McDiet Day 2: I’m Not Hungry, But I Am Poorer

McDiet Day 2: I’m Not Hungry, But I Am Poorer

Despite an apparent widespread belief that there’s no way I could possibly feel full while eating nothing but a calorie-controlled diet of food entirely from McDonald’s, hunger has not been an issue. At no point has my stomach felt unacceptably empty. My wallet? That’s another story.

This diet has been costing me around $25 a day, and that’s going to stay consistent throughout the week. Sure, you can spend a lot more than that dining out, but as a man who has proved more than once that you can eat OK on $25 a week, it seems a slightly indecent amount of money.

What’s particularly irritating is that the healthier options are often more expensive. I really enjoy the grilled crispy noodle chicken salad, but it costs $7.95 on its own. For that amount, you can get a small value meal, including a burger, fries and a drink (water or a low-calorie soft drink, obviously).

I like the salad very much , but many consumers are going to choose the combo because it has “more stuff”. That leads to waistlines having more stuff too. (That said, you do have the option of subbing in the basic garden salad and water with a value meal, though the pricing structure varies slightly.)

What I Ate: Day 2

Here’s the day 2 menu, complete with calorie count.

Food Calories
Breakfast: English McMuffin 148
Vegemite 9
Whipped Butter 81
Lunch: Angus McOz 643
Small Fries 255
Dinner: Grilled Crispy Noodle Chicken Salad 255
Total 1403

The reason the calorie count is so ridiculously low (I’m aiming for 2000 a day, after all) is that I went with the lowest-calorie option on the McDonald’s breakfast menu: the English McMuffin. Even with whipped butter and vegemite, that comes in at just 238 calories. Vegemite on toast is something I quite often eat for breakfast in my normal diet, on those days when muesli just doesn’t seem appealing, so I found this quite satisfactory. I plated it up, but let’s face it: when you have Vegemite, black coffee and white crockery, there’s not a lot of variety happening.

I had originally planned to have a garden salad with lunch, but I genuinely didn’t feel that hungry, and the Angus McOz has a fair selection of vegetables on it anyway. It’s one of the slightly more calorific burgers, but given my light breakfast, that wasn’t a problem.

Come dinner time, I could easily have indulged in a cheeseburger or a serving of fries without going anywhere near my target, but I was full after eating the main salad.

Random observations from the second day:

My local McDonald’s is going to think I’m strange. Exactly the same staff were working the dinner shift on Day 2, and I ordered exactly the same meal. This made me weirdly self-conscious, so I decided to take my salad home rather than eat it on site. Downside: couldn’t enjoy the free Macca’s air conditioning. Upside: carrying the salad back to my place meant the ingredients were mixed much more thoroughly.

McDiet Day 2: I’m Not Hungry, But I Am Poorer

The vexed question of nutrition. For everyone who has been wondering and discussing this in the comments on other posts in this series: tomorrow, I’ll discuss the sodium, fat and protein challenges this diet presents. I’ll also give everyone the chance to vote on what I eat for one of my meals.


    • A US man has been making headlines by losing weight while eating nothing but McDonald’s. Would that be possible with the different menu options offered by Maccas in Australia? I’m going to find out by subjecting myself to the same diet.

      I could link to further info, but that took two clicks so I think you can manage.

      • Yeah nice try dude but you’ve answered WHAT he’s doing, not why.

        Basic comprehension methinks?

        Why would someone want to replicate something that’s already done before, that they know will work (if you eat a calorie controlled diet, you will lose weight) and something that they know is bad for them?

        I don’t see what it achieves.

        • Scientific Process requires that experiments can be replicated.

          Generally any large scientific experiment will be carried out by another team to confirm the results and test the methodology.

          Then people will start altering the experiment to test other factors or see if it was creating a false positive due to an unaccounted for factor.

          Also the previous poster did answer the why, Angus wants to know whether it’s possible in the Australian chains, which going back to the scientific process actually add in a number of new variables.

          Also they’re interesting articles.

          • Where’s the control then?

            There’s nothing scientific about this. It’s just silly stunt that serves no meaning. There’s no answers to be found, we already know exactly what will happen.

            But if you guys want to argue the toss, then so be it. Enjoy yourselves.

