By Kevin Kolodziejski
It’s odd, I know. To receive a compliment after a tough training ride where you and your buddy pull the group about 65 percent of the time and have it injure your cycling ego.
But that’s what happened to me after such a ride a number of years ago. The compliment had nothing to do with the fact that — despite riding at the front for all those miles — I was the first one up all the long climbs.
During a lull in the ride, a rider I didn’t really know overheard me telling my buddy that I had just written my 999th article for my weekly health-and-fitness column, had a good idea for the 1000th, and had never missed a deadline in all that time. That, the rider told me, was absolutely amazing.
That every time he tried to write anything at work, he got writer’s block. Big time writer’s block. So I told him my antidote for that: Read lots — and be on the search for crackpots.
Thank God for Crackpots
If I’m ever unsure about what to write next, I read and read and a crackpot comes to my rescue. He makes the sort of news that, after a snort and a shake of my head, jump-starts a column.
You may have already heard about the most recent guy to help me out. Newsweek, Men’s Health, and the New York Post have written about him. NBC and Fox News have broadcast segments on him.
His first video got 2.2 million views on Tik Tok— and then got banned from the site for promoting “dangerous weight loss.” The ban has since been rescinded, so 57-year-old Kevin Maginnis is once again providing updates on his 100-day, McDonald’s-only diet. That’s right, nothing goes into his belly until he goes under the Golden Arches.
Not Even a Breath Mint
“Not even a breath mint,” Maginnis told NBC affiliate WEMV. He spoke to them at the diet’s 17-day mark when he had already lost 18 of the 50 pounds he hopes to shed. At the 56-day mark, he posted his total weight loss at 40 pounds.
In an article that appeared online on April 12, Maginnis told Newsweek why he decided to go on a diet. His waist measurement had reached 40 inches, and he remembered reading “that was too big [and] dangerous.” He also explained his reasoning for making it a McDonald’s only diet.
The Reasoning Behind the McDonald’s-Only Diet
“Big Mac has always been a nickname for me, and I figured why not just roll with it.” He also figured the only way he would ever lose the amount of weight he wanted to lose eating solely McDonald’s food was to not eat very much of it.
So he buys a breakfast, eats half then and the other half for lunch. He buys “something like a Big Mac meal,” for supper and saves half of it for his next one.
The Expected, Albeit Temporary, Weight Loss
While the diet has so far produced the desired weight loss, the type of food consumed plays no role. Have any overweight, 238-pound guy eat half of whatever garbage or good stuff (in excess) he had been eating to get that way, and weight loss is the inevitable immediate outcome. Such a dramatic reduction in calories will also reduce elevated cholesterol and triglyceride levels — and quickly. Bloodwork on Maginnis showed evidence of that in only 14 days.
Now you might think my argument for why all this good news won’t last would focus on the inherent harm in a McDonald’s-only diet. Instead, I’ll focus on a clarification made by Maginnis in the Newsweek article: “I’m not saying I’ll do this for the rest of my life. I’m doing it as an experiment for 100 days to identify if my health improves.”
For 100 days, it will. Of that, I’m certain. But I’m also pretty close to 100 percent sure of something else. That one year from now the weight will be back, just like the Terminator in all six of the same-named movies — and with the same sort of vengeance. That Maginnis’s bloodwork and overall health will have gone backwards, too. But there is a way for Maginnis to escape this fate.
A Way to Change Fate
If Maginnis reads a recent study on the global increase of type two diabetes (T2D), takes it to heart, and does what the title of this article suggests.
Conducted by researchers at the Friedman School of Nutrition and Policy at Tufts University in Boston and published in the journal Nature Medicine on April 17, the T2D study found a “shift away” from eating traditional whole grains, like oatmeal, “toward more processed, refined staples” — what’s found in McDonald’s griddle cakes, french fries, and hamburger buns — led to diets of “poor carbohydrate quality.” (Prior studies have also linked poor-quality carbs to the global increase in obesity.) That shift is a “leading driver” in the 386-million-case increase of adult T2D from 1990 to 2018. Another factor that has made an “outsized contribution” to the increase is eating too much processed meat — what’s found in Chicken McNuggets, Sausage McMuffins, and every single burger available at Mickey D’s.
Not quite as causative but still a significant influence, is what gets replaced in diets dominated by poor-quality carbs and processed meats: the aforementioned whole grains, fruits, non starchy vegetables, nuts, seeds, and yogurt. These “protective dietary factors” reduce the rate of T2D — a rate that is now so great it leads the researchers to issue this warning. “Left unchecked and with prevalence only projected to rise, T2D will decimate population health, economic productivity, and health system capacity worldwide.”
Now if Kevin Maginnis does indeed read and heed that warning, he’ll junk the McDonald’s only diet, avoid becoming a part of the worldwide T2D increase — and keep the weight he’s already lost weight off as well. And if he’d post a video announcing this change on Tik Tok, he’d help others, too. Then maybe, just maybe, the world will see fewer than the 14.1 million new cases of T2D that it did in 2018.
Kevin Kolodziejski began his writing career in earnest in 1989. Since then he’s written a weekly health and fitness column and his articles have appeared in magazines such as “MuscleMag,” “Ironman,” “Vegetarian Times,” and “Bicycle Guide.” He has Bachelor and Masters degrees in English from DeSales and Kutztown Universities.
A competitive cyclist for more than 30 years, Kevin won two Pennsylvania State Time Trial championships in his 30’s, the aptly named Pain Mountain Time Trial 4 out of 5 times in his 40s, two more state TT’s in his 50’s, and the season-long Pennsylvania 40+ BAR championship at 43.