The Prof. Mark Haub Nonsense

This is not Prof. Mark Haub by the way. He’s got enough media attention I decided not to put up a picture of him. Yea I’m an ass. What else is new?

Ok I’ve had enough with people sending me emails with links to Prof. Mark Haub’s successful junk food weight loss journey and so I decided to slay the monster today. For those of you who don’t know who the hell Prof. Mark Haub is, click here to read about his credentials and below is an excerpt from the CNN article about him which will give you an idea as to why I am even writing this blog post.

“Over the summer Kansas State University nutrition professor Mark Haub decided it was time to drop some weight. Considering his profession and expertise, you’d think he would do it by ditching crummy foods and loading up on healthy stuff like fruits and vegetables. But Haub had other ideas.

He had a theory that simply cutting back on calories would be the key to weight loss, not the nutritional value of what he was eating. So for 10 weeks, Haub consisted on mostly Twinkies, Doritos, Oreo cookies, Diet Mountain Dew and other treats. He did mix in some carrots, green beans, celery and a protein shake as well. He limited himself to 1800 calories a day.” [Emphasis added]

I’m pretty sure you didn’t read the article and so here are some highlights.

On his “convenience store diet,” he shed 27 pounds in two months.

Haub limited himself to less than 1,800 calories a day. A man of Haub’s pre-dieting size usually consumes about 2,600 calories daily.

His body mass index went from 28.8, considered overweight, to 24.9, which is normal.

He now weighs 174 pounds.

Haub’s “bad” cholesterol, or LDL, dropped 20 percent

His “good” cholesterol, or HDL, increased by 20 percent.

He reduced the level of triglycerides, which are a form of fat, by 39 percent.

Haub’s body fat dropped from 33.4 to 24.9 percent.

Two-thirds of his total intake came from junk food. He also took a multivitamin pill and drank a protein shake daily. And he ate vegetables, typically a can of green beans or three to four celery stalks.

Some information from Dr. Haub’s Facebook page and basic math gives us the following numbers.

  • Haub stands 5 ft 10″ tall. (Calculated using his weight and BMI)
  • He started this 2 month journey at 201 lbs.
  • He lost 27 lbs in 10 weeks which equals a weight loss of 2.7 lbs per week.
  • 23.8 lbs of the 27 lbs he lost was fat mass. (Calculated using total weight lost and corresponding drop in body fat %)

Now for my thoughts.

1. The respect

First things first. Among the thousands of people who claim a diet does work or does not work without actually trying it, he decided to self-experiment which is commendable.

2. The craziness

Mark Haub is a 41 yr old nutrition professor with great educational credentials (MS in Exercise Science & PhD in Exercise Physiology) and respectable experience. But he started this 10 week ‘convenience store’ diet at 201 lbs and 33.4% body fat at a BMI of 28.8? Are you kiddin me? Why would anyone listen to this guy? Would you get financial advice from a guy who has a $ 100,000.00 debt? Then why would you get nutritional advice from a guy who is a fat ass himself? Craziness!

For those who can’t picture this.

3. The calorie conundrum

The article states that he ate less than 1,800 calories per day and that a man his size generally eats ~ 2600 calories to maintain his weight. If that is accurate then Haub was on a daily deficit of 800 calories at least. If we assume that he ate 1,800 calories/day, that would add up to a weekly deficit of 5,600 calories. A pound of fat is 3,500 calories and so he should have lost 1.6 lbs every week. But the article says he lost 27 lbs in 10 weeks. This works out to 2.7 lbs of weight loss per week. Considering that 23.8 lbs of of the 27 lbs lost was fat, there was little to no water loss. Also, there is no information available about any form of exercise that might have burnt any considerable amount of calories.

Hence clearly he was on a daily deficit of much more than 800 calories. As a matter of fact, in order to lose 2.7 lbs per week he had to be on a calorie deficit of ~ 1,350 calories. Assuming the 2,600 calorie number is accurate, Haub should have eaten ~ 1250 calories per day for 10 weeks in order to lose the 27 lbs!

For those who are not able to picture 1250 calories that is equivalent of one McDonald’s Chicken Club Sandwich with medium Fries and a medium Soda. So yea.. 1250 calories isn’t much and this proves that Haub went on an extreme low calorie diet which is definitely not sustainable for most people.

4. The results

His “bad cholesterol” or LDL dropped by 20% – His LDL dropped from 153 to 123 which isn’t much at all considering he lost a whopping 27 lbs. Also, judgement on this is reserved until the particle size of his LDLs have been measured. A high (processed) carb low calorie diet reduces your LDL but converts them into small dense particles which are lethal.

