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November 9th, 2010
01:11 PM ET

Your questions, comments about Twinkie experiment

Nutrition professor Mark Haub's 10-week diet of mainly snack cakes has generated a food fight.

Haub began his experimental diet as a project for his nutrition class and clearly says folks shouldn't try this at home.  The Kansas State University professor wanted to see whether eating mainly foods low in nutritional value could result in weight loss simply by counting calories.   He says that many Americans live in so-called  “food deserts” and lack access to fresh fruits and vegetables have no choice but to eat a "convenience store" diet – similar to Haub's diet.

CNN.com’s readers weighed in the diet with nearly 1,200 comments.   These comments below have been edited for brevity.

terrajw: Of course you can lose weight by decreasing calories. It's not about cutting back and losing weight for a few months temporarily.

Weight loss is about the long term, and to accomplish that you have to eat foods that fill you up. Nutritious foods are lower calorie AND filling, which is something you don't get from Twinkies. They don't mention once in this article of this professor was hungry, which I'm assuming he was...something you can do for a short while. Let's see if this guy could keep this diet up for a few years (not that I'm recommending that), but I'm guessing he couldn't because he'd get tired of being hungry all of the time.

During his interview with CNN.com last week, Haub said "There were days [of feeling hungry]. I’ve been on low-fat, low carb diets.  Restricting to this number of calories, you're going to have periods where you think, 'I’d like to have a snack. If I want to continue this weight loss, I need to push the wrapper away.'"

"I was never at a point my stomach was growling and I was really craving food," he said.

Haub officially ended his diet last week and went to the doctor's office for bloodwork Friday.

He wrote on his Facebook page that weight loss maintenance is the longest phase and that portion can lead to  disaster. Haub told CNN earlier that he planned to take a three-week break from the diet and gradually re-integrate some components of the reduced calories diet.

And no, he doesn't hate snack cakes.

Four weeks ago, he began to re-introduce normal foods into his system by having family dinners, which added about 200 calories to his daily intake.

SmartThinkin: I see the overall point of caloric intake. However several things that were left out of this for consideration is.

The shortened version of the commenter's list: family history, hyper or hypo glycemia, mental state, metabolism test, long term health effects, kidney stones, gallstones, plaque in the arteries, thickening of heart walls or hardening of arteries, muscle mass was gained or loss, bone density scan before and after.

Here are all the markers that Haub provided:
  • His total cholesterol dropped from 214 to 184 mg/dL.  A cholesterol level of 200 mg/dL or higher raises your risk for heart disease.
  • His LDL cholesterol, also known as “bad cholesterol” dropped from  153 to 123 mg/dL. A level less than 100 mg/dL is recommended.
  • His HDL cholesterol, also known as “good cholesterol” increased from 37 to 46 mg/dL. Levels less than 40 mg/dL increase risk of heart disease.
  • His triglycerides, which are chemical form of fat, dropped from 121 to 74 mg/dL.  Having a level less than 150 mg/dL is normal
  • His glucose level dropped from 94 to 75 mg/dL.  In general, up to 100 mg/dL is considered normal for a fasting blood glucose test.  Diabetes is 126 mg/dL or higher.
  • His blood pressure split, going from 108/71 to 104/76.  The recommended guideline is to be below 120/80.  Having a blood pressure above that level is indicative of prehypertension.

Your comments:

makemlaff : So many people go on calorie diets and forbid themselves ANY junk foods, which can be frustrating and demoralizing. Weight loss is all about calories in vs. calories out. You can let yourself have that one "sinful" dessert every once in a while, so long as you calorically plan for it. (BTW – I lost 70 lbs by counting calories and exercising, and I've kept it ALL off!

dwech: 10 weeks out of a 75-year old life is approximately .0025%. Please don't extrapolate from such a narrow sample (1), small time-frame, and 'study' of such limited value to make ANY conclusion about the Twinkie diet. This doesn't even qualify as news, much less science.

vabChris: He's right...a calorie is a calorie, it's the law of thermodynamics: calories in versus calories out. The nutritional value has no effect on weight loss or gain. You do, however, need to be mindful of the effects of poor nutrition, i.e. high fat, high cholesterol, high sodium, etc. The real problem is that people eat way too much of this garbage on top of what they already eat, and it doesn't take a lot of twinkies for the cals to add up fast.


