Experimenting with Diets

- POSTED ON: Apr 13, 2011



I enjoy trying out different Diets, and my personal style is to "carve out my own path". Therefore,  I'm usually involved in some type of dieting Experiment-of-One.

"Good Calories Bad Calories", by Gary Taubes, published in 2007. is an excellent book, however, it is about 500 pages long with more than 100 reference pages, and was written primarily for medical professionals.

I’ve read it at least 5 times, and I still haven’t absorbed it all because it is really hard. I have a doctorate in law, with an extensive history in legal research, but I still found it to be difficult reading.

The new book by Taubes, "Why we get fat and what to do about it", (2011) was written geared to people like me…those who are not medical professionals.  It is 250 pages and is a far easier to read. Although it isn't what I would call a quick read. This is the book that DietHobby is now featuring in BOOKTALK

This year, I am experimenting with Low-Carb because I have not yet found a Way of Eating to maintain my weight-loss that I enjoy enough to continuing doing for the rest of my life.

Low Carb is one of the few ways of eating that I have very little personal experience with. My body desperately wants to regain its lost weight, and maintenance takes constant vigilance. I’m hoping that low-carb will help eliminate some of my food cravings, as well as some of my hunger.

I’ve also spent a lot of time experimenting with Intermittent Fasting, and some of that was by using the 24 hr fasting method suggested by Brad Pilon. in his e-book, "Eat Stop Eat".  I own that book as well; have read it thoroughly several times; and think it is probably the best book around that addresses Intermittent Fasting at this point in time.

I will probably do more experimentation of Intermittent Fasting in the future. Neither Calorie Counting, Low-Carb or Intermittent Fasting are mutually-exclusive. A 24 hr fast is one way to further reduce insulin, and many low-carb people use it for that purpose.

My primary purpose for Intermittent Fasting has been to reduce my calories for up to one to three days a week, in order to drop my calorie averages. For me, the primary difficulty with Eat Stop Eat, or any Intermittent Fast, is not keeping my calories low on a fast day. I can do that. On Fast days my practice is to eat dinner only, around 350 to 400 calories, with no snacks after dinner.          

However, on “normal” days, the days before and after an intermittent fast, I have great difficulty eating only normal amounts, and not compensating by eating more food than my normal calorie allotment, and sometimes those fasts will trigger binge behavior for me. This might not be the case IF I were eating low-carb, since it is the sugars --refined carbs, and starches—complex carbs that allegedly trigger those cravings and binges.

Low-carb eating is different for everyone, andon pages 204 and 205 of his new book, WWGF,Taubes clarifies his position on this matter.


“The fewer carbohydrates we consume, the leaner we will be.
This is clear. But there’s no guarantee that the leanest we can be
will ever be as lean as we’d like. This is a reality to be faced.

As I discussed, there are genetic variations in fatness and leanness
that are independent of diet. Multiple hormones and enzymes affect
our fat accumulation, and insulin happens to be the one hormone
that we can consciously control through our dietary choices.
Minimizing the carbohydrates we consume and eliminating the sugars
will lower our insulin levels as low as is safe,
but it won’t necessarily undo the effects of other hormones….

This means that there’s no one-size-fits-all prescription
for the quantity of carbohydrates we can eat and still lose fat or remain lean.

For some, staying lean or getting back to being lean might be a matter
of merely avoiding sugars and eating the other carbohydrates in the diet,
even the fattening ones, in moderation; pasta dinners once a week,
say, instead of every other day.

For others, moderation in carbohydrate consumption might not be sufficient,
and far stricter adherence is necessary. And for some, weight will be lost
only on a diet of virtually zero carbohydrates, and even this may not be
sufficient to eliminate all our accumulated fat, or even most of it.

Whichever group you fall into, though, if you’re not actively losing fat
and yet want to be leaner still, the only viable option…
...is to eat still fewer carbohydrates, identify and avoid other foods
that might stimulate significant insulin secretion…and have more patience.
(Anecdotal evidence suggests that occasional or intermittent fasting
for eighteen or twenty-four hours might work to break through
these plateaus of weight loss, but this, too, has not been adequately tested) “


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Existing Comments:

On Apr 14, 2011 wrote:
I try out new diets too all the time.


On Apr 14, 2011 Dr. Collins wrote:
             Abby, looks like we have something in common here.


On May 22, 2013 mabelherbert wrote:
I am 235 pounds, 5 foot 7, female, 29 years old. Im a big fan of your encouraging video's on you tube. I have always struggled with my high weight. recently I was trying Intermittent fasting (2 days a week) along with a whole food diet, but I found that on 'free' days I was overeating to excess, and when I did the maths I realized that I would never lose weight that way. My boyfriend suggested that I should look into the Warrior diet, which is a different form of IF, where you 'fast' all day (you can eat raw and or cooked vegetables and low gi fruits, but no starch, protein or fat) and then you have an 'eating window' of 4 hours, in the evening, where you have a lovely satisfying meal. I find I can also have a delicious snack of porridge too, about 2 hours after dinner. I love this plan, and I feel my hunger is miraculously 'managed' on this plan. the explanation that Ori Hofmekler (the auther of this 'diet) gives for this is that during the day, if you don't eat foods that affect your insulin, and you move about a bit and do things, you are triggering your fight and flight simpathetic nervous system, and in the evening, after you eat, the body goes fully into rest and digest mode. It makes sense to me that 'early man' would have eaten in this way, grazing on veg and fruit in the day while out hunting or while grinding grain and things, and then having a feast in the evening. hope this makes sense, and I hope we all find lasting peace with our eating and weight. xxxxxx


On May 22, 2013 Dr. Collins wrote:
             Hi mabelherbert. Thanks for sharing about yourself and your current plan. I am familiar with the Warrior diet and am happy that you have found an eating plan that is working for you personally. I've experimented with a lot of different Intermittent Fasting plans, and continue to try out new plans all the time. It might interest you to read my most recent article about IF posted on Feb 26, 2013 which is : "More on Intermittent Fasting"

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