Wednesday, November 10, 2010

Amazing new diet! Man eats fewer calories than he burns and loses weight!

It's been all over the news.

Dr. Mark Haub, a professor of nutrition at Kansas State University spent the last two months eating pretty much nothing but junk food and lost 27lbs and improved his cholesterol profile.

How did he do it?

He ate fewer calories than he burned.

Is it important?

Yes, but not perhaps in the way you might think.

It's not important as a pure news story. There's simply no surprise that a nutrition professor eating a calorie reduced diet lost weight. If that were news we'd also regularly be seeing stories about the amazing business professor who saved more money than he spent and saw his bank account climb. There's also not too much surprise that his cholesterol improved in that the benefits of losing 13.5% of your body weight likely outweigh any risks inherent to the diet that led to that loss.

No, what's truly important here is the fact that this story made headlines the world over. That's important because it hammers home one incredibly unfortunate fact - the world doesn't understand calories.

Calories are the currency of weight and we need to empower people to use and understand them. From posted calories on menu boards and school cafeterias, to incorporating them into elementary school curricula, to including them on medical licensing examinations, to ensuring that even physical activity guidelines clearly spell them out. Calories, and more importantly a thorough understanding of how many each of us needs and how many we're having, must become part of our nutritional consciousness if we ever hope to put a dent in obesity.

So thanks to Dr. Haub for proving what shouldn't have needed proving, because truly, the fact that the world was wowed by a guy losing weight eating fewer calories than he burns highlights just how far we've got left to go in educating the public.

A shame that doesn't appear to be the message that he's chosen to promote.

Bookmark and Share


  1. Ok but then what happens to his cholesterol when he has to maintain this weight he's at now? If he couldn't eat healthy to lose weight and had to resort to junk food, how is he going to resolve his weight/health problem? The cholesterol goes down as a natural result of weight loss, but when that stops, you better have a good plan.

  2. That's like another news story - about the man who lost weight by eating PIZZA! Apparently he ate some "healthier" pizza, but he still isn't eating well-rounded nutritionally meals. I had a good chat about that news story w/ my kids.
    I appreciate your perspective on health concerns.

  3. I wonder what Gary Taubes thinks of this.

    I wrote an article about calories in vs. calories out a while ago for AOL:

    It's interesting that I have this one stalker who is a Taubes disciple, and every time I mention caloric restriction he posts a comment that goes on about how it's all about going low carb and insulin response.

    He likely failed first year physics.


  4. Joanne K12:10 pm

    What annoyed me about this story is when he said:

    “physically and mentally improved by increasing what’s not recommended and decreasing what is.”

    Even when he points out that it's all about the calories, he still promotes the fact that it worked because he is going against what is recommended as healthy eating.

  5. What gets me about this whole thing is that NO ONE is talking about the long-term health implications of eating a diet like this. If you eat 1800 calories worth of twinkies and doritos every day, you are going to end up with some serious health problems, unless the nutritional deprivation results in your body shutting down first. It won't matter one bit that you're skinny while you're dying.

  6. It's like I tell people, you can lose weight on the *"Dunkin' Donut Diet". Just eat 9 donuts (200 calories each) a day and you are bound to lose weight and become a diabetic. Wow, what a combo platter.

    *Or the "Tim Horton Diet".

    Ken Leebow

  7. Ha, I was just going to direct you to an article I read about this the other day. Other than for the publicity this is bringing about, I don't understand why someone who knows nutrition would feel the need to "prove" this.

  8. Obviously, he needs to prove it to shut up those who claim calories are irrelevant, and it's insulin/carbs that are doing it. I hope news of this study travels far and wide, also to show that not everyone who is thin is healthy.

  9. Anonymous2:31 pm

    Did anyone take the time to see what he is planning next?Eating the recommended number of servings, at the recommended serving size, for his age and gender, based on My Pyramid.

    Who thinks he will gain weight??? I do.

    This project was not done for research purposes, only to demonstrate to a class he teaches, that it is all about the calories when it comes to weight loss.

    Balance is key and variety is the goal. How many people accomplish this on a daily basis?