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Junk Food: The Key to Better Health?

11/11/10

  10:37:54 am, by MedBen5   , 237 words,  
Categories: News, Wellness

Junk Food: The Key to Better Health?

The Internet is abuzz about a man who subsisted for two months on what CNN has dubbed the “Twinkie diet”. For 10 weeks, Mark Haub, a professor of human nutrition at Kansas State University, ate snack fare every three hours – Twinkies, Doritos, Oreos and so on – to test his theory that calories counting matter more in weight loss than the nutritional value of food. He limited his intake to less than 1,800 calories a day – two-thirds from snack fare, the rest from vegetables, protein drinks and multi-vitamins.

Surely, Haub failed to prove his point, right? Uh, no. His weight dropped 27 pounds and his body mass index went from an “overweight” 28.8, to a “normal” 24.9. Even more head-spinning: his “bad"cholesterol dropped 20% , his “good” cholesterol improved 20%, and his triglycerides level fell 39%.

Even Haub is a little confused about the positive health indicators. “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?”

Dietitian Dawn Jackson Blatner acknowledges that any weight loss, no matter how it’s achieved, can improve cholesterol and reduce blood pressure. But she also warns that such a diet lacking a higher ratio of fruits and vegetables carries with it unknown consequences: “How much does that affect the risk for cancer? We can’t measure how diet changes affect our health.”

Here’s a CNN follow-up Q&A about the Twinkie diet.

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