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In the late 1890s, American chemist Wilbur Atwater discovered that if you burn food inside a calorimeter you’d be able determine how much energy was released. He was able to know from this process how much energy each item of food had. It’s from this literal burning of food that we got the term “to burn Calories.” 

We’ve all heard it before: if you want to lose weight,  you need to burn more Calories than you consume. According to our friends at Diet Diva,  the magic number is 1200 Calories. “This is because 1200 calories will generally provide an adequate nutritional intake for most individuals, yet still allows the reduction of calories to the level that most dieters require in losing weight.”

1200 Calories a day is enough for you to go about your day without feeling hungry, but also just right that you’ll actually lose weight. According to Wikipedia, the average height for a Filipino is 5’4″ and for a Filipina, 4’11. And by running these numbers through a basal metabolic rate (BMR) calculator we see that, on average, Filipino males will lose weight simply by consuming just 1500 Calories. A Filipina, meanwhile, will lose weight by consuming 1200 Calories–without any exercise at all. This is because your body needs energy to keep your internal organs functioning even if you’re doing absolutely nothing. The amount of energy your body uses up if you lie down in bed all day is called your basal metabolic rate. 


The ENoN McDiet
The question now is what kind of Calories should you be eating? You can get your Calories from vegetables, fruits, and fish; or you can get it from bacon, burgers, and fried chicken. Of course, healthy food choices always win.

However, we ask: “Is it possible to go on a diet on just fast food?” If we follow the required number of Calories to lose weight but only consume bacon, burgers, and fried chicken will we still drop some pounds? We dubbed this experiment the ENoN McDiet.


As we are manly men with manly daily duties, we first settled on consuming not more than 1500 Calories a day to supplement our daily activities. For the food, we chose the leading fast food chain in the world: McDonalds. With more than 400 branches in the country, getting a meal no matter where we were in the metro was easy. They also accept delivery orders through the phone or their website.

mcdo diet philippines_thumbnail

Click the image to zoom in.

Second, McDonalds provides nutritional information of each food item on their website and on in-store flyers. This information proved helpful to us in creating a meal plan that totaled 1500 Calories per day.

We then created our own McDiet menu and classified it into 3 categories: light meals (breakfast, lunch, and dinner), heavy meals (breakfast, lunch, and dinner), and snacks. Light meals have approximately 300-350 Calories. Meanwhile, heavy meals have 400-600 Calories, and snacks have 150-200 Calories.

Despite the wide array of meal choices, we only included food items whose nutritional information we had access to. Also,  menu items that had too many calories, and would therefore prevent us from staying within our 1500-Calorie limit, didn’t make it to the list–we’re looking at you, 2-piece fried chicken.

To fulfill the diet, we simply had to pick 1 heavy meal, 2 light meals, and 1 snack each day, for 7 days that would total 1500 Calories at the end of each day. Lord help us.



If you follow the directions, you’ll only be consuming less than 1500 Calories a day, no matter what combination of meals you choose. If you skip the snack, you can reduce the number to only 1250 Calories.

Here is a customized meal plan that lets you have under 1500 Calories per day. The good thing about this is that none of the meals repeat for the entire week, and you still get to enjoy burgers, fries, and ice cream.



Results of the Study
Does the fast food diet actually work? Will you really lose weight if you strictly follow 1500 (or 1200) Calories regardless if its healthy or fast food?

This writer tried the ENoN McDiet for an entire week, eating only McDonalds for breakfast, lunch, and dinner, plus a light snack for five straight days. And after 20 straight meals of McDonalds, the results are in: I managed to lose 3 pounds.

Below is a sample of what my Friday meal looked like–all 1320 Calories of it.

mcdiet copy


Conclusion and Recommendations
Losing the equivalent of half a newborn baby in a week is huge feat. Imagine how much one could potentially lose if the duration of the fast food diet was extended to a month or more. Of course, this weight loss comes with a few drawbacks:

Hunger pangs
Mornings weren’t so bad, and lunch was painless, as well. However, it all starts going downhill after that. I couldn’t think of anything else except the idea of my afternoon snack because I’d feel so hungry. And even after devouring my afternoon snack the hunger pangs continue, leaving me to fixate on what I’m going to eat for dinner.

Fatigue, headaches and mood
Because I was always hungry, I tried to sleep early after dinner to avoid the hunger pangs. This wasn’t hard because by then I was already very fatigued and cranky because of the lack of food. I also got headaches, probably because I was hungry, as they went away after eating something.

Needs more salad
If I could do it differently, I’d eat a little more food, maybe up to 1800 calories, that’s still well within my calorie intake limit. If McDonalds had salad, I could probably do this forever. The lack of fiber made me really hungry, and maybe psychologically, the fact that it’s fast food made me feel like I wasn’t getting the right kind of food.

Why does it work?
According to Dr. Lisa R. Young, author of The Portion Teller Plan, “As far as weight gain is concerned, a calorie is a calorie.” This means that as long as the total calories you consume are less than what you burn during the day you will lose weight, regardless of where these calories came from.

Of course, there are advantages to picking healthier options, you get more vitamins and more fiber to keep you feeling full. If you are going for just weight control though, calories from burgers, fried chicken and ice cream are pretty much equal to healthy calories from wheat bread and salad, provided that you stick strictly to the calorie limit.


Sure, it may not be healthy, but it will let you lose weight if you can stay on it.  Trust science. If you’re getting ready for that beach body this summer, and you’re tired of eating boring food, give the ENoN McDiet a try. Just make sure you eat a little salad with your lunch and dinner. Needless to say, we are not licensed nutritionists, so please try the diet at your own risk. If you get sick, please don’t call us; call a doctor. At the very least, if anybody asks you why you are always eating french fries, you can roll your eyes at them and say, “Hello? I’m on a diet!”-#EatsNowOrNever

Questions? Got some suggestions on how to further refine the ENoN McDiet? Sound off in the comments below.

Editor’s Note: This post was not sponsored by McDonalds. Although it should’ve been. The ENoN McDiet is not endorsed by McDonalds.


Photo credits: Main image from McDo Facebook page, nutrition information from foodietraveler, food photos from McDonalds Philippines website.

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John Dale Quimpo

John Dale Quimpo

This article was written by John Dale Quimpo. He sells meat for a living. When he isn’t thinking about meat, he can be found nerding out with his friends, playing boardgames or looking for new places to eat. He regrets that he never got to eat at El Bulli before it closed, and hopes to eat at Sukiyabashi Jiro before it’s too late.
John Dale Quimpo

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