Super Size Me, Part II


Following up this post, The Australian newspaper today published an article called How Ronald McDonald microsized me. It’s whole purpose is to refute the claims made by the movie Supersize Me and suggest that Maccas isn’t that bad. To me this whole article smacks of a Maccas PR person calling up the media and suggesting they do this diet to see what happens.

The arguments are completely ridiculous, but I can see people reading this and saying “Oh, Maccas ain’t that bad. I’ll just trundle off and have a Big Mac but I’ll not have the fries. Then I’ll be alright.” The journalist even says at the outset of his article, “The new road to slimness and well-being runs directly through the golden arches.”

For starters, this guy only ate this stuff for a week. He also exercised regularly. He also did not eat everything from the entire Maccas menu, which was one of the stipulations of the movie, the purpose of which was to provide a micro view of what the average person eats from Maccas on a regular basis.

The article just misses the whole point of the movie. Of course people can eat from fast food restaurants and not suffer health consequences – if they don’t do it regularly, watch what they eat otherwise, and they make exercise part of their daily life. Morgan Spurlock’s experiment was obviously an exercise in extremes, but he made the point if you stretch it out over a lifetime, and do the amount of exercise the average American does (not enough), then you’re not helping yourself, or your kids’ health by continuing to eat fast food on a regular basis. I think this was Spurlock’s point rather than urging us to destroy MacDonald’s, as claimed in The Australian‘s editorial.

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As much as I thought this page 3 article was terrible, the editorial was hilarious. It accuses Spurlock’s film of being anti-American and elitist! Phenomenal! It also argues that McDonald’s can only do its duty to its shareholders by selling more food and it can only do that by pleasing its customers. Obviously this is true, but there’s a big difference between just pleasing your customers and social responsibility. The tobacco companies are finding this out in a big way.

I’m surprised that a supposed broadsheet newspaper like The Australian has decided to defend McDonald’s, on the same day that they run a story on how Australia has the fastest increasing rate of childhood obesity in the world. Faster even than the US.

I acknowledge that McDonald’s in Australia has more healthy options than the US version, and I’m not saying that McDonald’s, or any fast food company, should bear ultimate responsibility for people being fat. That’s just ridiculous. I just find it amazing that this newspaper will go in to bat for those companies when everyone knows that eating too much of that stuff ain’t gonna be good for your health.

Again, I reckon it’s just part of a company-wide push from Maccas to get some good press out there to limit that damage this movie might cause.