First, there was the potato diet: 20 potatoes a day and nothing else, being attempted by Chris Voigt, Executive Director of the Washington State Potato Commission in order to prove that potatoes are nutritious, good for you, and can help you lose weight (provided you don't cover them in frosting or wash them down with a highball full of lard). The 20-potatoes-a-day stunt got Voigt quite a bit of press once Blog-o-Land got wind of what he was attempting. Right now, he's just past the half-way point of his 60-day diet and has already been talked about on NPR, MSNBC and in the pages of the Boise Weekly.
Now, Mark Haub--a professor of human nutrition at Kansas State University--is trying to get in on some of that sweet stunt-diet action. How? By eating nothing but junk food (Twinkies and Little Debbie snack cakes, bags of Doritos and sugary cereals) for 10 straight weeks. He basically crammed his snack hole full of cakes and cookies and all the stuff your mom told you would make you into a little chubbo every three hours, in lieu of proper meals, for over two months and didn't let a single morsel of healthy, decent food cross his lips the entire time.
And the result?Haub lost 27 pounds.
He also got his ass onto CNN, FOX News and a bunch of other places. His intent with this experiment was to prove that, when it comes to losing weight, there is only one thing that matters: taking in fewer calories than you burn. That's it. The only secret there is. It doesn't matter what you eat, so long as you eat less of it.
Haub's diet was basically an experiment in calorie restriction. Yes, he got his calories exclusively from the convenience store end of the food spectrum, but he was careful to only take in 1,800 calories a day (which basically meant having a little bit of junk, every three hours). Under normal circumstances, a man of Haub's pre-diet size would have 2,600 calories a day. The math explains the rest.
Oh, and also? Haub cheated a little. He took multivitamins. He had one protein shake a day (but only because Hostess hasn't yet developed Frosted Ham Cakes for human consumption). And he would still eat some vegetables--green beans, according to his interview on CNN, or a couple of celery stalks.
But still, the overwhelming bulk of his calories came from totally processed and allegedly-bad-for-you sugary snacks. And yet his LDL cholesterol count dropped by 20% while his HDL (the good kind) increased by the same amount. His Body Mass Index dropped from 28.8 to 24.9. His body fat dropped by almost 10%. And he tracked all sorts of other stuff (blood pressure, glucose levels, weight) on his Facebook page, Prof Haub's Diet Experiments.
If you can't believe these results, you're not alone. The Professor himself appears a little befuddled by it all.
""I wish I could say the outcomes are unhealthy," Haub said. "I wish I could say it's healthy. I'm not confident enough in doing that. That frustrates a lot of people. One side says it's irresponsible. It is unhealthy, but the data doesn't say that."
I'm going to go get myself some Ding-Dongs.