His “good cholesterol” or HDL increased by 20% – Once again this is not much at all. His HDL went from 37 to 46 which is not remarkable by any standards. I compared my blood work from the days of low-fat grain based eating to my blood work after starting to eat a low-carb, real food based diet (paleo/primal) per diet guidelines from Mark Sisson, Robb WolfRichard Nikoley and Martin Berkhan (IF). My HDL increased by a whopping 85% (39 to 72) for a weight gain of ~ 5 lbs!

He reduced the level of triglycerides, which are a form of fat, by 39 percent (120 to 75). – When you consume a surplus of calories (fat or carbs or protein), the body uses what it needs to fuel your activities and converts the rest to triglycerides (and subsequently stores it as fat). But when you are at a calorie deficit you are consuming lesser calories than is required by your body. This means that the body has no surplus calories to convert to triglycerides. As a matter of fact, your body taps into the body fat stores for energy resulting in fat loss.

So, once again, a 39% drop in triglycerides for a 27 lbs weight loss is shameful. I, once again, compared my blood work from the days of low-fat grain based eating to my blood work after starting to eat a low-carb, real food based diet (paleo/primal). My triglycerides dropped by a whopping 83% (170 to 29) for a weight gain of ~ 5 lbs!

The point I’m trying to make is that any time you lose weight your blood work improves. Period. The reason for this is that your body is at a calorie restricted state and there is little to no inflammation at any point of time. All the calories that are ingested are used up to fuel different activities and no surplus calories are available to cause any damage so to speak. This explains why Haub’s blood work improved but my beef here is that the improvement observed is extremely low considering the amount of weight loss (27 lbs out of which 24 lbs were fat!).

5. The media stunt

Now I obviously don’t know Dr. Haub personally and he’s probably a good guy and he probably meant well when he started this 2 month nonsense. He says his goal was to emphasize the importance of portion control and wanted to test if food quantity mattered more than food quality when it comes to fat loss. That’s awesome Mr. Phd but you need to use your head before you do such a public stunt. You need to think deeply about the effect this will have on the lay person before you embark on a journey to junktown. Whether you like it or not, whether you intended it or not most people seem to have taken home this message – “Eating junk food is not bad for me! I can eat twinkies and kit kats and sugary cereals and still get healthier by the day!”.

6. The concern

I’m obviously not worried about the health conscious folks out there who will take this with a grain of salt but I’m definitely petrified for the average fat diabetic who reads the title “Junk food diet that works” while he mindlessly browses the internet at about 3 pm on a Wednesday afternoon. The guy may be won’t take the article or it’s contents at face value but headlines like “Twinkie diet helps nutrition professor lose 27 lbs – CNN.com” and “Mark Haub’s twinkies diet amazes with results” stick and they appear as newsflashes in front of his eyes every time he is tempted to eat junk food (which we all know is an everyday happening these days!). This results in him convincing himself that it is OK to eat junk which results in, well, disaster!

7. The truth

  • The junk food diet works. But only when the consumer remains at a calorie deficit (an extremely high deficit in Haub’s case). Any calorie restricted diet, for that matter, works. There is a reason why “calories in should be less than calories out” is called the golden rule of fat loss.
  • Junk food (sugary treats and highly processed foods) have an addictive effect on the consumer that is even higher than cocaine.
  • A diet dominated by junk food does not nourish the body with the required vitamins, minerals and anti-oxidants which might result in long term internal damages which might prove to be irreversible and even fatal (cancer etc.).
  • Calorie restriction while on a diet which is high in empty calories is extremely hard to stick to and most people will fall off the wagon very quickly (at least when they are not the center of media attention!)
  • A diet built around high quality ingredients is extremely satiating in addition to adequately nourishing the body and hence sustainable in the long run.

8. The verdict

  • Food quantity (portion control) is an integral part of fat loss but in no way more important than food quality, especially when it comes to keeping the weight off and staying far away from the diseases of civilization.
  • High quality foods (even in a maintenance diet) reign supremacy over junk food (in a fat loss or maintenance or mass gain diet).
  • The take home from this study – “If junk food is all that is available, exercise extreme portion control.”
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81 responses to “The Prof. Mark Haub Nonsense

  1. sri November 9, 2010 at 12:03 am

    Couldn’t have asked for a better clarification. Great post…once again!

  2. Ranjani November 9, 2010 at 12:12 am

    Awesome post, Raj! You really nailed this dude down, eh?! I can’t believe people would take him seriously.

