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Eat Twinkies, Lose Weight!

Eat Twinkies, Lose Weight!

Move over, “nothing but potatoes” diet, there’s a new crazy diet in town.

The twinkie.

For 10 weeks, Mark Haub, a professor of human nutrition at Kansas State University, ate one of these sugary cakelets every three hours, instead of meals. To add variety in his steady stream of Hostess and Little Debbie snacks, Haub munched on Doritos chips, sugary cereals and Oreos, too.

His premise: That in weight loss, pure calorie counting is what matters most — not the nutritional value of the food.

The premise held up: On his “convenience store diet,” he shed 27 pounds in two months.

For a class project, Haub limited himself to less than 1,800 calories a day. A man of Haub’s pre-dieting size usually consumes about 2,600 calories daily. So he followed a basic principle of weight loss: He consumed significantly fewer calories than he burned.

His body mass index went from 28.8, considered overweight, to 24.9, which is normal. He now weighs 174 pounds.

But you might expect other indicators of health would have suffered. Not so.

Haub’s “bad” cholesterol, or LDL, dropped 20 percent and his “good” cholesterol, or HDL, increased by 20 percent. He reduced the level of triglycerides, which are a form of fat, by 39 percent.

Haub didn’t eat just junk food — he added a protein shake, a multivitamin, and a vegetable to his daily intake.  And he paid careful attention to the amount of calories he was ingesting, which was lower than his normal caloric intake.

But what’s important to note is that in essence, Haub did a modified but traditional diet — he limited his calories to be less than the amount he burned, he made sure to get all of the necessary vitamins needed daily, and he included moderate physical activity.

The real issue with his diet, and with Voigt’s promotional “potato diet,” is that what they are doing isn’t how people eat in the real world.  People who eat mostly junk food aren’t counting their calories while they do it to make sure that they burn off the right amount.  And people don’t complain about potatoes being too large of a part of children’s diets at school because potatoes are always unhealthy, but because in the cafeteria they are receiving their vegetables almost entirely in the form of french fries.

As a thought exercise, if these news stories can convince people that they can eat healthy by consuming moderate amounts of the foods they love as part of a larger healthy, balanced diet, that’s wonderful.  But as singular diets themselves, they are overall as healthy as can be — to the unhealthy person’s mental state as much as their physical one, as they will never learn how to properly eat.

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94 comments

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5:28AM PST on Nov 21, 2010

Interesting. He was also doing a lot of healthy nutritional intake as well and exercise from what it sounds like and i'm sorry but the majority of the people who eat twinkies are not out there exercising and counting calories! Plus there is no substitute for a good vegetable or fruit.

10:20PM PST on Nov 20, 2010

Interesting :-)

1:58AM PST on Nov 14, 2010

Get for real.

10:47PM PST on Nov 13, 2010

It worked for him and he incorporated vegetables a multi-vitiman and exercize, there were more comonents to this than just junk food.

2:31PM PST on Nov 13, 2010

It is a good diet if you want to die for a heart attack fast

8:18PM PST on Nov 12, 2010

THIS IS WHERE TRUE KNOWLEDGE PREVAILS. IF YOU BELIEVE THIS IS OVERALL GOOD, I'LL TELL YOU ANOTHER ONE!

1:06PM PST on Nov 11, 2010

Eat whatever you like..don't worry. be happy. and live life!

7:40PM PST on Nov 10, 2010

I've never liked twinkies. Yuck!

7:29PM PST on Nov 10, 2010

Oh boy, the junk food and fast food companies are going to go a mile with this one. I'll stick to trying to eat healthy even if I don't lose weight. What a world what a world.....

6:25PM PST on Nov 10, 2010

Yuk!

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