Can you lose weight on junk food?

An American professor of nutrition has, in the name of research, spent ten weeks losing weight on junk food. He wanted to prove that it could be done. And it has been done! He has spent weeks on a diet of biscuits, cakes and other high-sugar, fat-laden junk food and has generated a great deal of media hype with tales of weight loss, deeper sleep and better general health.

Mark Haub is an associate professor from the department of human nutrition at Kansas State University. Over ten weeks, Mark ate sponge cakes, biscuits, some raw vegetables and drank full fat milk and a protein shake every day. He lost 12.1 kilograms from his original 91.3-kilogram body weight.

The but (and it’s a big one) is that he carefully controlled his calories intake. He limited his intake to a maximum of 1800 calories (7531 kilojoules) a day, exercised heavily throughout the period and took vitamin supplements in addition to “muscle” protein shakes.

At one point he estimated that he had worked off, and not replaced, more than 800 calories through an abnormally strenuous workout.

“I am not recommending or promoting this approach. I am simply in the process of illustrating that foods deemed to wreck diets, cause obesity, lead to diabetes, etc… do not – in and of themselves – do that,” he said after four days and a 3.2-kilogram loss.

On September 10, he ate:

          a double espresso

          two servings of Hostess Twinkies Golden Sponge Cake

          one Centrum Advance Formula “From A To Zinc” pill

          one serving of Little Debbie Star Crunch cookies

          a Diet Mr Dew drink

          half a serving of Doritos Cool Ranch corn chips

          two servings of Kellogg’s Corn Pops cereal

          a serving of whole milk

          half a serving of raw baby carrots

    one and a half servings of Duncan Hines Family Style Chewy        Fudge brownie

          half a serving of Little Debbie Zebra Cake

          one serving of Muscle Milk Protein Shake drink

          Total: 1589 calories

Excerpt from ‘Why we Cheat when we Eat and how to stop’.

The bites that ‘don’t count’

Perhaps you turned down a slice of cake, but now you find yourself at the plate, knife in hand, just making sure that the edge is even. You cut a sliver and shove it into your mouth. The cake tastes delicious. You return to the platter and ease off another morsel. Now the edge is a mess. You take the knife again and cut to smooth the ends. A short while later, the cake is considerably smaller…

It’s very easy to say that one mouthful won’t make a difference. The question is then, which mouthful makes us fat? Is it the first? Or the hundredth?

Maybe your friends are saying, come on, you’ve done really well! One dessert won’t kill you! They are right, it won’t, but it’s very easy for that one dessert to become many.

There are many times we can tell ourselves ‘This doesn’t count’. I didn’t order a dessert – I ate it from my husband’s plate, so that doesn’t count. Or I was just clearing dishes, and it was a shame to let the rest go to waste. So I scoffed it rather than put it in the garbage.

It’s much easier to let ourselves off the hook than stick to a diet because diets require us to make a huge effort. They ask for such a large change. Everything we know, everything we do is thrown out of the window. Your normal eating habits are utterly disrupted to make way for a new miracle fix that promises amazing results.

This is mainly because most of us believe that losing weight is so hard, so painful and so mysterious, that only the truly radical solutions will work.

But what if that wasn’t the case at all? What if one tiny change was all that was needed?

Excerpt from ‘Why we Cheat when we Eat and how to stop’.

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