, sex(ing), doing drugs, and riding expensive motorcycles.)

You're a rogue, Ralph. You're on a railroad track to hell!

I think anything that is tasty and hits the big three (sweet, salty, and fatty) can be addictive, but I don't believe that junk food is any more addictive, or that the chemicals "inserted in it" are causing people to be slaves to that food. McDonalds just provides cheap, fast service that's easy to replicate at a global scale using ingredients that are guaranteed to taste good. Fat, sugar and salt. They aren't an evil corporation trying to make you fat, how much you eat of their food is your choice, they just provide you lots of different choices. 

No, I think people like the food and are addicted to convenience and the life style of those eating behaviors. They know it will be quick, fairly cheap and taste good, where cooking your own food takes time, energy, a fridge full of resources, and you have a chance to feel inadequate when it doesn't turn out very good. At least if your burger sucks at McDonald's you can get your money back and yell at and feel superior to a person working hard to throw this slop together instantaneously. (Don't let me catch you being inhuman to service people or I will end you.)

Why You Should Avoid Fast food.

It's not because it's "unhealthy," it's because the variables are too great to keep good track of the macro nutrient content accurately. Now, it might not matter that much to you guys, and if it doesn't, then don't stress about this shit. If you're active, a healthy body weight and eating this food doesn't stress you the fuck out, then eat up, Mother Fucker!

"No worries, I'll just eat clean."

Oh really? I promise that your inactivity and over eating on your "clean foods" is gonna put you in the ground just as fast if not faster than an individual who is active, eats fast food, a healthy body weight and tracks his macro nutrients. If that guy lifts, he'll live to crush the skulls of your kin in the battle of the continents that will occur in 2137. He'll make your family name his bitch and urinate on your burial grounds. 

Why I Don't Really Eat Fast Food.

It's not to feel superior to people who do, or because of health. It's because of neurosis, inaccuracy, and the volume of most fast foods. I like foods that are lower calorie that I can get a lot of volume out of. Fast food usually has too much fat on it for me to be satisfied. Also, I don't want to have to spend 12$ in order to be satisfied with the quantity of my meal. I'm very broke right now, and I have a taste for diet beverages that I don't plan to kick anytime soon. But fast food is tasty as fuck, and not poison, so I recon I'll eat it again some day with absolutely no shame.

Until next time, shamelessly eat your fast food, but don't eat too much of it in one sitting, maybe get off your ass and lift some heavy ass weights. Basically what I'm sayin is...

Lift Big, Sing Big, and Look Great Doing It

The Opera Bro