John Cisna’s All-McDonald’s Diet Illustrates Importance of Choice

January 13, 2014

Eating at fast food restaurants causes weight gain, right? Didn’t Morgan Spurlock show this in his 2004 documentary Super Size Me, in which he ate only at McDonald’s for thirty days and gained twenty-five pounds as a result? Not so fast. As reported by KCCI News, high school science teacher John Cisna ate only at McDonald’s for ninety days yet managed to lose thirty-seven pounds. How is that possible? One might think he ate only salads, but no, he ate many different items from the menu—even Big Macs and ice cream sundaes. He was able to lose weight because he limited his total food intake to a reasonable 2,000 calories per day, and he walked for forty-five minutes per day for exercise. Not only did his weight go down, but his blood cholesterol level dropped from 249 to 170 as well. Some writers claim that Cisna’s all-McDonald’s diet is unhealthy. Although Cisna and his students made an effort to make his diet nutritionally sound, that wasn’t his primary purpose. As Cisna explains, the point of the experiment was not to recommend eating only McDonald’s; “The point . . . is: Hey, it’s a choice. We all have choices. It’s our choices that make us fat. Not McDonald’s.” Cisna has provided a dramatic demonstration of the fact that we guide our own fates by the choices we make. This is a truth that more Americans desperately need to grasp. Related: Independent Thinking, Morality, and Liberty Hats Off to McDonald’s and Coca-Cola for Protesting Soda Ban

An Ingenious Invention to Treat Chronic Heartburn

April 22, 2013

As reported by the AP, doctors have used a novel device to successfully treat chronic heartburn. Whereas heartburn, or acid reflux, is familiar to many as an occasional, fleeting pain, in some individuals it occurs chronically and can cause real harm. Such chronic heartburn is called gastroesophageal reflux disease (GERD) and its more serious effects include difficulty sleeping, ulcers, difficulty swallowing, and increased risk of esophageal cancer. GERD is caused by a failure of the pyloric sphincter, a doughnut-shaped muscle found at the entrance to the stomach. Normally, this muscle holds the entrance closed, keeping stomach acids where they belong, in the stomach. As one swallows, it relaxes momentarily, allowing food into the stomach, then closes the entrance again. When it fails to close the entrance completely, stomach acids may rise into the esophagus, causing heartburn or GERD. The device, called LINX, is made by Torax Medical Inc. and is ingenius in its simplicity. It consists of a set of magnets arranged on a flexible ring, much like a child’s bracelet made of beads on an elastic string. It is surgically implanted around a defective pyloric sphincter. As food passes, the magnets are forced apart, the ring expands, and the food enters the stomach. Then the magnets pull the ring smaller, closing the entrance to the stomach and preventing acid reflux, just as the muscles of a functioning pyloric sphincter would do normally. This is yet another example of how reason, science, and human ingenuity can transform raw materials—in this case metal dug from the earth—into a life-improving or even life-saving invention. Here’s to people of reason. Like this post? Join our mailing list to receive our weekly digest. And for in-depth commentary from an Objectivist perspective, subscribe to our quarterly journal, The Objective Standard. Related: Herman Boerhaave: The Nearly Forgotten Father of Modern Medicine Swiss Scientists Create Wireless Implant to Monitor Blood Sugar, Heart Problems, and More in Real Time