Professor's Weight Loss Secret: Junk Food

Mark Haub ate only junk food for two months and lost 27 pounds.

Mark Haub, a nutrition professor at Kansas State University, ate only snacks from vending machines or convenience stores for two months and lost 27 pounds. hide caption

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Little Debbie Snacks, Oreos, Doritos and Diet Mountain Dew sure don't sound like diet food. But a nutrition professor at Kansas State University ate only convenience store snacks for two months and lost 27 pounds.

The key? Moderation.

Mark Haub kept his food intake below 1,800 calories a day — no extra exercise required.

"I avoided whole grains, I avoided fruits. I did eat some raw carrots and celery at dinner ... [and] I tried to pick foods that most people would consider unhealthy," Haub tells NPR's Scott Simon.

He ate about four convenience store/vending machine items a day, along with milk, a protein shake and one or two servings of vegetables.

At the end of the two months, his cholesterol levels dropped from 214 to 184.

Haub says the effort was an experiment.

"I kind of took the stance that ... let's say we reduce obesity, reduce body weight, move somebody — me — from overweight to healthy weight, but we do that with foods that aren't recommended," he says. "Is that healthy?"

Given a choice between Twinkies and a Ding Dong on a desert island, he says, he'd pick half of each.

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