The death of Morgan Spurlock – the man behind the 2004 fast food expose Super Size Me – from cancer at age 53 has put his health experiment into sharp focus again.

His experiment saw him eat only McDonald’s food for a month and, while there is no indication his stunt 20 years ago is connected to his death, it took a major toll on his body.

After 30 days, he was declared medically obese and his cholesterol levels and body fat were sent rocketing. But perhaps the most concerning effect of all was that within weeks, his liver had become so damaged it had turned ‘into pate’, as his doctor put it, and looked like an ‘alcoholic’s after a binge’.

Spurlock’s health transformation was so shocking it led to McDonald’s axing its super sized menu options – and was a turning point in the way many Americans viewed fast food.

But years later it emerged that Spurlock struggled with alcoholism at the time of filming, which may have influenced the results.

His physical and mental health rapidly declined, and he gained 24.5 pounds by the end of the experiment

His physical and mental health rapidly declined, and he gained 24.5 pounds by the end of the experiment

By day two of his experiment, Mr Spurlock felt nauseous to the point of vomiting outside his car window

By day two of his experiment, Mr Spurlock felt nauseous to the point of vomiting outside his car window

In the documentary, the doctor examining him during the experiment said the fast food was ‘pickling his liver’ – but Spurlock failed to mention his alcoholism.

It wasn’t until 2017 that Spurlock made the stunning admission that he’d ‘consistently been drinking since the age of 13.’

He added: ‘I haven’t been sober for more than a week in 30 years.’

It led many to question whether this was truly the reason his liver looked like that of an alcoholic in the 2004 doc, and whether the shakes he suffered in the movie were symptoms of alcohol withdrawal.

Spurlock’s 2017 confession also contradicts what he said in Super Size Me. 

When the doctor asked at the outset, ‘Any alcohol use?’, Spurlock replied: ‘Now? None’.

At the start of the experiment, Spurlock weighed 185 pounds with a body mass index (BMI) of 23.2, which is considered healthy.

His doctor told him his liver was failing and had become mushy like pate. He also gained about 10 pounds in a week and his cholesterol soared

His doctor told him his liver was failing and had become mushy like pate. He also gained about 10 pounds in a week and his cholesterol soared

After just a few days of consuming only fast food, Spurlock began to experience negative health effects. 

He gained a significant amount of weight, and his BMI increased to 25.5, which is considered overweight. 

By the end of the experiment, he had gained 24.5 pounds, and his BMI increased to 30, or obese.

His cholesterol also increased from a healthy level to 230 mg/dL (6.0 mmol/L), which is considered ‘borderline high risk’ for cardiovascular disease, stroke, and other heart issues. 

It suggested that fatty deposits had built up in his arteries, restricting blood flow to his heart.  

A growing body of research has also found strong links between high levels of refined sugars, saturated fats, and processed ingredients to depression, something Mr Spurlock struggled with during the documentary. 

The blood sugar spike that the food causes can lead to tiredness later, leaving a person less likely to engage in activities like socializing that could stave off depression. 

The rules of the experiment was to eat everything on the menu at least once during the month, and having to always answer ¿yes¿ to the question: ¿Would you like to Super Size that?¿

The rules of the experiment was to eat everything on the menu at least once during the month, and having to always answer ‘yes’ to the question: ‘Would you like to Super Size that?’

By the end of the experiment Mr Spurlock had gained about 25 pounds. His BMI soared from 23.5 to 30, placing him firmly in the obese category

By the end of the experiment Mr Spurlock had gained about 25 pounds. His BMI soared from 23.5 to 30, placing him firmly in the obese category

A 2014 study in Iran found that among 13,486 participants, a significant association was found between junk food consumption and psychiatric distress. Most violent behaviors were also significantly associated with junk food intake. 

Mr Spurlock’s sex drive also suffered.  High levels of sugars and saturated fats restrict blood flow, making it difficult to perform in the bedroom. 

