For those who don't know, this is a documentary that was made in reaction to the much more well known documentary by Morgan Spurlock called Super Size Me.
To make a long story short, Tom does two main things in his documentary. First, he criticizes much of Morgan's information about the general public's nutritional knowledge, the availability of nurtritional information, and the control & power that fast food (McDs) has over children and their parents. Secondly, Tom also eats nothing but fast food (70% McDs) for 30 days and amazingly manages to lose weight, decrease body fat content, improve his cholesterol, and decrease his chance for heart conditions. He doesn't stick to salads, water, and all the "healthier" items like you'd think though; he has all the fatty, greasy food most normal people would have. His rules are simple - stick to roughly 2000 calories a day and limit carbs to roughly 100g/day.
At his final check in, the doctor is utterly amazed at what happened - he got healthier.
But that's not what peaked my interest. I got hooked on Tom's analysis of our diet over the generations and how that correlated with cholesterol. Tom goes into a lot of detail about something called the Lipid Hypothesis which states that total fat and saturated fat will make you fat, increase your cholesterol, and lead to heart attacks and other conditions. During this whole fast food binge, Tom eats much more fat and saturated fat than is recommended and manages to improve his cholesterol. How is that? Tom explains that we crave three tastes, salt, fat, and sugar; three things that used to be harder to come by (think back to stone age times) and also had lots of our necessary nutrition in it. Therefore, our cravings were what helped us survive (and is still why we have cravings today - our bodies telling us it needs a certain nutrient). Today, however, we are told to stay away from fats, limit our sugars, and because of how our diets work, that increases the intake of carbohydrates (bread, pasta, starch), which are mainly processed foods.
What it all comes down to is that the Lipid Hypothesis is mostly junk. Carbs are broken down into sugars, processed into fat and absorbed into our bodies better than sugar and fat on their own. Do a search for what' called a Ketogenic Diet. It's a diet that increases your fat intake and decreases your carbohydrate intake. This diet has been shown to improve your cholesterol over and over again.
After the 30-day fast food binge which improved Tom's overall health, he was also intrigued by the fact that going against nutritional recommendations (increased fats, decreased carbs; a ketogenic type diet) improved his cholesterol. He took another month and accentuated that diet at home - eating much more fatty meat and cholesterol packed foods with little carbs. The result was another improvement in his cholesterol; going completely against both the doctors and nutritionists predictions.
Overall, I still feel there are some faults in Tom's documentary, but I feel he is much more candid about his information and thorough with his analysis.
I find the evolution of our diet and the impact it has had on our bodies incredibly interesting. We have decades of nutritionists and doctors telling us that certain combinations of processed foods, supplements, and such are the best way to eat. We have vegetarians and vegans arguing (apart from moral and ethical stances) that meat is actually harmful to our bodies. And I don't even want to know how many "amazing," "incredible," and "successful" diets there are on the market today. I personally favor the evolutionary "look at what our ancestors ate" viewpoint. There is a book I may talk about in the future - it discussed how the best diet for each individual person is that of their ancestors. For example, my heritage is Scandanavian (Swedish, Norwegian, Dutch), so I should focus on getting protein from seafood instead of beef, carbs from bread instead of pasta, and such. The modern world is full of amazing and helpful things, but I think the more we become "experts" at individual tasks (e.g. nutrition, science, food processing and production), the worse off the non-expert general public becomes.
Morals of the blog
1. Don't believe everything you hear; think on it for yourself.
2. Watch Fat Head (it's free online)
3. You can actually lose weight on fast food if you stick to certain guidelines
4. The ketogenic diet (high fat, low carb) seems to improve cholesterol
5. Nutritionists and Doctors (really, all experts) are not always right
Enjoy your Friday!