You'd think that achieving peak athletic performance would require a rigorous diet of fresh fruits, vegetables, lean proteins and nutrient-packed whole grains.
But a U.S. marathon runner is eating pretty much the opposite.
Joe D'Amico, 36, is training for the Los Angeles Marathon later this month on a diet that consists only of McDonald's fast food.
His food diary, posted on his blog McRunner.com, reveals his breakfasts often consist of bagels, Egg McMuffins or hotcakes and a fruit smoothie, orange juice and milk. A typical afternoon meal includes two grilled chicken snack wraps, three-quarters of a packet of French fries, a "bucket of coke" and oatmeal and chocolate chip cookies. One evening meal consisted of two hamburgers (no pickles) and another "bucket of coke." And for snacks, he eats things like hot fudge sundaes, cookies, muffins and fruit and walnut salads.
The only non-McDonald's items he's allowing himself to consume during his 30-day challenge is water, multivitamins, ibuprofen and PowerGel. (And no, Mr. D'Amico is not sponsored by the fast-food company.)
"My wife told me I was crazy," Mr. D'Amico told the Chicago Sun-Times. "But I love McDonald's and I love running, and this was a great way to combine the two."
A veteran marathon runner, he's aiming to beat his personal best time of 2 hours, 36 minutes, which the newspaper points out, would put him among the top 50 finishers.
As wacky as his diet may sound, plenty of professional athletes consume far more greasy, high-fat, high-sodium foods than any of us mere mortals could handle.
Consider this blog post from ESPN, which points out that the Cheesecake Factory, of all places, (home of fried macaroni and cheese, hefty steaks and, of course, cheesecake) is the preferred dining spot for NBA basketball players.
"Nowadays, if ever someone tells me that they bumped into an NBA player out in public, I like to stop them mid-sentence and guess: 'Was it at the Cheesecake Factory?' It can make you look like a freaking genius, because once in a while, you'll be right. (If that doesn't work, I ask if it was at P.F. Chang's. Those two together account for a ridiculous percentage of player sightings nationwide.)" the blog post reads.
While we definitely don't recommend that people follow Mr. D'Amico's lead, does it actually matter what you eat if you're working it off in training? When it comes to burning calories, would your body recognize the difference between being fuelled by a Big Mac versus a balanced meal of lean protein, veggies and whole grains?
On the other hand, if elite athletes can perform so well on a less-than-optimal diet, just imagine what they could do if they ate more healthily.
Do you think you could survive on a McDonald's diet?