About halfway through Spurlock’s girlfriend, a vegan chef, tell the audience that he’s ‘having a hard time getting it up.’ 

And eating these foods also lead to weight gain. Heart issues and high cholesterol can also cause erectile dysfunction while trans fats are known to decrease libido 

Just one day after starting the experiment, he vomited profusely. Soon after, he noticed weird pulsations in his stomach. 

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When his doctor told him his liver was becoming soft and mushy, telling him that his liver is ‘turning to pâté’, he meant that the food was changing his liver’s functioning to the point where it would not be able to detoxify blood, metabolize nutrients, and produce essential proteins.

The rules of the experiment was to eat everything on the menu at least once during the month, and having to always answer ‘yes’ to the question: ‘Would you like to Super Size that?’

‘SGOT was originally 21,’ according to the doctor, this means that the liver started out functioning normally. 

He added: Now it’s 130. And SGPT was originally 20.

‘Now it’s 290, a more than tenfold increase… Anybody would say right now that you’re sick.’

He added: ‘If somebody were doing this to their liver with alcohol, they could theoretically wipe out all the liver… Wipe out their liver cells and, and, and they’d be in liver failure. 

‘Now, I’ve never heard of anybody doing this to their liver with a high-fat diet, but I guess anything’s possible.’

This indicates that the liver has been severely damaged due to toxins in the food.  

His diet put him at higher risk of heart disease through its effects on his inflammation levels as well as blood flow disruptions caused by high cholesterol. 

Mr Spurlock [pictured with friends]admitted to alcohol abuse in 2017, which could have played a role in his liver issues and poor mental health

Mr Spurlock [pictured with friends]admitted to alcohol abuse in 2017, which could have played a role in his liver issues and poor mental health

Mr Spurlock's documentary earned him an Oscar nomination and grossed more than $22 million globally

Mr Spurlock’s documentary earned him an Oscar nomination and grossed more than $22 million globally 

The foods have also been linked to about 30 types of cancers, especially ovarian. One study from experts at the Imperial College London found that for every 10 percent increase in ultra-processed foods in a person’s diet, there was an increased six percent risk of death by cancer. 

Mr Spurlock admitted to alcohol abuse in 2017, which could have played a role in his liver issues and poor mental health.  

‘Is it because I’ve consistently been drinking since the age of 13? I haven’t been sober for more than a week in 30 years,’ he said at the time. 

The admission caused some to question his credibility, saying that his poor liver health was similar to that of an alcoholic.  

His 2004 hit captured the zeitgeist earning $22 million in the global box office. 

In one scene just a week into the diet, he finds a hair in his parfait. In another, a doctor told him he had gained about five percent of his body weight.

A few days later he said he didn’t feel well: ‘Not that I feel sick, but I just feel really depressed.’

He added that he feels hungry again just an hour after eating.

Fast food contains few nutrients and instead sky high amounts of sodium and sugar. In fact the chain’s largest size Coke, which he drank often, contains 48 spoonfuls.

When he was being weighed at a checkup, his doctor reported he had gained about about 10 pounds in a week. 

The doctor said: ‘Hundred and ninety-five pounds. 

Mr Spurlock said: ‘It can’t be. We have to redo this. -That’s zero. -That thing is zeroed.

The doctor replied: ‘You’ve gained, actually, about 5% of your body weight. 

‘Losing and gaining weight that fast is not healthy.’

He also described headaches and a pulsating feeling in his stomach and penis. 

The food to him just didn’t seem like food anymore when the documentary added, though he has been back to McDonald’s since.

They did not specify what type of cancer he was battling, or when he was diagnosed. 

Spurlock also directed the 2013 One Direction documentary/concert film One Direction: This Is Us.

The West Virginia native produced nearly 70 documentaries through his production company Warrior Poet.

The follow-up film to Super Size Me, ‘Super Size Me 2: Holy Chicken!’ was removed from the 2017 Sundance Film Festival after Spurlock admitted to sexual misconduct.

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