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Iowa Teacher Who Lost 60 lbs. Eating McDonald’s Shares His Story

John Cisna Shares His Story with Other Educators to Teach the Importance of Balanced Food Choices

Today, John Cisna, the Iowa high-school teacher who lost 60 pounds eating only McDonald’s food for six months, met with educators, media and community leaders to share details of his story and documentary, “540 Meals: Choices Make the Difference.”  His 20-minute film documents the experiment that Cisna conducted, independent of McDonald’s, to teach his sophomore students the importance of choices in their lives. The documentary about Cisna, who now serves as an official McDonald’s brand ambassador, is available for high school educators looking for information to demonstrate the importance of balanced food choices. 

The film, “540 Meals: Choices Make the Difference,” documents Cisna’s journey and can be used in the classroom to help students learn that balance and choice can be applied anywhere, whether it be at a fast food restaurant or at the grocery store or in the high school cafeteria.

“We understand that there is a lot of information out there that fuels the common misperception that McDonald’s has limited food and beverage choices that can be part of a balanced meal.  We are excited that John Cisna is sharing his story that addresses it isn’t where you eat, but what and how much that matters as well as how much you exercise,” said Paul Hendel, McDonald’s restaurant owner.  “We believe it’s important that consumers, including students, have all the information needed in order to make balanced food choices, whether eating in our restaurants, or elsewhere.”

When the local McDonald’s restaurant learned of the experiment, the franchisee provided Cisna with meals for free.  During the experiment, Cisna’s students thoughtfully planned a daily menu for Cisna using nutrition information available on the McDonald’s web site to ensure he made choices consistent with his diet and lifestyle needs, specifically:

  • Students ensured that each day, Cisna stayed within a 2,000 calorie limit
  • Students tracked Cisna’s daily intake of 15 key nutrients, including carbohydrates, proteins and fat
  • Cisna incorporated regular exercise, and began walking at least 45 minutes 4-5 days a week

After eating 540 carefully planned meals from McDonald’s, Cisna lost 60 pounds, improved his blood pressure and decreased his cholesterol, demonstrating how making balanced meal choices and incorporating regular exercise can help achieve your goals.

 “We do not recommend that anyone eat every meal at one restaurant every day for an extended period.   No one is suggesting that eating at McDonald’s will result in any health benefit.  Rather, John’s story is about making informed and balanced choices no matter where you chose to eat,” added Hendel. 

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