A 30 Day Trial of the Slow Carb Diet
diet and weight loss | food tracking
As a busy entrepreneur, Dan Dascalescu didn't have time to go to the gym, but he wanted to look a certain way. After trying a few different ways of dieting, Dan decided to give the The Slow Carb Diet (popularized by Tim Ferriss in 4-Hour Body) a try because it doesn’t require the gym and it’s pretty simple to follow. In this talk, he discusses his data from a 30-day trial of the Slow Carb Diet.
My name is Dan Dascalescu and I want to share with you my trials of the slow carb diet which ended actually yesterday, so there’s not much I can definitely say about it but I can definitely say I tried to stick with it very carefully. And my goal was to look like that guy in the picture and I wanted to do that with a minimal about of time, because I’m an entrepreneur I don’t have much time to go to the gym. And the claim was that you don’t have to go to the gym.
So I tried things like Krav Maga which is the martial art. It’s useful because you don’t waste time running (unclear 00:36) but I found it more useful to (fight the attack than run from them). And that didn’t work in terms of fat loss. And then I tried the passive band over the abdomen. That doesn’t take any time but that didn’t work at all almost, so that didn’t work either.
What did work was P90X, which (power 90?). It’s a program by Tony Horton lots of news on TV about it and I did get the best abs of my life, super in shape but there was a big problem with P90X. And the problem with P90X was that it would take not one hour as advertised but rather two hours or more a day because you have to assemble your gym if you do it at home. You go to the gym if you don’t do it at home and have to shower and all that. So the affective time is at least two hours a day, five days a week. That didn’t work when I started my company, so I had to stick with my body fat of 18% to 21% for the next few years, which on the other hand was a great baseline for testing new diet. And that’s how I figured I would test the slow carb diet because it doesn’t require the gym and it’s pretty simple to follow. And this is (the blog written) by Tim Ferris, the four hour body. Tim is an expert of marketing let’s put it that way.
I was a bit suspicious about his claims because I said I cannot do this I have the willpower to go (unclear 02:02) . It’s actually only five rules, actually five plus one that’s an extra rule and the basic rule is if you don’t know whether to eat this thing, if it’s not in the diet don’t eat it.
The first thing to avoid is carbs, which makes it a very sad diet okay. You cannot have cookies, no biscuits, no pizza, no beer. Beer is carbs in a liquid. But anything that can look white and is carbs you must not eat. You can eat whatever is allowed and you have to eat in in repeated in the same meals. So it’s kind of obvious but it’s the rule to feel good about complying with that rule.
And the meals are pretty simple. For example in terms of protein you can have poultry, beef, pork, shellfish, whatever you want. It can be canned, it can be microwaved. It can be fresh, you can hunt it (02:55 unclear) hunt your own meat. Then you must eat legumes which was new to me. I hate beans, and I found out lentils were the least sucky of the beans.
I tried like 12 varieties from Trader Joe’s, and Safeway and Wholefoods and I found from the bean that lentils were the best.
Next vegetables. Spinach is the best bodily composition food according to Tim Ferris but you can eat vegetables as much as you want, they have almost low calories and I didn’t bother tracking them because they are insignificant in terms of calories and protein.
Then you must not drink calories, like the sodas outside bad for you. You must not drink milk either there’s some complicated hormonal reason, but the idea is no drinking sugary liquid. And don’t eat fruit either, because fruit has sucrose and sucrose is bad for you and evolutionary you didn’t have access to fruit all year round only if you lived in I don’t know, Africa Republic and you don’t need the vitamin C that you can get from vitamin supplements.
Or on the cheat day which is awesome because you have to do it. On the cheat day you must eat crap, junk food and lots of it like 3000 calorie double on the metabolic rate. You have to do that because otherwise your body goes into starvation mode. So cheat day reminds you that there is food.
And this is the extra rule, rule number six which is not in the book and which beat me. You have to sleep eight hours a day. I knew that sleep could make you eat more because you snack at night, but that’s not the reason, and the reason turns out to be that sleep actually regulates two hormones, leptin and ghrelin and they regulate how you store fat and how you burn energy. But I learned that too late in the diet so I couldn’t apply it.
And what I saw is that I had a weight drop in the first week because I came back vacation and start eating carbs and lost a lot of weight, but then the weight plateaued and ended up losing three pound. And the same happened to the body fat.
Your going to see on the next slide the body fat was in a narrow range, from 18% to 20% which is pretty much within the measurement error of the scale. If you look at September 28th there is a drop down and I don’t know who it happened but basically that’s the accuracy of the scale. So I can say that there was no body composition change actually.
I tracked religiously everything I ate down to the vitamins except in this particular screenshot but I have a huge spreadsheet of 30 days of eating on this diet, it’s not my website.
I looked at the calories there and I found out I would eat only about 1600 a day, which is based on my metabolic rate. How many you have to eat? I don’t know, it doesn’t say in the book. So I went to these forums, 4hbtalk and 4hourpeople and I found how to make these beans more edible. Essentially throw mustard at them or throw whatever, salsa, but not ketchup because it’s bad. If you put condiments in it can be anything.
Then water you have to drink extra amounts because of all the proteins from the meat and also from the legumes, so at least two liters of somebody my size. And water can be boring, so you can drink tea or add a dash of lemonade or some sort of sweetener but not aspartame.
Generally this was a pretty low cost diet, a bit less expensive than a regular Trader Joe’s diet. I don’t know how much a month, probably 300. Pretty easy to prepare, microwave, canned food, and I found two concerns with it mainly, high cholesterol and high sodium. This occurred in every single meal every single day. I’m not sure how you are supposed to deal with it, except for something called the PHG Stack, which I can detail in the Q and A section and that’s what I’m going to try in the next trial.
Aside from that you are supposed to get more sleep and supposed to use quality body scans, like the body metrics from the exhibit here, or at least the bodpod.
Then the other interesting things the results tend to happen for people at the four week mark, which is today, so I cannot share that. Maybe in two weeks from now I will have like a bump in my composition.
Thanks for your attention. My name is Dan Dascalescu and I’ll share this progress continually on my wikipage and feel free to ping me with questions and you can email me.