A US professor who went on a 10-week diet based on cream cakes, sugary cereals and biscuits claims he lost 12kg on his "convenience store diet".
In a bid to prove that kilojoule counting was more important than the nutritional value of food, Professor Mark Haub reduced his dietary intake from 11,000 kilojoules a day to around 7500 kilojoules with two-thirds coming from junk foods.
For 10 weeks the Kansas State University human nutrition professor ate a sugary cake every three hours instead of a meal and snacked on corn chips, sweet snacks and biscuits, CNN reported.
To ensure he didn't suffer nutrient deficiencies, he also took a multivitamin pill and drank a protein shake daily. And he also ate vegetables such as a can of green beans or celery.
Not only did the professor reduce his body mass index (BMI) from 28.8 (considered overweight) to 24.9, he claims his LDL (bad) cholesterol levels also dropped by 20 percent and his level of triglycerides dropped by 39 percent.
"That's where the head scratching comes," Professor Haub said. "What does that mean? Does that mean I'm healthier? Or does it mean how we define health from a biology standpoint, that we're missing something?"
Despite his temporary success, Professor Haub does not recommend anyone follow his diet.
"I'm not geared to say this is a good thing to do," he said. "I'm stuck in the middle. I guess that's the frustrating part. I can't give a concrete answer. There's not enough information to do that."
He added that these foods are eaten by a lot of people and it was unrealistic to cut them out of the diet completely.
"It may be an issue of portion size and moderation rather than total removal," he said.
Can we really lose weight this way?
Dr Naras Lapsys, an accredited practising dietitian at The Body Doctor in Sydney's Bondi, told us the weight-loss equation is really quite simple.
"When it comes to losing or gaining weight, the bottom line boils down to nothing but kilojoules. If you consume less kilojoules than you expend, you will lose weight consume more kilojoules and you will gain," he said.
"Furthermore, in many circumstances the sheer act of losing weight can improve your health, even if the type of food that you ate in order to lose weight wasn't that healthy."
But before you head for the junk food aisle, Dr Lapsys said while eating kilojoule-controlled amounts of junk food may result in weight loss, it will ultimately also result in constipation, fatigue and nutrient deficiencies.
"If vitamins and minerals are lacking in the kilojoule-controlled junk food diet, which is very likely, then the person may end up feeling fatigued and unwell. They'll be slimmer, yes, but maybe their hair loses its lustre or their nails get brittle," he said.
He added that weight loss is only a small part of improving overall health. "Even though weight loss alone can improve certain markers of one's health, losing weight in a kilojoule-controlled manner and using healthy food to do it can make the whole process more pleasant, more energised, healthier and more sustainable."
Your say: Do you think Professor Haub is irresponsible for undertaking this experiment?
Share on Facebook: Share