The Food Police have just been smacked on the side of the head with their own ‘Anti High Fructose Corn Syrup (HFCS)’ billy club. Dr. Mark Haub, associate professor of human nutrition at Kansas State University, is making national headlines with his so-called ‘Twinkie Diet’. Specifically, Haub lost 27 pounds in two months by eating only Twinkies, candy bars, sugared soda and other junk.

Although Haub says he wasn’t completely serious when he started this class research project two months ago, his results are getting serious media coverage because they may prove it’s not WHAT you eat, but how many CALORIES you eat that matters in weight loss.

Haub also proved that losing weight reaps health benefits because his ‘bad’ cholesterol, or LDL, went down 20 percent and his ‘good’ cholesterol, or HDL, went up 20 percent. He even dropped the level of blood fats in his body (triglycerides) by 39 percent.

Haub says he put the weight loss project together for his class to disprove the Food Police myths that refined grains and corn sugars are the cause of obesity. “The new USDA guidelines ( call for a big reduction in refined grains, asserting they are contributors to the nation’s growing obesity rates,” says Haub. “But, I take issue with that. I know nutrition is important, but so is caloric intake and expenditure.” Haub says we’re a fat nation because we eat too much; period.

Haub’s ‘Twinkie Diet’ limited his daily calorie intake to less than 1800 calories and included a multi-vitamin, protein shake and a handful of vegetables. (He said he ate the vegetables at home in front of his kids because he didn’t want to set a bad example to his six- and three-year-olds). The pounds melted away.

Tongue-in-cheek aside, Haub knows the ‘Twinkie Diet’ isn’t nutritious, but he wasn’t trying to prove what’s nutritious or what’s not. He also says he wasn’t paid by Hostess or any other food company to do this project, nor did he get grant money; he was simply trying to prove that if we want to lose weight, we’re better off paying attention to the calories on our food labels than scouring the fine print for ‘HFCS’ or words like ‘refined grains’, or ‘processed’. We’re a nation of fat people and pointing the fingers at HFCS, corn farmers or farm subsidies isn’t going to bring us a trim waistline:

If what we take OUT of our diets isn’t as important as how much we put IN our mouths, how about a second helping of common sense? That, and a walk around the block, would do us all a world of good.

Written by Laurie Johns
Laurie Johns is Public Relations Manager for the Iowa Farm Bureau.