soundoff (55 Responses)
  1. kate

    Well i like the fact that this might help people realize that it's not really WHAT you eat for weight loss but HOW MUCH. I just hope that people don't take this the wrong way and go eat pure junk food. I don't think those health indicators would stay so great if he did this for an extended period of time. Most of those markers will go down with weight loss, and they did. I hope people take the right message from this and that is strictly for weight loss it's all about calories consumed vs calories burned. you can figure out your calories needed to lose weight at http://www.diet-myths.com I don't think you should try this diet either! haha

    November 9, 2010 at 13:17 | Report abuse | Reply
    • James Blann

      Interesting... I myself am a veteran of the Iraqi war. I have had horrible eating habits for about 5-6 years. Everything in this article pretty much describes my food intake. I eat very little, usually averaging one meal a day. Now in the beginning that one meal usually consisted of fast food. However, I as of recently my current intake is about 1 peanut butter sandwich a day. This is not healthy in any regards, I know this and many people have told me this.. However, I am writing to tell everyone that it is possible to eat this way and adapt. I have adapted extremely. Yes, I do suffer energy lose and am tired a lot of the time. However, in my current lifestyle situation as a disabled veteran my eating habits are fine for me. I don't eat food for other people, I don't eat food when I'm hungry.. Matter of fact I don't even get hungry when I smoke weed.. Basically what I'm saying is that I solely choose to eat my food at the point when I know I have to eat something.

      So yeah in closing... It's totally possible to live this way. I currently am living this way and have been for a few years.. I don't know any of my vitals or cholesterol levels or anything. But, I do know I can make it through a day eating nothing more than a handful of goldfish.

      November 9, 2010 at 23:16 | Report abuse |
  2. Greg

    The media is quick to glance over major aspects and effects of this diet. Luckily, some other more reputable health resources focus on the more relevant issues: http://www.holosfitness.com/blog/view/1/322/The-Twinkie-Diet-Proof-Calorie-Counting-Works?/

    November 9, 2010 at 16:11 | Report abuse | Reply
    • Greg

      Its's great to see this issue (and story) getting so much attention. Anything that brings fitness and nutrition to the forefront of people's minds is a great thing. It's also good that this topic is actually causing conversations about health and nutrition. Unfortunately, this doesn't happen too often.

      November 11, 2010 at 14:36 | Report abuse |
  3. Jenny

    Was it news to anyone that if you eat fewer calories, you will lose weight? It wasn't news to me. Nor was it surprising that his cholesterol levels etc, dropped to healthier ranges. He lost a significant amount of weight. His body is at a healthier functioning point. If he were on such a diet long term, I'd be willing to bet that the results wouldn't look so positive. Also, I'm thinking about when I've been on diets before: the weight watchers point system is absolutely calorie based, and after a while of being on a calorie based diet, you begin to start making healthier food choices because you can have SOOOOO much more healthy food than junk food.

    November 9, 2010 at 17:45 | Report abuse | Reply
    • Benny

      This was yet another complete waste of time. Eat less but eat healthy. THATS IT.
      No study required. No waste of money and time. Geez

      November 9, 2010 at 18:32 | Report abuse |
  4. joe

    This is in response to another poster's comments. I get so tired of people quoting the whole thermodynamic argument about a calorie being a calorie. Invariably its someone who likely doesn't understand thermo or almost certainly does not understand human physiology. Calories (they're actually kilocalories) are measured using a device called a bomb calorimeter. NEWS FLASH: Humans are NOT bomb calorimeters. The thermodynamic argument (which generally comes on the heels of mentioning that there 4 cal/gm for carbs and 9 cal/gm for fat and ipso facto, by simple arithmetic and thermodynamics, that is the end of the story) would only make any sense if humans were furnaces or internal combustion engines or something of that ilk. We are decidedly not such simple devices and how humans process food is much, much more complicated than simply a calorie being a calorie; certainly more complicated than space allows for here (for one, we do not eat just for fuel alone, but also for structure). Reducing it to its simplest form for the sake of brevity, it is all about what causes the body to secrete the only hormone that causes the body to store fat: insulin (hint: eating fat causes little to no insulin response, same the cannot be said for carbs. Now do the math).

    November 9, 2010 at 18:02 | Report abuse | Reply
    • joe2

      Actually, you are largely incorrect. For the sake of weight maintenance (or loss or gain), a Calorie is a Calorie. One Calorie, whether from a carbohydrate, fat or protein is still one Calorie; the potential energy in one Calorie is the same regardless of where it came from. You are correct that total Calories in a known volume or mass of food can be precisely measured using a bomb calorimeter; the complete oxidation of the food product releases heat that can be measured to give the Caloric value of that food. Your body IS essentially a bomb calorimeter ... during catabolic metabolism you are eventually completely oxidize the food you consume to yield energy. Some of the energy dissipates as heat, but most of the released energy can be used immediately by the cell. If enough energy is around, that food energy will be stored as potential energy in the bonds of fat and glycogen.