  3. Mr.Weightloss November 9, 2010 at 5:21 am

    Thanks for great post : )

  4. Mahesh November 9, 2010 at 6:49 am

    Right timing! I was listening on NPR this morning about this guy while I was driving to work. For a second I thought what crap!! and I see your post. Yea its total nonsense and you have explained that very well! Im concerned with the repercussions of this as some of the folks, especially who are unfit might start following this immediately…

  5. Anand November 9, 2010 at 1:25 pm

    I found the original article quite interesting.
    The professor did not eat a wholly twinkie diet, but only a 2/3 of a twinkie diet.
    1/3 was made up of vegetables and protein shakes and multivitamins.
    So he was not really very low on nutrients as would happen on a purely twinkie diet.
    He did get sort of adequate protein.
    Initially I was thinking how did he manage to lose weight, because losing weight on a high carb diet is very very difficult and would not be sustainable even for the 2 months he was on it.
    The protein shakes allowed him to keep the diet and also stay fulfilled on a very low calorie diet of 1250.
    Although much of the 800kcal he was getting from the diet was from carbs, but it still means only about 150gm carbs. Not entirely high carb.
    His results do make sense if you think about it as a moderate carb, low fat, moderate protein diet.
    The professor also realized that what he was doing was not entirely healthy.

    • RG November 9, 2010 at 2:45 pm

      Anand,
      1. The only vegetable matter I see that he consumed was baby carrots worth 18 caloriest. The article states… “And he ate vegetables, typically a can of green beans or three to four celery stalks. ” Be it carrots or beans or celery stalks he consumed less than 30 calories worth of vegetable matter per day which is ~ 2% of his calorie intake.

      2. Don’t forget the diet soda that was a part of his diet which doesn’t show up in the calorie counts. These damages caused by soda (and diet soda) is multi-fold. A simple google search will give you enough information on that.

      3. The muscle milk that he consumed is in no way considered an healthy option FYI. And one protein shake is in no way enough to keep you fulfilled. Protein has a high satiating effect, yes. But liquid food is extremely quickly metabolized by the body which voids the satiating effect so to speak. 220 calories worth of eggs satiated you much longer than a swig of muscle milk.

      4. You need to keep in mind that Haub is a big guy. 1250 calories is 45% of the maintenance calories. My 1yr old puppy weighs 11 lbs and eat ~ 150 calories a day. Sure he is satiated. But if I cut his calorie intake by 55% his immunity will break down almost instantly.

      5. The “professor” better know what he was doing wasn’t entirely (??) healthy. But being a professor (and doing a media stunt) means you have a certain responsibility. People will definitely try to copy you and any half decent teacher will always want to be a good role model.

      • anand srivastava November 11, 2010 at 6:55 am

        Where did I say that the diet was healthy. Of course it wasn’t. I was just trying to explain the fact that he did not lose as much muscle as he should have lost on such a diet. The only reason for that must be that he was getting protein through that shake. And probably those miniscule vegetables and multi-vitamin also helped.

        In science you have to explain everything, even the wierdest things that are happening. Unless you can do that, you are doing the same thing that the epidemiologists are doing. Another guy on the Whole Health Source blog explained why his HDL rose and LDL dropped. I am not saying there is any significance to the cholesterol numbers. It seems to me that those are the most meaningless numbers existing. But it is good to be able to explain the numbers.

  6. David November 9, 2010 at 3:10 pm

    Great post RG! I discussed the problems with this study on my new blog as well.

    http://ponderingthepreponderance.blogspot.com/2010/11/twinkie-diet-helps-nutrition-professor.html

    Cheers!

    David

  7. tarun November 9, 2010 at 3:14 pm

    We should offer him a diet of cookies loaded with hydrogenated oils(66%) and veggies + shakes(33%).

  8. CP November 9, 2010 at 5:59 pm

    This post should be published in the NY Times.

  9. Mark Haub November 10, 2010 at 6:38 am

    All great points. Please remember this is/was a project for students to discuss points as raised in this blog. All the points are valid and are or will be discussed in class. The media has their agenda, which tends to be different than mine — they want to highlight the “junk”, while my intent is to highlight gaps in our understanding of diet, health, and weight. Publicly, which this was not intended to be at the onset, the intent has been to get people to discuss diet and health issues, and given this blog and others, that intent has been achieved. I applaud the discourse and encourage further discussions regarding means to move our nation and world to improved health. From my perspective, people need to find means, or paths, that work for them. There are various scientifically tested ‘paths’, one of which is not the classroom project I chose, from low carbohydrate carnivorous to vegan.

    Thanks for posting the story and sparking discussion, cheers — Mark

    • RG November 10, 2010 at 8:18 am

      Thank you for stopping by professor.

