[Pigging Out] – Conclusion

I ate bacon all week and didn’t die.


Why I Did It:

I’ve been chubby since I was about 10. During High School I decided to do something about it so I ran every day one summer and as a result lost a lot of weight… except on my belly. Like my arms and legs would be sub 10% body fat and my abdomen would be closer to 30%. During university it was harder to to get my runs in and so I stopped jogging entirely and instead ate like crap, an eventuality of all university students. Two summers ago I attempted my High School weight lost success again by jogging 5k every other day and eating at Subway for 2 months straight. Jared was wrong. Despite being in a cal deficit for 2 months, I had only lost 4 lbs. Something was amiss  I was doing everything “right” but didn’t have any results to show for it. So I did some research on the matter and discovered some misconceptions that would surprise Robert Langdon.

Tim Ferriss in particular inspired me to challenge convectional wisdom and test things out for my self. So, every week or so I decided to try a new experiment. I realized that not only did bacon have an ideal macronutrient ratio for a ketonic diet while being easy to quantify, the term “eat bacon” seems to be actually intrinsically linked to the term “gain fat” in today’s pop culture. The headline was eye-catching. I brought up the idea of having bacon every day for a week with my parents and they nearly disowned me (just kidding…sort of). After more research and even more people telling me I’m crazy I thought “to hell with everyone, I’ll just do it”.

I’ve been doing a cyclical ketogenic diet with intermittent fasting for 3 months now and this week was the first time I was able to produce enough ketones to be measured. Having the opportunity to monitor this state was valuable enough to justify the diet.

Apparently, according to Google results (or lack there of), the only other person that has tried something similar is the same guy who made Mystery Science Theater 3000, undoubtedly the worlds worst scientist. I know since I wasn’t supervised by a doctor this blog is anecdotal at best, but if you’re skeptical of the results feel free to try it out yourself. For everyone else, hopefully I’ve answered a question that has been keeping you up at night, a question that’s captured your imagination and brought out your greatest fears, a question that’s very utterance sparks a fleeting glimpse of an unattainable future: “What if I only ate bacon for a week?”

The Results:

Note: I went to the gym on Day 3 (est 500 kcal) and played basketball on Day 6 (est 1000 kcal)

Meta note: WordPress is extremely weird when it comes to adding pictures so sorry about the fuzzyness of the last two.

Cardiovascular Effects:

Lipid Profile

For some context:

  • CHOL
    • Less than 5.2 is ideal
    • More than 6.2 is high
  • LDL
    • Less than 2.6 is ideal
    • More than 4.9 is high
  • HDL
    • More than 1.6 is ideal
    • Less than 1 is low
  • CHOL/HDL
    • Less than 3.25 is ideal
    • More than 6.2 is high
  • TG
    • Less than 1.7 is ideal
    • More than 5.6 us high

So it turns out, after eating cholesterol for a week my cholesterol levels are in the ideal range in every category accept HDL. Just in case you missed it, if I were to nitpick, my only problem is that my cholesterol levels are TOO LOW! The only disheartening part was my doctor, despite seeing how low in risk for CVD I actually am, still told me not to eat fat. This low fat dogma has taken on an almost religious level of belief without evidence.

Diet Evaluation:

If someone asked me what the quickest way to lose weight in 7 days is I would respond with “don’t drink or eat anything”. You might also die by the end of the week, but if you manage to survive you’ll notice you lost a ton of weight. Now, how much of that was water? Even better question: How much of that was muscle? Could you adopt this into a lifestyle?