      So it really is Calories in equals Calories out for weight maintenance. If the energy you burn from basal metabolic activities and physical activity plus thermic energy (heat) every day equals the energy you acquire from your diet, you will experience no net gain or loss of weight. If you expend more energy than you take in, you oxidize the glycogen and fat stores you have accumulated and you will have a net loss of weight. If you take in more Calories (energy) than you expend during the day, the excess goes into glycogen and fat stores, and your weight increases. Simple math.

      Of course I am strictly arguing this for weight gain or loss here. Obviously, the nutritive value of foods is of critical importance to avoid malnutrition. You need amino acids, vitamins and minerals from your diet. So while you can go on any diet you'd like to lose weight (as long as Calories in < Calories out), obviously a junk food "diet" like this would eventually have deleterious effects on nutrition and health.

      November 9, 2010 at 23:10 | Report abuse |
    • Antitwinkies

      that's a reply to joe2

      Dear Joe3, YOU are totally offtrack, and clearly got no degree in science.

      Calories isn't calories. That is when you deprive your body of it's required calories through a diet, it will seek it's energy elsewhere. And is the catch 101 you don't seem to know about: FAT isn't the only thing it will use. It will also start looking at your YUMMY MUSCLES which unfortunately INCLUDES THE HEARTH.

      Of course the nigthmare doesn't stop there, as your body will release KETONES wich can verry well damage some organs , makes you smell a bit strange, and overall interfere with your metabolism, none of which are good.

      The only proper way to get LEAN (I didn't said LIGHT, I said LEAN, the oposite of FAT, because I don't think footbal players need to be light to LOOK GOOD)... so where were we ? Oh yes, the good way to get LEAN is a proper meal with lots of vegies and fruits and a variety of meat (not just steak, have some chicken or FISH, not the fast food sort) with OBVIOUSLY a good EXERCISE REGIMEN

      Because what good will it do you to be LIGHT and UNHEALTHY. Fat is bad. But ligth isn't fat free. I've known plenty of light peoples who had no muscles and plenty of fat, if they try to get lighter they would look like skeletons.

      Once you are top shape there is hardly any concern for weight maintenance as eating well (not crap food and the correct quantities, as per any good nutrition guide) and exercising well will keep you fit

      And a last point, alternting food deprivation and giant meals (typical of yoyo dieting) is the best way to get diabete type 2. Fat play a role, but not as much as lack of exercise or stupid eating habits like skipping meals and eating junk food to compensate latter.

      Anyway, calories got strictly nothing to do with getting lean. Focussing on exercise gets you better results.

      November 10, 2010 at 00:46 | Report abuse |
    • Mike

      JOE:

      Havent read the other responses yet but you are 100%, absolutely, totally correct. The fact that people will inevitably argue with you, just for the sake of arguing, is probably the same reason they are also overweight. People generally seem to believe that you put energy in your mouth and your body "burns" it. No one really understands the chemical process, and how some "burnable" calories do NOT "burn" in the body or "burn" differently. Whatever.

      November 10, 2010 at 11:25 | Report abuse |
  5. Fuyuko

    I'm curious if he has an easy time losing weight in a general sense. Some people can drop lbs by just cutting back a little. Others have a much harder time.

    November 9, 2010 at 18:19 | Report abuse | Reply
  6. Goat Nuggets

    You can also lose weight eating a cup of cat food vs. a bowl of ice cream but no one is advocating THAT.

    November 9, 2010 at 18:33 | Report abuse | Reply
    • Molly Maverick

      Hold that thought. I'm going to go write a book. It's called The Cat Food Diet, and you should buy it, because everyone certainly will.

      It's all about eating cat food instead of people food. You either fill up on cat food and then barf it up, or you get tired of eating cat food early and starve.

      Sounds like a winning Hollywood diet to me!

      November 9, 2010 at 20:28 | Report abuse |
  7. JBangin

    The most important point of this whole study is that being fat is very simple math equation. You don't need to work out, or eat well to lose weight. Would it be better to eat a more well rounded diet equal in calories? Of course it would, but that's really missing the whole point of his study.

