Fast or Feltham ...

The title of this post is a play on "feast or famine".   One of the things about blogging, for me anyway, is that over time you accumulate a draft bin full of posts that never get published.  Some of these are on studies I never got the chance to fully flesh out, others are on the "goings on" during a particular time that never seemed appropriate to hit Publish on by the time they were ready.  They are the closest thing I have to a diary and it can often be interesting to read back through the draft bin.  

It is hard to believe that I've been blogging over three years now, and involved in this community for more than another year longer than that.  Barely a blink of an eye compared to some but my how times have changed.  This time four years ago Mark Sisson published Primal Blueprint and Jimmy Moore weighed around 245 lbs after getting down to the mid 230's earlier in the year.  Nobody would have known about or considered eating nothing but eggs for weeks on end ... they would have to wait almost a year and 35 more pounds for that stunt.  This was the hay day of CarbSmart and other companies selling all manner of LC fair from Dreamfields to Julian Bakery to Chocoperfection and more!  

The low carb community was still in recovery from the low cal low fat scam that was Kimkins (and never forget Jimmy's role)  and newcomers (like me) would only get snippets and hear whispers.  Survivors, as I call them, still used their After pictures as avatars and the non-updated tickers in their signatures ... most had unfortunately gained their weight back, the most fortunate among them still weighed less than pre-KK.  Meanwhile blog posts about the fiasco were gathering dust on vacated blogs or had disappeared entirely.   Yet the legacy haunted ...

You see, KK was "dangerous" because it was low carb and low fat and low calorie.  The advice of the day if you hit a plateau?  Up the fat and calories.  There were some that suggested ditching wheat and you heard a bit here and there about that paleo stuff, but you would have to pry the Splenda out of Dana Carpender's cold dead hands at that time and everybody, probably Dana herself, would have laughed at the idea of her writing a Paleo cookbook that would be flashed across the TV screen on Dr. Oz!    Any mention of calories was quickly met with "Gary Taubes tells us ..." along with a link or two to Eades' blog for some sage advice from Dr. Mike.   

Jimmy's forum was full of people who couldn't lose but an ounce after months on 1000 cal/day of LF but lost 20 pounds in a week eating 3000 cal/day of LC.    The more things change .... the more they stay the same, eh?   Well, almost.  Through the years, the LC "crash diets" came and went.  Egg fasts and induction challenges and HCG ... or good old Atkins but counting calories.  Oh it was somewhat frowned upon to mention the "C" word, but the Kimkins survivors knew better.

Now four years later, Taubes' hypothesis smashed but somehow living on if only in the dreams of venture capitalists, Jimmy is "skinny" once again after eating an 80+ percent fat diet for a year and fasting 18-24 hours between fat bombs.  He went paleo and is no longer, but somehow he's considered a paleo blogger.  Who woulda thunk that!  Dana is thinner thanks to HCG, Welbutrin and alternate day Fat Fasts.  The Fat Fast being Dr. Atkins "secret weapon" for the "metabolically resistant" -- 85% fat 1000-1200 cal/day.  For a few days only he advised.  A temporary boost to get you through that plateau and pummel your pancreas into its final submission or somethingorotherlikethat. 

CarbSmart Magazine March 2013 Cover Premiere IssueThere's a new cookbook out by Dana on Fat Fasting.  It is published by CarbSmart and co-written by Amy Dungan and Rebecca Latham.    50 Recipes for mini fat bombs or something like that.  There is a woman with the blog tagline "Nutrition Science meets Common Sense" averaging about 1000 cal/day of nothing but chicken or turkey, zucchini and duck fat, and there's another who has finally lost stubborn weight by eating 1000 cal/day, less sometimes.  While Eenfeldt and Briffa and countless others are still mocking the calories and bemoaning the starvation diet, all around them low carbers and paleo types are eating just that.  Only it's LCHF or done with an IF flare or paleo panache.  Perhaps it's even LF wrapped in a loin cloth so nobody notices.  Matt Metzgar has been blogging about this of late.    It's that dirty little secret hidden in plain sight that nobody dares mention.  All of this adrenal fatigue about the community?  ....

And then along comes Sam Feltham to rescue the polar opposite.  Because we cannot ever forget the real supposed metabolic advantage of shunning the fattening carb:  You might not lose weight but you can stuff your piehole, so long as it's not with pie, with fat and protein (or exercise gluttony as Taubes once put it) and you won't gain weight.  That's something to write home about ... or video and write about on HuffPo.  This guy just completed an experiment (science he calls it!), eating 5000 calories a day for three weeks of low carb.  (I have a post upcoming on that).  He only gained like a pound and apparently lost an inch around his waist.  This is about as interesting as Jimmy Moore gaining 6 pounds of lean mass in 2 months.  But , as Fat Head predictably weighs in:
Predictably, the calorie fanatics who commented on his experiment are insisting that he simply has a super-high metabolism.  ...  In two of my posts about the low-carb cruises I attended, I mentioned that despite eating three and sometimes four meals per day – larger meals than I typically eat at home, by the way – I didn’t gain any weight.  ... People who insist weight loss and weight gain is all about counting calories like to point to studies of semi-starvation diets – people consuming 1,000 calories per day or thereabouts.  ... But in my experience, the advantage of a low-carb diet isn’t in losing more weight at a very low calorie intake. It’s in not gaining weight at a high calorie intake.
I wonder what the newbie considering trying a low carb diet thinks these days when they come upon sites and stories like this.  LC = effortless weight loss, but when it stops working here, try this 1000 cal/day lean meat and veggie "paleo" version  (usually with some number and the words whole or detox attached) and just pretend it's not a low fat diet ... or go the opposite and eat a stick of butter and three sardines over a nice bed of  glucomannan fiber plumped and formed into your favorite pasta shape with calcium hydroxide, and call it a fat fast.  You see this is how you transform a "starvation diet" into doing something to improve your health for which kudos are sure to come!

