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In The News: Surprise! A Faddish, Unhealthy Diet Gets Press

Posted Nov 13 2009 10:15pm

img_PizzaKing Earlier this morning, New York City-based dietitian Keri Gans Tweeted a link to this article on the Tampa Bay FOX affiliate website.

The piece, titled “Eat nothing but pizza, and lose weight?” is all shades of horrible.

In summary, a man by the name of Matt McClellan (who, oh so coincidentally, owns a pizza shop) went on a 30-day, 2,500-calorie “nothing but pizza” diet and significantly reduced his weight, body fat percentage, blood pressure, and cholesterol levels.

Sigh.  Let’s dissect a few things.

“He eats eight slices total for a full day of nutrition. That’s 2,500 calories.”

Alright.  If a steady diet of 2,500 calories resulted in 25 pounds of weight loss over the course of a month (which, personally, sounds exaggerated), then what we are looking at is not “pizza makes you thin”, but rather the ever-classic “eat less, lose weight.”

Keri Gans’ comment when posting this link on Twitter was, “I wonder what he was eating before.”

Precisely!  If Mr. McClellan’s regular diet consisted of 3,800 calories a day, then, yes, 2,500 calories (no matter what food it comes from) WILL result in weight loss.

“Matt says he boosted his good cholesterol and lowered the bad and dropped 25 pounds.”

Again, this is regardless of the pizza.  The improved cholesterol and blood pressure levels can simply be attributed to the weight loss.

PS: Had Mr. McClellan’s 2,500-calorie diet consisted of healthy fats, he would have probably seen even more changes with his blood cholesterol levels.

“He also boosted his workouts to 60 minutes a day, every day. One day, Matt does cardio; the next he works with weights.”

Bingo!  So, in essence, we have someone who is consuming fewer calories and exercising more.  So… why am I supposed to be surprised that this led to weight loss and a healthier blood lipid profile?

“In the future, Matt says he’ll publish a book on his pizza diet plan and wants to tour the country in an RV to promote it. Matt hopes to challenge Subway’s Jared to prove pizza can be the healthiest fast food on the planet.”

No, thanks.

The problem with these senseless diets is that they focus solely on weight loss, rather than total nutrition.

A significant reduction in calories will always result in weight loss.  However, an unbalanced meal plan (such as a 30-day pizza-fest) does not fully meet vitamin and mineral requirements.

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