I know I am a week late on this one but I have been receiving emails since my last post where I included a link to the story of the Kansas State professor who went on the Twinkie diet and lost 27 pounds. You can read the CNN article here but I just wanted to share a few of my opinions on the consumption of this male bodypart-like non-food product.
A breakdown of the actual diet that Mark Haub went on to drop 27lbs in 2 months consisted solely of sugary vending machine delicacies such as Ding Dongs, Snowballs, and Twinkies. In order to maintain some basis of health, he also consumed a daily protein shake, multi-vitamin and miniscule serving of canned vegetables. He cut back from his usual consumption of 2,600 calories per day to sub 1,600 calories per day.
What does not surprise me is that fact that he lost weight. It has already been proven that VLCD or very low calorie diets causes weightloss in most people. I say most because in almost every study there is always an exception to the rule. Just look at the curious case of Benjamin Button.
What did surprise me was the fact that he improved such biomarkers of good health such as a decrease in LDL and an increase in HDL cholesterol (LDL think “lousy” and HDL think “happy”…that is how I remember it), as well as a decrease in blood lipids. What this proves is that by decreasing your overall body fat, you will decrease your susceptibility to these health risks.
The problem with this study that it is not actually a study at all since the results come from one man. What people shouldn’t go out believing is that this diet is healthy or will give them the same results as the professor. The fact is that you only get a small window (2 months) into what this diet will actually do to your body.
What I am more interested in when it comes to health and fitness is longevity. What do you think would happen to the professor if he stayed on this diet for 6 months? What about for 6 years? I think it’s safe to say that the consumption of all of those non-food products would eventually take their toll on your body and new problems other than being overweight will arise. Think: “If you run through a dynamite factory with a lit match and manage to make it out the other side, that doesn’t mean your not an idiot”.
Here are the basics of calorie consumption and weight loss:
- Depending on your exercise habits, multiply your bodyweight by 10 to 13 to get your daily calorie intake.
- Follow rule 1 every day…not most days (when someone tells me this I assume they mean never).
- Don’t eat too little calories. This will slow down your metabolism.
- Every 10 days have a “cheat” or refead day. Don’t gorge on junk food, but do eat something you like and consume a few exta calories.
- Try to eat 4-6 “meals” or “feedings”. Taper your meals as well eating a slightly larger breakfast and smaller dinner.
For example, say you currently weigh 14o pounds and exercise 3-4 times per week. You would multiply 140 by 12 which would give you a consumption of 1680 calories. If you try to eat 6 meals a day, divide your calories by 6 which would give you approximately 280 calories per meal. To put this in perspective, that would be one package of snack cakes or one bottle of soda.
Sidenote: The average American consumes 680 calories per meal. We also on average consume between 2,000 and 4,000 calories per day.
I am not going to get into what you eat because you should know the difference between healthy food and lets say a Twinkie. All I can say is put actual “food” in your body. If you do not know what that is then pick up Food Rules by Michael Polan to learn how to distinguish between a potato and a potato chip.
If anything, I tell my clients to begin with the caloric formula and then gradually improve the quality of the food that they eat. It is extremely hard for the average 40-50 year old who is trying to make a change to completely eliminate the foods that they have been eating for decades. It is more feasible to get them to alter their calorie consumption by giving them this simple formula.