      As much as I would appreciate your intent I’d say this still ended up becoming a media stunt… much like The Biggest Loser. The point of the experiment (which was to highlight gaps in our current nutrition) was lost and all focus was placed on how eating a ‘junk food diet’ can be beneficial to you.

      Like I mentioned in the post, I’m definitely not concerned about the health conscious folks (your students included) because they posses the ability to take the good from this. But what about the average joe who doesn’t know squat about nutrition? You can’t say that is not your concern because, now, this is in mainstream media and Joe and his equally stupid friends Matry, Willy and Brad will read it and pass it on to their families and so on and so forth.

      Considering this a nutrition project, I would recommend that you have a VAP done on yourself to check out the nature of the LDL particles. As low as your LDLs are, it would be interesting to see if they are Pattern A (big and fluffy and harmless) or Pattern B (small, dense and lethal).

    • Nigel Kinbrum November 10, 2010 at 8:57 am

      I would like to know how much hunger you had between meals on that diet.

      • Mark Haub February 18, 2012 at 5:29 am

        Sorry for the late reply, just caught this question…Not very much hunger, per se’, but missed warm/cooked meals.

  10. Stephan November 10, 2010 at 7:59 am

    Sorry, but I’m going to have to call BS on your analysis. I’m no fan of the fast food, and avoid it religiously.

    I have no problem with your numbers only with your conclusions. It is perfectly possible that the good professor augmented his regime with exercise. Equally plausible is that his summer holiday was particularly active. Either of these are more plausible conclusions for the stated caloric deficit, omissions in the article not withstanding.

    I’ve had good results on both caloric deficit and low carb diets. My personal preference is to eat sensibly and maintain caloric deficit through exercise(long distance barefoot running).

    Take care and good health

    • RG November 10, 2010 at 8:24 am

      Stephan,

      “I have no problem with your numbers only with your conclusions. It is perfectly possible that the good professor augmented his regime with exercise. Equally plausible is that his summer holiday was particularly active. Either of these are more plausible conclusions for the stated caloric deficit, omissions in the article not withstanding.”

      Very possible that he intensely exercised. As a matter of fact, exercise alone can explain the improved blood work. But unfortunately the article doesn’t even mention exercise. If he did exercise, it is nothing short of his duty (as a professor) to mention that in every interview. Once this story hit the mainstream media you know there will be a thousand idiots who will try it their way (30 donuts and 12 large pizzas a day with one multi vitamin and a protein shake… all while having their asses glued on to the couch!) and it is extremely important that every reader knows what exactly Haub did on a day to day basis during the 10 weeks.

      “I’ve had good results on both caloric deficit and low carb diets. My personal preference is to eat sensibly and maintain caloric deficit through exercise(long distance barefoot running).”

      Sensibly – being the key word here. More power to you my friend!

  11. RG November 10, 2010 at 2:37 pm

    Stephan and Prof Haub – This blog post has been linked in many websites today and in one of those websites a certain reader comments…

    “Of course nutritionists are going to say bad things about this diet. Its makes their profession look bad. I mean a guy ate junk food, lost weight and came away healthier. Who needs a nutritionist?”

    This kind of stupidity is exactly what I’m talking about. People do not (and will not) take the time to understand the message. They will take in whatever is glaringly obvious… and in this case… the glaringly obvious message is ‘Junk food is not unhealthy’.

    I’m not saying everyone is like this. This is just one published comment but think about the other thousand people who read this, dont comment but take he wrong message.

    Oh and this was from About.com: Nutrition! The comment can be found in the below web page if you’re interested.

    http://nutrition.about.com/b/2010/11/08/twinkie-diet.htm?nl=1

    I rest my case.

    • Mark Haub February 18, 2012 at 5:34 am

      Thanks for posting and raising the issue that public health messages can be misunderstood. You are spot on.

  12. Mike D November 10, 2010 at 3:47 pm

    Well one can consume lots of meat, fish, butter and cream. The excess calories won’t cause weight gain if your carbohydrate count is low ebough. That’s the only flaw I see here.

    • Nigel Kinbrum November 10, 2010 at 5:13 pm

      I’m afraid you’re wrong. Excess calories of dietary fat can be stored as body fat even if carbohydrate intake is zero. You need to do some reading other than Good Calories Bad Calories.

      Check the blogs “My Carb Sane-Asylum”, “Weightology” and “Adipo Insights” in my blog list.

      • anand srivastava November 11, 2010 at 8:42 am

        Not really for a recently carb addicted person.
        The zero glucose fat storage method is available, but it takes a long time to get adapted to it. For some people it may take an year.

        Till you get adapted fat is free. It gets converted to ketones and thrown out in the pee. Once you get adapted then you have to look after your total calorie consumption including fat.

