09
Nov
10

Okay, let’s write the fucking “Twinkie Diet” post

Some of you with exceedingly long memories may recall my Beer Diet post from way back.  This, er, ain’t the same kind of thing at all.

This story has been all over the damn internet, with much exclamation thereabout.  Let’s be perfectly clear, here: there is not a fucking thing about this story that should shock you.

Briefly: Dr. Mark Haub (a nutrition prof at Kansas State University) put himself on a diet — a fairly typical (in broad strokes) short-term calorie-restriction diet.  He went from eating about 2600 kcal/day to about 1800 kcal/day for ten weeks, making no other major changes in lifestyle (he didn’t start working out, for example).  He made sure to meet some basic macronutrient-fibre-vitamin-and-mineral requirements by taking a multivitamin, drinking a protein shake, and eating some veggies, and he managed his blood sugar and insulin levels by snacking every three or so hours.  As a result, he lost 27 pounds, and his blood-test triglyceride levels dropped by about 40%.

This is all pretty standard stuff.  Haub ate a calorie-restricted diet, and quelle fucking surprise he lost weight.  He satisfied, more or less, his body’s demands for various macro- and micronutrients, and between that and dropping a bunch of adipose tissue his blood-test results took a turn for the healthier.  He did the big things right on a consistent basis, and as a consequence he saw good results.

But he ate lots of junk food!

So what?

Two points apply here:

  1. Dr. Haub did not jack 1200 kcal/day of Twinkies and Little Debbies into his diet on a permanent basis.  He did it for ten weeks.  This shows precious little about the long-term effects of such prepackaged snack food; it shows only that they will not fuck you up in acute terms.
  2. Dr. Haub carefully got the big things right.  He gave his body the basic stuff it needed (by way of protein shake, multivitamin, and — presumably for fibre — veggies), and he made sure that his body was neither starved of nor flooded with blood glucose by snacking every three hours.  I wouldn’t be shocked to discover that Twinkies and the like contain enough fat to slow down their absorption into blood glucose; he might’ve had different results if he’d been getting two-thirds of his caloric intake from Coke instead.  (Or he might not have; maybe a single serving of Coke, or Twinkie, or whatever is too small to trigger an insulin avalanche.)

This would tend to indicate that specific foods are less important than overall dietary patterns.  How is that possibly shocking?

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3 Responses to “Okay, let’s write the fucking “Twinkie Diet” post”


  1. 1 aczarnowski
    November 10, 2010 at 07:44

    How is that possibly shocking?

    Rhetorical, I know. But it’s because stupid is non linear to the number of people.

    A person is smart. People are dumb, panicky dangerous animals and you know it.
    – Agent K

  2. November 11, 2010 at 11:57

    It’s probably shocking because people have been indoctrinated with hysterical claims about junk food for so long.

  3. November 12, 2010 at 18:00

    My vet, who is otherwise quite sane and likeable, is convinced that I will kill my dogs if I feed them a home-made diet instead of a commercially prepared one. Oddly, our doctor has not expressed the same concern about my husband.


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