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143 Million Cheeseburgers Short of Paradise
ABC misstated goal for weight loss by supersized amount.

By R. Warren Anderson
Free Market Project
Dec. 27, 2005

Send this page to a friend! (click here)     In the biggest, boldest weight loss challenge ever, ABC underestimated by 143 million the number of cheeseburgers in weight it wants America to lose.

     Good Morning America and are joining together to fight obesity in 2006. They are challenging America to lose 50 million pounds in one year, according to an advertisement for the program on December 26. To give a visualization of the amount of weight that it is, the clip stated Thats 200 million quarter pound cheeseburgers. 12,500 cars. Or 23,529,412 pairs of high healed shoes.

     The cheeseburger comparison was far from accurate. Calories, not the actual weight of the food, are how food is measured. According to the renowned Mayo clinic, Of all the diet strategies out there, it still comes down to the calorie. This is because 3,500 calories equals about 1 pound of fat, you need to burn 3,500 calories more than you take in to lose 1 pound.

     But ABC went for thin math and came up with a hefty mistake. The error made the cheeseburger number understated by almost 75%. The network incorrectly took a quarter pound and multiplied it by 50 million to get 200 million cheeseburgers. But the weight of a quarter pounder is the pre-cooked weight of the meat, and ignores the bun, cheese, lettuce, tomato, etc.

     Even with those additions, the McDonalds Web site listed the quarter pounder with cheese as having 510 calories or roughly seven such burgers per pound. Taking 50,000,000 pounds, multiply it by 3,500 calories per pound, then dividing by 510 calories per cheeseburger, it is around 343 million cheeseburgers (343,137,254.9). Thats a lot more food for Americans to burn off to slim down than the 200 million figure stated.


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