          • Arguably he can use any week where he isn’t eating nothing but maccas as a control. For such a short simple experiment that seems like enough.

            This isn’t a rigorous scientific endeavour, but it’s well documented and is attempting to make some strong points about diet control rather than scapegoating specific foods. That in particular should be applauded instead of the usual scaremongering that food is given in the media.

            For most people, the headline that some guy in the US lost weight eating nothing but McDonalds is enough information. Some more might want to read the details, others might want to see if it’s replicable or want to try it themselves.

            You obviously fall into the first category, not that there’s anything wrong with that. Many news stories I don’t feel a need to read more than a headline, or a quick summary. So these articles have nothing of interest for you. I suggest you don’t click on anything saying McDiet.

            If enough people don’t care and don’t click then they won’t do a similar story in the future.

          • No Zimmy, what we’re seeing is people blindly accepting a viewpoint because it’s written about on the internet. The only thought processes both you and spyder are following is to back up the writer’s view point, when he can easily do that himself.

            I asked a simple question to the writer. And I’ve gotten 2 responses. 1 imploring me to read more by searching, which interests me because I can just ask a question, that’s how real life kinda works. And 1 from you, telling me about the scientific process, which this doesn’t even remotely resemble. Of course the effects are replicable, he’s consuming a controlled diet.

            I’m a health professional. The effects of both macronutrient quality and pure energy amount are VERY well known. Hence my question to the author.

            Because he’s going to maintain or lose weight, depending on his size, muscle mass and activity levels and he’s going to become unhealthier. Which we won’t know unless he’s getting medical supervision including blood tests. Which I don’t know because I decided to ask a question instead of blindly spoon feeding ‘information’ into my eyeballs.

            For everyone else reading this. You ARE allowed to question what you read. You ARE allowed to critically think about what you’re consuming and you DON’T have to keep reading things about which you already know are dumb!

            What the author is doing progresses nothing, it’s just click bait. It doesn’t add to any greater understanding of anything. It’s a waste of time and it’s bad for his health. So why do it? Because people will read about it. There’s no other reason. It’s just entertainment. So don’t dress it up as anything scientific. This is bro-science. There’s no actual increase of our understanding here.

          • Sure, you can ask me questions. But you can also read what’s already being written. Presenting yourself as “an inquiring and critical thinker” _without_ doing that doesn’t hold much water, I’d suggest. Aren’t interested or think it’s pointless? Stop reading and do something else.

          • @anguskidman

            Thanks for replying Angus. All that may be true, but we’re talking now so I can just get the answer from you.

            Although I do have to add, and sorry if this sounds snarky, but if being inquiring and critical, in your eyes, means reading more articles like the above, then I’m afraid that’s a bar I will never clear. And I’m okay with that. I think in this day and age a lot of people mindlessly consume info, forgetting that it’s written by real people who you can just call and ask personally what they found. Most people are happy to talk about their work and accomplishments, but being a journo, I’m sure this is something that you already know very well.

            I am interested. I’m interested in why you’re doing this and what it’s going to achieve? It’s been done before, albeit in a different way. I guess all my cards are on the table already from my above post.

            It seems to me that we already know exactly what the results of this will be. I guess it’s cool for some to see the process, and it interests me because it’s something I would never, ever do. Like purposefully crashing my car into a tree. Why would I do that? What would I gain for that? But I guess people would like to watch me do that.

    • @spyder @zimmer @angus kidman

      Hey guys I’m just going to bow out. I think i’ve made some valid points, but I must admit, I’m not in a great mood. I just started a new job a few weeks ago that should’ve been my dream job, but I now dread going to work due to the incredibly poor attitude of my coworkers. Who are annoyed that I’m there because they feel I’m being given ‘their hours’. And my wife is due to give birth in 6 days, so I’ve got lots of stuff on my mind and am not as carefree as I usually am.

      I say this because I really hate negativity on the net, but I think at the mo, I’m being part of the problem with my attitude. Best of luck with everything guys, and I’m sure we’ll tangle again on the other big questions of the universe.


