The Twinkie Diet

The new diet everybody is talking about is the Twinkie Diet. Forget about Atkins, The Zone, ketogenic diets, Paleo diets and the like. This one seems to really work… Not! For those of you unfamiliar with this “diet”, it was really an experiment that a Professor of Nutrition in the US carried on for two months to prove the point that if you reduce the energy that goes in your body (calories from food) it won’t matter what you eat because you’ll burn those calories anyway.

Energy in – energy out = balance (weight gain, weight loss or no difference)

The guy didn’t survive on Twinkies alone, a sample menu for one day included also other junk snacks (and junk food disguised as health food, such as Kellogg’s stuff), coffee, baby carrots, multivitamins, protein shakes, etc. But the fact that people named it “the Twinkie Diet” gives you an idea of the popularity of those “cakes” in the States, which are also mentioned by Michael Pollan several times in his books as an example of the triumph of food science in transforming cheap ingredients into nutritionally void and highly addictive foodlike products.

twinkie-diet

By the way, I haven’t seen Twinkies in Australia but there was (or is) a similar product in Perú called “Gansito” (little goose). I loved them when I was a kid but now that I remember the taste (yes, I can still remember tastes from my childhood) it was completely chemical and extremely sweet.

Back to the experiment, this Professor’s weight and body mass index dropped, his LDL (bad cholesterol) and tryclycerides levels decreased and his HDL (good cholesterol) increased. He said he was feeling and sleeping better than before the experiment. This whole thing reminds me of the guy who lost heaps of weight by eating Subway sandwiches only (plus a daily walking routine). Among the lots of diets I tried when I was a teenager, the worst was the Fats Diet. I could eat any dairy food, meat and smallgood I wanted, but no starchy carbs or sugar (including that from fruit). I lost weight but my liver got sick. Fortunately, switching back to my usual eating habits (which were not very healthy at the time) solved the problem.

So, really, you do have to analyse the results in context. It’d be wonderful to say that eating junk food makes you thinner and healthier. But the truth is that health (including a good body composition) is dependant on so many things (lifestyle, for example) and the consequences of what you put in your body now may not manifest until when it’s too late. Stay away from processed stuff, get your body moving and enjoy a long, healthy life.

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