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“To kill an error is as good a service as, and sometimes even better than, the establishing of a new truth or fact”
~ Charles Darwin (it's evolutionary baybeee!)

Wednesday, November 10, 2010

That Twinkie Diet Story

By now, most of the LC community has read about this professor who lost 27 lbs eating mostly twinkies and other junk food.  http://www.cnn.com/2010/HEALTH/11/08/twinkie.diet.professor/index.html

This DOES prove that a caloric deficit, consistently maintained, WILL result in weight (and fat) loss.  What else did it prove?   There can be no doubt, really, that when a caloric deficit is achieved and maintained, weight/fat will be lost.  This doesn't "diss" low carb in any way.  For most people, low carb diets make doing so easier (less hunger) with larger spontaneous caloric deficits.  Don't knock that!!

What I think surprised many is the improvements in his bloodwork given the likelihood of a poor O6/O3 ratio, transfats, refined carbs, etc.  Which just goes to show a few things.  Firstly, I know I've read somewhere that a person's LDL level is largely correlated with their weight status.  For me, this has been the case in my life.  He lost >10% of his initial body weight.  Reasonable carb consumption, even refined crappy carbs, does not cause insulin to run amok accumulating fat.  At 1800 calories/day, even though he consumed a lot of carbs, they weren't in EXCESS, hence the drop in triglycerides.  Lastly, the lipid derangement seems to be the result of fat stores that are "full up"  and/or someone who is in chronic positive energy balance.   Reverse that, see improvements.

Beyond that, what does this tell us?  Not much.  But it does also demonstrate that NO food, in and of itself, can be labeled "fattening".   Control portions and you can eat just about anything and stay slim (truly healthy is another story).  But many of these foods are, IMO, "fattening", because eaten ad libitum we'll likely consume too much of them.  Take the Doritos for example.  A package from the vending machine can only do so much "harm".  Opening up a big bag and noshing on them mindlessly watching football, etc., will get you in trouble.  I note the prof made sure to get his protein in with a daily protein shake.  This probably kept him from protein-seeking hunger that likely plagues those eating junky diets causing them to overeat.

One of the commenters on another blog snarked at a Nutrition prof needing to lose 27 lbs.  There are a couple of low carb diet doctor gurus who needed to devise a six week plan to lose weight too.  ;-)  Sorry, couldn't h'ep myself there.  Seriously, though, the world is full of experts and professionals that clearly do not have healthy lifestyles despite knowing what they probably should be doing.  Does that make what they "know" wrong?   I don't think so.   The LC community is not without its fair share of purists in theory, but obviously not so pure in practice.  I'm not condemning these people, just pointing out that what's good for the goose is good for the gander in this regard.  If we're looking for advice/knowledge of what makes for a truly healthy lifestyle it sure helps for the messenger to look like they are walking the talk, but we can't always dismiss a message just because the messenger isn't able to do so.

13 comments:

Nigel Kinbrum said...

As Prof Haub left a comment on The Prof. Mark Haub Nonsense , I asked how hungry he was between meals on his diet.

I know I'd be starving!

malpaz said...

hahah well... i have checked it out... 75 calories of cool ranch doritos...what is that, like 2 doritos?? that's self control... most anyone could do that to 'prove a point' and i doubt anyone will disgree that calories dont count. self control is ridicuously easy on a high protein diet with moderate carbs and fat...a high fat diet i would personally argue is EASIER to eat excess calories on than a high protein and carb diet...keeping to real food obviously.

the processing of food alters the chemical bodily response. it's not that cupcake snack packs make you gain weight if you count out on in a daily allotment of calories, but it is physically limiting to eat an excess of real food(no dairy).

either way, no 'mindful' person would ever live off solely processed and refined food. i would like to see his body composition if he stuck to it, as well as his head of hair, sleep pattern, eyes, and belly lol

Harry said...

As CarbSane mentioned, it's worth noting that the Prof did take a protein shake aloing with the junk food. This goes some way in explaining why satiety wasn't an insuperable problem for him.

Having said that, there are studies that show that people on high carbohydrate diets often report feeling full even in hypocaloric conditions (probably due to the physical bulk of the foods), as well as many studies that confirm the superior satiating properties of protein (probably due to bio-chemical, rather than mechanical/gastric factors).

I've observed with my clients that absolute caloric values arbitrate on what's the better approach; if for example, you're a 5 foot 1 inch sedentary female wanting to lose weight, your daily calorie allotment will be very low. If you try a high fat diet, you'll end up eating very tiny portions of food; a high carb/low fat regime will allow greater dietary bulk (volume) and would (probably) be more sustainable as a consequence.

If on the other hand, you're a 6 foot 4 inch male with a physically active job, your daily calorie allotment will be a lot higher, and you'll therefore get enough food volume even on a higher fat protocol.

Bottom line: it's horses for courses...but the smaller and less active you are (and the leaner you are), the less usable options you have to choose from.

Cheers
Harry

CarbSane said...

Interesting blog post there Nige, methinks some folks are taking this experiment a little too seriously. I really don't think the prof is advocating this as a healthy diet for the long term, although I could be wrong. Seems from his comment it was more of a "challenge" to demonstrate a point about the calories. Don't know about the hunger thing except to say that I attribute my hunger on various plans to lack of protein and/or significantly psychological due to the induced obsession over food that counting calories tends to lead to. Also there's a difference between wanting more and needing more. If you eat a handful of chips and the bag is on the table, what is making you reach in for more? But if my lunch was a snack bag of chips and a candy bar, I don't know that I would find myself going around hungry all day. Don't know if that makes any sense at all.

