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Is that right? Snack-filled diet yields 27-lb. weight loss

By Jennifer LaRue Huget

It's the calories, dummy.

You may have read recently about the Kansas State University nutrition professor who lost 27 pounds while eating a diet rich in... Little Debbies. Mark Haub reportedly went from 201 pounds to 174 pounds over two months; his meals were centered around packaged snacks, sweet and savory, such as can be bought in convenience stores. He augmented those snacks with canned green beans and celery sticks. He also took a multivitamin and drank a protein shake daily.

Haub's experience adds a new element to the ongoing question in nutrition circles: Should we focus on certain food groups, such as proteins or carbs, as keys to managing our weight, or in the end is losing pounds simply a matter of consuming fewer calories than you expend. Haub's weight loss seems to support the latter: Without changing his level of physical activity, he cut back from something like 2,600 to 1,800 calories a day.

Twinkies were one of the foods Haub ate in his snack diet test. (AP)

On top of that, Haub says other markers of health such as his levels of good and bad cholesterol and triglycerides have improved as he's lost weight. You can read more about his experiment on the Facebook page he set up.

Of course, Haub's short experiment doesn't shed light on the long-term effects of eating a diet filled with convenience-food staples. But to my mind it takes some of the angst and mystery out of the whole weight-loss equation. Eat less and you'll lose weight. Period.

What do you make of Haub's weight-loss experience? Are you likely to try a similar regimen yourself? (Or are you already on one?)

By Jennifer LaRue Huget  | November 12, 2010; 7:00 AM ET
Categories:  Is That Right?, Nutrition and Fitness, Obesity  
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Haub's point, as I understand it, is that what we choose to eat is divorced from whether we gain weight, and I simply don't buy it. Even if it worked for him, it's clear that millions of Americans are affected by not only by the quantities they eat, but also the substances.

What is more often overeaten, whole food or processed food? There are many reasons for that, but some of them are biochemical, and those reasons are even more significant for people with biochemical sensitivities to processed foods such as flour and refined sugar. I have these sensitivities, and I know a lot of people whom say that have them too.

In my opinion and experience, Haub's experiment betrays a lack of understanding about overeating, particularly among those who practice it most.

Posted by: marbs | November 12, 2010 9:53 AM | Report abuse

The point is that you can lose weight eating anything if the portion is small enough. That does not mean it's healthy. I could lose weight eating butter if I only ate 1200 calories of it per day. Of course that would not be nutritious at all. I have a coworker who is incredibly thin, but very unhealthy. I regularly see her eat things like candy and diet soda for breakfast and mashed potatoes and ice cream for lunch. Her portions are very small, but I have never seen her eat a fruit or vegetable. I am sure some people would love to trade places with her. Not me. I think it is more important to eat well and be at a healthy weight than eat crap and be super skinny.

Posted by: SweetieJ | November 12, 2010 10:41 AM | Report abuse

I think the most important thing about what you eat is how easy it is to overeat. I can eat an entire loaf of homemade bread with butter, it goes down so easy. But to eat the same calories of broccoli, cauliflower or lettuce is almost impossible. With diligence you can lose weight eating almost anything.
I lost 35 pounds and regularly ate at mcdonalds. I would buy a hamburger and small fries, no drink. It was incredibly inexpensive and it was filling. And I lost weight.

Posted by: fernva | November 12, 2010 12:12 PM | Report abuse

"..or in the end is losing pounds simply a matter of consuming fewer calories than you expend."

is it a rhetorical question?

i honestly don't understand why people are so confused about nutrition/weight loss/weight gain.

if you cut 800 calories out of your diet you're going to lose some serious weight.

and isn't it obvious that if you do it with the junk food diet you're not going to be very healthy?

Posted by: interestingidea1234 | November 12, 2010 12:34 PM | Report abuse

It's too bad that people can't focus more on how they feel than their appearance. Not only would we not have a weight problem in this country, but people would be eating a whole lot healthier. I can't imagine eating that junk for two months. I feel ill thinking about it. Like some of the other readers commenting, I cannot figure out why this is such a big shock. Didn't we already know that the more you eat the more weight you gain? Why doesn't he reduce to one Twinkie per day and see what happens? Will he lose even more weight?? I mean really... it's a no brainer.

Posted by: misha2 | November 13, 2010 6:07 AM | Report abuse

I'm sure this "junk food" diet raises the hackles of everyone who espouses a "healthy" diet, but it has two advantages over eating "real" food:

1. Portion control is a breeze. All the junk food is a standard size; you don't have to measure every serving of junk food the way you have to measure real food.

2. Calorie counting is also a breeze: just read the nutrition label. With real food, you have to measure out the portion and then consult a reference table to convert to Calories.

Posted by: rlguenther | November 13, 2010 10:52 AM | Report abuse

Weight loss can be so simple, when people don't make it hard...:
Eat less, of higher quality foods.
Get up and MOVE more.
Take supplements to get "over the hump" when needed.
Unfortunately, most supplements do one of 2 things:
1. trick your body into thinking you're full when you're not. This is

2. rev up your metabolism, and we've all read about how dangerous this can

A new set of supplements uses Leptin - the hormone your cells release to

tell your brain "we're full".
Our modern lives - stress,poor eating, etc. - mess with our body chemistry,

and sometimes those messages don't get through.
Leptin supplements, like Mandura TRIM, help cut through the 'clutter' and

make sure your brain knows when to stop eating. Naturally.
Safe, effective, and Clinically Proven.
Find out more at:

Posted by: JonRPatrick | November 13, 2010 2:50 PM | Report abuse

3 YEARS AGO I created a plan that allows for a substantial amount of junk food to be eaten every day (unlike Dr. Haub, my plan includes all other foods as well). Since that time I have lost 35 pounds I could not lose through calorie reduction and "eating healthy" and all of my blood readings have GREATLY improved -- so Dr. Haub's 10 week results are no fluke and my experience is they can be maintained (I have) -- however my plan accomplished this WITHOUT REDUCING CALORIES AND WITHOUT ANY FOOD RESTRICTIONS but instead focused on IMPROVING MY METABOLISM by TIMING my eating to align with my body's natural metabolic cycle.

Since that time I have started a practice called the EET Fitness Plan (Eating and Exercise TIMING) that helps people lose weight this way and have many succesful clients including type 2 diabetics, Children who were obese and more recently a Doctor (MD - OBGYN) was very successful--many have written testimonials on EET's blog and website, so you can see the details for yourself if you like.

Statistics say that 98% of diet efforts fail -- yet fast foods and junk foods thrive like never before -- wouldn't it make more sense to design your plan to allow any food you love?

No, the answer to weight loss and fitness does not lie in eating less, or restricting certain types of foods, it lies in TRAINING YOUR METABOLISM to be able to handle more calories OF ALL TYPES per day, and EET (Eating and Exercise TIMING) Fitness has proven OVER 3 YEARS across a broad range of people of all age groups (including diabetics, children who were obese and older individuals as well as an M.D.) that focusing on METABOLISM is the answer to effective SUSTAINABLE WEIGHT LOSS AND FITNESS WITHOUT CALORIE COUNTING OR FOOD RESTRICTIONS.

Training your metabolism to handle more food is clearly a better way, and this can be accomplished by shifting the TIMING of your eating and exercise to better align with your natural metabolic cycle.

Caloric deficit dieting is a huge cause of weight gain as it is very difficult to maintain and causes metabolism to slow. Basically it puts you in a jail that to lose weight you will have to eat less and less and exercise more and more. That’s not healthy.

EET Fitness

Posted by: EETFITNESS | November 13, 2010 11:24 PM | Report abuse

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