      • Nigel Kinbrum November 11, 2010 at 9:00 am

        Anand, I can’t reply to your reply so I’m replying here.
        “Till you get adapted fat is free. It gets converted to ketones and thrown out in the pee.”
        Only a little. Someone in moderate ketosis has ~7mmol/L of ketones in their urine (I have urine test strips and 7mmol/L is moderate ketosis). As one mole of acetone weighs 58g, this means that there is 0.406g of acetone in 1L of urine.

        If someone urinates on average 2L/day, this means that they have lost 0.812g of acetone/day. As acetone contains ~5kcals/g, 4.06kcals are lost/day.

      • anand srivastava November 11, 2010 at 12:11 pm

        I don’t know the numbers. I was saying this based on my experience and others I have read about.

        I could eat a lot when I was losing weight on a low carb diet (which was low carb only in the evening), but now when I am at maintenance I cannot eat as much.

  13. Tess November 10, 2010 at 11:00 pm

    I found the Professor’s food log on livestrong.com (or at least I’m pretty sure that it is actually his): http://www.livestrong.com/thedailyplate/diary/who/haub/

    I downloaded the data and found that between Aug 25 and Nov 8 he actually ate an average of 1486 calories per day, with an average of 171 g of carbohydrates (81 from sugar), 61 g of fat, and 54 g of protein.

    I was curious to compare his food diary to the weights and body compositions given on his DEXA scans and final body fat percentage, so I broke down the data into 3 time periods (Aug 25-Sept 13, Sept 14-Sept 22, and then Sept 22-Nov 5).

    From Aug 25-Sept 13 he ate an average of 1520 calories/day. The total amount of calories over the 20 days was 30,404 cals. Assuming that he is burning 2600 calories/day as given in the article, he would have ended up with a deficit of 21,597 calories during this time period or ~6.17 lbs of fat lost. According to his DEXA scans he actually lost 5.97 lbs of fat, which is close. He also lost 3.45 lbs of muscle during this time, though!! I’ve read, but not been able to confirm that a lb of muscle stores ~600 calories (as opposed to the 3500 in fat). In order to explain his total loss of fat and muscle he would have needed a deficit of 22,965 calories, which isn’t too far off from the calculated one. I would say that within error bars of how many calories he burns during a day, and how well he is able to measure his calorie intake, this loss can be explained pretty well.

    The second time period is a bit more confusing, though. From Sept 14-Sept 21 he ate an average 1414 cals/day with a total calorie intake of 12,480. Assuming that he is burning 2600 calories/day again, he would have ended up with a deficit of ~8300 calories. According to DEXA he lost 5.82 lbs of fat and just 0.41 lbs of muscle. In order to explain that fat and muscle loss he would have needed a calorie deficit of 20,600 calories during this time period. More than twice his actual deficit! What was going on here?? I took a quick look at the foods he ate during this time and didn’t see anything obvious. I also didn’t see any higher exercise.

    For the third time period (Sept 22-Nov 5) he had an average 1495 cals/day with a total intake of 64,279 cals. With the same metabolism of 2600 calories burned/day he would have a total deficit of 47,520 calories. He lost 11.63 lb fat and 0.6 lb muscle during this time (calculated from the body fat percentage he gave on facebook on the 5th) The calorie deficit needed for these numbers is 41,700 calories. So, it looks like he wasn’t burning as much each day, which would be expected if his weight dropped. The new estimate for a 174 lb man is 2490 calories. Plugging this in says that he had a deficit of 42,791 calories, which is closer to the 41,700 needed to explain his loss.

    So, a few things stand out to me. #1 How did he manage to not lose a lot of muscle? #2 Why did he have a large muscle drop at first? #3 Why was the second period I analyzed so off?

    • RG November 11, 2010 at 8:58 am

      Excellent analysis Tess. My answer to your questions.
      1. Losing predominantly fat is pretty common when the subject has a considerably high percentage of fat mass to begin with. Also, the lack of any chronic cardio aids muscle preservation. No surprises here.

      2. The large drop of muscle at first might have been an error in calculation (even with DEXA). Considering that Haub did not do any resistance training, it is highly unlikely that he gained back the muscle he lost.

      3. I have no clue bout this one!

      • Mark Haub February 18, 2012 at 5:39 am

        Great analysis and thank you Tess. Remember that the 2,600 value was an estimate – I have no idea how accurate that estimate is/was. Also, DXA measures fat mass, bone mass, and fat-free mass (not muscle mass), thus I would contend that some of the “lean” mass was water due to the lower carbohydrate intake. Thank you for taking the time to investigate this thoroughly 🙂 Your adjustment with #3 is spot on as well, as energy expenditure changes over time with weight loss.