    November 9, 2010 at 19:01 | Report abuse | Reply
  8. Esther

    I see little to no validity in this study because everyone knows most people, if they did this diet all the time to lose or maintain weight, weight would get sick and die from the chemicals and unhealthiness of these snack cakes- even if it did cause them to lose weight. Hey, you can eat tissues all day and lose weight too! It's not about losing weight- it's about being healthy. Putting this type of information out there is risky in a society where the quality of food is generally so poor. Another point ot be made is that he didn't do the study long enough- let's see what happens 6 to 12 months into this study. Eventually his body would crap out, and he'd likely start gaining weight and suffering from all types of disease.

    November 9, 2010 at 20:24 | Report abuse | Reply
    • earthling

      You big frickin dummy. Did you even read the article? He admits its not healthy. His study was ALL about losing weight, not being healthy.

      November 10, 2010 at 00:59 | Report abuse |
    • Celeste

      He only did this for 10 weeks, and he is not advocating that any actually does this. He was just proving a point that one can loose weight by eating a food that is considered very unhealthy, by restricting calories alone, not restricting fat or sugar. He is trying to prove the two schools of thought on weight loss that it is total calorie intake vs total nutritional value.

      With that being said, if (and this is a big if) someone could loose this kind of weight on a temporary diet like this AND keep it off in the long term with a normal healthy diet, the net effect would be that they would be much healthier having gone on the diet than if they hadn't gone on any diet to lose the weight in the first place.

      November 10, 2010 at 02:35 | Report abuse |
    • GTG

      I think the point is that in an age where everyone seems to be blaming fast food, school lunches and soda companies for our obesity problem, that he's proved you can pretty much eat any of that crap and still not be obese, so long as you watch total caloric intake. We're also faced with the fact that obese folks have a higher rate of many diseases and much higher overall health care costs. Essentially, it's on them (with the exception of the rare few who do have some other condition), and they are the ones that need to be held responsible for how much they put into their mouths so the rest of us don't have to subsidize their health care costs

      November 10, 2010 at 09:08 | Report abuse |
    • Mike

      I am not surprised by the amount of people on here who think his diet in unhealthy, but it actually is very healthy. The problem is most people have absolutely no concept of what "healthy" is.

      First: He takes a multivitamin, eliminating his need for most or all fruits and veggies. He is lacking in Fiber sure, but I don't see that being a problem.

      Second: Did he say he also took a protein shake? If he does, there is no need for any extra protein in his diet.

      Third: Most importantly, he is not saying "look I can eat what I want it doesnt matter I wont gain weight." He is very strictly monitoring his intake. What does it matter if his energy needs are met by cakes or salad? It doesnt.

      You have to understand, he is VERY CLOSELY monitoring every calorie and nutrient in his diet, and making the conclusion that if you dont have NATURAL food close by, you can substitute it. This is an EXCELLENT article, in a country where obesity dominates inner city culture.

      He lost weight and ALL of his blood indicators improved. You cant fake that. The main thing to take away from this is that yes, he ate "junk food," but if that is all you have, or all you can afford, there is a smart way to do it. If you try to take away that all junk food is healthy, you have totally missed the point.

      November 10, 2010 at 11:49 | Report abuse |
  9. Michelle

    He was eating vegetables and other foods too, with snack food in *moderation*. This wasn't like the supersize me guy who only ate fast food and nothing else. I think the point here is to prove that fad diets like no fat, low carb, etc. aren't necessary to lose weight. I don't know why people are of the mindset that all snack foods are somehow evil and must be avoided. They are treats – and he is proving that they can be eaten without the need to be paranoid about gaining weight as long as people are reasonable in the intake of them. This all or nothing attitude is such BS.

    November 9, 2010 at 21:13 | Report abuse | Reply
  10. Willow

    One thing I am learning from Weight Watchers is, yes, a lot of it is about calories. But everything in moderation, too. You can have half a potato, but you don't want to eat them all the time. Eventually, you will get malnutrition.

    November 9, 2010 at 22:25 | Report abuse | Reply
  11. awwh come on

    Lol @ goat nuggets

    November 9, 2010 at 22:31 | Report abuse | Reply
  12. Acaraho

    Nowhere in this article does it mention the other ingredients found in the junk food the professor ate. Such things like high fructose corn syrup, flavor and color additives, preservatives, etc. are not only unhealthy but have shown to promote some cancers.

    November 9, 2010 at 22:38 | Report abuse | Reply
  13. Terry - Indiana

    What a great punk job. Dan White, the man who killed the mayor of San Francisco and Harvey Mike claimed that he had overdosed on twinkies, and he basically got off. Twinkies will survive long after we are all gone. There is more crap in a twinkle than the city water treatment plant.

