Researchers Paying People to Get Fat on Junk Food

A hamburger
A hamburger
Flickr/comedy_nose

Raise your hand if you'd like to be paid to eat junk food every day.

In a study that is proving popular with participants, researchers at Washington University School of Medicine in St. Louis are paying people to eat an extra 1,000-calorie fast food meal every day for three months, ABC News reports.

Dr. Samuel Klein, an expert on obesity and the lead researcher in the study, wants to look into why only some people who gain weight develop diabetes and hypertension. Not all obese people have the metabolic and medical complications of obesity, he says.

Fast food is a good diet addition for scientific study because it is easy to measure exactly what people are eating. The five restaurants chosen for the study were McDonalds, Burger King, Taco Bell, Pizza Hut and KFC.

"[Fast food restaurants] have very regulated food content," Dr. Klein told ABC. "We know exactly the calories and macro-nutrient composition within fast food restaurants, so it's a very inexpensive, easy and tasteful way to give people extra calories."

There is a cash incentive in addition to the delicious fatty, salty snacks. Participants can earn up to $3,500, depending on how long it takes them to reach the study's weight goal. They have to gain 5-6% of their body weight during the three-month span. Researchers monitor their weight from week to week. After the study, the hospital guides participants through weight loss back to their baseline.

One participant's first meal was a Big Mac and large fries. "It was really good and you know the next night I went to Taco Bell and it was, it was wonderful," the 50-year-old nurse gushed to ABC. "This is after I have already eaten dinner."

He says he is studying diabetes and hypertension, but in reality, Dr. Klein might be the devil.


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