    • Mark Haub February 18, 2012 at 10:04 am

      Tess, If I were you, I would, also, question the 3,500 kcals/pound of fat (assuming 9 kcals per gram, that equates to over 4,000 kcals/lb of fat). Moreover, the 2,600 value that many used in their calculations was an estimate by Madison Park, the writer of the CNN article. Thus, Dr. Oz and many others were making claims of inaccuracy using a likely inaccurate number. The scale and DXA were what they were with no adjustments throughout. Thus, the dietary input and the weight outputs are known quantities, I am not sure why some were using an estimate to anchor their calculations.

      For exercise, I tried to maintain 90 min/wk, which consisted of riding bike to work 1-2 days/wk, playing with kids, lifting weights (20-30 pounds, 2 sets of push/pulls upper and lower body — lunges, squats mainly). Also, during the first week, I lost about 5 lbs totals with much of that occurring in one day as I was the lead cyclist for a 10k road race and it was a warm day and I did not go above 1,800 kcals. I am not sure it is still visible on Livestrong.com or not, but there was a noticeable dip during that week for those who took the time to view the data for themselves. Hope that helps, even though this is VERY after-the-fact.

      All that minutia aside, the project created immense discussion (rightly and wrongly), I received numerous thanks and criticisms, many changed their lifestyle with the aim of improved health and most limited the foods I used, and my own health (no more sleep apnea) and relationship with food improved. While this may not have been the best means of food education for all, it was beneficial for some and numerous classes across the world used as a learning opportunity. Bear in mind that the message of the year was sugar/carbs are significant contributors to obesity. Since then, a recent study (http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/22178258) illustrated that eating sweets (donut, cookie, or cake) with protein for breakfast elicited outcomes recommended/desired by many (notice I did not say healthy). Thanks again for taking the time to sift through the data — Mark

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  15. Steve Cooksey November 11, 2010 at 4:20 am

    I like the “experiment” but I do dislike the “message” it is sending or at least the spin the press is spinning with it.

    In my own n=1 experiment, I have not seen evidence that 3500 calorie deficit = one pound weight loss.

    One note, I see calculations with people using 2600 calories per day…as if that never changed.
    That may have been the calorie expenditure at the onset of his experiment…but as he lost weight/fat… obviously this number would decrease.

    Cheers.

  16. Lavanya November 11, 2010 at 8:06 am

    Whilst I see the Prof thinking something radical will bring about a dialogue about nutrition and fitness and so on, what really happens is that it gets reported in the media as “Twinkie Diet: It WORKS!”. Just like Raj predicted, screaming masses descend on every sweetshop in town and let it rip. Genius!

    It worries me when PhD in nutrition types end up staging stunts like this. The only thing that anyone will ever remember from this so-called experiment is that the highly educated chappie that ate chocolates and not much else ended up losing weight. After all, our society is one that needs the statutory warning of “CONTAINS NUTS” on a jar of peanuts! Imagine what havoc we can do with this level of mis-information?

    http://www.blogher.com/weight-loss-its-not-about-twinkies-stupid

    • RG November 11, 2010 at 8:59 am

      “After all, our society is one that needs the statutory warning of “CONTAINS NUTS” on a jar of peanuts! ”

      This!

      • anand srivastava November 11, 2010 at 12:15 pm

        Maybe, we have lived too long without the survival of the fittest kicking in. And we are dumbing down the generation. The Twinkie diet might cause some selection for a change.

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  18. Jess November 14, 2010 at 4:41 pm

    First of all why is it when someone does something first a bunch of haters trying pulling them down. Instead of looking at the negative of what he has done why not concentrate on the positive. You’ve quoted his comments and article but you managed to leave out the bit where he clearly said he cannot say that the diet is healthy or unhealthy.

    What this guy has done has allowed a group of struggling dieters breath a sigh of relief. We can now stop hating our selfs for eating that ‘bad’ food people like you have forbidden us from eating. We can now stopping thinking of ourselves as less than human beacuse we gave into our craving and had a packet of crisp. For yours I have stuggled to lose weight reading articles like the crap you’ve written brain washing me into beliving that unless I get rid of my favourite foods and start eating low carb, low fat, low sugar, high fibre etc diets I shall never have my rock solid body like you are those in the media.

    People like you have set an unachievable standard for weight loss that normal people with a busy and hectic life cannot attain. Now someone has come along and simplfied the journey to weight loss to us. He has shown us that we showed not feel guilty if we can’t compeletly inradicated that one bar of chocolate or packet of crisp from our diet. He has showed us that we can enjoy eating healthy only if we do it in MODERATION. After reading his article I am now for the first in my life enjoying my new healthy eating lifestyle. I am now able to call it a lifestyle as I shall not be limiting anything from my diet but instead finding a way to balance my healthy foods with my favourite treats.

