What's it like to eat 25,000 Big Macs? Ask Don Gorske
(CBS/AP) Fast food restaurants get lots of criticism for serving up fatty, salty, calorie-dense fare. But Don Gorske has no complaints. The 57-year-old retired prison guard was just honored at his hometown McDonalds for eating his 25,000th Big Mac - a feat that took him 39 years to accomplish.
Gorske, who was featured in the 2004 documentary "Super Size Me," is slim, takes regular walks, and was recently given a clean bill of health by his doctor.
"I plan on eating Big Macs until I die," he said. "Nothing has changed in 39 years. I look forward to it every day."
Big Macs may be tasty, but they're not the sort of sandwich that makes many nutritionists smile. Each Big Mac packs 540 calories, 29 grams of fat, and 1,040 mg of sodium, according to the McDonalds' website. That means during Gorske's almost four-decade binge, he's consumed a stomach-churning 13.5 million calories, 725,000 grams of fat, and 26 million milligrams of sodium from Big Macs alone.
Sounds like a nutritional nightmare.
"I'd be more concerned about what he's not having," Marisa Sherry, a New York City-based nutritionist, told CBS News. She said a fast-food burger is fine once in a while, but if a steady diet of Big Macs pushes aside fruits and veggies and other healthful foods, that might not be such a good thing."In moderation everything's okay," she said. "Apparently, he doesn't know what moderation means."
Too much dietary fat and sodium can raise the risk for cardiovascular disease - an often-deadly malady that kills more than 630,000 Americans a year. And fat and excess calories ups the chances of developing diabetes, which affects over 25 million Americans, including seven million who don't realize they have it.
Don's journey started on May 17, 1972, when he bought three Big Macs to celebrate the purchase of a new car - only to return twice more that day, eating nine of the burgers before the restaurant closed. He says he's missed having a Big Mac on only eight days since then. in that span - but none since Thanksgiving 2000.
Gorske admits his motivation may be more rooted in his mind than his belly. He says he loves numbers and repetition, and suspects he may have obsessive-compulsive disorder. If that's true, he's not alone. More than 2.2 million Americans have obsessive-compulsive disorder, and experts say food is often a focus.
"There are a lot of individuals who obsess about food," Dr. Fugen Neziroglu, director of the Bio Behavioral Institute in Great Neck, N.Y., told CBS News. "It's pretty common, but people just don't talk about it because it's embarrassing. Overeating is usually hidden."
Gorske certainly isn't hiding his habit, and he's wary of going too far. He said his wife told him "when she has to put them in a blender, it's over."
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