I’m sure there are a handful of you who would cringe (like me!) at the thought of eating McDonalds for a meal yet alone EVERY meal for 3 months. However, I also know there are those who are intrigued by the thought of a McDonalds diet, possibly even considering giving it a try for yourself? Before you invest your hard earned money in that Big Mac, stop for a moment and consider the facts.
John Cisna, a teacher in the Midwest, recently challenged his students to come up with a 3 month menu based only on the items available at McDonalds. Cisna worked with his local McDonalds to fund the study. Each day the total calorie content could not exceed 2000 calories and it had to meet the recommend dietary allowance for 15 important nutrients. After the 3 month period, Cisna lost over 35 lbs and decreased his total cholesterol by nearly 70 points. Want to see the whole video? Click here: http://kfor.com/2014/01/06/science-teacher-loses-almost-40-pounds-on-mcdonalds-diet/
Now, the 411 on the facts behind the diet’s success.
- Of course he lost weight! We have no idea on the exact # of calories he was eating prior to the debut of the McDonalds diet. Thus, cutting his calories by any amount would result in weight loss.
- Ever heard that physical activity improves your cholesterol levels? Well, Cisna also began a walking regimen during this 3 month period. Fitness plus changing his diet to incorporate foods known to lower cholesterol (like oatmeal) was bound to result in a dramatic decrease in his lipid levels.
- Balancing meals through incorporating foods from all 5 food groups was also a key factor. For instance, if Cisna had a Big Mac for lunch, a lighter option was opted for at dinner. Or, if he preferred French Fries for a meal, he would pair it with a salad instead of a burger.
- Close monitoring of recommended nutritional intakes for nutrients like sodium, sugar and fat also heavily contributed to the weight loss and lipid improvements. When the diet started analysis indicated Cisna’s sugar and fat intake was exceptionally high, causing the meal plan to be modified from Sausage & Egg Biscuits and OJ to Egg White McMuffins and skim milk.
As you can see, it is without question that the changes Cisna made through the incorporation of McDonalds foods and the change in his exercise routine resulted in the success he has seen. However, how likely is it that the average person would be able to achieve this without diligent planning and a large balance set aside for dining out? Plus, who wants to eat a sandwich that has over 90 ingredients in one meal!
Rather than rattle your brain trying to figure out which fast-food joints you can persuade to take up a similar study, why not take the Simple-Swaps from Cisna’s success and try them from the comfort of your own home. I challenge you to the following:
- Swap your donut or bagel for a whole grain English muffin with a fried egg and whole orange.
- Swap your bag of potato chips with your PB & J sandwich for baby carrots and hummus.
- Swap the second slice of pizza for a mixed green salad. ( I said second, go ahead and have one!)
- Swap the $ spent on dining out on a little something new for you!
*Got another swap you want to suggest? Feel free to leave a comment here or email me with your swaps!