    November 9, 2010 at 22:44 | Report abuse | Reply
  14. Mark

    I doubt this comment make it to your dear reader, CNN does a great job censoring, so dear censor I dare you to post this :-)
    First, congratulation CNN on generating huge interest and net traffic on a completely bogus story – that is of course your intent.
    Second, if you seriously need this 'professor' story to tell you eating less calories than your body needs leads to weight loss, well, words fail me, what is next ..professor of maths shows 2+2=4 ...way to go!
    Third, if this 'experiment' came from some alternative health advocate, it would be rightly torn to shreds for the anecdotal non scientific garbage it is. Proper science that lead to that useful end product known as 'facts', requires use of scientific method. How was this guys food intake controlled? was he locked in a cell and fed? oh wait, no, he just tells us what he did. Worst, he started out to prove his pet theory, low behold he proves it..shock..what objectivity! ... a proper study requires his calories be controlled by an outside agency, his activity calories also measured...how do we know the result wasn't simply due to more exercise? ...even then, its not science, because you need to account for genetics.

    When real science is done, a large smaple is used to try to account for this, say 100 people are used, and due to genetics they don't all react the same way – one persons results are worthless, no better than your buddy telling you he lost weight on a beer diet.
    As for his so called health claims, well, he ate pretty healthy, vegatables, protein, fat and OK he got carbs from sugar, big deal. But wait, isn't he a nutrition professor? doesn't he know that health problem take YEARS or DECADES to surface as result of poor nutrition. Why is he, and CNN through not having an expert point these flaws above out, trying to decieve you the reader? To expect eating a moderate amount of sugar to cause health problems after 2 month is beyond ignorant, it's like expecting to get cancer from not eating vegatables for 2months! If this guy ate like this for many years, we already know the result, just look at health statistics for US population.

    Junk food, junk science and junk 'news', thanks CNN.

    November 9, 2010 at 23:26 | Report abuse | Reply
    • Smurfeater

      Wow man, you need to get out more. Holy cow...

      November 9, 2010 at 23:53 | Report abuse |
    • Antitwinkies

      Surprisinglly, your comments passed inspection, and I agree with it.

      However you missed an important point... I think both CNN and that so called professor are actually paid for those food companies to advertise for them. An article like this, backed by a professor and CNN is a lot more convincing than ordinary advertising.

      One thing I noticed in the other article was a few select peoples making 100s of pointless remarks (otherwise known as spam) as if they were paid full time to do this. Cutting down naysayers and praising highly anyone that said so much as "that diet might work". It was quite hilarious to go throught the whole thing and seing those fake readers popping up everywhere.

      Not saying CNN is direcly responsible, they may just have been artfully played by the professor. But I think there is a better chance of that professor receiving payment for publicity (either directly or indirectly through gifts) than for anyone to loose weight while staying healthy on a strict twinkies diet.

      Still CNN should be carefull who they let write their arcticles, or they'll loose their credibility. Usually it's my number one newssource.

      November 10, 2010 at 01:00 | Report abuse |
    • earthling

      Mark – youre dumb.

      November 10, 2010 at 01:10 | Report abuse |
    • Mark

      Smurfeater & earthling ....wow, what are you 5? LOL ...sorry you guys don't want to think for yourselves, you fit right in with CNN target demographic so way to go :-)

      Antitwinkies – yep ur right, well I didn't want to go there, but most 'news' is of course paid news as you point out.
      Well, this is what you get when you dumb down an entire population to the point they don't know facts from opinion, science from pseudo-science, it makes it so much easier for corprations to have happy consumer drones :-)

      November 10, 2010 at 11:18 | Report abuse |
    • Mike

      Youre wrong. Weight loss or gain is noticed quickly. He maintained a steady diet of 10 weeks. Youre trying to say you cant be sure about the effects of food on weight loss after 10 weeks? Hmm.

      Oh wow why am I arguing... Youre just another "this report isnt SCIENCE" fool.

      November 10, 2010 at 11:56 | Report abuse |
    • Mark

      Mike wrong, you didn't read well. My second comment says clearly calorie deficit leads to weight loss, any fool surely know that? why would someone even 'study' that, as I said, whats' next study shows 2+2=4.

      The points I made after were about the so called 'health' claims, that were the lack science part comes in, did you even read the article?

      I'm 43, I have a body fat of 4%, I can run a 5.30mile, have resting pulse of 38. I've spend my life study sports science and nutrition, and I get sick of lies the disinformation given to public by sources like CNN who ought to be providing facts not the 'nutty professor'.