      • …and here I was assuming you were just another troll. Apologies for the antagonistic first comment man, hope things improve at work and congrats on the pending fatherhood! I’m thinking things will start looking up when the little guy/girl arrives =)

  • If the queues are too long at CQ maccas then you could always walk over to the corner of Bridge and George. A lot less tourist traffic.

    • Pretty much if you just consider that main meals and only for one person.
      Muffins are $2.50 for 2 or 3 days worth. A basic salad like that would cost you a few dollars.

    • Depending on your income. Especially considering that it’s possible to eat fairly well on $25 a week if you buy groceries and cook them yourself. If you’re capable of that, then a $150 a week increase in your food budget is going to be pretty noticeable.

        • You’re wrong and/or shopping at the wrong places and/or don’t know how to cook nutritious food.

          • No, this guy really is either an idiot, not trying, or has weird over-the-top standards for what’s ‘acceptable’ if he can’t find decent quality food for a low price.

            I suspect too many coffees, and buying food take-out for lunch and dinner or something, and a taste for rich foods like out of season fruits and such. (Like avocados which are priced ridiculously high at the moment because they aren’t in-season for another 4-5 months.)

          • Hell, even lettuce is stupidly expensive and basically pointless. If you’re a little careful and a little discerning about your choices its not that hard.

        • Bulk meat purchases, sausages and mince can range around $7-8 for, say… 22 snags. A dozen eggs is $3-$3.15. Milk is $2 for 2 litres, bread is $1 per loaf, a 3kg sack of potatoes is $3.50 and you can get a pack of five instant noodles packets on special for something stupid at the moment… I think it’s $1. A kilo of seedless grapes is $2 if you want some desserts or snacks. A month’s supply of margarine will cost you about $1-1.50. What’s that, you’ve got some money left over and want to buy a fortnight’s supply of ice-cream or muesli bars, which you really don’t need? Well, that’s only $5-5.50, so there you go.

          Buy a bulk bottle of vitamin pills to ensure you meet your minimum daily nutrition requirements and the rest of your diet is basically trying to make up calories. And I’m pretty sure you can buy a three month supply of vitamins for somewhere around $30-40.

          Food can be cheap. It can be STUPIDLY cheap. There is no excuse for anyone to starve in this country. Not when you can get a loaf of bread for a DOLLAR.
          You could eat a loaf of bread a day, and it’d cost you $7 a week in food budget. Can you eat a loaf of bread a day? If your weekly budget is $25, why… you could eat THREE loaves of bread in a day! Yes, that’s a stupid exaggeration, but it proves the point: calories are not hard to come by. You can get as many or as few as you want, depending on how ‘interesting’ you demand your food should be.

          So no, it’s not hard at all.
          Grocery shopping and cooking is cheap. SO cheap. You don’t need all the high-fat sauces and creams and sugary shit in everything.

          • So you are going to eat 22 sausages over a week and a few eggs?

            No wonder Australians are so freaking unhealthy.

          • Yeah, it’s not perfect, but you make a few similarly-priced purchases to that each week, make use of a FREEZER and pretty soon you’ll have a healthy variety of meals to choose from.

            You know… using some common sense and sensible budgeting. The whole Coles promotion on meals to feed a family of four for $10, for example. They DO actually have dietary considerations in there.

            But y’know, if you want to be deliberately obtuse and oblivious, sure, you can go nuts and wreck your health or just buy take-out every day. Or, oh… I don’t know… find a happy medium between an expensive $25 a day ($175 a week) budget and an ultra-cheap $25 a week budget. I hear such things exist.

          • transientmind, I do not agree that is eating well, sausages, eggs, bread and a vitamin pill? I eat very healthy (fresh meat, fish and veg. All home cooked) and it costs a lot more than $25 a week.

            I am interested in how you eat well for $25 a week, assuming 2 meals a day (I will forget about breakfast as its cheap) that is 14 meals. Please give me examples of a one weeks worth of dinners you eat that cost $1.80 each?

          • Hey, do you guys remember when Angus did a week long series of articles discussing how he ate “OK” and “without being massively unhealthy” while only spending $25 over a whole week?


            Admittedly it was published in 2010, but that series is what he’s referencing when he says “$25 per day on food is expensive”… ie. in comparison, the McDiet costs 7x as much as the Mastercheap diet did at the time.

