Do Burgers Make You Stupid?

Jeff Ruby, a food writer for Chicago Magazine, claims that eating only burgers for 65 days made him stupid. He says he experienced difficulty concentrating, confusion, and forgetfulness, and that “saturated fats had eroded the connections between neurons in my brain.” Thankfully, he concluded that he “was not permanently stupid — I had developed a mild case of cognitive dysfunction syndrome. CDS (a.k.a. brain fog) can be caused by anything from mercury poisoning to constipation and leads to confusion, difficulty concentrating, and forgetfulness. It also appears mainly in dogs.” The next test would see what happens if Ruby ate only tofu for 65 days straight. [%comments]

Alan J.

He was stupid to begin with for choosing to eat nothing but burgers for 65 days.


I think that a person who ate nothing but burgers for 65 days straight was stupid to begin with.


recalls my sister who was to "play" an irate mother in a community play. Couldnt muster the vehemence while eating vegetarian. So added meat and was able to provide the anger the director wanted!

Could the "fog" be related to the higher free fatty acids and resultant relative insulin resistance?

Did Mr. Ruby eat any fruits and vegetables with these burgers? What about carbs - and in what form or was this naked burgers morning, noon and night?

Eric M. Jones

Not much of a scientific test here. There are lots of reasons why he thought he had some cognitive problem (which if he had, he might not be the best judge of since he was cognitively impaired, etc...) He might just have been dehydrated.

Let's not hypothesize too much, given such shakey data.


Focusing your life on a such a stupid task obviously creates you problems. Behavior chemistry, much more complex than food chemistry.


Forgive me if I'm not ready to take a food writer's word for it on how saturated fats affect brain chemistry. Especially one who thinks that eating only burgers for 65 days is a good idea, and hasn't realized that Super Size Me ( already did that.


Or maybe there's yet another, unidentified factor, which makes you both stupid and want to eat burgers.

Causality is not always simple.


He ate nothing but hamburgers for 65 days?!? I'm thinking he might have been stupid to begin with!


Um, if saturated fats make you stupid, why is breast milk loaded with saturated fat? Better start getting our babies on low fat diets to prevent them from getting stupid. I believe we evolved to eat staurated fat, and our brains started growing once we started doing it. I think maybe it was all the bread in the burger buns that made him stupid.


Is it possible there's a placebo effect here. The author knew he was consuming something he thought bad for him. So how much of his confusion is manufactured, and how much is just assigning blame for his non-burger induced mistakes.

Neil (SM)

Hey, if this guy ate only hamburgers for 65 days he must have been stupid to begin with! Hahaha, get it?

Too bad nobody else thought to tell that same joke -- it would be so much funnier if I heard it about 5 times!


A test on oneself, is not scientific.


Didn't Morgan Spurlock already cover this territory? So this mook thought that doing the Spurlock thing minus fries and shakes would be a good thing?


If he decided to eat only hamburgers for 65 days, maybe he was stupid to begin with!


If you eat only one kind of ANYTHING for a couple of months, you're going to have one health issue or another, especially if it's a very different diet than the one you're accustomed to.

I keep meeting people who are vegans, who tell me how wonderful they feel since switching over - but who are physically weak and look like hell.

Garvit Sah

Burgers have high fat content, little dietary fibre and minimal vitamins. Eating only burgers is bound to lead to some sort of nutritional deficiency in the body ost likely leading to the effects described above.


If he decided to eat only hamburgers for 65 days, maybe he was stupid to begin with!
There makes it 5!...Lol Neil & Bob.....


I ate a burger a day for many days while in grad school. It was only $5 with fries (my stipend was about $10,000/year, barely enough to pay rent, a burger a day amounts to $1,825 per day, less expensive and more filling than anything else).

I survived and to this day I still love (and eat) burgers.

As for the original article: no clear diagnosis, no clear causality.


Jeez guys, he didn't really eat ONLY burgers during that time. He just had a project for the magazine to find the best burgers in Chicago and he tried every one of them over a 65-day (or whatever) period. I'm sure he came home and had a nice bowl of soup or cookies or salad or cereal or watermelon or whatever on some of those days as well.


I love the fact that some commenters appear to have commented very seriously on the deficiencies of the study, the apparent stupidity of the writer, the Spurlock connection etc., etc. WITHOUT ACTUALLY HAVING READ THE LINKED ARTICLE.

The article itself is funny and not at all meant to be taken seriously. He notes the Spurlock connection btw for comments # 6 and 13.