But never forget!  You can eat all you want and never gain weight.  Just look at Seth and Tom ... and Jimmy.   Which should have the newbie wondering:  Why does anyone need 50 recipes for a 1000 calorie a day fat fast anyway?    And the veterans must be wondering what ever happened to the Dr. Eades who once cautioned against caloric torpedos.   


Armistead Legge said…
Great post Evelyn,

The claims that the "fat fast" will somehow accelerate fat loss are not only false, they're somewhat dangerous. Super low calorie diets can work if you're really fat and consume adequate protein -- but consuming 80-85% of calories from fat, on 1,000 calories per day, is going to do nothing to spare lean mass. Great way to lose a lot more muscle than necessary.

Keep up the good work,

- Armi
Sanjeev Sharma said…
Now if only Feltham would inject insulin at one location for a year while eating 5,000 calories of butter on top of his regular diet for a year Taubes might stoop to writing a blog post about it ...
carbsane said…
Thanks! Excellent observation. I've always felt that the 3-day FF was such that most low carbers were previously eating a decent amount of protein and after that is when protein deficiency starts to break down lean mass. The FF has always worked because it was very low calorie. I'm seeing now the same thing that so many (myself included) did with Atkins -- following a short term plan for extended periods. Numerous Atkins dieters never get out of induction, they just stay there and nowadays it seems rare to see anyone that identifies as a low carber consuming over 50g/day carb (if that).

What concerns me, especially since there are so many low carbers over 30 when bone mass and lean mass in general can decline, is that too many are equating weight loss with fat loss while they are actually losing muscle and bone. It's difficult to reverse bone loss so it's best to prevent it as best as possible.
Synthesis said…
Let me just chime in and echo Armistead's comments regarding muscle loss.

Back in the day when I was languishing in the bodybuilding magazine wastelands, I tried a 3 day 1000cal fast to get rid of that last bit of fat that was keeping my 6 pack from blossoming into a full 8 pack (such were my adolescent priorities at the time).

Result: lost about 3 kgs, and judging from the fact that it took me about 3 months of normalised eating and training to recover my previous strength levels, most of that 3kgs was muscle.

Bottom line, 15% protein of 1000cals is an absolute value of less than 40gms of protein. Unless you're a 4 foot 3 inch sedentary woman, this is going to result in significant loss of lean body mass.

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Suraj Purohit said…
Well done boss i liked your post so much ... right to get edge of calories ... but best part is thank for shearing it with us ...
markgillespie said…
I posted on Sam Feltham's blog the other day. I suggested that all this has proved is that the Harris-Benedict equation doesn't accurately predict his TDEE, his actual TDEE must be in the region of 5000 calories and so why doesn't he try the "21-day 6000 cal challenge" and see what happens. Strangely, my post appeared but had disappeared 2 hours later.
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Yes, it is very difficult to get out of a diet sometimes. And, my own experience, is after getting to your target weight/%BF, it's necessary to reintroduce carbs. I've got more blog posts in draft mode on that!
Wow, that video is appalling. It makes me become a Pollan fan: don't eat anything, in which you either can't recognise or can't pronounce the ingredients.
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carbsane said…
What's a bit sad is that Jimmy was probably a bit healthier eating "LC junk food" because of the high inulin (soluble fiber) content of these things. But it is a great flashback from not all that long ago when these products were Jimmy's bread and butter. This was the reason for his menus blog where he linked to sponsored products. It made the Julian Bakery "fraud expose" he did all the more hypocritical. They are not off the hook, but he promoted a bread where the ingredients clearly indicated far more carbs than reported.
carbsane said…
I think he needs to try the same calorie level of canned tuna, mayo and green beans. It's probably a mix of his TDEE being higher at baseline and his not digesting a ton of the nut fat.
Low carb bread???

Thing about Jimmy, is that he doesn't look very healthy.
Myron Schwarzennecker said…
To be fair, people who lose a lot of weight without hard exercise tend to look not so healthy for a long time, until they readjust (or gain it back).

From the opposite view, people with thin faces tend to look better and younger after getting injections of synthetic fat by aesthetic dermatologists.
You've got a point there, but I think that ultimately, it is a highly individual issue. There are some weight loss stories with little to no exercise and those look fine. I'll even add that I don't think that Jimmy looks all that bad, given what he's been through. It's the other markers of his health that look a bit alarming. Although he does have a great A1C.
Paleo Nouveau said…
As a former (local and regional only) amateur bodybuilder, I can attest to the fact that calories and quality of calories are of paramount importance in losing FAT, for most people. If you are a genetically gifted individual that packs on muscle and has very low bodyfat, then quality of nutrition is not as crucial unless you are competing against equally gifted individuals that are also dialing in their diets.
Losing weight is not the same as losing fat while maintaining lean body mass. All the proponents and "experts" of HFLC diets should post before and after pictures without a shirt on. Fat as fuel for endurance events? Prove it! HFLC for sustainable health and weight management in the long run? What long lived culture has lived like this? People from Crete? Okinawa? Tarahumara?
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