          • You simply can’t do it – if you’re eating 3 types of vegetables and two types of fruit a day…then include your meat and other carbs. If you eat like that in the long run, you will come across problems. If you are doing any sort of daily exercise or training for competitive sport – then you will quickly come across problems.

            That is NOT eating “fairly well”. It is surviving.

          • 2kg of Mince- $13
            1kg of Potatoes- $2
            3 heads of Broccoli- $4.50
            1kg of Carrots- $2
            1kg Grapes- $2
            0.5kg Nectarines- $2.50

            There you go- Meat, 2 fruits and 3 veg for a week- $26

            Oh sorry, you need to find an extra $1…..

          • But I disagree that that is eating well.

            So every meal (lunch and dinner) you are going to eat fried mince(no sauce, tomato, rice or pasta with it, just 140g of fried meat) as well as about half a potato, a carrot a small amount of Broccoli washed down with a few grapes?

            If you consider that eating well, you are missing out my friend!

          • Don’t even bother replying to them anymore. They are wrong, they know it. They are just stubborn.

          • He asked how do you get 3 veg & 2 fruit for $25 a week. I just showed you. I said nothing about how interesting it was. If you remove the mince, you could make vegetable curries, add in some nuts & cheese for protein & make it much more interesting.

            I don’t believe anyone was suggesting that with $25, you’d have a brilliantly diverse & infinitely interesting menu. But you can eat, nutritiously & with flavour. That was the point of the Mastercheap article. Not to see if you could have a normal, interesting & different menu every day. Fact is, Australia isn’t cheap. But there’s still very little excuse for those with even $50 a week for food to say they’re starving & have to eat bread & water. It’s all about being clever and not eating takeaway every second day. Which is half the problem.

          • Definitely a bachelor’s diet there…. No wonder my Husband’s sister said he was a tight ass until he met me. Mind you, he did manage to save $500k as a result before he met me. But now he is enjoying his diet much more. Win some, lose some.

    • Nothing with calories in it. Water, black coffee, black tea, one Coke Zero. When I drink something with heft (like the orange juice yesterday) it goes on the chart.

  • no one at maccas will question you…. I went through a 12 month period where id be at maccas twice, and sometimes three times, a day, every day… no one noticed, queried or commented

    and when I thought I was the worst the staff told me theyd barely noticed

    • During the BigMac Chant competition last year I was hitting up the same maccas for free Big Macs every day. No body questions.

    • They do notice if you chat to them, make small-talk. A bunch of the young guys (including myself) working in a tower in the city were pretty regular customers at the Maccas express a few floors down. We got to know the folks working there and had annual discount cards and stuff.

      Always good to have a friendly face. 🙂

      • dang straight…. the people there enjoy someone taking a (quick) moment to acknowledge them.

        if you want a decent milkshake with choc topping it then it pays to be nice!

  • What is the point of this? It has already been proven to work and if you want to lose weight wouldn’t be much better to eat healthier food? It would also be cheaper.

    • Said this on previous posts: been done in the US, wanted to see if it worked with the different US menu. And as a previous commenter noted, science works by repeated testing 🙂

      • You may as well just copy and paste this to the beginning of each day, somebody’s always bound to ask.

      • I love how this question comes up so many times. Seriously people why dont just read the other articles or comments first.

        • I did read it (should of mentioned in my first comment). Is the slightly different menu a reason to do this? I guess the Aus menu would be “healthier”. Maybe if it was a fast food diet in general I wouldn’t be questioning it.

          • I agree with shithead, seems pretty silly… Its not really the same as doing a repeat experiment to prove anything scientific, as you already know the outcome through basic (and well proven) science. i.e. you know the calories you are going to eat, and you know how much you need, therefore you know you will lose weight. It is similar to saying we need to do experiments to prove that 1 plus 1 is in fact equal to 2.

          • eh, let Angus have his fun. He was done quite a few of these week long challenges and it is entertaining for the majority of us.
            Having just gotten back from the US, the maccas there is quite different (at least in NYC). The sauces taste creamier, and of course there is the HFCS that we don’t have here.
            I am keen to see the outcome.

    • or perhaps try actually using the highlighted words… youll be amazed to find theyre links… to information!!! who woulda thought!!

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