Weight loss is a vital topic in the U.S. After all, statistics show that about two-thirds of adults in the U.S. are overweight or obese, and one-third of all adults were obese in 2007-08. Naturally, many of us who need to shed some pounds for our health want to know how we can do so, smartly and safely.
The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention reveals the primary culprit for weight gain: Consuming too many calories and not getting enough physical activity. The likely solution appears to be to eat less and exercise more. But is caloric intake really such a big factor in weight loss? Perhaps the national phenomenon of the "Twinkie diet" best proves the point.
You probably heard the CNN story about Dr. Mark Haub, a Kansas State University nutrition professor who sought to demonstrate to his class that counting calories in and of itself was an effective weight-loss method. To drive his point home, Dr. Haub shocked his class, and the nation, by losing 27 pounds in only two months and even lowering his cholesterol while consuming little more than junk food, including powdered donuts, Doritos, snack cakes, Oreos, and, yes, Twinkies.
Consuming all this garbage, how did Dr. Haub lose weight? Well, he made sure that he consumed less than 1,800 calories a day. At his pre-Twinkie diet weight, he would normally consume 2,600 calories, the article reports. Afterward, he emphasized that he was merely conducting a class exercise, and being a nutrition professor, did not recommend his Twinkie diet to others (thank goodness).
Another key bit of information? The snack cakes and junk food only made up two-thirds of the professor's total caloric intake. Dr. Haub also consumed a protein shake and a multivitamin every day, incorporated veggies into his diet and maintained the same level of moderate physical activity as he did before limiting his calories.
What the public can really take away from the nutrition professor's unusual diet is not that eating Twinkies is the key to losing weight. Rather, portion control is vital, and establishing a set amount of calories, under the direction of your physician or nutritionist, could be a key to weight loss that many fad diets overlook. Even while eating whole grains, lean meats, fruits and veggies, and getting plenty of fiber, you may still be consuming too many calories over all.
Food for thought? I certainly think so.
Image source: Image by Larry D. Moore, used under a Creative Commons ShareAlike License
This guest post is contributed by Kitty Holman, who writes on the topics of nursing schools. She welcomes your comments at firstname.lastname@example.org.