Community Buzz: Would You Go on a Twinkie Diet?

Plus, whether or not to get the flu shot

This week on the iVillage message boards, members are talking about a nutrition professor who went on an all-junk-food diet to prove that, when it comes to weight loss, the only thing that matters is the number of calories you consume. As long as you eat fewer calories than you burn, you will lose weight. Mark Haub dropped 27 pounds in 10 weeks eating only foods that you can find in a convenience store. Besides losing weight, all of his health markers, like body fat, cholesterol and glucose, also improved.

On the Gym Rats board, health-conscious members were skeptical of Haub’s experiment. “Yes, cutting calories makes you lose weight. Yes, losing weight makes you healthier. But how long can he keep this up? It’s just a short-term solution, and doesn't solve anything,” says jeanwl.

“The real comparison would be the long-term effects of 1,600 calories of Twinkies vs. 1,600 calories of healthy food,” says freshstartnow.

Others, like millcreek2, thought it set a bad example for dieters who might think it’s okay to lose weight eating junk food alone. “His LDL went down. His overall health improved. If you're only taking the numbers into account, it seems like a successful diet. But I wonder how he felt and what his energy levels were like. I think this study can be very dangerous for some people,” says millcreek2.

Personally, I don’t know how he stomached it. I suppose if you’re used to eating a ton of junk food every day, it doesn’t taste so nauseatingly sweet. Likewise, if you eat nothing but refined carbohydrates and sugar day in and day out, you’re also probably used to feeling exhausted and sluggish all the time -- and probably have no idea why. But, being that he is a nutrition professor, I have to assume that he ate better than that before he embarked on this experiment, and it could not have felt good to switch over to his processed food diet. I have to agree that people reading about Haub might misinterpret his study and think it’s okay to eat a daily diet of snack cakes and chips. That wasn’t his intention. What Haub set out to prove is that, if you’re overweight, losing even a small percentage of it will make you healthier. And if it’s too daunting to cut back on calories and totally revamp your diet, then it’s okay to just eat less of what you’re already eating. Maybe it’s not the best public health message to be spreading, but if it gets people to lose weight, it will do some good. It’s kind of like the message: Everyone should be getting 30 minutes of exercise a day. But any exercise is better than no exercise, so if you only walk for 10 minutes, it’s better than having spent that time on the couch.

What do you think of Haub’s junk food diet? Chime in on the message boards.

Elsewhere on the health boards, members are discussing whether they will get the flu shot this year. According to a survey from the National Foundation for Infectious Diseases (NFID), 43 percent of Americans say they won’t be getting the vaccine this year. So it’s probably not surprising that people on the diabetes board were also mixed in their responses.

“We got ours today. My husband and I were so sick for most of last winter. The holidays were no fun,” says coldfingers.

“My husband and I got flu shots as soon as they were rolled out around here. I wouldn't go without flu vaccines for anything,” agrees twosweet02.

Shannon28052008, on the other hand, sees no reason to get one. “I will not be getting one since I am not considered in a high-risk group,” she explains.

Not sure whether you should get a flu shot this year? The CDC recommends everyone over the age of six months should be vaccinated, especially those at high-risk, like pregnant women, children under the age of five, people over 50, those with chronic medical conditions and anyone who lives with or cares for people in the high-risk group. Get more information on this year’s flu vaccine with iVillage’s stay-healthy cheat sheet.

Will you be getting the flu shot this year? Chime in below!

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