Meet John Cisna. He’s a 55-year-old science teacher from Iowa who came up with this crazy experiment to prove the power of healthy food choices: For three months, he ate only items from the McDonald’s menu. He asked three students to help him with his project—every day, they’d put together a strict 2,000-calorie meal plan which he combined with 45 minutes of walking. The experiment was so successful, he extended it for three more months—a total of 180 days.
The surprising part? He ate every item on the menu throughout the experiment period! "I had everything. I had Quarter Pounders with Cheese, I had ice cream cones, I had sundaes…and what’s really amazing that people find unbelievable is probably 95% of every day, I had french fries," John shared in his documentary video.
French fries! Almost. Every. Day.
"The key to this experiment was carefully planning my choices so I met the calorie parameters each day that we had set," he explained. "What it really comes down to is it’s not where you eat, but what you eat—and how much you eat, that really makes the difference."
Watch the documentary below!
At 280 pounds on Day 1, John was so out of shape that it took him four to five days into the experiment to actually walk the full 45 minutes. With his doctor and the school nurse on board, he monitored his progress. For the first three months, he lost a total of 37 pounds. His cholesterol went from 249 to 170. His triglycerides (these increase the risk of heart disease) went from 156 to 80, and his LDLs (Low-density lipoprotein aka “bad cholesterol”) went from 170 to 113. After three more months of this experiment combined with increasing the intensity of his exercise, John ended up losing 60 pounds overall.
You’d think this was a promotional campaign of McDonald’s, since the video did come from the McDonald’s YouTube channel. But we’re under the impression that the fast food giant picked up this story after it was completed, since the video disclaimer states that “John and his students designed this experiment and conducted it on their own.” P.S. McDonald’s has since made him an official brand ambassador to spread the importance of food choices.
Moral of the story: You want that 500-calorie cheesecake for dessert tonight? Do it, girl! But make sure you plan the rest of your day around it so you can eat it and not feel horrible right after.
Follow Jillian on Instagram.