Professor in snack cake diet to dispel views

by Josh Sosland
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MANHATTAN, KAS. — A professor of human nutrition at Kansas State University has begun a 30-day diet limited entirely to snack cakes and fatty foods to dispel common beliefs about nutrition. Mark Haub, an associate professor in the K-State College of Human Ecology, said a class he teaches prompted the idea.

“The overarching principle is to bring to light some of the issues with obesity, our understanding of health, health outcomes and societal issues on what is good,” he said.

Dr. Haub wants to show that foods thought to undermine diets may not have that effect. He will be recording his results on Facebook as the experiment proceeds.

The diet began Aug. 25 and features products that include peanut butter-chocolate bars, chocolate cake rolls, breakfast pizza, donuts and sugared cereal.

Within the first four days of the diet, Dr. Haub had lost 7 lbs by eating foods high in saturated fats and sugar while maintaining his calorie goal of 1,800 calories a day.

“It's portion controlled,” he said. “I'm eating foods that are deemed by many to be unhealthy. We will see if they are. I'm not doing ‘Super Size Me,’ where I'm eating until I'm stuffed or overeating until I regurgitate, as Morgan Spurlock did with his documentary. The purpose is to illustrate metabolic, mental and sociological issues surrounding weight. The principle is simple: eat fewer kilocalories than I expend.”

Dr. Haub said the diet likely will adversely affect his health and could pose a risk, noting that other diets have risks as does popular gastric bypass surgery. He is monitoring his health by measuring his body mass index, body composition, blood pressure, cholesterol and glucose.

Dr. Haub said his diet should not be construed as denying the problems associated with rising obesity rates.

“We have become heavier as a nation and that's undeniable,” he said. “The debatable part is what the health outcomes are that come with that increased weight gain.”

In particular, he challenged the popular idea that increased weight gain leads to diabetes, heart disease and mortality. He cited research from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention finding overweight people have lower mortality rates and health care costs.

Additionally, Dr. Haub said his high-fat diet is economical. At the same time, he added a “don’t try this at home” caveat.
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