​Did Morgan Spurlock's Confession of Alcohol Abuse Unravel the 'Super Size Me' Myth?

​Did Morgan Spurlock's Confession of Alcohol Abuse Unravel the 'Super Size Me' Myth?

Posted by Stelios on 17th Sep 2023

When Morgan Spurlock's 2004 documentary "Super Size Me" hit the screens, it sent shockwaves through the fast food industry, turning him into one of his generation's most celebrated documentary filmmakers. Though few would endorse a 30-day McDonald's diet as a path to wellness, the film went beyond Spurlock's weight gain to disclose alarming health concerns, particularly with his liver - likened to that of an alcoholic.

Photo Copyright belongs to Samuel Goldwyn Films Directed by Morgan Spurlock / Written by Morgan Spurlock / Produced by Morgan Spurlock / Production Company, The Con / Distributed by, Samuel Goldwyn Films & Roadside Attractions

Spurlock claimed to be in tip-top health before he initiated his fast-food 'experiment', even getting a clean bill of health from several medical professionals. However, his later admission of grappling with alcoholism for years has led many to question the baseline health he started with.

Since the rise of the #MeToo movement, Spurlock's reputation has nose-dived. He confessed to multiple instances of sexual misconduct in 2017 while also acknowledging his alcohol abuse. Journalist Phelim McAleer suggests in The Wall Street Journal that these admissions seriously jeopardise the credibility of "Super Size Me."

Did his liver look the way it did because he was a long-term alcoholic rather than a 30-day fast-food consumer? And what about the shakes and mood swings he reported? Were they symptoms of alcohol withdrawal rather than poor diet?

Adding further doubt to the film's claims attempts to replicate Spurlock's McDonald's diet in scientific studies have failed to reproduce his severe health effects. His 2017 confession directly contradicts his claims of sobriety in the original documentary, further casting shadows over the film's validity.

While "Super Size Me" offered some keen insights into school lunch programmes, could its central premise be fundamentally flawed?

Spurlock's career took off based on what may now be seen as questionable claims. The question remains: does his alcoholism admission unravel the fabric of "Super Size Me," or are there still threads of truth to be pulled from the narrative?