Nutrition Professor Loses 27 Pounds On Twinkie Diet – Or Is This Just Another Health Scam?

Primal Power Method Twinkie Diet

I know this is an older article, but I have noticed it has started to show itself again on the web, so I thought it would be a good opportunity… well to call an idiot an idiot. Now remember this is a College Professor who teaches nutrition. He claims to have no idea how this diet worked, and is torn between eating healthy and following his “Twinkie Diet” model. This guy is either as stupid as it gets or a complete dishonest hack. Either way he should be no where near a University, let alone teaching at one. Unfortunately, this is just another example of our sad education and health system in this country.

He claims to have no ties to the “Junk Food” industry. Huh, I’ll bet good money that some, if not all, the junk food companies had something to do with this experiment and/or the media blitz.

Now on to the stupidity!

One day not too long ago, a professor of Nutrition at Kansas State University discovered he had lost 27 pounds in 10 weeks on a junk food diet comprising almost entirely of the kind of sugary snacks your mother correctly warned would ruin your dinner.

Eating his so-called Twinkie diet, the professor markedly improved his health measurements. His cholesterol went down, as did his pants size.

Now at first blush it appears that some magic combination of Twinkies, brownies and Little Debbie’s could be the new, too-good-to-be-true holy grail of a healthier, slimmer you.

But as you would expect, there’s much more to this story than first meets the eye.

This Twinkie-diet “success” story was widely reported in the media in 2010. Without a thorough understanding of why this professor appeared to have become healthier by eating junk foods, a would-be dieter might be tempted to follow in his footsteps… likely to disastrous results, and I’m sure many did.

Why, in the End, Junk Food Diets are Still Junk

The mission of the Primal Power Method is to empower you with knowledge, so you never fall for a fad diet based more on lining someone else’s pockets than on trimming your waistline. But for those of you who follow the Primal Power Method philosophy, you have the knowledge necessary to discern the truth about nutritional programs and various menus for yourself.

Let’s take a look at the professor’s daily “Junk Food” diet below:

  • Espresso, Double: 6 calories; 0 grams of fat.
  • Sponge Cake: 150 calories; 5 grams of fat.
  • Centrum Advanced Formula From A To Zinc: 0 calories; 0 grams of fat.
  • Little Debbie Star Crunch: 150 calories; 6 grams of fat.
  • Hostess Twinkies Golden Sponge Cake: 150 calories; 5 grams of fat.
  • Diet Mountain Dew: 0 calories; 0 grams of fat.
  • Doritos Cool Ranch: 75 calories; 4 grams of fat.
  • Kellogg’s Corn Pops: 220 calories; 0 grams of fat
  • Whole milk: 150 calories; 8 grams of fat.
  • Baby carrots: 18 calories; 0 grams of fat.
  • Duncan Hines Family Style Brownie Chewy Fudge: 270 calories; 14 grams of fat.
  • Little Debbie Zebra Cake: 160 calories; 8 grams of fat.
  • Muscle Milk Protein Shake: 240 calories; 9 grams of fat.

Totals: 1,589 calories and 59 grams of fat

Notice he did not list the grams of protein or sugar in each food. I find that interesting, since protein in the right amounts curbs hunger and slows down carbohydrate digestion. Without this information, it makes it harder to judge the study’s results.

It may be tempting to think, “Wow I’m on going on that diet today!” But of course, you will no doubt also see the problems inherent in the professor’s menu plan. It’s really complete nonsense. Here’s why.

The article noted that, prior to the junk food diet, the professor consumed about 2,600 calories per day. During the project, he maintained the same physical fitness program that he had always followed (which, to my knowledge, was not divulged in any accessible source). However, he ate a sugary treat every three hours, spreading his sugar consumption out over an entire day. This sounds like he was consciously trying to avoid the usual sugar spikes and insulin dumps that can lead to fat storage. Not to mention a nice dose of caffeine to help speed up his metabolism and curb appetite.

Before his “Twinkie diet,” the professor had tried to eat a healthy diet that included whole grains, dietary fiber, berries, bananas, vegetables and occasional treats like pizza. As you will now see, his diet contained a lot of carbohydrates but seemingly no animal-based proteins or healthy fats. It looks more like the old carb-heavy USDA Food Pyramid or its updated cousin, the 2011 MyPlate guidelines!

