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Kansas State University professor loses 27 pounds on Twinkie diet

twinkies_optBY PAM LOBLEY
NEWJERSEYNEWSROOM.COM
NOW THAT'S FUNNY

Yes, I know, it sounds like a headline for the Enquirer, but it's true. And the guy has science to back it up.

Mark Haub, a Professor of Human Nutrition at Kansas State University, put himself on a strict diet: one Twinkie every three hours. He gave himself variety by also eating Little Debbie Cakes, sugary cereals, and Doritos.

Dude! No beer?

Mr. Haub was conducting an experiment to prove that it is total calorie consumption, not the nutritional value of food that matters most when trying to control weight. As a scientist, he carefully documented everything he ate, paid attention to portion size, and limited himself to 1800 calories a day. His thesis proved correct: he lost 27 pounds.

In addition, his "bad" cholesterol dropped by 20 percent and his "good" cholesterol increased by 20 percent. Simply reducing his size by 27 pounds had made him healthier. He did eat some vegetables on this diet also, but no meat or whole grains or fruits. Before his junk food diet, Mr. Haub ate what he called a healthy diet that included whole grain fibers, fruits and vegetables. Obviously he was just eating too much.

Let's face it, portion control is out of control. Have you seen those ads for all you can eat fried shrimp at Red Lobster? Unlimited breadsticks at Olive Garden? I guess the thinking is, "I want to go to a lovely dinner and come home so stuffed I'm uncomfortable. Then I'll know I got my money's worth!"

My all-time favorite "too much is not enough" food is the cheese-filled crusts at Dominos pizza. As if pizza isn't enough fun on its own, they've chosen to inject their thick, doughy crusts with globs of melted cheese. They have a pie called the Wisconsin, which features six kinds of cheese on top and two kinds inside the crust. Sales have soared for Dominos with these cheesier pizzas, but one slice has as much as two-thirds of the minimum daily requirement of saturated fat. ONE SLICE. Who eats one slice of pizza? So, you eat two, or more, slices of those for dinner, and maybe a salad, and you just gained weight.

"Serving size" is something we all need to think about. A serving size is: ½ cup of mashed potatoes, or a scoop of pasta about the size of your fist. Your meat, fish or poultry should be the size of the palm of your hand. One small pancake, the size of CD, is a serving. I don't want to tell you how many "servings" my boys ate this morning.

A Twinkie has 150 calories, and just 5 grams of fat. Hostess has not changed the size of Twinkies since the old days, when people were thin. OK, they may be filled with sugar and additives, but they are the right size. Mr. Haub's point is well-taken: stop putting so much food on your plate.

On a side note, I ate a ton of Twinkies when I was pregnant. I ate nutritious food, too, but I craved Twinkies and ate several every week. I had two very healthy boys. I'm just saying.

Pam Lobley writes the "Now That's Funny" column. Sign up for her mailing list at pamlobley.com.

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Comments (1)
1 Wednesday, 19 January 2011 12:37
Bob Maliwanka
I appreciate your comments on this story. In general the media treats it like a joke and nutritionists are in hysterics fearing that people will stop eating fruits and veggies. However, I believe that this is one of the most important "studies" on weight loss that we have seen. Rather than silver bullet type diets, it shares the correct message that IT'S THE TOTAL CALORIC INTAKE, STUPID. It is not much more complicated than that. People don't need more information or education, they need more motivation/self control.

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