      If you want to know about weight loss, body compostion and fitnes ask most ATHLETE's since its their job – we will all tell you the same thing – calorie deficit limited to at most 400 claories to avoid metabolic slow down, NUTRITION i.e. avoiding sugar and more important PROCESSED FOOD which over LONG TERM ie. many years, will cause health problem such as diabetes, insulin resistance, and much more, and mostly because they are 'empy calories' i.e. you could have used that sugar calorie to put the thousands nutrients from healthy sources into your body. Processed food contains many chemicals that over a long period add up to you getting sick – just look around at the average person, how many drugs are they on? Its a perfect system, everyone getting fatter and sicker, and helping drug companies to keep you going LOL

      Note. they quickly moved this off the CNN front page, not even a link and now have the 'counter story' about how diets don't work LOL

      November 10, 2010 at 13:01 | Report abuse |
    • Mark

      Oh and whilst I'm wasting time ranting here, well its fun! :-)

      No, a 'calorie is NOT a calorie'.

      That applies to a CLOSED SYSTEM i.e. one where energy cannot be gained or lost. The human body has mechanisms to lose energy, for example, here are the possible routes 1 calorie could take in the body –
      – become stored as glycogen in liver or muscle
      – become stored in fat
      – be used to process to CONTRUCT MUSCLE – so by adding muscle tissue it would increase weight but not contribute to fat tissue – or net lose weight because it was used in that process.
      – be used to increase body tempeture i.e. burnt off
      etc

      How a calorie is used depends on several factors – genetic body type including mix of fast and slow twitch fiber, but mostly your hormonal system. Hormones are chemical messengers, and they control what happens.

      so theyre are EXCEPTIONs to the 'calorie deficit' rule –
      – people with low body fat, a deficit does ceases to work as body become super efficient and slows metablisms.
      – people whos' hormones are messed up, they are rare and used as an excuse too much, but some exist. Women often at menopause will suffer this.

      None of this matters, the real reason everyone gets fatter is simple – people are stressed, and food is the easiest 'fast fix' to that, since stress raises cortisol, and triggers our brains to crave sugary food, which spikes insulin, so hour later we crash and need another fix – (hence another reason sugar based diet sucks ).

      November 10, 2010 at 13:14 | Report abuse |
  15. Kermit

    Slightly off topic, but also slightly on... ask any physicist where, for example, a tree gets the bulk of its mass from... most 4-5th graders would answer water. The actual answer is air. Trees breathe in CO2 and breathe out O2... they collect the carbon. Likewise with humans but in reverse. So mass-loss as opposed to weight loss comes in part or in whole (I'm no physicist so I refrain from making unresearched claims) from breathing. I doubt very seriously though that most people on diets would believe you that simply breathing would result in measurable "mass" loss.

    November 10, 2010 at 00:33 | Report abuse | Reply
    • Antitwinkies

      Right on topic actually !

      Breathing = exercise ! What a cool coincidence ;D Actually there is a cycle called cycle of Krebs if I recall about the pathways through which the energy flow. I haven't touched that in a verry look time (It's biology, not physics, but not too far off, still science). I'm pretty sure it ends up consuming fats and sugars and releasing the CO2. But it always go for the easiest source of energy, and it can eat your muscle if you don't eat or drink enought. Always a good idea to eat well when exercising. Diet + exercise = bad idea. Just eat well (vegies, fruits, variety of meat, plenty of water... and surprisingly you do need some sugars and fat as well, moderatly)

      November 10, 2010 at 01:09 | Report abuse |
    • earthling

      You have the cause and effect reversed. Breathing doesnt drive weight loss, it is the result of it. Breathing, in part, is the means by which the body expels the carbon that ushered in high energy electrons in the form of sugars, fats and proteins. CO2 = useless oxidized carbon.

      November 10, 2010 at 01:37 | Report abuse |
  16. Zoidberg, MD

    0.0025%? Sorry, 'prof', you may need remedial math. 10 weeks is 0.25% of a 75 year life.

