Who are the REAL Diet Experts?

Yesterday, I wrote an article about Dr. Mark Haub and his 10 week experiment losing weight with a reduced calorie Twinkie Diet. In that article, I made some observations & conclusions about the short term success of the Twinkie Diet and it’s long term shortcomings.

And if my Google searches are accurate, so did about a bazillion other so-called health & nutrition experts.

In fact, all across the internet, it seemed like every doctor, trainer, dietitian, nutritionist, diet guru, talk show host and professional skinny person was issuing a warning to the world’s fat people not to be fooled by the allure of Dr. Haub’s Junk Food Diet.

And….I have to admit that I was one of those people.

Mister Smarty Pants Personal Trainer.

And then I read this comment from Nancy – one of my amazing readers.

I’m not sure why the ambivelant results here are a surprise. Isn’t this precisely what weight watchers is based on? Eat what you want within a caloric limit? The pre-packaged foods that weight watchers hawks, like smart ones and lean cuisines are also full of sugar, artificial sweeteners, freakey pseudo meats, added vitamin supplements, and the like. Those diets don’t seem so different to me and have exactly the same results in both their positive and negative effects.

I think that sometimes folks who are experts in fitness get religious about certain habits, and a word like Twinkie sparks a furious preachiness, when plenty of other folks are eating equally as gross foods that are not equally under fire (as in the aforementioned lean cuisine, which is perhaps sicker bc of its healthy food disguise).

As someone who has truly journeyed through weight loss, getting 10 tweets from 10 bloggers/doctors in a day about this Twinkie diet does not make me hate little Debbie snacks.

Three years ago, it would have made me want to eat a Twinkie, but today it simply makes me consider if this level of anger from the fitness world is a way of misplacing some other emotion, such as fear that our Twinkie eater may be on to something.

Perhaps in treating the obesity epidemic, a novel and easy approach such as a variation of this diet (a Twinkie for breakfast?) can benefit people more than something super strict that few people will stick with? If this is true, lots of fitness coaches may be looking at a loss of income soon, hence the fury? I don’t know– I just speculate

Way to go Nancy!!!!

That is precisely the slap in the face all health/fitness/nutrition “experts” need from time to time….myself included..

Over the past 50 years, there have been billions of dollars spent on weight loss products & services. And yet, the world keeps getting fatter and fatter.

  • Maybe it’s time for the experts to stop talking and start listening to those “fat people” who are paying their salaries.
  • Maybe it’s time for the know-it-alls to realize that maybe they don’t know-it-all.

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  1. Its important to teach people about foods that help heal them not help get them closer to numerous diseases from high fat, sugary food…

    People know how not to eat healthfully but the job of millions of nutritionists is to inform their patients about the right thing to eat.

    You dont go to an angel and expect them to teach you how to sin, they only teach you how to recover from a sin or how to do good not bad.

  2. I don’t feel threatened at all by the twinkie diet – or any other other weight loss diet for that matter. Fitness is just one part of an overall lifestyle that can help people lose unhealthy weight. We should be counselling people on how to live healthier lives, period. The twinkie diet is irresonsible because it conveys the message to people who are already desperate and “weight obsessed” that it’s the answer to their problems. People need strategies that will nourish their bodies, and develop their health IQ. This leads small changes and sustainable progress over time. The problem with our industry is we try to tell people that we can get them through this process in a matter of weeks. This is the big lie that is hurting people and threatening our industry – not some lame ass twinkie diet. Eating twinkies is as stupid as hell, but it’s not the real problem.

  3. Nice. I agree, it calls everyone on the carpet for our obsession with finding the ultimate solution to obesity and our attachment to our own favorite rules. That’s in spite of the fact that most of us realize that the only rules that are really universal in weight control are the ones that are so general that they have almost no practical value. We see people succeed with very different strategies, and people using the same strategy having very different results over the long run. This tends to discount the assumption that there certain privileged rules are the key to this game.

  4. I agree that being healthy should not be overly strict! Lets face it the majority of people are not all of a sudden going to change into fitness nuts. They need to understand the science of why it is so important to live the majority of your life in a healthy way. That some sort of exercise is necessary for your body to function at a healthy level for many years to come. Just eat to avoid chronic disease. At the end of the day we know that nobody is going to suggest that we eat a twinkie for breakfast. No science will tell you that the ingredients in a twinkie are going to benefit you at all. However there is lots of proof of the negative effects. So yes fitness professionals and health professionals can be extreme, but lets not go to the other extreme. Make a healthy life easier, just make it healthy!!

  5. Controlling your weight is a matter of eating the right foods (low glycemic), moderate exercise and making sure you take high quality (pharmaceutical grade) nutritional supplements. Check out this site for more details – http://releaingfat.com

  6. The truth is you can lose weight on just about any diet that significantly restricts calories. And exactly why we have one fad diet after another that everyone claims works. The problem is most people who lose weight gain it back. The other problem is when it comes to health the discussion shouldn’t just just be about fat vs. skinny.

    In a world where we still don’t completely understand all the factors that affect our health and certainly not how our diet factors into it, the phrase “eating healthy” seems to mean different things to different people.

