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November 29th, 2010
04:13 PM ET

Confusion about Weight Watchers and overall diet advice

Confused about diets? What else is new?

Here's one comment from the announcement about the Weight Watchers points overhaul.

Daniela: Make up your mind, CNN...you just wrote a story about the professor who proved to us that the Twinkie Diet works the opposite way. I know you are just reporting on this, but can you at least make some type of cross reference to the previous story so we aren't confused.

Earlier this month, CNN.com reported on a crash diet by a nutrition professor at Kansas State University. Mark Haub, the professor basically ate junk food and lost weight by reducing his calories.

This diet was a class experiment with a very, very small sample size – that’s right, one. This happened for only 10 weeks. This diet is not recommended for anyone and it’s not even endorsed by Haub.

It essentially showed that yes, you can lose weight by reducing calories. Technically, you could lose weight through all sorts of things - fasting, starving, cleanses, etc.

So this question was taken to Stephanie Rost, corporate program development director of Weight Watchers.  Why bother trying to eat healthy foods like fruits and veggies when you can lose weight on Twinkies?

“When you lose weight on Twinkies, you’re not looking at long-term effects,” she said. “If you restrict calories, you lose weight, but it’s hard to stick with that for the long term.”

Here's how other readers answered the commenter's question:

Bob: Look, you could conceivably eat anything and reduce weight over a short period. That doesn't mean it's sustainable or healthy. A sustainable lifestyle change is the issue – and that's where fad diets fail.

Lisa: Lowered calorie levels will result in weight loss no matter where the calories come from. What Weight Watchers is aiming for is weight loss with good nutrition which results in a healthier lifestyle and overall better health.

Fruits and vegetables fill people up and give them proper nutrition, Rost said.   After all, a diet higher in fruits and vegetables has been shown to decrease risks of heart disease, cancers, and a variety of chronic diseases,  she said.

While creating a calorie deficit is key to weight loss, you should consider more than just calories if you're thinking long-term health.  For more straightforward tips: The bottom-line diet: Eat less


soundoff (36 Responses)
  1. Ivan Libya

    So the short of it is, to lose weight, don't diet by eating fruits and veggies, just reduce your calories. Once you've reached your optimal weight, then you can start eating healthy to maintain a healthy and sustainable lifestyle.

    November 29, 2010 at 17:03 | Report abuse | Reply
    • NewYorker in NJ

      You should always eat healthy. If you want to lose weight you reduce your calorie intake. The two are not mutually exclusive, on the contrary: eat a healthful and balanced lower calorie lifestyle to lose weight and keep it off!

      November 29, 2010 at 17:10 | Report abuse |
    • NewYorker in NJ

      well, you may want to eat a diet and live a lifestyle... 🙂 – I got distracted while writing – sorry.

      November 29, 2010 at 17:14 | Report abuse |
    • hook

      geez people are lacking in thinking power!!! yes u can lose weight based on caloric intake, but is that your only goal???? Losing weight and being healthy isnt one and the same and there is on confusion. What you would want to do is lower caloric intake AND raise nutritional density of food (vitamins, minerals,fiber etc).

      November 30, 2010 at 05:21 | Report abuse |
  2. cindy

    It really doesn't matter if you lose weight from eating garbage when you die from clogged arteries. My grandfather was never overweight, but he died of heart failure, ate eggs daily and smoked. Yes, losing weight will help you mantain health, but only if you eat healthfully and don't ruin your arteries!

    November 29, 2010 at 17:19 | Report abuse | Reply
    • tg

      eating eggs is healthy.

      November 30, 2010 at 10:20 | Report abuse |
  3. Stan Marsh

    I am 8 years old and I can figure dieting out.....

    November 29, 2010 at 18:59 | Report abuse | Reply
    • Tereasa

      Stan,
      You have to realize that you are an exception. You are wise for your age and are surrounded by individuals who can't handle integrating two discrete data points into the same thought.

      November 30, 2010 at 07:22 | Report abuse |
    • MAK

      I wasn't going to comment, but then I saw people below debating whether "Stan Marsh" is actually 8 years old. I'd think people who couldn't figure out the very simple concept of dieting would be the correct audience for South Park references. Guess not.