    So before you start spreading your negative views think of the good he has actually done and stop assuming the ‘Lay person’ is stupid. We know that his message is all about moderation.

    • RG November 15, 2010 at 4:26 pm

      Jess,
      I’m happy that you got the message from the study (which was rather hidden inside all the media crap) but my point is that the message will be overlooked by most people.

      Now, all nutritionists mean well. We write about the good and bad there is in foods and encourage you to eat the foods which have more good than bad. Period. We may all differ (low carb vs high carb vs paleo vs vegan etc etc.) but then the idea is to help people eat healthy overall. Some approaches work for you… some dont. It’s up to you (the consumer) to find what works for you. In this case, I’m happy that you found yours.

      But before you come and shit on my floor remember to read my other posts and my recommendations with respect to food intake. Anyone who reads my blog will tell you that I recommend a very laid back approach towards dieting (not calorie counting etc.) and emphasize that everything should be in moderation… including moderation. I’ve recommended cheat meals and occasional carb binges (reloads) many times since they are extremely healthy for the dieter from a physical and psychological stand point.

      “People like you have set an unachievable standard for weight loss that normal people with a busy and hectic life cannot attain.”

      But this I have to call BS on. I work full time and maintain a blog and train clients and do hours of nutrition and exercise related research everyday. I’ve come across clients who have 2 full time jobs and kids and still manage to stay in top shape. What you’ve written here is nothing but another pathetic excuse for sitting on your ass all day and eating Doritos (or twinkies?).

      I believe in ‘teaching’ my clients how to eay as opposed to giving them a stupid diet. Every diet will stop working at some point. Only a lifestyle change involving an overall understanding of nutrition will present you with lifelong health and wellness.

      If you don’t think my reply to your comment was satisfactory, here is an open challenge. Consult with me for 10 weeks. I’ll show you body composition (fat loss or whatever that is you are looking for) and lipid profile results that you have never seen in the past… all while keeping you extremely happy without hunger pangs/headaches/fatigue. Heck… I’ll even do this free of charge. If you’re up for this… send me an email.

  19. Elisabeth November 15, 2010 at 12:38 pm

    Thirty years ago, this “study” wouldn’t have made such big news. After all, every other teenage girl was on this diet. It’s the very popular “I’m eating what I really want, but barely any of it” diet. The message here is not about moderation. It’s about laziness. It’s ridiculous to eat nonnutritive foodstuffs. In the end, I don’t care what this man, or for that matter, anyone does on his/her own terms, but don’t throw it around like it’s smart, or even normal to eat from the gas station.

    • RG November 15, 2010 at 4:27 pm

      “In the end, I don’t care what this man, or for that matter, anyone does on his/her own terms, but don’t throw it around like it’s smart, or even normal to eat from the gas station.”

      This!

  20. Weigth Loss in 28 Days November 18, 2010 at 10:26 am

    Breakfast
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  21. VAPORIZER November 22, 2010 at 11:56 am

    Junk food is good for stoner, but even there, you cannot eat dorito’s for 10 weeks ? I guess he’s kind of a super-stoner…

  22. David Slade November 25, 2010 at 7:53 am

    Energy expenditure reduces with weight so a 1250 calorie diet is still insufficient to achieve a 27 pound loss in 12 weeks. At the end of the diet Prof Haub should have been burning around 160 calories less than when he started, just because he was lighter.
    The principle that weight loss will take place whatever the diet, just as long as there is an energy deficit will be obvious to anyone with a basic understanding of science. However, it’s curious that anyone would claim to be on a sub 1800 calorie diet when to achieve the weight loss claimed they would need to be on a sub 1200 calorie diet. The idea that the missing 600 calories per day could be made up by additional exercise is ridiculous. That’s a lot of exercise and why hasn’t he mentioned it?
    The principle is correct and it is possible to lose 2 stone in 2 months on a diet of twinkies but if we can find a flaw in the only part of the story that’s verifyable it does make the rest of the results somewhat suspect I think.

