Does the Twinkie Diet Work?

December 6, 2010

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twinkieYou may have heard the news story recently about Mark Haub, a professor of human nutrition at Kansas State University, who went on an 1,800 calorie-a-day diet consisting of only Twinkies and other junk food to prove a point – that eating fewer calories, no matter what the source, would lead to weight loss. Haub lost 27 pounds in two months, and his BMI (body-mass index) went from 28.8 to 24.9, or from overweight to normal weight.

Of course, even this man would not recommend anyone actually try to lose weight this way, but it is interesting and does reinforce the role calories play in weight gain and loss.

However, it’s not just how many calories one eats that matters when you look at weight loss from a health perspective, but also where those calories come from. I highly suspect eating nothing but Twinkies (or any nutritionally poor food such as fast food or junk food) for an extended period of time could lead to health problems like cancer. And of course, if one already had diabetes or pre-diabetes, eating a diet made up of nothing but Twinkies would be downright hazardous.

The goal of any good weight loss program should be not only weight loss but long-term success. At The Center for Medical Weight Loss, we take a multifaceted approach that combines a nutritionally rich, low-calorie diet plan with exercise, behavioral counseling, and, when needed, medication to ensure that our patients learn how to overcome their weight problems for good.

In fact, if someone absolutely feels that eating Twinkies is important to their leading a happy life, I will work hard to figure out a way that he or she can have a Twinkie (or whatever the food may be) once or twice a week.

That’s because I’ve never believed in diets that rely on eliminating any particular food or groups of food forever. I’ve found that if people know they can have the foods they like every once in a while as part of an overall healthy diet, they are much more likely to stick with the program and avoid feeling deprived or like they need to “sneak” foods or binge.

Remember, moderation – not elimination – is the best approach to having your Twinkie and losing weight too.

Dr. Michael Kaplan

Founder and Chief Medical Officer

The Center for Medical Weight Loss

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Comment (1)
Kathy Asbery

Love that! Something that we tell our patients every day. This is not a “diet,” it’s a life style change. Anything in moderation, keeping with the calories your body needs to lose or maintain your weight, is the lifelong key! 🙂

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