      Allow me to clear it up: Eating healthier, more nutritionally dense food will keep you satiisfied longer and meet your body's needs. Hence, with a little discipline, you will be able to turn down the cake because you're not really hungry, and your calories will be reduced. Voila, weight loss.

      Also: This is Stan Marsh. He is 8 years old. http://www.buddytv.com/articles/South_Park/Images/Stan-marsh-3.jpg

      November 30, 2010 at 09:08 | Report abuse |
  4. Gala12

    Still the nutritional advise is conflicting. There are still people who considering eating eggs being dangerous(next to smoking) .Eating less sounds as an arrogant statement.I can eat less only when I exclude sugars, all grains and potatoes. Most of people who straggle with their weight are hungry most of the time and some are desperate enough to consider bariatric surgery.

    November 29, 2010 at 21:13 | Report abuse | Reply
  5. D

    Stan-did you finish your homework? And stay away from facebook...

    November 29, 2010 at 21:58 | Report abuse | Reply
  6. Fish

    If your name is Stan you are not 8 years old.

    November 29, 2010 at 22:36 | Report abuse | Reply
  7. klebinek

    Could crohns be related to nutricion http://crohnsdiseasediagnosis.blogspot.com

    November 29, 2010 at 23:28 | Report abuse | Reply
    • Snow

      Just a guess on my part– maybe a special diet (such as gluten-free) would help some people. I like to use healthboards (dot com) for communities and support for any health issues.

      November 30, 2010 at 08:21 | Report abuse |
  8. LEB

    I'm amazed that nutritionist thought he was making news. OF COURSE you can lose weight eating nothing but Twinkies if you eat few enough of them. But you'll feel awful, because you're consuming nothing but fat, sugar, and food-like substances that offer no nutritional value whatsoever. Heck, he could have developed scurvy if he stayed on that "diet" long enough from lack of vitamin C. And scurvy would be just the beginning!

    The fact is that crash diets usually result in regaining the weight you lost, because you eventually go back to your normal eating patterns. Programs like Weight Watchers aim to CHANGE your eating patterns so that your "diet" becomes a way of life and not just a temporary quick fix. When you become accustomed to proper portion sizes and combinations of food, then you can figure out how to do it by yourself without needing the program to guide you anymore.

    November 30, 2010 at 00:14 | Report abuse | Reply
    • Cole

      Don't comment on things you don't know.

      The "twinkie diet" also included a supplement for missing nutrients, some vegetables for fiber and to set a good example for his kids and a protein shake. The chances of him developing scurvy was 0%.

      November 30, 2010 at 13:25 | Report abuse |
  9. deborahwold

    The benefits of the "Hypersonic Weight Loss" system are almost too numerous to mention. For starters, I lost over 50 lbs and 37 inches of body fat. My hot flashes are gone and so are my muscle cramps. I haven't suffered from allergies since I started and I'm off 6 medications. I'm back to living life exactly how I want to!

    November 30, 2010 at 00:19 | Report abuse | Reply
  10. Tony

    Eat F'ing veggetables and fruits you morons. You don't eat greens, You Die. That's the short. Imagine all the meat that builds up in your intestines. All that charred steak and grilled chicken. There are chunks of shrimp stuck in your heart. They aren't coming out if mr. Brocolli isn't let in. Let IN MR. GREEN VEGETABLE. Also, let mr. Fruit in. He says he has the cure for cancer.

    November 30, 2010 at 00:47 | Report abuse | Reply
    • Snow

      The CURE? Oh, if only it were that easy to cure cancer. Just eat fresh berries and pineapple every day? We all wish!

      November 30, 2010 at 08:23 | Report abuse |
    • 4815162342a

      Newsflash, Joe: EVERYONE DIES EVENTUALLY!

      November 30, 2010 at 11:19 | Report abuse |
  11. rosecastillo

    Free Samples are offered for a limited time so when they are posted please take advantage of the offer before it is gone. Look online for "123 Get Samples" where I was able to get healthy product samples.

    November 30, 2010 at 01:00 | Report abuse | Reply
  12. Guy

    Sure, lose weight on a Twinkie diet. You won't lose too much fat, but you'll definitely lose weight. And you won't have energy (no complex carbs). And you'll rot your teeth. And you'll waste money on expensive junk food.

