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The Twinkie Diet?!? WTF?

Contributed by Courtney Horan, Author of the healthy living blog Sweet Tooth, Sweet Life. 
So yesterday afternoon, a co-worker of mine brought an article to my attention that I immediately had to check out; as soon as I read it, I thought it would be rather interesting to share with all of you this morning…
Turns out, there is a man who decided to follow a 10-week diet that consisted mainly of this stuff:


Yes my friends, that is Twinkies.
Instead of eating regular meals, Mark Haub, a professor at Kansas State University, ate snacks consisting of Twinkies, Little Debbie Snack Cakes, and other convenience store “treats” every three hours.

The information that followed in the article was rather interesting:
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.
No joke.
Granted, there was one underlying factor in his “class project” that played a huge part in his results: he limited himself to less than 1,800 calories a day. A man of his size should normally consume 2,600 calories in a day.
But even still, I continued to become more intrigued as I read through the rest of the article:
  • His BMI dropped from 28.8 – 24.9.
  • His “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.
Although Haub took a multivitamin pill, drank a protein shake daily, and ate vegetables (i.e., a can of green beans or 3-4 celery stalks), 2/3 of his total intake of food came entirely from junk food. Take a look at a “sample day” for Haub during this experiment:
Espresso, Double: 6 calories; 0 grams of fat
Hostess Twinkies Golden Sponge Cake: 150 calories; 5 grams of fat
Centrum Advanced Formula From A To Zinc: 0 calories; 0 grams of fat
Little Debbie Star Crunch: 150 calories; 6 grams of fat
Hostess Twinkies Golden Sponge Cake: 150 calories; 5 grams of fat
Diet Mountain Dew: 0 calories; 0 grams of fat
Doritos Cool Ranch: 75 calories; 4 grams of fat
Kellogg’s Corn Pops: 220 calories; 0 grams of fat
whole milk: 150 calories; 8 grams of fat
baby carrots: 18 calories; 0 grams of fat
Duncan Hines Family Style Brownie Chewy Fudge: 270 calories; 14 grams of fat
Little Debbie Zebra Cake: 160 calories; 8 grams of fat
Muscle Milk Protein Shake: 240 calories; 9 grams of fat 

Totals: 
1,589 calories and 59 grams of fat
Although Haub never commits to saying whether the “Twinkie Diet” is neither healthy or unhealthy, he does admit to the fact that this is not a healthy way of living and eating. Thank goodness Mr. Professor. My stomach was churning after reading just a quarter of one of your sample days. Yikes! :shock:
While the premise of the article I found to be somewhat interesting, there are some overwhelming facts that hopefully anyone can see: The man significantly cut his recommended daily caloriesOF COURSE he’s going to lose weight!!!
If you’d like to check out the full article, you can click here.
In a world full of cheap fast-food fare, convenience store treats, and on-the-go families, I’m sure there is more of this type of eating going on than we’d like to admit. Also unfortunate, is that I’m sure there are probably people who will read this article and think, “Gee, that sounds like a great idea! Eat a diet full of empty calories and I can lose weight!”
But hopefully, as you read through this article the same thoughts crossed your mind, as they did mine:
  • This is just GROSS!
  • It is definitely no way to eat!
  • Bring on the fruits, veggies, whole grains…and peanut butter!
Ok…maybe I wouldn’t be opposed to one zebra cake. We are all about a healthy,balanced lifestyle here, right? ;)
Edited to add: If you’re interested in reading more on the side effects of how one girl felt after eating similar foods for one week, check out my latest post, 
“The Big Junk Food Test“

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