90 Days of McDonald’s – A Misleading Experiment?


At the beginning of 2014 a science teacher of Iowa released his results after eating McDonald’s three times a day for 90 days. Surprisingly he lost weight!

Boy did the papers lap this up!

John Cisna went about proving that it’s not McDonald’s making us fat, but our choices.

John Cisna lost 37 pounds after 90 days of regular exercise and a < 2000 calorie per-day diet

John Cisna lost 37 pounds after 90 days of regular exercise and a 2000 calorie per-day diet

The articles covering Cisna’s experiment frequently compared his endeavours to Morgan Spurlock’s 2004 documentary “Super Size Me“. Spurlock ate McDonald’s three times a day for 30 days resulting in weight gain, and deteriorating health.

However, Cisna’s and Spurlock’s McDonald’s binge diets have totally different guidelines.


Morgan Spurlock gained 25 pounds after 30 days of eating a 5000 calorie diet and walking just two miles per day.

Spurlock only exercised as much as the average American does – two miles a day – and tried everything on the menu with no daily calorie limit. This often resulted in a 5000 daily calorie consumption.

Whereas Cisna stuck to 2000 calories per day which included daily exercise appropriate to the amount he ate.

I am writing about this because I am concerned about the confusion of many readers. Don’t write off Morgan Spurlock’s results – they shouldn’t be forgotten now that Cisna has lost weight on a similar diet.

When eating a high-fat, high-sugar, high-salt and high-carbohydrate diet, a significant amount of exercise and quantity restraint is needed. This is all Cisna proved.

Super-Size-MeHowever, for the average consumer, an intense exercise regime and a strict calorie-count is not a part of the deal. This was proved in Super Size Me.

Just because Cisna lost weight, doesn’t necessarily make his diet healthy!

Iodine deficiency, high cholesterol, liver and kidney problems were just some of the results of Spurlock’s experiment. I am curious to see if Cisna had any nutritional deficiencies or health problems too.

obese-mcdonalds-hhzdefquMcDonald’s must be happy to hear about this story – I bet it’s smoothed over the cracks in their reputation made by Super Size Me. Especially since they gave all of John Cisna’s meals to him without charge.

Don’t compare apples with oranges. These were two totally different experiments with completely different results. Just because they ate similar food doesn’t mean the experiments can be compared.

I hope John Cisna’s results don’t give people permission to eat crap all the time, and I hope Spurlock’s results are remembered.

In any case, keep a balance!


About NZ Film Freak

I am a journalism graduate (2014) from New Zealand. Currently working in marketing, and writing fiction in my spare time. I love to write about movies on this blog when I can. I also do paid reviews and voiceovers via Fiverr (nzfilmfreak).
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1 Response to 90 Days of McDonald’s – A Misleading Experiment?

  1. commonsensemom says:

    He would of lost weight on any 2000 calorie diet. Once you realize how much fats and sodium are in MacDonalds unhealthy meals you will learn to skip place all together. It’s what he ate. We did not see the ‘diet’.Did he survive off of apples from happy meals and a small burger/day. I see that the Ceasar salad has 1050mg of sodium. Moral of the story. Skip MacDonald’s all together and get your 2000 from vegy/fruit/lean protien isle. Needed to compare similar overweight man of his age with eating ‘non MacDonald’s. Its the same as Pepsi saying….Have it once in awhile. Well, we don’t have it at all as it would take you to walk 23km to burn off all the bad sugars from a large Pepsi.

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