twinkies

Professor Loses 27 Pounds on a Junk Food Diet: Should You?

Have you heard of this guy? For 10 weeks, Mark Haub ate only junk food. He lost lots of weight, improved his cholesterol and got his BMI down to a healthy level. All by eating lots and lots of Twinkies. I am not kidding.

To make things even more interesting, he is a professor of human nutrition at Kansas State University. He had been burning the candle at both ends and not looking after his diet. He was eating healthily but too much. His BMI had crept up to 28.8 – anything above 24.9 is overweight and 30 is clinically obese, so he could be considered very overweight – not a great look for a professor of nutrition.

“I was eating healthier, but I wasn’t healthy. I was eating too much,” says Professor Mark Haub.

this is a photo of junk food

What did he eat on his junk food diet? He ate Twinkies and hostess cakes every three hours and fast food meals. He names Doritos chips, sugary cereals and Oreos as well. In total he lost 27 pounds or more than 12 kilos. That’s a lot of blubber!

He figured that he was simply eating too much. He figured out that he was consuming about 2600 calories a day and on his junk food diet, he changed that to about 1800.

According to an article from CNN, ‘Haub’s “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’.

“That’s where the head scratching comes,” Haub said. “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?”

He says that two thirds of his total diet came from junk food. “It’s a great reminder for weight loss that calories count,” she said. “Is that the bottom line to being healthy? That’s another story.”

Personally, I have found the same thing. Lately I have been eating very badly. Previously I ate a very healthy vegan diet, and did frequent detoxes. Check out this angelic post to see just how healthy I intended to be. I also exercised a lot, running at the gym, doing light weights and yoga and walking everywhere all the time. And yet, I was about 12 pounds or 5 kilos heavier than I am now.

this is a photo of mark haub

At the moment I am eating:

  • A fried egg and cheese sandwich for breakfast
  • A greasy toasted cheese and salad Subway for lunch
  • A gross packet meal such as a vegetarian frozen lasagna for dinner (I have Italian relatives who may disown me after reading that)
  • Snacks of potato chips, strawberry yoghurt, junky chocolate, many glasses of white wine

But maybe I am doing the right thing anyway? “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,” says CNN.

But what about my long term health? Could that suffer? Personally I have been feeling TERRIBLE since eating this way. I can barely get out of bed. I haven’t been sleeping well. I have no energy but my skin, hair and nails look fine – maybe even better!

“There seems to be a disconnect between eating healthy and being healthy. It may not be the same. I was eating healthier, but I wasn’t healthy. I was eating too much.”

So should you try a junk food diet? I wouldn’t recommend it. I would recommend portion control as something to attention if you feel you weigh too much. Here is a great resource that you might like to check out if you have trouble with over-eating.

It’s a book by a fellow blogger called Therapeutic Hunger and it details how to control your portions and hunger naturally. No tricks, gimmicks or foods to cut out.

Back to Professor Haub:

The Mayo Clinic confirmed the nutrient analysis of a sample daily menu of this junk food diet from his Facebook page:

  • 1,600 calories (he tries to stay under 1,800 calories a day)
  • 232 grams carbohydrate (56 percent of total calories)
  • 60 grams fat (33 percent of calories)
  • 44 grams protein (11 percent of calories)
  • 25 grams saturated fat (14 percent of calories)
  • 110 mg cholesterol
  • 1,290 mg sodium
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4 thoughts on “Professor Loses 27 Pounds on a Junk Food Diet: Should You?

  1. This was a very interesting post. I reread several times looking for what I call markers. Here’s what I found. Eating healthy and being healthy can be determined in several ways. The holistic way or the scientific way, the scientific way spells things out based on indexes that create averages, if one strictly follows these as he indicated they will be told they are healthy (taking away ones ability to choose for oneself) I see no wisdom in it. If you where a cell in a petri dish it might be. But short term results do not necessary indicate long term health. Anyone with half a brain knows that they are responsible for their own health and will not rely on others to dictate their eating habits. But if they have fallen into the bad habit of eating wrong it’s important to seek guidance, Personally I’d seek guidance from someone who practices what they preach not someone who will experiment with your health.

    • Great advice – thanks for your comment. I have always been a healthy eater: quinoa, no meat, brown rice, greens for breakfast – you name it! Lately I have been eating total junk (take away and fast food in small portions at every meal, next to no vegetables, lots of fat and processed food.) My weight has dropped by 12 pounds and I have never looked better. BUT the downside is: lack of energy, poor sleep, feeling stressed out. And my digestion has been quite unpredictable too, which is uncomfortable (bloating etc). The one take home for me from this process is that I needed to address my PORTION sizes, like this doctor here. If you eat healthily but too much it may be just as bad as eating junk. But I’m not a doctor! Thanks so much for your comment!

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