Mal, I hope you don't think I recommend following this diet! LOL. I doubt he'll be following it much longer, but I do note he supplemented with protein, veggies and vitamins. It would be an interesting experiment for him to try to maintain the weight for, say, six months continuing to eat this way.

Harry, I also think that the hunger that women feel on conventional reducing diets is due to insufficient protein. Yet it gets associated with carbs. When I was a teenager some of my "dieting" classmates ate a fruit yogurt for lunch. In those days this was full fat (they don't even make this anymore and even the lowfat stuff is in smaller containers. If memory serves these came in at around 300 cals. Those girls were always going around hungry because that's just not going to fill you up (or provide enough protein), although admittedly the yogurt on its own is far better than some of the other junk.

Razwell said...

Cutting 360 calories less for 8 years resulted in WEIGHT GAIN for the women in The Women's Health Initative Study. A WELL CONTROLLED REPUTABLE, LONGR TERM, LARGE SAMPLE SIZE STUDY. They also had INCREASED WAIST CIRCUMFERENCE - MORE FAT.

Funny how Colpo and Krieger NEVER mention this........

On top of all of this FAT LOSS and weight loss are NOT the same ......


We do NOT know eneough about how fat cells are regulated,.

REAL, QUALITY, SCIENTISTS ADMIT THIS , unlike the Internet jokes Colpo and Krieger.

CarbSane said...

Do you have a link to the full text of this study? The women simply didn't consistently eat less or they wouldn't weigh more.

CPM said...

Hi Carbsane,

Razwell's study looked like it might be kinda interesting, so I went looking for it. I ended up at Brandenburg’s site:
http://josefbrandenburg.com/what-happens-when-you-go-on-a-diet-%E2%80%93-why-calories-don%E2%80%99t-count-%E2%80%93-part-ii/

I think the reference was this:
http://jama.ama-assn.org/content/295/1/39.abstract

The abstract itself does not seem to agree with Brandenburg's or Razwell's claims. It looks like there might possibly be more info in the letter to the editor and possibly the associated editorial by Dansinger, but I don’t have access.

dietconcepts said...

So, did these women really go on an 8 year diet with a 360 calorie deficit? I smell a troll :)

CarbSane said...

Your olfactory senses are astute. I feel a bit bad because someone cited me in a YouTube video (http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=i-jbDwkHzlI) and Razzie came here, emailed me a nasty, then followed me to Jimmy's forum to spam-a-lot there. On Taubes all I can say is "he/she said it, not me!" LOL.

Nigel Kinbrum said...

The Women's Health Initiative was a huge trial (161,856 women) over a long period of time (8 years?) so it would have been prohibitively expensive to measure the energy intake of every subject (by close monitoring of all food and drink consumed at all times). Therefore, self-reported Food Frequency Questionnaires (FFQs) were used.

Measuring energy intake by self-reported FFQs is grossly inaccurate. See Differences between estimated caloric requirements and self-reported caloric intake in the women's health initiative and Participant characteristics associated with errors in self-reported energy intake from the Women's Health Initiative food-frequency questionnaire.

A self-reported caloric deficit of 360kcals/day could very easily be a caloric surplus.

Lillea said...

Prof Haub recently did an interview with Jimmy Moore:

http://www.thelivinlowcarbshow.com/shownotes/2920/dr-mark-haub-episode-424/

In it he explains some of the things that people have been questioning. For example, some people found it hard to believe that he could lose as much weight as he did if he was eating 1800 Calories a day. He explains that that is the MOST he would allow himself to eat a day during this experiment, but some days he ate far less he says.

Seems like a nice guy, and open to more experiments with different kinds of "diets" including low carb to see how he fares. He says that originally he didn't intend for this to go outside of his classroom, but then he was encouraged to make it more public.

He explains how it's potentially a bit misleading about his blood work, and goes into more detail about that. I found that part very interesting.

As usual, the media reports about things of this kind and reality often don't match, so I appreciate this interview for that reason - he has a chance to explain his rationale and results in more depth w/o the usual media mangling that goes on.

Low Carb Liberal said...

I don't think you can say that this experiment proves anything including that "caloric deficit, consistently maintained, WILL result in weight (and fat) loss". The majority believe this to be true but this experiment was one guy without a control group, without variables being controlled. I could just as reasonably (or just as unreasonably) say that the protein shakes he drank caused the weight loss, or the supplements.

This is just another of those frustratingly empty stories that proves nothing but gets media attention because it is outrageous.

CarbSane said...

I agree that these types of "experiments" ultimately prove nothing. As Lillea points out, media sensationalization of certain aspects doesn't help either. But this, the potato guy and my own Christmas cookie diet from years ago are just a drop in the bucket of people who can and have lost weight eating high carbs (potatoes being one of the highest GI foods!). If it were all about the carbs that could simply not happen. I think his protein consumption kept the diet-hungries away and allowed him to maintain the caloric deficit consistently. This is what ultimately leads to sustained losses.

Welcome to the Asylum and thanks for your input!

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