Fat Fiction Fat, lies and measuring tape

9Nov/100

Twinkie diet anyone? Anyone?

Most impressive hair and deep frying twinkie abilities (NB this is not the professor)

So, if you haven't heard, a nutrition professor lost 27 pounds doing nothing more than eating Twinkies, which look like mini-cakes  (we don't have them in the UK). It's a bit like a road safety campaigner passing his driving test while off his face on Ouzo.

And fair play, but what does it prove? According to him not a lot, according to a dietitian "it was probably due to calorie reduction". Phew.

And before you think how could a nutrition professor abuse his body like that, he also had a few vegetables and vitamin tablets to stop his hair falling out and to keep his teeth from crumbling into chalk dust.

But before someone registers twinkiediet.com (anyone? C'mmon, there must a business opportunity there),  according to multitude of CNN comments, this proved that it's about calories and ergo fat people eat too much. I'd love to think that was true because it's so simple. One comment says "you don't see obesity in the 3rd world now do you? Lazy, just lazy". Not true. It's called the 'nutrition paradox', though it's not much of a paradox unless you think it's all about calories. It occurs where chronic malnutrition and obesity coexist . The result is issues of underweight and obesity at the same time. And before anyone thinks the rules of thermodynamics have somehow been melded, it's not happening in the same person, but frequently within the same family. Fat mum and her starving kids. Still think it's just to do with calories? Feel free to delve in - page 196 of the 6th World Food Survey below (it's a big download).

Either way, thats  not a nutrition paradox, and your Twinkie eating professor isn't a paradox either. Obesity is  still about the nutrients. Yes, nutrients.

But, he was eating sugar and wheat and still lost weight, how come, how come?

Well, clearly gluten isn't an issue for him. Maybe prior to his diet he didn't have enough fat in his diet (each twinkie contains 2g+ of fat, so a dozen of those a day would cut it). Maybe he didn't have enough magnesium, which he got through his vitamin pills. Maybe not enough protein (he was having a cheeky protein shake on the sides). Or maybe his body's in starvation mode and he'll put it straight back on afterwards. The overriding point is not that you need to cut calories, you need to sort out your metabolism and the rest happens naturally, which means you lose weight without being hungry. If that means eating a combination of twinkies and vegetables, knock yourself out.

And lo and behold, I read the very same thing a few hours later - you've got to get your metabolism straight to lose weight, says Matt Stone at 180 Degree Health.  Couldn't agree more.

Now, where's my bottle of Ouzo, I've got a long road trip coming up...

Edit: this is too funny to miss. Rush Limbaugh, a man who's no stranger to the biscuit tin himself, used the story to criticise Michelle Obama's obesity drive by saying  that noone would "eat the garbage she grows in the garden". As one commenter ably puts it, only someone who was repeatedly sodomised with a huge carrot would utter such an absurd phrase.

References: 6th World Food Survey
Fantastic photo copyright Dynomite

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