"For effective weight loss reduce kcal intake by 15-20%. This will help minimize the drop in metabolism whilst encouraging max fat loss."
Is that really the case? I tested this theory on myself as an n=1 experiment way back in 2002-2003 and then again in 2004-2006. n=1 is a single subject experiment in which the lone participant (me in this case) is the sole unit of observation. The two things ideally needed are;
- Repeated measures.
The randomisation came from asking my boss at the gym to pull 3 sealed options out of a hat, she had been blinded to the process of sealing the envelopes, and I had been blinded to the actual process of recording my resting metabolic rate (RMR) using an indirect calorimeter;
- My actual RMR
- RMR - 500
- RMR = 500
The repeated measures simply came from repeating each option more than once to try and replicate the result. Despite criticism of n1 studies (such as you need a large group), I still believe to this day we all should to some degree, utilise n1 self experimentation as a strategy for individualising our own healthcare, as opposed to relying upon an authoritarian doctrine that is aimed at the masses. (1)
I always use myself when testing the various theories suggested in mainstream nutrition (I say theories because that is all they are, non are backed up by cold hard science) as I never want inflict the consequences on anyone else.
For a start what does a 15-20% reduction mean? Are we using a formula to work out what the person should be eating? Are we working out a persons actual RMR? Or are we, as is usually the case going for the typical method of using daily recommended allowances? I think these are still currently 2000 for women and 2500 for men, although it is confusing for to know what is current recommendation. Check out this BBC article about how maybe the figures are wrong.
I've been fascinated by metabolism since 2000 and in 2004 I started my "overfeeding" theory diet, (I say overfeeding but the theory was based upon increasing metabolic function, as such it isn't truly overfeeding) to see what effects it had upon my body.
I was exercising (I had spin classes to teach), but my exercise levels stayed roughly the same as I trained the same amount, taught roughly the same amount, and competed as usual. The only differences were my intake of food, my body temperature and my lack of fatigue. My original intention was to prove that the overweight diet guru at our local diet club was misguided. She sold the story that at least a 500 calorie deficit was needed to achieve weight-loss, and that without it nobody would or could lose weight.
So, based upon my previous experimence where RMR moved to match the environment (i.e. the metabolism altered to suit both the intake and the frequency of feeding), I worked out various amounts for the daily calorie consumption based upon of my weight and activity levels.
Again it was randomised (although I wasn't blinded per se, I was by the fact that RMR hadn't been measured.
- 3500 calories
- 4500 calories
- 6000 calories
I set upon eating 3500 calories a day, ignoring the advice to drop the figure by 500 kcals. My ideas stemmed from the understanding that the thyroid controlled hormonal status, which in turn dictates the rate at which your metabolism functions. So, it made sense that the thyroid would prefer a stable, reliable amount of energy which would allow it function fully. As long as I maintained consistent eating (I'm good that that), my metabolism rose to match the figure (my boss was measuring this for me) and my fat levels were falling quite dramatically. I repeated the measures twice and the measured RMR always responded and closely matched the consistent intake.
When I finally brought the experiment to conclusion I was eating 6000 kcals a day at 10st. I suspected at the time that I made myself hyper metabolic and that I had made my thyroid hyperactive, in reality I had probably just become inefficient and returned to the metabolism of youth. I struggled to cope without food for longer than an hour, and having the metabolism of a humming bird may seem great, but it is somewhat problematic when you have clients to see.
Being in this position may seem enviable to all those with weight to lose, but at either end of the metabolic spectrum comes health risks. As such, it is ideal to be in balance in the middle, so around 3200-3600 kcal works well for me, giving me a decent amount to eat, with less stress round actually sourcing so much food. To eat so many kcals I required packaged processed foods that made it easier to count up my totals and carry then around.
Theres lots of evidence debunking calorie restriction online, my personal favorite is one that Matt Stone from 180 Degree Health pointed me towards XI page 64 onwards Food Rationing of Prisoners In German POW camps. Check it out as it's a scary read. As Matt states;
"Many health authorities actually recommend eating far less than Auschwitz prisoners received. As offended as you might be that I say that, know that it is the truth. We modern, educated humans of the world, in the name of health, are eating concentration camp rations."
If you want to lose your health, follow the Auschwitz diet and exercise more while eating less. Chances are, if you're having PT, training at a gym/crossfit, going running, are a member of a slimming club, doing no carbs before marbs, or any of the other crazy diet and exercise regimes out there, you're probably already on it. It won't kill you as quickly as it did them, mainly due to your PT or diet club leader not having as much control over you as the Third Reich (some PT's I've see have come close though, have you seen biggest loser in which that woman shouts as much as possible to cover up her lack of knowledge).
