Wednesday, February 23, 2011

Mr. Blue Sky

209.2lbs. Ha! I have your ass now 210lbs. 210lbs you are officially my bitch. Oh yeah, I'll probably see your ugly ass come post binge day weigh in but you and I are through, got me? Now it is time to aim for your pissy little friend who also just happens to be a multiple of the number 5, 205lbs. The end of next week, I will be burying that sumbitch as well.

I am feeling 90% better today. I attribute my quick recovery to three things: zinc, cod liver oil and enough Sudafed to have my body designated by law enforcement as a meth lab. The cod liver oil really helped the persistent (I suspect arthritic) ache I have in my elbow. It can be debilitating at times and I do notice after a cod liver oil pill I am as right as rain. The Sudafed has dried out my sinuses and the zinc has helped boost my immune system. I was so irritable yesterday, I can not even describe how quick to anger I was. Knowing this even annoyed me more. If 210lbs did not fall off my radar, something very bad might have happened.

I have acquired about 6-7 books about health and diet, 5 recently. I also watched a little of "Super Size Me" again last night. These two facts have something in common. After watching snippets of Spurlock's magnum opus, I came to a conclusion: most of it is bullshit. Oh ignorance why have you forsaken me! I was so blissful when I could not point out fallacies on health and diet.

I never really noticed how contrived it all was before. There was a doctor who actually suggested that Spurlock might be getting jaundiced because of all the meat and cheese? Really? Pull that idiot's medical license immediately. Has he ever seen the true amount of meat and cheese on a McDonald's burger -any of their burgers? Did he even consider that a major part of the calories Spurlock was consuming came from the abundance of fries and sugary soft drinks he had over the period? You would think you would stop before dispensing oddly inappropriate medical advice. Your liver (hence the jaundice) and the gall bladder handle the fat that your body ingests, what isn't used gets ejected from the system. Now I can see there being a major increase of vegetable fats over the time period. I also do believe that Spurlock was feeling awful but not enough to call a plethora of doctors about the subject who were ready to tell him one thing: get off the diet before it kills you! Oh the drama! He does mention one fact during the movie - a third of his meals were vegan before. More on that later.

The whole point of the movie was that he would gladly say yes whenever the super size option was offered and eat at least one of every item on the menu. Let's look at that for a moment by breaking down a Big Mac meal (which was not always his choice but is a clear median - calorie wise):

Big Mac: 540 calories, 29g fat, 25g protein, 45g carbs - 3g fiber, 1040mg sodium
Large Fries: 500 calories, 25g fat, 6g protein, 63g carbs - 6g fiber, 350mg sodium
Large Soda: 310 calories, 86g carbs (all sugar)

So it would appear that a majority of calories were from (gasp) carbs. A predominance of the calories also comes from the fries and sodas. A lot of the salads that fast food restaurants offer are actually higher in calories and fat content (even more with certain dressings) than the Big Mac! A point of fact is that most of the options at Chipotle are higher but they do a clever thing by breaking out every single option nutritionally inside their stores (who the hell is going to stand there and add all the calories together?) while McDonald's puts them all in one place for each item. Note: I am not a huge McDonald's fan these days. I often feel ill after eating there myself. Again. Not. A. Fan. But I do like Chipotle, I will just have to use this calculator the next time I go. My usual choice busts out at 1008 calories, half my daily intake, calorie wise, normally. Hey if I cut out the rice and tortilla I can get it down to Big Mac size but that would be like cutting out the bun wouldn't it? Cutting the meat out does little and that tells me a lot.

So why did I think the vegan part of Spurlock's diet was important to mention earlier? Well I think some of his physical reactions had a lot to do with it. He also ate very responsibly before. His dinner meal was always vegan to please his wife who is a vegan. I would imagine, like most vegan diets, it was decidedly low fat. Here lies the problem and why I think there has been an uptick in gallbladder surgeries in the last ten years. Your liver and gallbladder work in tandem breaking up fats in your body. Certain oils and fats bypass this system which is not good. But kicking this system into overdrive is not good either.

This is purely anecdotal but I know of at least three people who have had gallbladder issues after dropping off of low fat diets. I think that the body reacts to a sudden "increase" in fats. Usually your body adapts but in some cases you can experience a gallbladder attack or it can create gallbladder stones. Spurlock's doctors even say that his body should adapt but failed to take into account his prior diet fully. Now a gallbladder and liver going whacky in tandem will eventually even itself out, if enough time is allowed. Unless you are incredibly unhealthy there is very little evidence that you will have significant problems unless you try going from very little fat to a large amount of fat in an extremely short period of time.

One thing that got one of the people I mentioned was a large slice of cheese pizza after having little to no fat in their diet before hand - even good fat. Full on gallbladder attack. The doctor even told her that this was what he suspected as well, your body needs fat to function properly and in more abundance than one would think. There is hardly any fat in a vegan diet except for vegetable fats (primarily from soybeans and tropical oils) and some of those can be even worse for your body than any animal fat ever could be, not to mention the essential trace minerals which are non existent. In a big way, it is the quality of the fat you consume as well. Animal fats are quite natural for your body while palm oil is really not (you will find it everywhere in processed foods).

Now many people have done permutations of Spurlock's experiment to varying effects. I would be interested to see this done in a more scientific fashion. Take a person that is a healthy weight with a normal diet and, since there is no longer a super size option being pushed in McDonald's stores, have them repeat the experiment but only by eating a sandwich for each meal, take before and after numbers and see where that leads us. It would be interesting to see - without all the drama.

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