    • Mark Haub, PhD August 18, 2012 at 9:20 am

      David, you may view the daily dietary intake at Livestrong.com (I think it is still there). Your point is correct, but your application is not. It is the same error that Dr. Oz and others make/made, they use an estimate to derive an actual outcome vs using the outcome itself. That is, I weighed myself, recorded everything I ate, I exercised ~90 min/wk, and all that led to the wt change that was observed. If the amount of weight/fat lost didn’t exactly follow a prediction equation, then it illustrates why they are predictions (averaged measurements from a group applied to a different individual). I did exercise weekly and it is stated in all that I write (I didn’t write the media articles), I tried to maintain about 90 min/wk of walking, cycling and wt lifting. If you notice in the Livestrong diary, there was 1 day where I exceeded the typical expenditure (about 45-60 min in one day) at the end of week 1 or beginning of week 2. If you look at the data, my wt loss was the same over the first 4 weeks (~13 lbs) as it was over the last six. Thus, illustrating your point. While lighter, I was still expending more than ingesting. Had I continued eating about 1,600 kcals with the amount of kcal expenditure, at some the asymptote would have been reached and weight stability would have insued.

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  26. Kevin January 14, 2011 at 6:57 pm

    “Why would anyone listen to this guy? Would you get financial advice from a guy who has a $ 100,000.00 debt? Then why would you get nutritional advice from a guy who is a fat ass himself? Craziness!”

    Just because he wasn’t healthy, doesn’t mean he knows nothing about human nutrition. For god’s sake, he has a PhD in the field of human nutrition and he’s an active professor at a university, I’m pretty sure we should consider his advice more reliable (or at least based on research) than whatever you came up with.

    Ever met a medical doctor who wasn’t the healthiest? You saying you wouldn’t trust their advice? Well, this guy has a PhD in this… meaning he is the person conducting the research in nutrition.

    • RG January 15, 2011 at 12:49 am

      Practice what you preach. If you can’t then there’s something wrong with what you preach.

      Unhealthy medical doctors? You’re kidding me right? No way in hell I’d trust ’em!

  27. Metronome49 February 15, 2011 at 9:53 am

    What a bunch of crap your spewing off about.

    Seriously, you try and discredit the guy’s research because he’s fatter than you? He’s a nutritional expert, not a personal trainer. He studies how nutrition works, and reports, why does it matter if he practices what he learns? It’s so off-base and egotistical.

    And then saying 1250 calories is what’s in this fast food meal, loaded with calories – doesn’t look like much. Well, it doesn’t look like much when you’re eating needlessly high calorie food, with a soda that’s likely a quarter of the calories. If you take food that isn’t so high calorie, and a glass of water next to it, it looks like a lot more. I don’t see what that comment is supposed to prove. That a 1250 calorie diet isn’t sustainable on McDonald’s value meals?

    This isn’t a proposed diet, and noone trying to lose fat should think this is a good soultion for doing that. What it proves well is, consuming less calories than you burn will make you lose fat, no matter what those calories are, which is valuable research, since there are lots of people preaching that it’s the type of calories you eat.

    I’m not sure you even understood the point of the entire thing…

    • RG February 15, 2011 at 10:02 am

      Please educate yourself about “nutrition” before you comment. Weight loss/fat loss and nutrition are two different things. Calories in vs. calories out is not the be all end all of health. There are people who are fat not because they eat too much… but because they eat the wrong foods. I work with people day in and day out with issues as such. Please… do some more research before you throw words around.

  28. jake March 1, 2011 at 7:35 am

    I don’t think it’s fair to judge a person’s knowledge just because he’s not “skilled” in that area.

    For example, a great coach might not be a great player, but he has the knowledge to create great players.

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  30. S Jha June 3, 2011 at 8:01 pm

    Raj,

    You clearly missed the intended message of his study- nor did you read his detailed commentary afterwards. Stop being an idiot and get off your high horse. As evidenced by your critique, and your endless spouting of 3500 cal = 1 pound of fat loss, when in deficit, illustrates your lack of perspective of the bigger picture. Enjoy the gradiosity of basking in your own ignorance.

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    Thx.

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  49. Pawe August 18, 2012 at 6:02 am

    You are 5’7 and 145lbs, why would anyone take advice from a little shit like you? Dont get mad im just using your logic here….I wouldnt call his work “nonsense” and whos to say this way of losing weight isnt sustainable? Maybe not for you because you have these “whole food organic my shit doesnt smell” believes but for someone who isnt so caught up in the “healthy” lifestyle blackwhole maybe they would flourish on it because it is more satisfying for them to eat junk then your latest greens shake or quinoa dish and would be more happy doing so?
    Also say what he did was not healthy? Hes at a lower body weight with a better blood profile hmmm yeah must be realy harming him….Even if you think about it 10 weeks is a drop into the bucket in regards to his entire life is nothing so even eating *GASP* processed foods was so terrible for you it probably will not have a lasting effect – he wasnt smoking meth and drinking gasoline here….
    I could go on forever about the massive knot in your panties and why your critique sucks balls but instead i say GOOD DAY!

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