Super Size Me is a documentary film about an American independent filmmaker who follows a 30-day period from February 1 to March 2, 2003 during which he claims to eat only McDonald’s food.
The film documents this lifestyle’s drastic effect on Spurlock’s physical and psychological well-being, and explores the fast food industry’s corporate influence, including how it encourages poor nutrition for its own profit.
Spurlock dined at McDonald’s restaurants three times per day, eating every item on the chain’s menu. Spurlock consumed an average of 20.92 megajoules or 5,000 kcal (the equivalent of 9.26 Big Macs) per day during the experiment.
As a result, Spurlock gained 24½ lbs. (11.1 kg), a 13% body mass increase, a cholesterol level of 230, and experienced mood swings, sexual dysfunction, and fat accumulation in his liver. It took Spurlock fourteen months to lose the weight gained from his experiment using a vegan diet supervised by his future wife, a chef who specializes in gourmet vegan dishes.
The reason for Spurlock’s investigation was the increasing spread of obesity throughout U.S. society, which the Surgeon General has declared “epidemic,” and the corresponding lawsuit brought against McDonald’s on behalf of two overweight girls, who, it was alleged, became obese as a result of eating McDonald’s food.
In Super Size Me, Spurlock points out that although the lawsuit against McDonald’s failed, much of the same criticism leveled against the tobacco companies applies to fast food franchises whose product is both physiologically addictive and physically harmful.