3 Months of McDonald’s: A Weight Loss Story


Are you trying to lose weight in the new year? Maybe your best bet is the McDiet. There are now two consumers claiming that they lost weight the McDonald’s (NYSE:MCD) way, and only one of them is the restaurant’s CEO.

When McDonald’s Chief Executive Don Thompson announced in May that he lost 20 pounds in one year without changing his habit of eating McDonald’s “every single day,” it’s safe to say that consumers were skeptical. For one, Thompson is obviously biased, but even beyond that, it’s hard to believe the CEO’s weight loss story is a true one, considering his company is not exactly known for its healthy fare. Big Macs and greasy french fries? Yes. Diet food? No.

That’s why it came as a surprise this weekend when another man credited the McDonald’s diet for his impressive weight loss story. Time reported on science teacher John Cisna on Sunday, saying that he ate nothing but McDonald’s for three months and still lost 37 pounds while watching his cholesterol level drop significantly.

Time reports that Cisna’s students helped him map a plan to implement a 2,000 calorie daily diet regime that consisted only of food sold by McDonald’s. The students paid close attention to daily allowances of nutrients like carbohydrates, proteins, fat calories, and cholesterol — and they made sure their teacher didn’t go over his recommended totals for the day. Talk about a science experiment.

The end result? Cisna is reportedly 37 pounds lighter and had his cholesterol drop from 249 to 170. We don’t know how much Cisna weighed at the beginning of the experiment, but as of day 90, the teacher reports he was down exactly 37 pounds. Per Time, he said: ”It’s our choices that make us fat. Not McDonald’s.”

So what was a typical day like for Cisna on his three-month McDiet? Time says that according to local TV station KCCI, the teacher routinely woke up to a breakfast of two egg white delights, a bowl of maple oatmeal, and 1 percent milk. Lunch usually involved some sort of salad. The Big Macs and other burgers were saved for dinner time, when Cisna would consume more typical McDonald’s fare.

More evidence needs to be drawn to formulate any kind of viable research study on the McDiet, but Cisna’s argument that a McDonald’s-laden lifestyle doesn’t necessarily have to be an unhealthy one is a case that has been heard before. Many parents and consumer advocacy groups have blasted McDonald’s for its fatty fare and contribution to childhood obesity, but Thompson has long maintained that consumers make their own choices. He said in a Bloomberg Television interview this summer, “Health will be determined by the person who decides to buy it,” and as of now, Cisna is Thompson’s active proof.