The Medical Student Who Ate Nothing But White Castle Hamburgers for 13 Weeks

Jack El-Hai
3 min readMay 29, 2015

by Jack El-Hai

What happens when you take a healthy young man and feed him nothing but hamburgers and water for three months? It sounds like the genesis of an edgy film — and in fact Super Size Me, a 2004 documentary, followed one man’s 30-day immersion in McDonald’s cuisine — but a real-life version of this experiment took place in the early 1930s. This tale of experimental hamburger gluttony had its genesis in the 1920s in the mind of Edgar Waldo “Billy” Ingram, owner of the White Castle fast food…

Jack El-Hai

Books: The Lost Brothers (2019), The Nazi and the Psychiatrist (2013), & The Lobotomist (2005). Covers history, medicine, science, and more.