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Super Size Me Follow Up Study Shows Alarming Results

Posted Dec 23 2008 9:44pm
Here is a tip from Liz Lipski, a holistic nutritionist based in North Carolina. She summarized this Swedish study so well, I'm just going to paste it in entirety below.

The key point is that the healthy, slender subjects ate a month of Big Macs with the following results. They: (1) gained a lot of weight; (2) had dangerous increases in a liver enzyme, ALT; and (3) actually had higher HDL "good" cholesterol (!). Two subjects developed fatty liver which can lead to Type II diabetes. Liz Lipski (and I) suspect the culprit was the carbs rather than the fat in the foods. See this Med Nauseum article on a study showing carbs cause fatty liver, not fats.

And, hey, if you eat like this, you don't need to spend money on a costume to look like a Big Mac (see photo), you become one!

Here is what Liz says:

"Supersize Me" Follow-up Study has some Unexpected Results

The docu-movie "Supersize Me" has spawned a follow-up study in Sweden that has some surprising results. Dr. Frederik Nystrom selected 12 men and 6 women, all slender and in good health, to eat 2 meals per day at McDonalds, Burger King, or other fast food restaurants over four weeks. The volunteers were also asked to stop exercising during that same time, with a goal of increasing body weight by 10-15 % to measure the effects of a sudden surge in calories.

Here's what they found. On average the volunteers gained 14.3 pounds, while one ballooned by 26.4 pounds.

Based on blood tests done at the beginning, middle, and end of the experiment, levels of alanine aminotransferase (ALT), a liver enzyme, increased dramatically after only one week, and quadrupled over the four-week study. ALT levels rose to dangerously high levels in 11 out of the 18 subjects. One person had to be withdrawn because his levels increased to 10 times the normal level. This study proved that high ALT levels can be caused by food alone without any alcohol consumption. And the researchers reported that the rise in ALT was due to carbohydrates, specifically the sugar in the soda, and not to the fat in the hamburgers.

Two volunteers developed fatty liver, also known as liver steatosis, in which fat cells build up to dangerous levels and increase the risk of developing Type 2 diabetes. Last year I reported a University of San Diego study that estimated 10% of "healthy" children have fatty livers. (You can download the 2007 Health Tips book at It's free.) Could it be all of the high fructose corn syrup and sugar? And we know that diabetes is on the rise in children as well as adults.

On the bright side, they found that the "healthy" HDL cholesterol levels actually increased over the four-week period while consuming a high fat diet. This contradicts most of the research in the US.

So, if you are still eating a lot of fast foods, hopefully this will motivate some change. If you've already made the change, but have loved ones who haven't, send this tip along to them! It's viral in a good way!

Resource: Kechagias S, Ernersson A, Dahlqvist O, Lundberg P, Lindström T, Nystrom FH. Fast food based hyper-alimentation can induce rapid and profound elevation of serum alanine aminotransferase in healthy subjects. Gut. 2008 Feb 14

Tip Provided By:

Dr. Liz Lipski has a PhD and is board certified in clinical nutrition. A 30-year practitioner, author, and the Director of Doctoral Studies at Hawthorn University. She is founder of Innovative Healing Inc., author of Digestive Wellness, Digestive Wellness for Children, and many other publications.

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