Thursday, January 26, 2012

Girl Eats McNuggets! British Plebs Outraged!

The Greek sent me this story from the UK Daily Mail about a girl who had to be transported to hospital after collapsing at a McDonalds. It turns out the girl (apparently) hasn't eaten anything except Chicken McNuggets and chips since age 2. She's now 17.

First off, this story has a decent chance of being a hoax, but let's get past that. The British tabloids understand keenly that nothing sells quite as well as feeding people's sense of righteous indignation, and this story has that in spades. So unhealthy! Where are the parents? We need to do something about this! etc. etc. etc.

But let's take the story as true for the time being, because everyone prefers their morality tales to be true.

There's two things that are remarkable about this story, and neither of them is the fact that there are parents in first world countries who will let their children eat nothing but Chicken McNuggets every day for 15 years.

Make sure you click on the story first to see if you can guess what I'm going to choose.

The first remarkable thing is this - why on earth would you agree to be interviewed and photographed for this story? Isn't it obvious that they're going to make you out to be some sort of repulsive monster, and an indication of everything that's wrong with society? I mean, even if you aren't actually sure of what you did that's so bad, here's a red hot tip. When you're Johnny Nobody and the tabloids want to interview you about anything other than saving a small child or scaring off a burglar, you should refuse. Really. You can thank me later.

There's either two possibilities here, none of them flattering. The first is that the girl was so desperate for her 15 minutes of fame that she didn't care that the paper would make her look like a weirdo. The second is that she was gullible enough to believe their silver-tongued promises that they'd write a really nice article about her, and honestly McDonalds was really to blame, and she'd be the innocent victim, etc. Uh huh.  Oh look, they've written about how I'm a hoarder of the thousands of toys I've collected, which for some reason I'm reluctant to throw away. Here's a photo of me looking creepy in front of an enormous collection of McDonalds junk kids toys.

Either way, it's not a good sign. Add this to the fact that you thought eating nothing but Chicken McNuggets for 15 years was a good idea and that's two pretty big strikes against your character.

The second remarkable thing is that given her diet over the past 15 years, how thin the girl is.  It's possible that she's an exercise freak on the side, but I'm going to go ahead and bet against that possibility, based if nothing else on her hilarious disregard for her health.I think everyone expected her to be some whale, but she's not. And when you look at the nutrition breakdown that the Daily Mail provides, you start to see why - three meals of six chicken McNuggets and small fries only clocks in at 1530 calories per day, relative to the recommended intake of 2000. They try to make a big scare out of it - 'Twice the recommended fat! Twice the recommended salt! A third of the recommended vitamin C!' - but it doesn't seem to work. Hilariously, it seems like a base of mostly chicken McNuggets and fries isn't actually that bad - her problem was not getting enough other things like calcium, iron and vitamins other than C.

Interestingly enough, this fits in with the point made by Robert Lustig that I talked about a few days ago. He goes through the McDonalds menu to find the 7 items that don't contain any fructose. Guess what three of them are? Chicken McNuggets, Fries, and Diet Coke. If you eat nothing but that, you end up sick. But apparently you don't end up especially fat.

If that isn't an advertisement for a low-sugar diet, I don't know what is.

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