    Or you can eat cheap whole grain food and work out and lose fat, get fit, improve confidence, save money, and live longer.

    It's up to you, though. Keep eating those twinkies. I'm sure each twinkie is really filling, and you won't overeat.

    November 30, 2010 at 07:28 | Report abuse | Reply
    • Cole

      Hurray for more false information!

      Calories are calories. You can lose plenty of body fat by going on the twinkie diet. Energy only comes from complex carbs? No. Fat has the most energy by weight out of the 3 sources. Rot your teeth? Damage to your teeth (in this case) will come from bacteria feeding on what's in your mouth. They love carbs. Expensive junk food? Last I checked twinkie was cheap.

      November 30, 2010 at 13:31 | Report abuse |
  13. Joe

    Do you guys not even read the article? The professor that did the twinkie diet took a multi vitamin daily (no lack of Vitamin C = no scurvy). And Guy, "you won't lose too much fat"....seriously? Professor's body mass index dropped from 28.8 (obese) to 24.9 (not obese). Not to mention that his bad cholestorol dropped by 20%, good cholestorol rose by 20%, and his level of triglycerides (a form of fat) dropped by 39%.

    Not endorsing it, but get the facts right people. You all think you are so high and mighty, and know what is best for people when in reality you are as ignorant as everyone else.

    November 30, 2010 at 08:48 | Report abuse | Reply
    • tg

      BMI is one of the most worthless things to judge health by.

      November 30, 2010 at 10:29 | Report abuse |
    • Cole

      Actually, BMI is the best simple/quick way to determine if you are under/over your healthy body weight and it's usually correct. The only big exception to it are athletes/active people, but we already know our bodies. The only practical alternative to the BMI is just your weight, which is ridiculous since that doesn't even figure your height into the equation. Sure, one can spend serious $ on tests for your body, but that's comparing apples to caviar.

      If you think a BMI isn't very good, name a better alternative. A simple/reasonable chart that takes seconds to review and gives fairly good results.

      November 30, 2010 at 13:39 | Report abuse |
  14. Greg

    Gimmicky diet programs try to confuse individuals so that they stick with the plan. Losing weight and staying in shape is less complicated; it's about proper diet and adequate amounts of exercise. You can find out helpful information on both at Holosfitness.com: http://www.holosfitness.com/blog/view/1/333/Lower-Your-Chances-of-Getting-Diabetes-with-a-Mediterranean-Diet/

    November 30, 2010 at 12:58 | Report abuse | Reply
    • Cole

      False. And, so is the thing about the mediterranean diet.

      Gimmicky diets don't try to confuse people. In fact, they're pretty straightforward. And, THEY WORK. That's why people keep going back to the program. The problem is that the WEIGHT COMES BACK right away when they stop the diet. Sure, you can starve yourself and lose 5 pounds in a week, but it's not healthy or practical to keep that up. Any diet that requires you to not have the food you love will mean that you'll gain the weight right back. So, what works?

      Moderation and exercise. You can eat whatever you want, but you have to eat a certain amount of nutrients and you have to balance what you eat with exercise/activity. 100% proven and no side effects (Just remember that exercise too should be in moderation). When it comes to your health, as long as you're getting enough food/nutrients, it's more about exercise than what you eat.

      November 30, 2010 at 13:45 | Report abuse |
  15. Gina@concierge4moms

    Checkout my site, http://www.c4mcville.com/ for lots of tips and guides to lose weight for good the right way. Recipes, at home workouts, plus nutrition advice! Learn from a Fitness Coach who wants you to succeed. Every body is different and you need to find the right balance for you and what changes you can make that will last a lifetime!

    November 30, 2010 at 13:37 | Report abuse | Reply
  16. razzlea

    Its simple excercise and a healthy life style diet will do the trick. Check out my health and fitness blog for more info http://razzlea.blogspot.com/

    December 1, 2010 at 10:07 | Report abuse | Reply
  17. Tony Butler

    I think that people have too many toxins in their bodies. They need to detoxify their bodies first and then start eating a balanced diet. For more on diet check my webpage out. Tips for permanent weight control

    December 13, 2010 at 11:24 | Report abuse | Reply
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