Moderate Fat Experiment

IMG_2620My low fat (10%) diet experiment over the last two months was successful, and I lost about 2-3 kilos. I ate massive amounts of bread, bagels, noodles, tortillas, and cereal, and avoided fat as much as possible. I counted on de novo lipogenesis to be minor, and pounded the carbs with impunity. I rode my usual 250 km/week, but never with the mindset (obsession) of trying to burn off the calories I’d eaten.

I started eating higher fat last week, to see if I can still lose weight through exercise and a generally whole-foods diet. So the focus is still on vegetables and starches, but I won’t be paranoid about fat. I’m not going to eat junk like donuts, candy bars, or crisps and chips. I’ll closely watch my weight to make sure things don’t get out of control.

I probably won’t buy a 1 lb (450g) bag of almonds again, because I’ll eat them all in a day. There’s about 2800 calories in the bag, mostly from fat (240g). And I don’t find the almonds that filling, so I’ll end up eating another 1500 – 2000 calories from cereal, noodles, tortillas, etc. I figure I can use about a quarter stick of butter a day (25g) on my bread and tortillas, since it doesn’t add that many calories for the day.

Hopefully, I’ll end up eating 3000 – 3500 calories per day, which is probably what I need for my 250 km/week of riding. I don’t like really fatty foods, so I’ll probably end up eating between 10% and 30% of calories from fat. It’ll vary a lot day to day, but I won’t avoid it like during the 10% low fat experiment.

Moment Cycle Sport Shop Ride

I rode a fun 50km ride with the Moment Cycle Sport club this morning. A few of us took the easy way out, and returned to downtown on the ferry. I have trouble keeping up with the road bikes when they pace line @ 40 km/hr. I end up riding at my own pace on my fixie (in jeans and t-shirt). So I don’t mind making it a fun Sunday, and I take the picturesque ferry ride across the Coronado bay. It’s a nice little reward at the end of the ride.

I recently learned that two of the guys on the Moment racing team are vegans (Gianpanna and Hans Lieber). I follow these guys on Strava and Instagram, which motivates me to eat as healthy as possible.

Most bicycle stores have a regular group ride (called a “shop ride”) that meets once, or a few times each week. The participants are usually very experienced riders, and are often racers. The rides are pretty fast, but there’s usually an option for a slower/shorter route.

Most cities have more causal group rides, without all the bike racers. Google or check for regular fun rides in your area. Group rides really make biking fun. It’s a unique, wonderful experience, and you’ll make a lot of new friends.

Fixed Force Four

IMG_2583Rode the SDBC B group ride this morning with Sergio and some of the SD Crows, all four of us on fixies. We kept up with the roadies, with just a little trouble on the downhills 🙂 These guys are really young, and I’m older than AJ’s (on the right) father. Feeling fit @ 50 on the Starch Solution!

Sergio (center) is really strong, and beat all my Strava PRs today. He didn’t even try very hard. I’m not worried, he’s exceptionally fast. And modest too. I personally need to tone it down a bit up those early hills. Sergio made his point without showing off today.

Can De Novo Lipogenesis Make You Fat?

I ran across Don Matesz’ video where he cites the O. Lammert et al paper, Effects of isoenergetic overfeeding of either carbohydrate or fat in young men, to suggest that DNL can make you fat. More specifically, Matesz says the study refutes the claims of HCLF advocates (Durianrider, Dr. John McDougall) that you can’t get fat from all-the-carbs-you-can-eat.

In the study, normal weight males ate about +1200 extra calories per day above their habitual diet (@ 78/11/11 low-fat macros) for 21 days. In the end, the analysis estimates that the average subject produced only 10g fat per day via hepatic DNL, or 16g/day from total body DNL (adipose + hepatic + muscular sources, etc.).

But these numbers are in line with the HCLF diet claims, which say even if you continually overeat a massive amount of carbs, DNL will only produce “in the low 10’s” of fat grams per day. In fact, one of the paper’s authors is professor Marc Hellerstein, who’s UC Berkeley lab has studied DNL for decades. These results don’t change the picture of DNL as a minor contributor to fat accumulation in the scheme of things.

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Me @ 77 kg

IMG_2462This is me after Sunday’s 100 km ride with Moment Cycle Sports. Yes, I wear jeans, a t-shirt, and a backpack, and ride my fixie with the roadie clubs around town. I weigh 77 kg now, and my ultimate goal is around 70 kg. I was a wreck 16 months ago @ 105 kg.

I got a post-ride smoothie at the new Juice Alchemy on 5th & Spruce. I’ll probably start drinking more fruit & veggie juices and smoothies now, since watching Durianrider and Freelee on YouTube.

