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U.S. man eats 34,000 Big Macs in his lifetime, extending world record 

The thought of eating anywhere close to 34,000 Big Macs would have many asking, ‘McScuse me?’ — but not Guinness World Records titleholder Donald Gorske.

Gorske, a 70-year-old from Fond du Lac, Wis., already held the world record for the most McDonald’s Big Mac burgers eaten in a lifetime. On Thursday, Guinness announced that he’d extended his burger streak after consuming 728 more Big Macs in the year 2023 alone.

According to Guinness, Gorske’s record now officially stands at 34,128 Big Macs.

He was first awarded the record in 1999.

“Many people thought I’d be dead by now, but instead I’ve been a record holder for my 24th year — one of Guinness World Records’ longer-running record holders, so that’s pretty cool to me,” Gorske, a retired prison guard, told Guinness.

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Donald Gorske in front of a McDonald's sign missing the letters D, O, N and S. The menu board below reads, "Congrats Don on 50 years of Macs."
Donald Gorske in 2022 when he celebrated 50 years of eating Big Macs every day. Guinness World Records

For Gorske, McDonald’s is more than just a fast-food chain — it’s a way of life. After tasting his first Big Mac 52 years ago on May 17, 1972, he knew he was hooked.

“In that moment, I said: ‘I’m going to probably eat these for the rest of my life,’” he said. “I threw the cartons in the back seat and started counting them from day one.”

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To this day, Gorske still has the container and receipt for every Big Mac he’s ever eaten, neatly filed away and organized by year.

In recent years, Gorske has cooled down on his Big Mac intake. While he used to consume up to 9 Big Macs in a single day, Gorske now only has two on most days, one for lunch and one for dinner (though he forgoes the fries). He said he usually opts to skip breakfast and otherwise only eats small evening snacks such as ice cream, a fruit bar or potato chips.

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“Out of respect to my mother, from 1973 to 1981, I ate one non-Big Mac meal a day because she was worried about my health,” Gorske revealed. “On 1 April 1981, she let me relinquish that promise when she said: ‘If they haven’t killed you by now, go ahead.'”

Donald Gorske holding a tray in McDonald's. He has straight-across bangs, long hair and is wearing a blue shirt with a leather jacket and sunglasses.
An undated photo of Donald Gorske in a McDonald’s restaurant. Guinness World Records

Gorske now buys his burgers in batch orders (his form of meal prep), rather than visiting a McDonald’s every day. Toss a cold Big Mac in the microwave, and for Gorske, that’s good enough.

His Big Mac fixation has earned him a reputation among friends and colleagues. When he began working as prison guard at a maximum-security prison in Wisconsin in 1986, Gorske tried to keep his food obsession under wraps. It didn’t last long, and soon enough everyone — guards and prisoners included — knew about his diet.

Gorske said some of his co-workers would even sneak him a Big Mac in the prison when he worked double shifts.

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“If I had a dollar for every time I was told where to stick my Big Macs, I could have retired 10 years sooner,” he joked.

In a 2022 video about his record, Gorske spoke about his propensity to stick with what he knows.

“When I like something, I stick with it all the time,” he said. “I’m not the type of person that tries new stuff.”

Gorske’s wife, Mary, told Guinness she was unaware of his Big Mac obsession when they first met. Gorske did, however, propose to her in a McDonald’s parking lot.

“As far as Don’s health, the doctors said it’s pretty good, actually,” Mary revealed. “His blood sugar has been normal. His cholesterol has been exceptionally good.”

Gorske said he stays in shape because he is “hyperactive” and does “a lot of walking,” often six miles (over 9.6 kilometres) per day.

Though Gorske is a record holder, it’s never been about only the accolades for him. In 2011, when he consumed his 25,000th Big Mac, Gorske told the Guardian he plans on eating the burgers until the day he dies.

“I have no intention of changing,” he said. “It’s still my favourite food.”

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Safe to say, it doesn’t seem like anyone will be coming for Gorske’s golden arches crown anytime soon. It might be worth connecting Gorske to fellow McDonald’s fan Kevin Maginnis, who last year went viral after he said he lost almost 60 pounds eating only McDonald’s food for 100 days.

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