If you’re a dessert lover like me, you may have celebrated at the news that Mark Haub, a Kansas State University nutrition professor, lost 27 pounds and lowered his cholesterol levels by eating a 10-week diet of mostly Twinkies and Doritos and adding no extra exercise.

But before you go on a Twinkie binge, health and wellness expert Ron Ringlien says to look at Haub’s diet a bit more closely.

In a recent health/wellness awareness tip from his Web site, Ringlien notes that Haub kept his daily calorie intake to 1,800 or less — enough to trigger loss from his pre-diet weight of 201 pounds. “When it comes to nutrition, nutrition math rules,” Ringlien writes. “If you want to lose weight, you must incur a caloric deficit … In the short run, it does not matter what food contributed the calories as long as there is a caloric deficit.”

So, we can eat all the Twinkies we want so long as we burn off more calories than we ate? Not quite, according to Ringlien.

Although acknowledging that weight loss largely amounts to calories in < calories out, “The nutritional quality of your diet, particularly in combination with strength training, can affect what kind of weight is lost — fat or muscle,” writes Ringlien. “Nutritional quality is extremely important for health, energy, longevity, vitality and mental acuity. The long-term consumption of artificial, processed food will eventually lead to health problems of one type or another. With sugary junk foods, we are particularly concerned given today’s epidemic of diabetes and metabolic syndrome.”

In other words, when crafting wellness information (and of course, in your own daily living as well) Ringlien’s message is to make sure your employees follow Haub’s math, not his menu.

What do you think of the Twinkie Diet and Haub’s overall findings? I think it could present a fun way to create effective wellness messaging for employees about the importance of moderation and healthy choices — especially as the holidays are approaching.  In the comments, share your thoughts about Haub’s experiment and how it could factor into your wellness strategies.

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