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Can You Really Lose Weight Eating Junk Food?

09/11/2010 10:48 | Updated 22 May 2015

When it comes to losing weight, is what you eat important? Or just how much? Experts are divided on the issue, so no wonder the rest of us are confused. But an American professor has really stirred things up by losing almost 2st while eating virtually nothing but junk food.

Can eating Twinkies help you lose weight?Can eating Twinkies help you lose weight? Photo: Flickr, Christian Cable

Mark Haub, professor of nutrition at Kansas State University, decided to find out once and for all whether losing weight is down to how many calories you eat or whether it's all about a healthy diet. He set out to complete a four-week diet that comprised 1,800 calories a day (that's about 800 less than he needed).

But the calories he ate came mostly from junk foods such as Twinkies and Doritos, plus a daily protein shake, multivitamin pills and either a can of green beans or four celery stalks. It's hardly what you'd call nutritious.

After week three, Professor Haub decided to extend his diet to 10 weeks. And when the day of the final weigh-in arrived he'd lost 27lb. Not just that, but his body mass index (BMI) had reduced to 24.9 from his original 28.8, while his body fat dropped to 24.9. His cholesterol levels went down too, as did his triglycerides (another type of fat that's linked to heart disease).

Dr Haub isn't suggesting we all go on a junk food diet, but he did prove a point. You can follow his progress on Twitter.

No wonder we're mixed up about diet and weight loss when some foods labelled as healthy aren't particularly good for you, while other so-called 'bad' foods may not be so bad after all. What do you think?

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