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Nutrition Professor Loses Weight on Junk-Food Diet
It's been dubbed "the Twinkie diet" by the media: Mark Haub, a professor in Kansas State University's Department of Human Nutrition, has been surviving on junk food for the past month.
And, he's lost weight.
This might seem to fly in the face of conventional nutritional wisdom. After all, junk food results in weight gain, right?
Haub started the "Twinkie Diet" August 25. Since then, he's been eating mostly swiss cake rolls, blueberry muffins, cinnamon rolls, peanut butter Oreos, and hot dogs.
As well as the junk food, Haub has milk (for protein), and vegetables (for vitamins) with dinner.
By sticking to 1,800 calories a day - around 600-800 fewer than he'd need to maintain weight - Haub lost 10lbs in the first three weeks of his "diet."
It shouldn't come as such as surprise. After all, you could lose weight eating two candy bars a day: it's the calories-in verses calories-out which matter.
Haub isn't doing this because he's a junk-food addict - he admits missing salads and blue cheese. He's trying to open up debate about how people on a low income can't eat healthy (on the diet, his food costs have dropped to around $5/day):
It's unrealistic in some areas of society to expect that you can find fresh broccoli, tomatoes at a price that is affordable. If somebody can get their nutrients from a supplement and then they get their fuel from whatever is available, does it matter that they're not getting fruits and vegetables and whole grains? Is that okay?"
Of course, there are big nutritional questions to be asked about a diet which relies so heavily on sugary, salty, processed products. Nutrition is about a lot more than calories. Plus, most folks on a junk food diet would find themselves so hungry (due to sugar crashes and lack of fiber) that they'd be hard-pressed to stick to a calorie restriction.
What do you think? Is Haub's experiment an important one in a world where processed, packaged foods are often much cheaper than fresh ones? Or is this a dangerous way to diet?
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