Nutrition expert lost 12kg on cake and chips diet

Holly Enriquez
Monday, November 15, 2010
Cake and chip diet
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.
Holly Enriquez
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.

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"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?

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User comments
I don't think he's irresponsible. If you read the whole article you can see that he was just exploring another angle of the science. If anything this highlights the absurdity of our current culture of image obsession. Too many people focus on the fat or the sugar or GI or whatever the current trend is. Not enough people seek factual, well rounded knowledge about food and nutrition. Everyone seems to seek the quick fix instead of finding balance. Have just a bit of chocolate, loads of veges and salad, just a bit of meat, plenty of legumes or sprouts, fruit, just a bit of alcohol etc etc. You get the picture. I think its nuts when I see people eating junkfood everyday and then complaining of low energy. Well, duh, put that in your body every day and your liver will become sluggish because it's too much for it to process. Dial it back and treat yourself once a month or fortnight instead.
It's been well known for many years, that despite all teh advice from the "experts", many ofteh so-called healthy foods are anything but. Most of the recomendations comming from studies have been funded by wheat-growing industries and the like with an excess of crop and no outlet. The only animal to live healthily in corn are birds - yet we are pressed to consume vast quantities. Why? It sells corn. Similar things exist with cholesterol, with so-called low-cholesterol diets actually having exactly teh opposite effect - the human body is composed of cholesterol and to deny it a source is to reduce not improve health. I've been on a high-dairy, high-cholesterol diet for years now and feel excellent. My cholesterol levels are lower than ever, despite a family predisposition excess. You just can't trust the experts Count the calouries - absolutely - make sure you get good nutition (preferably without supplements) - but take the "experts" advice with a large pinch of salt
It doesn't suprise me he lost weight if the overall calorie consumption was down, after all this is what we have always been told. But it makes more sense to eat more healthy foods on a diet as you can have a lot more for the same calories making it more likely to sustain you and you can continue this long term. There is no such thing as a cake diet as this would result in an unhealthy person, but shows you can still have your cake and lose weight also.

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