Skip to Content

McDonald’s Fad Diet Teacher Ceases School Visits

McDonald's Reports Poor Quarterly EarningsMcDonald's Reports Poor Quarterly Earnings
A McDonald'sPhotograph by Justin Sullivan — Getty Images

An Iowa teacher that espoused his “McDonald’s diet” to dozens of high schools and colleges is no longer giving lectures about his love of the fast-food restaurant operator. The move comes after the teacher, John Cisna, received some criticism for his role as a brand ambassador.

The Washington Post recently reported the company stopped sending Cisna into schools to talk to kids about his experience with the chain. He claims to have lost roughly 60 pounds from eating a diet only consisting of McDonald’s (MCD). The Post reports the chain also halted providing related materials, including a video documentary that showed Cisna’s weight-loss journey.

In an e-mail to Fortune, McDonald’s confirmed the changing role for Cisna at the company. A spokeswoman said the following: “John Cisna is now focused on the opportunities that make the most sense for our brand at this time. Specifically, as our brand ambassador, John is focused on internal and local community events, and he is not appearing at schools.”


McDonald’s has increasingly sought to bolster its image as a healthier food purveyor in recent years, aiming to shake off the reputation that the company’s food is highly processed with few nutritional benefits. Recent tests in various markets include low-calorie breakfast meals, testing fresh beef, and a kale salad (which notably has more calories than a Big Mac.)

McDonald’s isn’t the first brand to find itself in a pickle when it comes to how it lauds its food or beverage offerings through unconventional channels. Coca-Cola (KO), for example, was heavily criticized last year when it was revealed the company funded a non-profit group that had argued weight-conscious Americans should be paying more attention to exercise and less attention to their diet.