Yet Another Reason To Ditch the Chicken McNugget!
McDonald’s has made the headlines again! As you can probably surmise, it isn’t exactly the kind of publicity they want. Following Morgan Spurlock’s Supersize Me, it seems that self-experimenters everywhere are sacrificing themselves in the name of “McDonald’s-driven Science.” Better you than me is all I have to say.
Take for instance, Tim and Tom Spector. I learned about them in an article written by Jason Best entitled A Tale of Two All-McDonald's Diets. Tim is a professor of genetic epidemiology at King’s College of London, and Tom is a genetics student at Aberystwyth University. He is also Tim’s son. In an effort to uncover the effects of McDonald’s cuisine on our microbiome (gut bacteria), Tim asked his son to eat only chicken nuggets, Big Macs, fries and Coke for 10 days straight. This he did.
As you can probably guess, the results added another notch in our belt for our “reasons not to eat fast food. To read the entire article, please click the link here.
Here are a few of my favorite highlights:
“Before I started my father’s fast-food diet, there were about 3,500 bacterial species in my gut, dominated by a type called firmicutes,” Tom told The Australian.
“Once on the diet, I rapidly lost 1,300 species of bacteria, and my gut was dominated by a different group called bacteroidetes.
In other words, a 10-day McDonald’s-only diet reduced the biodiversity of his microbiome. This is simply “fancy speak” for saying that it decreased the number of different kinds of bacteria in his gut. Researchers are discovering this to be detrimental to your health. According to Tim Spector:
“What is emerging is that changes in our gut microbe community, or microbiome, are likely to be responsible for much of our obesity epidemic, and consequences like diabetes, cancer and heart disease. It is clear that the more diverse your diet, the more diverse your microbes and the better your health at any age.”
My take on this:
I sincerely hope that you are making a robust effort to eliminate fast foods entirely from your diet. Though these one-man experiments aren’t necessarily the most reliable scientific evidence, they do demonstrate (at the very least) that fast foods do harm our health in important ways.
What I love about this particular experiment is that it “ups the game.” While former self-experimenters have focused primarily on weight gain and other metabolic indicators, this experiment cuts to the heart of the matter by focusing on your microbiome.
The microbiome (the bacteria in our gut) is up and coming area of research today. In fact, unfavorable bacterial populations are now scientifically linked to a plethora of conditions including (but not limited to) acne, asthma, allergies, autism, autoimmune disease, cancer, dental cavities, depression and anxiety, obesity, diabetes, eczema, ulcers, cardiovascular risk and inflammatory bowel disease. This is due to the fact that between 70-80% of our immune system resides in the gut. In other words, the declining health of our microbiome decreases immunity. This puts us at risk for a wide variety of modern diseases including mental health issues.
Therefore, this experiment serves as preliminary evidence that eating at McDonald’s may not only make you fatter, but may also increase your risk for all types of illnesses. Even if you’re not trying to lose weight, please kick fast foods to the curb! They are doing far more harm than good. Use our Paleovalley resources (31 Day Kickstart & Recipes Books) to begin cultivating the diverse and flourishing microbiome that our ancestors possessed! Returning to a whole foods, organic diet is the straightest road back to health…