Want to lose weight without giving up junk food?
It may sound too good to be true, but nutrition professor Mark Haub proved you can have your cake and eat it too – by putting himself on a “Snack Cake Diet” and losing 27 pounds in 2 months.
Haub, who teaches at Kansas State University, set out to prove that losing weight is simple: it’s all about how much you eat, not what you eat.
In other words, you can eat whatever you want, but you have to cut calories.
He tested the theory on himself, trimming his calorie intake from 2600 calories per day to 1800, and eating meals consisting of food typically found in vending machines.
According to his food diary, in an average day he would eat Duncan Hines brownies, Hostess Twinkies, Cool Ranch Doritos chips, Little Debbie cakes and Kellogg’s corn pops.
Haub started the diet on Aug. 25 as an experiment for his students, weighing in at 200.8 pounds with an “overweight” body mass index (BMI) of 28.8.
He kept track of the results on his Facebook page ”Prof Haub’s Diet Experiments.”
Haub posted this photo of his weight results on his Facebook page.
After two months of eating the “unhealthy food,” his weight dropped to 174 pounds, and his BMI is now a healthy 24.9.
Body weight pre= 200.8 lb; post = 174.2 lb (-26.6 lbs);
Body fat pre= 33.4%; post =24.9% (-8.5%)…
Surprisingly, in addition to his weight loss, his diet seems to have improved his other health stats.
Total cholesterol: Pre=214; wk10=184
LDL-C: pre=153; wk10=123
HDL-C: pre=37; wk10=46
TC/HDL ratio: pre=5.8; wk10=4.0
TG:HDL ratio: pre=3.3; wk10=1.6
Glucose: pre=94; wk10=75
Blood Pressure: pre=108/71; wk10=104/76
Haub says his “bad” cholesterol, or LDL, dropped 30 points from 153 to 123, while his “good” cholesterol, or HDL, went up from 37 to 46 points. His triglyceride level, another measure of fat, dropped 39 percent.
“That’s where the headscratching comes,” Haub told CNN. “What does that mean? Does that mean I’m healthier? Or does it mean how we define health from a biology standpoint, that we’re missing something?”
Haub says the majority of his meals consisted of junk food. He did not drink much soda, drank a protein shake every day, and took a multivitamin daily.
He also ate vegetables, often a can of green beans, to be a good example to his kids, CNN reports. He didn’t do any special exercise regimen as part of the diet, sticking to the moderate activity he was accustomed to before he began the experiment.
Dietitian Dawn Jackson Blatner says it’s not surprising Haub saw health benefits in conjunction with his weight loss, even though he was eating heavily processed snack foods.
“When you lose weight, regardless of how you’re doing it — even if it’s with packaged foods, generally you will see these markers improve when weight loss has improved,” Blatner told CNN. However she warned against the idea that it would be a good idea to stick to the plan in the long term. “There are things we can’t measure…How much does [a lack of fresh fruit and vegetables] affect the risk for cancer? We can’t measure how diet changes affect our health.”
Though he has seen the results on his own body, even Haub isn’t recommending that overweight Americans run out and try his plan.
“I’m not geared to say this is a good thing to do,” he told CNN. “I’m stuck in the middle. I guess that’s the frustrating part. I can’t give a concrete answer. There’s not enough information to do that.”
He does, however, offer a warning to dieters who think they are eating healthy foods but have struggled to lose weight.
“There seems to be a disconnect between eating healthy and being healthy,” Haub said. “It may not be the same. I was eating healthier [before the diet] but I wasn’t healthy. I was eating too much.”