Little Debbie is more than just an illustration of a cute little girl featured on boxes for a nationally-distributed brand of snack cakes. She's a diet plan!
Yesterday's health report on cnn.com featured a story about Kansas State University's Mark Haub, professor of human nutrition, losing 27 pounds by going on a ten-week diet of Little Debbie Nutty Bars, Swiss Rolls, muffins, powdered donuts, Hostess Twinkies, corn chips and Oreo cookies.
Haub's body mass index went from 28.8 -- considered overweight -- to 24.9, which is in the normal range. He now weighs 174 pounds. He didn't survive merely on junk food during his ten-week diet. Each day he also ate vegetables (typically a can of green beans and a few celery stalks), a protein drink and a multi-vitamin pill.
After ten weeks of munching on sweet treats, Haub's LDL (or "bad" cholesterol) dropped 20 percent and his "good" cholesterol, or HDL, increased by 20 percent.
This isn't the first time, of course, that a "snack" item has been used as a way of losing weight. Nearly four decades ago, the Campana Corporation -- which bought Allied Products of Kansas City in the late 1950s -- introduced a weight-loss candy called Ayds (sold in chocolate, butterscotch, chocolate mint and caramel flavors).
The active ingredient in those tasty Ayds taffy-like sweets was benzocaine (which is frequently used in cough drops, canker sore medications, and certain varieties of condoms to prevent premature ejaculation). Unfortunately, the early years of the AIDS epidemic was a marketing disaster for Ayds candy. That and the fact that the product didn't really work.
Professor Haub of Manhattan, Kansas, however, may have proven that snack cakes may be the secret to a thinner waistline.
(Image via Flickr: roadsidenut)