Since conversations about fast food and health seem to come up on my dash a lot, here’s a really interesting documentary called Fat Head from comedian/computer programmer/nutrition writer Tom Naughton. It’s on Netflix, as well as free to watch on hulu.

Basically, it was made as a response to the documentary Supersize Me, to call out Morgan Spurlock on the borderline classism and racism in his film, as well as a lot of the flat-out misinformation and flawed science he was spreading (including his infamously secretive food journal). Naughton’s own version of the challenge was to eat nothing but fast food for a month while maintaining a calorie count of approximately 2000/day, keeping his carbohydrate intake under 100g, and going for a walk every night, losing a dozen pounds and lowering his cholesterol in the process.

The film itself can get a little political conspiracy-y at times if that kind of stuff turns you off and I’ll admit he kind of rips into vegetarians (I’ll warn people before their blood gets angried up), but he does so as a former vegetarian himself explaining why a lot of bad information about vegetarian diets out there ends up adversely effecting people’s health. His qualm is more with vegetarians who pass off flawed information with the intent to scare people into adopting their lifestyle than vegetarians as a whole, from what I understand.

Through the course of the documentary he discusses topics like the biological science behind why low calorie diets with no mind paid to fat, carbohydrate, and protein intake often fail; and why eating saturated fats will actually help you burn fat faster and lose weight. At the same time he tries to shed light on some antiquated dietary science that that people are still passing off as fact, like the fundamentally skewed data that led to the popular lipid hypothesis that states saturated fat leads to high cholesterol and heart disease (while explaining why transfats and diets with a lot of carbohydrates are more to blame for the obesity, diabetes, and heart disease)

Since I see a lot of people raise the issue that for some there is no option besides fast food, this documentary is interesting in that it shows how responsibly choosing what fast food you consume is actually okay for you. Of course he mentions that an ideally healthy diet would include a lot of fresh produce and leafy green things - before people point that out - his point is more that people are getting unhealthy on transfats, carbohydrates, and portion sizes more than fast food alone.

I dunno, food for thought, an interesting counterpoint to the information we normally hear.