Nutritionist Does Twinkie and Steak Diet, Loses Weight

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"We've made altogether too much over fat versus carbs and it's a huge distraction for the most part. The fundamental truth is that at energy balance, calories in versus calories used, determines weight, and this reinforces that," says Dr. David Katz, director of the Yale Prevention Research Center.

And in the short-term, weight loss alone is enough to see other health benefits, such as higher healthy HDL cholesterol, no matter how you achieve it.

"If we have learned anything over the years about nutrition it is that in the short term, your body doesn't care where the calories come from. The body is an effective furnace and will burn anything you throw into it, as long as it's not toxic," says Dr. Darwin Deen, director of the Regional Center for Clinical Nutrition Education at the Montefiore Medical Center.

"This process of living off of your stores is beneficial because it keeps your insulin levels low and after a while you have less body fat which is healthier," he says.

But over the long haul, less fat does not equal a healthier body, Katz says.

Someone who developed a cocaine habit and stopped eating would see effects similar to those Haub experienced: a lowering of cholesterol and decreased body fat, but no one would say they were healthy, he points out.

Similarly, Haub says that his success with this diet highlights how our society focuses on weight loss to a fault. " I feel our focus is on the wrong target (obesity) and by focusing on that target, the message of how [we get there] is lost," Haub says.

Short-term Gain, Long-term Pain

So when would the snack-cake fest start to weigh a dieter down?

Haub says it's possible that in moderate quantities, he may be able to keep eating processed foods and experience no detriment.

But given the lower volume of food that Haub is allowed to eat to stay within caloric restrictions while eating these cakes, and the lack of nutrition they provide, diet experts predict that cravings and nutritional deficiencies would start to take their toll in a matter of months.

"The impact of an unhealthy diet is felt in years, not weeks," says Montefiore's Deen. "Four weeks … was not enough time to have any health problems resulting from long-term lack of nutrients."

Antioxidants, phytonutrients, and fiber were all lacking from Haub's meal plan, experts say, and data connects these things with lower cancer risk, longevity, and overall health.

And while Haub's blood tests suggest health improvement, that doesn't mean that his body is healthy or that he'll feel good over months of eating like this, Katz says.

"Nothing in this blood work tells us what his cancer risk would be in the next 20 years."

"One of the things I hope people recognize is that the diets we choose need to be more than just losing weight as fast as possible. We also want to find health and it's combining those two goals that should dictate the kinds of diets we try and the kinds we professionals recommend," Katz added.

ABC News' Lee Feran contributed on this report

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