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College of Health and Human Sciences

Haub uses snack diet to debunk nutrition myths

Wednesday, September 1, 2010

Mark HaubAfter one week on an unusual health-defying diet, Mark Haub has lost 5 pounds.

For a month, the human nutrition professor is eating high fat, high sugar snack foods to dispel some common beliefs about nutrition. One is that calories not specific foods cause weight gain and weight loss.

"The purpose is to illustrate metabolic, mental and sociological issues surrounding weight. The principle is simple: eat fewer kilocalories than I expend," said Haub. He teaches an obesity-related, energy balance course that sparked his diet 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.

Haub wants to show that foods believed to ruin diets may not have that effect, and he wants to point out that there is no strong definition of what healthy weight loss is. He record results on his Facebook page.

Sugar plus fat plus celery

His special diet started Aug. 25. It includes high sugar, high saturated fat products like peanut butter-chocolate bars, chocolate cake rolls, breakfast pizza, donuts and sugared cereal, plus low-calorie vegetables. He eat 1,800 calories a day. He estimates that to maintain weight he need to take in at least 3,000 calories a day.

"It's portion controlled. I'm eating foods that are deemed by many to be unhealthy; we will see if they are," he said.

"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," Haub said.

Haub expects that his diet will affect his health and knows it could be a risk. But he points out that other diets have risks, as does gastric bypass surgery -- which is performed all the time.

Don't try this at home

He is monitoring his health by measuring his body mass index, body composition, blood pressure, cholesterol and glucose.

The scientist believes the U.S. has an obesity epidemic.

"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."

Many think increased weight gain leads to diabetes, heart disease, mortality and more. Haub said research from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention has found overweight people have lower mortality rates and health care costs.

Haub said his diet also is easy on a budget.

"It's very inexpensive and I get all of my calories for about five bucks a day," he said. "I am not promoting this or recommending it; it's just an exercise in nutrition."

Prepared by K-State communications and marketing and Human Ecology communications

This article was posted on Wednesday, September 1, 2010, and is filed under College News, Food, Nutrition, Dietetics and Health.