The report states:
"Whereas according to the standards of the Physiological Committee of the Section of Hygiene of the League of Nations a hardworking man ought to receive in 24 hours about 4,800 calories and an average working man more than 3,600 calories, the prisoners at Auschwitz were getting at most from 1302 up to 1744 calories for 24 hours! 1744 calories daily represent a little less than the basic conversion of food into energy of a grown man, or in other words a little less than the amount needed by a man resting in a lying position, covered and motionless. A man who works, nourished in such a way is burning up his own tissues in order to cover the amount of energy expended. This inevitably results in the wasting away of his organism in a manner dangerous to life. The diet of the prisoners working very hard outside the camp possessed such a calorific value. The prisoners who were working in the camp and whose work was also undoubtedly hard were getting at most 1302 calories for 24 hours, which was much below the amount necessary for the preservation of life when lying in bed. The above given data explains in full why the prisoners of the Auschwitz concentration camp were dying in masses after a short period of time, and only those who had the chance of getting stolen food, or were getting parcels of food from their families at home, could preserve their life. All the other prisoners were doomed to destruction”.
What shocks me the most is that the 1744 kcals mentioned in the report is remarkably close to the 1800 kcals suggested for me during a module on nutrition at University. It is also remarkably close to the figures I often hear being suggested for weight-loss amongst diet and exercise groups. Now you get why I kept leaving university, I just can't put up with being taught such stupidity, and then being expected to re-teach it to you lot.
It is no secret I argued a great deal at university, in particular the Sports Science and Dietetics Degrees appalled me (along with Physiotherapy but that's a whole different topic). It wasn't quite a concentration camp, but looking at what they suggested I lived on, it wasn't too disimilar Maybe they just wanted to weaken me and stop me asking the complicated questions so that I would submit to their authority, rather than disrupting the brainwashing. How we can put someone through 4 years of expensive education at MSc level and let them come out with such a backward view of health is beyond my comprehension.
Other notable diet tweets of late are the fantastically backward one which must of escaped from the 1980's,
"Don't eat carbohydrate after 4pm".
I simply can't contemplate why you can't eat carbohydrate after 4pm, somebody should inform your cells that they can't have hydrates of carbon at that time.
My next favorite tweet is probably the ultimate, and I know it will enrage my friend Ali from Milly & Pip,
"Cereal provided a nutritious low fat meal at anytime of the day".
Their are hundreds of daft diets out there, and like usual it is all down to people just wanting to market their products and convince us that it is essential. It is the nature of consumerism I guess, however it is incredibly sad that we suffer due to our trust or faith. I'm not sure if this tweeter is on the books at Kellogg's, but it is scary that a health professional (I use the term loosely, has been conned by marketing, or maybe they just can't be bothered to think for themselves.
The Kellogg's diet is new in town as far as most are concerned. In recent years we've been told to "eat a bowl for breakfast and a bowl for lunch, for 2 weeks". Kellogg isn't new to the diet world though. John Harvey Kellogg was a well respected man in his day, and very influential on the subject of health (he even got involved in Eugenics but that is a whole post of its own). However, that doesn't mean he knew what he was talking about.
Kellogg had remedies for the sin of masturbation (enjoy that one while you eat your cornflakes), which involved circumcision without anesthetic for boys, and mutilation of the clitoris with carbolic acid for girls (yes all those denouncing other races for such barbaric acts, it happened right here too). You really are wondering what those cornflakes are made of now aren't you? Constipation was the cause of “nymphomania” in women, and lust in men, due to impacted stools stimulating the prostate gland or vagina into sexual excitement.
Mad bad old Kellogg believed a vegetarian diet, made up of bran and paraffin oil with every meal was good for you. This no doubt worked for his goals, as the chronic lack of protein, high fibre, and toxic oil would lead to a decline of libido, impotence, and infertility. This is still seen to this day with many "dieting" individuals that requiring IVF treatment, or they just simply can't get it to rise to the occasion. It is interesting to note that various religions have used vegan diets to ensure low libido for their followers, the monks and nuns. It isn’t as radical a solution as clitoral mutilation, or un-anethesised circumcision, but it’s just as effective. Putting Catholic Priests on veggies diets might not be as extreme as Kellogg's original remedy, but it may just stop the News of the World headlines that shame religion so often.
The paraffin oil was used due to the fiber rich diet causing large stools, and naturally the resultant haemorrhoids, the oil had laxative and lubricant effects. Despite anal leakage (remember I've consulted with fire breathers who technically consume paraffin) seemingly being the worst effect, it also has the added effect of ridding the body of vitamins A, D, E and K, causing a variety of problems from infertility and birth defects, to diabetes and cancer.
Kellogg did live till 91, largely due to the fact that he was a hyprocrite that didn't follow his own diets (how often is that the case), but he isn't responsible for the company we know today. His company was the Sanitas Food Company, named after his Sanitarium in which he attempted to reform people to the ideals set out by the Seventh-Day Adventist Church. Along with his brother Will, they sold their whole gain libido killing cereals to whomever would buy it. Will was the real business brain though, he realised that with sugar added they would sell to the masses. This led to a family feud, in which John insisted the flakes remain bland and refused to add sugar, and Will set up his own company called The Battle Creek Cornflake company. He then added sugar to the recipe and this company eventually became the Kellogg’s brand that we know today. The company makes billions per year selling their sugar enhanced products which were far less problematic. John Harvey Kellogg is long gone, but his ludicrous ideas still continue to permeate through society. Next time you're in the supermarket and worried about your excessive libido, or an uncontrollable urge to masturbate in ASDA, be sure to put some Special K in your trolley.