I’m going to compare this bacon diet to my previous diet and also just for fun, a popular 1-week low calorie diet, The Cabbage Soup Diet. I haven’t tried the cabbage soup diet so all my assumptions about it come from the info on its website. For convenience:

BD = Bacon Diet

CKD = Cyclical Ketogenic Diet with Intermittent Fasting (my old diet: basically no breakfast, low carb on weekdays, anything goes on weekends)

CSD = Cabbage Soup Diet ( 9gF, 85gC, 26gP, 500 kcal, source)

So here we go:

  • Fat Loss
    • BD: 9/10
      Because you can measure your ketones in your blood stream, it is probably the only diet where you can quantify your short term fat loss. I can’t possibly think of a better way to get rid of body fat. I would have given it a 10 but realized liposuction is a better method.
    • CKD: 6/10
      Slow but steady. I was loosing 1-2 lb consistently every week, more if I didn’t work out. I may have been in ketosis but it wasn’t enough to be measured on my Ketostix. Fat loss may have been a combination of mild ketosis and beta oxidation (the only other way people can use body fat for energy, occurs naturally during cal deficit)
    • CSD: 6/10
      It is commonly reported to lose 10 lbs in 7 days. I’m not sure how much lost is water but I suspect some of it will me muscle loss since there is very little protein being consumed.
  • Energy
    • BD: 7/10
      Fairly good except at around 4pm where it dipped, especially in the first 2 days.
    • CKD: 9/10
      Exceptional, especially on carb load days (weekend).
    • CSD: 3/10
      I suspect it to be terrible due to the lack of carbs and fat
  • Hunger
    • BD: 6/10
      I got hungry a couple times a day and found myself standing around starving while the bacon was cooking. The odd time I was surprised by a lack of appetite occurred on Day 3 when, just before I arrived at the gym I was absolutely starving but somehow forgot about my hunger during my workout and didn’t get hungry again until 2 hours later.
    • CKD: 9/10
      Almost non-existent, particularly the day after high carb/alcohol intake. If I ever got cravings during the week I would just pop some almonds and be done with it.
    • CSD: 4/10
      I suspect this is gut wrenching due to the cal deficit but you are encouraged to eat as much as you can so I’m not sure. I am sure, however, that the cravings have got to be crazy!
  • Muscle Synthesis
    • BD: 4/10
      It is probably hard to gain muscle on this diet due to the lack of glucose. However, from what I’ve read, over a long time in a ketonic state, your body will adapt to using ketones for synthesis.
    • CKD: 7/10
      High carbs on the weekends can fuel your workouts during the week and synthesis muscle. Pure muscle gains, however, could be enhanced by taking carbs before and after workout.
    • CSD: 0/10
      I’m positive you will lose muscle with this diet.
  • Cost
    • BD: 8/10
      I bought the bacon at different prices but assuming I bought it all at the lowest price I found (Costco) I think I could get just enough bacon with $35/wk
    • CKD: 6/10
      During the week I pretty much only eat salmon, spinach and protein shakes, which comes up to about 45$/wk
    • CSD: 9/10
      Judging by the grocery list I say max 30$/wk
  • Cooking/Cleanup
    • BD: 7/10
      20 min cooking time by oven method, 1 min per strip in microwave method. Only dishes to wash are 1 plate and 1 fork (and optional knife) per meal.
    • CKD: 10/10
      If canned salmon is used (my favorite nowadays), I can put together a delicious salmon spinach salad with spicy mayo in under a minute. Cleanup is the same as BD.
    • CSD: 2/10
      Day 1: Chop, chop, chop, chop, wait for soup to cook, chop, chop ,chop , chop. Day 2: Chop, chop ….
  • Sustainability
    • BD: 2/10
      1.It was getting hard not to cheat and in fact I had to force my self to stay in because I was afraid I’d given to temptation and cheat. To be honest, the only reason I didn’t was because my blogs reputation was on the line.
      2. Alcohol will ruin ketosis and is not allowed
      3. Even after experimenting with different spice techniques I was absolutely delighted to get back to my salmon meals. You know how if you say a word enough times it loses all meaning? Yeah, in the end “bacon” just became “salty meat strips”. Variety is the spice of life and my bacon desired life despite the spice.
    • CKD: 8/10
      I can eat what ever I want and still lose weight but timing is everything. If I have to eat out on the weekday I have to get pretty creative (ask for no buns and they”ll usually give you a knife and fork).
    • CSD: 0/10
      You will feel tired, hungry, light-headed, angry and neurotic ALL the time.

Totals (out of 70)

  • BD = 43
  • CKD = 55
  • CSD = 24

I think I’ll probably go back to my old diet…

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