There has been a news story running around and is quite popular with some of the health and fitness blogs that I read on a regular basis. Mark Haub, a professor of Human Nutrition at Kansas State University, ate Twinkies, nutty bars or powdered donuts every 3 hours, instead of full healthy meals. He also had little debbie snacks, and Doritos, and a variety of other junk foods as well. What is he trying to prove? Weight loss is purely calories in vs. calories out, regardless of the nutritional value of the food. His “convenience store diet” gave him a weight lost of 27 pounds in 2 months.

Yes – this man lost 27 pounds eating Twinkies.

DO NOT TRY THIS AT HOME!

twinkie dietI am by no means recommending a Twinkies diet for weight loss. No way. No how. Haub limited himself to 1800 calories when he should be consuming 2600 calories. That is a 800 calorie swing a day! A pound of body weight is the equivalent to 3500 calories. So having a deficit of 800 calories a day would yield a weekly deficit of 5600 pounds, or 1.6 lbs a week in weight loss. This yielded his weight loss. He simply consumed less calories that he was burning. His body lost weight.

The whole premise of Haub’s research as quantity vs. quality. The quality of food doesn’t matter, according to Haub, it is the quantity that kill people. This is true to a certain extent. Eating less will help with weight loss, regardless of what you are eating. However, eating a fresh spinach salad that contains health fiber will fill you up more than a Twinkie, so you will feel fuller without consuming those calories.

I don’t share this story to encourage you to start eating Twinkies for your diet. I posted it to simple show you that in order to lose weight, eat less calories and burn more calories. I personally like burning more calories that eating less, but that is my preference. Think of it as a balancing act. If your calories that your burn through exercise and other functions (you actually do burn calories doing nothing – your body needs something to fuel it!) equal the amount of calories that you are putting in, you will more than likely stay the same weight. If your output of energy exceeds your input of energy (calories), you will lose weight. If your calories in is more than your calories out, you gain weight. Professor Haub proved this fact.

So Why Can’t I Go On The Twinkie Diet?

Let’s look at the (lack of) nutritional value for a Twinkie:

  • Serving: 1 Twinkie
  • 150 Calories
  • Total Fat 5g 8%
  • Saturated Fat 3g 15%
  • Cholesterol 20mg 7%
  • Sodium 220mg 9%
  • Total Carbohydrate 27g 9%
  • Dietary Fiber 0g 0%
  • Sugars 18g
  • Protein 1g 2%
  • Vitamin A:0%
  • Vitamin C: 0%
  • Iron: 4%
  • Calcium: 0%

This is for one Twinkie bar. They aren’t exactly filling, so you probably have 2 and that still won’t last a few hours. They also are not nutritionally dense so yes you are eating low calories, but you are not getting the vitamins and minerals your body needs. Let’s compare this to a salad. Sure, a fresh, made from scratch salad is always the best route to go, but for this example, I am going to compare something that is a little more real world: A premade salad pack from Fresh Express.

  • Serving: 3 cups
  • Calories: 20
  • Total Fat: 0g
  • Saturated Fat: 0g
  • Cholesterol:0g
  • Sodium: 60mg 2%
  • Total Carbohydrate:2g 1%
  • Dietary Fiber 1g 4%
  • Sugar: 2g
  • Protein 2g
  • Vitamin A: 80%
  • Vitamin C: 20%
  • Iron: 6%
  • Calcium: 6%
I rest my case, your honor.
Take away message: Calories in vs. Calores out works for weight loss. Just eat a salad – NOT TWINKIES.
To your health.
~Z