    The question is do we want to be healthy or be skinny…I am not sure the two are synonomous, and therein lies the problem. There is yet a study to be published that proves obesity is related to mortality. We do know that obesity or perhaps the same behaviors that lead to obesity, may increase our risk of another disease but it certainly isn’t the case in every situation and why not all obese people get diabetes.

    I think as health educators we need to consider our purpose. I personally am about educating people to live healthier lives based on the best research we have at the time (which in some cases is our best guess). If a client simply wants to lose weight…they can do that on just about any diet out there. However, if you are trying to lose 100 pounds vs. 5 pounds, you might want to rethink the twinkie diet.

    I think the real problem in our society right now with weight and wellness is that people have no clue about their bodies. They are so conditioned to crap, they don’t even realize how crappy it is. A diet high in fruits and veggies has a lot more to offer than weight loss. A diet that incorporates fish isn’t just about the size jeans you wear. But as long as we continue to focus on weight and weight loss we will continue to see 100 new fad diets a day, with someone swearing it worked. DAH!

    When I was working on my Bachelors in Nutritional Sciences over 20 years ago, the basic recommendaitons were to eat 5-7 servings minimal fruits and veggies a day, fish 2-3 times a week, meat in moderation. We were told to decrease the amount of sugar and processed foods as well as added in our diet and to eat whole grains instead of the refined alternatives. We were told daily exercise was also key to keeping lean and trim. Hmmm, it’s not sexy, it’s not rocket science, it’s not news and it certainly won’t sell books, but guess what, it works! This kind of info has stood the test of time. So why are we talking about twinkies to begin with. The answer is there, so what’s the problem?

    That is what we need to be asking ourselves…why aren’t people doing what we know works. That is why they continue to get fatter. We refuse to listen and of course we have mass marketing compaigns to keep us as confused as possible.

  7. I concur with shaun’s viewpoints and observations. Why are we ignoring the basic principles of healthy living?

    My great grand mother 90+ lived a long healthy life. She never visited a fitness gym or consulted a certified dietician, she was an illiterate by today’s standards of education yet she was a fit woman who managed a big family.

  8. It doesn’t matter if it’s the ‘Twinkie Diet’, the ‘Milky Way Diet, or the ‘M & M’s Diet’, these ‘diets’ will all work based on the principle of the diet, somehow, incorporating controlling overall intake of kilocalories. It’s not AT ALL the idea that a person can eat Twinkies and such ad libitum — even though that’s what the diet suggests and what is meant to draw people in. No one has ever said people who need to lose weight can NEVER eat ‘treats’. The problem is, nowadays, ‘treats’ have become the mainstay of dietary intake and has replaced wholesome, basic, balanced foods as a source of our kcals and often as the expense of providing a better spectrum of other nutrients besides kcals, carbohydrates, and fat. People are constantly ‘satiated’ and have even lost the ability to distinguish true hunger from just ‘a hankering’ for food. Also, people seem to have lost the ability to ENJOY wholesome foods and eating UNLESS they are ‘working at it’ — on a strict diet, working with a personal trainer, or any other ‘artificial means’ to control their dietary intake vs. energy expenditure. It shouldn’t be hard work to eat healthy — it needs to be NORMAL and DESIREABLE. Yes, we now need to re-focus and put food vs. physical activity in its proper perspective again, but these sensational type ‘diets’ are not helping the cause. As a person who struggled with obesity as a child, adolescent, and young adult and who BECAME a dietitian/nutritionist BECAUSE I wanted to gain a better understanding of my body, food and my food issues and obesity, I feel strongly that it is misleading and opportuntistic of people to proffer ideas and dietary programs that pander to desperate obese people and to the general public emphasizing the very foods that need to be de-emphasized in worldwide efforts to get folks to appreciate the beauty and value of basic, wholesome, nutritious foods and feeding the body what it TRULY needs to get and stay optimally healthy — physically, physiologically, emotionally, and spiritually.

  9. I’ve been trying to get people to stop thinking unfoods like Special K bars are what they need to eat to lose weight. I’m a dietetics professional who has lost 70 lbs and people look at me like I’m a nut when I tell them not to fill their freezers with weight watchers meals. Eating healthy balanced meals with planned treats here and there is what works. My treats are French macarons but for other folks it’s Twinkies. If I couldn’t ever eat sweets in order to get fit. – I wouldn’t have done it. Neither will anyone else.

    We also need to help people learn how to make time for exercise and making food. Life has amped up a full out sprint for most folks. If we can’t teach time management and how to increase productivity, people will never have time to take care of themselves. Making food, especially prepping fresh vegetables, takes longer than using convenience items. Before someone can start eating better, they need a plan to reduce their current workload to have that time available.

  10. I agree with you 100%. What people do not understand is that you can lose weight by eating less calories yes , but it is the change of lifestyle that is important. If obese people are used to eating large quantities of food it may be easier to convert to a healthy diet with less calorically dense food. I am going into my dietetic internship, I used to always struggle with weight now if I want to snack I just eat a bowl of vegetables instead of a bag of pretzels. It was a lifestyle change for me , so yes you can get thin eating twinkies will it supply the vitamins and minerals you need to have a good quality of life probably not, it may be permissible but it is not beneficial.

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