    November 10, 2010 at 01:58 | Report abuse | Reply
  17. Calvin Hobbes

    If you can't enjoy anything what is point of the sacrifice? Another side topic, some scientists hypothesize that we age because of damage done to our DNA. If what you consume, however toxic it might seem, is done in balance, the preservatives and artificial ingredients might be protecting his DNA. Should prof Haub expire, he may not require embalming. A hundred thousand years from now, future beings might need his DNA to recreate mankind. Sounds like a scifi plot for Mike Myers

    November 10, 2010 at 02:03 | Report abuse | Reply
  18. JohnAlbany

    Ok, I don't get HOW is there any argument whether this works or not. Does living with a U.S. diet also make you dumb and blind? Can't you just look around and use simple logic? If you are locked in a room and only breathe air for a couple weeks, I will guarantee you will lose weight. Look at people who live in starving countries like Zimbabwe or Somalia. Do they look like obese people walking around? No. Do they all get to eat multivitamins and salads and daily servings of fruits and lean meats? No. Clearly you can survive without having our food pyramids. And people in those countries don't die of diabetes or coronary artery disease as frequently as we do. Were there any cave paintings of obese cave men? NO. Did they die of fat-related diseases such as cancers or heart attacks or strokes because they weren't eating healthy salads? No. Yes they died earlier than we did, but it was almost always because of trauma or infectious diseases. They also didn't have antibiotics, housing, clean water, and cars and guns to avoid predators.

    November 10, 2010 at 06:38 | Report abuse | Reply
    • Mike

      If you take in all of the facts of the article you'll see he isnt consuming these things exclusively, but with vitamins and other foods as well. Come on. Stop spouting. Yes, if you eat 1 calorie of sugar per day, you will lose weight. And no that does not make 4000 calories of sugar good for you. But he isnt saying that. Stop the extremist garbage.

      November 10, 2010 at 12:02 | Report abuse |
  19. Soren

    I always have to remind myself that data is data. So why do I find so many people railing against this data? I guess no scientist can help but bring biases and beliefs to the table to color the data.

    November 10, 2010 at 07:39 | Report abuse | Reply
  20. sc4fpse

    SmartThinkin came in thinking he/she was so smart with his/her comments, but CNN just slapped them in the face with the new information.

    Boy, bet they feel like a stupid dieter now.

    November 10, 2010 at 07:58 | Report abuse | Reply
  21. Boka

    Counting calories is definitely the best way to loose weight. Why? Because you are concious of what and how much you are eating. As compared to how most people eat which is mindlessly pushing food in your mouth while watching TV.

    November 10, 2010 at 08:03 | Report abuse | Reply
    • Geograpagreet

      goeie begin

      May 22, 2011 at 08:21 | Report abuse |
  22. Boka

    Two of the best things I have ever done to effect weight loss was to stop watching TV and portion control.

    November 10, 2010 at 08:03 | Report abuse | Reply
  23. Rachael

    Sure, he lost weight, but I bet he felt like crap, was moody and had a rough time doing any sort of exercise. I don't know about anyone else, but my body needs more than twinkies and chips to be able to function at an optimum level. If all he did was go to work and sit at a desk and then go home and sit on the couch I'm sure he thought he was fine. But I'd prefer to live my life at least a 9/10 on the energy scale.. and only a healthy diet will do that!

    November 10, 2010 at 10:28 | Report abuse | Reply
  24. Mike

    .I am not surprised by the amount of people on here who think his diet in unhealthy, but it actually is very healthy. The problem is most people have absolutely no concept of what "healthy" is.

    First: He takes a multivitamin, eliminating his need for most or all fruits and veggies. He is lacking in Fiber sure, but I don't see that being a problem.

    Second: Did he say he also took a protein shake? If he does, there is no need for any extra protein in his diet.

    Third: Most importantly, he is not saying "look I can eat what I want it doesnt matter I wont gain weight." He is very strictly monitoring his intake. What does it matter if his energy needs are met by cakes or salad? It doesnt.

    You have to understand, he is VERY CLOSELY monitoring every calorie and nutrient in his diet, and making the conclusion that if you dont have NATURAL food close by, you can substitute it. This is an EXCELLENT article, in a country where obesity dominates inner city culture.

    He lost weight and ALL of his blood indicators improved. You cant fake that. The main thing to take away from this is that yes, he ate "junk food," but if that is all you have, or all you can afford, there is a smart way to do it. If you try to take away that all junk food is healthy, you have totally missed the point.

    November 10, 2010 at 11:50 | Report abuse | Reply
    • properNutrition

      @Mike

      "You cant fake that"

      Oh yes you can, sir !!! Do some research. There is verry little that can't be faked those days.

      Besside, you need rather large groups of subjects to do a study, usually one with the real diet, the other one with "placebo" of some sort, closely monitored and isolated from the outside world to be able to conclude anything scientific about it.

      Also he didn't measure a reasonable amount of markers. Only those he wanted to make a bogus claim. I'm sure I could take sulfuric acid and conclude it's good for something, as long as I don't mention the dammage it caused.