While the specifics of his junk food diet were well recorded, the professor’s pre-Twinkie “good” food habits seem very vague at best. His previous, supposedly healthy diet lacked protein and fat; he was eating almost nothing but carbohydrates. However, his junk food diet included both protein and fat (from the milk and Muscle Milk protein shakes).

If this experiment was to truly measure the effects of a junk food diet, the professor should not have consumed a vitamin pill, protein drink or any vegetables (which are high in fiber – a substance that slows the uptake of simple sugars into the bloodstream.

Spreading out the consumption of sugary foods by eating small, frequent mini-meals and snacks also has a specific effect on blood sugar. Had this experiment been conducted differently (such as by eating all daily calories in one mega-meal, or two to three larger meals) the results may have been very different.

Interestingly, the professor’s health markers seemed to largely improve on this diet. He reported that his body mass index went from 28.8 (considered to be overweight) to 24.9 (i.e., normal). At the end of the experiment, he weighed a healthy 174 pounds. His “bad” cholesterol, or LDL, dropped by 20 percent, and his “good” cholesterol, or HDL, increased by 20 percent. He reduced his levels of triglycerides, which are a form of fat, by 39 percent. His body fat dropped from 33.4 to 24.9 percent. This leads to the obvious question: Why did his health markers improve if he was eating such an unhealthy diet?

Now for my Primal Power Method followers, the answer should be clear: Prior to his junk food diet the professor was eating close to 3,000 calories of almost nothing but carbohydrates each day. This is a highly inflammatory diet, which would cause water retention and all the signs of metabolic syndrome. Now that you understand how important it is to balance your carb consumption with protein and fat, you will see how skewed his baseline of so-called healthy eating was before he began his experiment. If you are one of the many people who eat a carb-based diet or eschew animal products in the belief that this will boost your wellbeing, this will hopefully remind you of the importance of balance in your diet. Eating too much of any of the three major macronutrients (carbs, protein, and fat) is never a good idea.

As for our Twinkie-diet professor… I suspect he was intentionally trying to fatten himself up before his junk-food experiment began. We may never know for sure, because he failed to detail what his self-described, “healthy” food choices comprised before he began the junk food diet. My curiosity and suspicions are likewise piqued by the fact that he consumed protein, but not in the form of meat. I think omitting meat was a calculated decision to make his junk food approach appear even unhealthier than it already was.

I was pretty torqued up when I first read the article that described the so-called Twinkie diet experiment. This supposed professor of nutrition knew exactly what he was doing, and he knew what results he would obtain before he even conducted his experiment. It’s obvious that his main focus was to get publicity – and it worked. This story was covered by every major news agency.

Controversial intentions aside, the professor actually helped us out by proving a critical point: It isn’t protein and fat that make you overweight, but rather the over consumption of carbohydrates, especially of the processed variety.

The professor’s experiment was based on the idea that it is the quantity, not quality of calories, which affects weight gain. This quantity-versus-quality type of experiment could have been conducted based on a well-balanced diet of complete proteins, healthy fats and non-processed carbohydrates in limited caloric quantities. However he chose to use a much more media-friendly Twinkie diet concept.

The bottom line: This was simply a diet based on a drastic reduction of dietary calories, nothing more and nothing less. It certainly does not prove that Twinkies are a healthy choice! If he was to conduct this experiment long-term, his metabolism would eventually slow down and he would then again begin to gain weight. This is the typical “shock and awe” fad diet that I warn everyone about. Sure these types of methods work short term, but they are still unhealthy and will eventually reverse course in the weight-loss battle.

His experiment did, however, commendably apply use of several of the principles that the Primal Power Method preaches: consuming fiber in its natural form (vegetables) and including both protein and fat in your food choices. Nevertheless, his results could be easily misinterpreted by an unsuspecting public. Fortunately, now that you are educated and empowered you won’t buy into half-baked fad diets that have little to do with long-term health.

Unfortunately this well-publicized diet may have inspired many well-intentioned people to eat junk food in search of weight loss. I hope you were not one of them. Fortunately, you now know never to follow a diet like this. Any program that promises rapid weight loss by eating junk food deserves the title of “junk.”

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