A fit and trim 36-year-old marathon runner will have consumed 30 days' worth of fast-food—from breakfast through dinner—by the time the starter gun sounds at Sunday's Los Angeles Marathon. Whether it's his intention or not, Joe D'Amico is effectively countering food scolds' incessant claims that fast-food is to blame for America's obesity epidemic by fueling himself with plenty of it.
D'Amico notes on his Facebook page that many people have asked why he's opted for such an unorthodox pre-marathon diet composed of nearly everything on the menu at his favorite chain restaurant:
"Why" … do you ask? "Why not!" … I answer. I love running and I love [fast-food]–might as well combine the two.
ABC News asked Dr. Bill Pierce, co-founder of the Furman Institute of Running and Scientific Training in Greenville, S.C., to give his professional opinion of D'Amico's diet. Pierce indicated that the dietary proportions of macronutrients contained in D'Amico's fast-food diet are "ideal for marathon training," but "not what would be recommended" to more traditional athletes.
And D'Amico said he's not trying to promote his diet as an alternative to more traditional diets runners consume. He's doing it to prove to everyone the value of "good choices" and "balance" in life:
I want to show this idea of life is about choices, and marathoning is no exception. It's just important that you approach everything in a balanced way. And if you make good choices, good things are going to happen … You put in the hard work and make good choices, you're going to get good results.
You may recall a relatively unknown reality TV producer who made headlines with his own fast-food bender. Morgan Spurlock devoted his 2004 documentary Super Size Me to overeating, becoming a couch potato and ultimately complaining that fast-food made him fat.
''If there's one thing we could accomplish, it is that we make people think about what they put in their mouth,'' Spurlock said of his "honest film about what can happen when you continue to have a fast-food diet.''
One "honest" tidbit of information that Spurlock's film Super Size Me failed to share with viewers was that he consumed 5,000 calories a day and performed no exercise to counter the accumulation of about 3,000 excess calories. Of course, that was so he could drive home his message that we're powerless to stop Big Food from turning us into a nation of fatties—and, he was offering himself as living proof.
Joe D'Amico, on the other hand, offers us proof that there's nothing wrong with consuming food and beverages from a fast-food restaurant as long as we balance those choices with regular exercise and "hard work," and make a choice for some of the healthier items on the menu once and a while. Perhaps Morgan Spurlock will be inspired by D'Amico's example to film a sequel that doesn't cast Americans as self-defeating losers incapable of "approach[ing] everything in a balanced way."