      It's all about not talking about the bad stuff. That's what make his research unscientific. For a scientific study, bessides having two groups (for comparison) you would need to measure all sorts of things like possible dehydratation, muscle loss, ketone release (in the bloodstream).

      I recommend you read some good articles by doctors to learn about side effects (that were not measured by that professor).

      I wonder if the purpose of the article was not to measure how many peoples (like you) would be fooled. In other words, a statistical measure of the public ignorance. If that's what it is, they scored high. Nearly every body can't bring up more than one or two facts and often get them wrong (running in circle about calories). A few inteligent peoples dicussed diet versus exercise, or started to talk about side effects, or noticed the (expensive) protein shake and vitamin suplements, or about thermodynamics and actualy biological information (which you may be able to google to find more about, or look into wikepedia, you'd be surprised). But overall the conversation was at a verry low level, as if peoples were proud of their ignorance and didn't want to learn more.

      One thing to note, protein shake are no magic bullet, counting on it alone would be quite unhealthy. Nutrition is verry complicated. For example most vitamins exist in many forms (molecular structure, sometime they exist in mirror molecular configurations) and the suplements usually only have one of those varieties. So eating an orange is much better than eating a bottle of vitamin C. The suplement are great however, because you don't want to eat 100s of oranges a day. but you still should eat some or you'll be missing something.

      To be honest we (science) barely scratch the surface about nutrition and the human body. But a protein shake and multivitamins isn't a fish and some oranges !

      November 10, 2010 at 15:35 | Report abuse |
  25. properNutrition

    I just want to share life-saving information about nutrition. Contrary to what some peoples think, calories alone are meaningless. You need to choose carefully what you eat, and basically follow the nutritional guide.

    I found this amazin 800 pages book written by doctors (MD) and scientist (Dietetis and more) that explain the nutritional guide in detail, discuss nearly all groups of food in detail, and give information on raw data about food (what they contain). It's really a gold mine of information. The BEST NEWS, it's cheap. under 10$

    Total Nutrition: The Only Guide You'll Ever Need – From The Mount Sinai School Of Medicine

    availlable at amazon .com
    (and no I'm not paid to tell you this, I've used the book for over a decade)

    Total Nutrition: The Only Guide You'll Ever Need – From The Mount Sinai School Of Medicine

    Like everyone, I got those crazy periods where you either work 60 hours a week (or more) or get an injury preventing exercise. Each time I put on weight. But each time, exercise alone was sufficient to get back on track.

    I don't go to the gym. I use a mix of exercises:
    yoga – power yoga – sttretching – kung fu routines – calisthenetic (push ups, sit ups, etc) – running – walking – weight training

    for power yoga, I used the iyangar books and the total yoga serie (Ganga white 4 pack)
    for weight training I use the magificient book serie by Kurt Brunghart
    I got plenty more books. You would be surprised how much reading the books and understanding what you do makes a hugue difference. It will save you from injuries and help balance the muscles, achieve results with less pain and more fun and variety, and overall have a great time while getting fit.

    So, that's my way. On your side just choose what sports appeal to you (watching tv isn't a sport :P)
    That said... I do some of my kung fu and yoga (standing poses) while watching stargate, star treck, merlin and all the other shows I love to watch. So you can do the same too.

    The only thing I know is discussing the twinkies diet is pointless because it's useless, aimless and absurd. He didn't even compared two groups (one on twinkies, the other on mc Donald burgers) so it has no scientific values whatsoever. You can't conclude anything from uncontrolled data on a single person with only his own words to back up his reasearch. And to top it off, he only measured data before and after and didn't do any contol of long lasting impacts, or control the effects of other activities he might have had. So what does the twinkies got to do with anything ? You can't conclude anything from his article.

    November 10, 2010 at 15:16 | Report abuse | Reply
  26. evilcyber

    The point was it is healthier to eat a bad diet and have normal weight than eat a "healthy" diet and be overweight. Read what Haub made said about "processed" foods sometimes being healthier than "healthy" foods:

    http://evilcyber.wordpress.com/2010/09/30/exclusive-interview-mark-haub/

    November 11, 2010 at 15:12 | Report abuse | Reply
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Get a behind-the-scenes look at the latest stories from CNN Chief Medical Correspondent, Dr. Sanjay Gupta, Senior Medical Correspondent Elizabeth Cohen and the CNN Medical Unit producers. They'll share news and views on health and medical trends - info that will help you take better care of yourself and the people you love.