Wheat Belly Diet

IMG_2271Perpetual thanks to Dr. William Davis for establishing the six bagel stack as a dietary icon. When I think of Wheat Belly, it’ll usually put me in the mood to pick up half a dozen bagels. They have a special at Einstein Brothers, where six bagels plus a half-pint of spread costs $9 USD. The bagels totaled to about 630g, so it’s a reasonable price.

I was really hungry after back-to-back spin classes this morning, and I quickly finished four of the bagels. They were just-baked warm and delicious! I’ll save the last two for after dinner, which will probably be Taiwanese noodle soup again.

Yes, if I eat a stack of bagels everyday, I’ll lose weight. It’s not magic, it’s just a low-fat diet.

(If you really want to do the math: I burned about 1600 calories in spin today. Maybe 60% of that was from fat, so I burned about 100g of fat from adipose stores. I’m pretty sure my post-workout carb meal was used to replenish glycogen stores, and almost no fat was created by DNL. But, even if 5% of the bagel carbs were converted to fat, that’d be (5%)(4/6)(630g bagel)(2.75 kcal/g bagel)(g carb / 4 kcal) = 14 of fat. No problem. I’ll burn 14g of fat sometime in the 6-8 hours before dinner.)

Boxes of Cereal

IMG_2269Lately I’ve been eating about a 1/2 box of cereal a day, along with about a pound of bread, and a bunch of tortillas. Before I learned about de novo lipogenesis, and how excess carbs are not easily turned into fat, I thought this would be a recipe for instant weight gain. I didn’t know it was just the dietary fat that got stored in our adipose tissue, while the carbs are just stored as glycogen, or burned off.

Plus, I didn’t know that these “carbs” contained all the protein I needed. I probably would have added some meat, afraid of being protein deficient. Of course, that meat just contains a bunch of fat that my body would store, and I’d get fat. Then I’d probably blame the “carbs”, because that’s been the popular message for the last 15 years.

Nowadays, I think of the bread and cereal as “carbs and protein” that’s fat-free. Basically, most starches contain about 12% protein, by calories. So, if I eat about 3000 calories of bread, etc., it’ll contain (3000 kcal)(12%)(g protein/4 kcal) = 90g of protein. That’s way more than I need, which is at most (1.2 g protein / kg of body weight)(77 kg) = 92g.

The beauty of eating almost no fat is that I don’t bother even thinking about calories anymore, let alone count them. I just eat the cereal and bread until I’m full. Then I probably eat some more cereal out of the box while watching tv on the sofa. No problem. My body will top off its glycogen stores, then burn off the rest.

I didn’t ride the bike on Monday or Tuesday, so my glycogen stores were completely maxed out for tonight. When I started my ride, my legs felt very strong. (Normally, they’re tired from day-after-day riding.) I rode my usual 5th Ave hill reps, and I PR’ed the 5th Ave Cedar to Laurel segment, taking 3rd overall with a 1:57 (out of 770 riders).

The biggest problem with constantly eating carbs is that it probably forfeits some opportunities to burn fat. I might return to eating more vegetables and lower calorie density starches like potatoes. But for the last few weeks, I’ve pounded down unlimited refined carbs (bread, noodles, and tortillas), and still lost weight. That’s a nice lesson to learn.

Brioche Loaf

IMG_2256When I get on the road at lunchtime, I’ll often pick up a loaf of bread to eat while I drive. I tried this brioche from Bread and Cie for the first time, expecting it to be really good. But it was drier than I thought it would be, as I expected the egg and sugar to make it really delicious. They must really try to make this healthy, since the nutritional info claims only 25g of fat for the whole loaf.

Anyways, I ate half the loaf driving to my destination, and the rest on the way back home that night. I also ate more bread, tortillas, and noodles. I always try to keep the fat intake below 50g/day, which means you have to check all labels and know all the ingredients in your food. Luckily, you don’t have to count calories, nor worry about whole grains, or that “carbs make you fat”. Who’s afraid of a loaf of bread?

Trying Out New Noodles


I don’t think anyone out there really believes that low-fat noodle soup will make you fat. On the other hand, I’m sure everyone knows that frying them up and adding a bunch of fatty meat and oil-soaked vegetables makes a perfect recipe for weight gain. So, I avoid the restaurant dishes like Chow Fun and Chow Mein, and just make my own soups which are all-noodle, and no fat.

These 3 lb bag of noodles are a couple dollars each, and will make about 9 meals each. I’ve learned to cook the noodles for 3 minutes, then drain them before adding them to the soup broth containing mushrooms, green onions, carrots, cilantro, broccoli, and bok choy.

I don’t need to understand about de novo lipogenesis to know these noodle soups won’t make me fat. They’re satisfying meals for cold winter weather, and if I’m still hungry, I’ll eat some more bread, beans, or tortillas.