Friday, September 30, 2005

2005 archive

This is the archive of comments from 2005: Sep-Dec.


Blogger molly said...

Hi Annie,

I'm so glad you set this up! Thanks.


Tuesday, September 27, 2005 6:59:00 AM  
Blogger molly said...

Just a short observation today -- to those who are taking oil capsules -- the point of the diet as I understand it is lowering the set point by eating foods with low calorie-flavor associations. So I would think the oil has to pass over your tongue and be swallowed. Your brain registers that you're eating something but it doesn't have much taste. My experience would back this up -- I have better luck on the diet if I take the oil from the spoon in 3 or 4 little "sips" rather than swallowing it as quickly as possible like medicine. I try to let it remain in my mouth for at least a couple of seconds.

Has anyone else had a different experience?

Tuesday, September 27, 2005 7:06:00 AM  
Blogger Julie said...

Hi Annie,

I am also glad that you set this up.

A little bit about my experience. I have been drinking about 1 1/2 Tbs of sugar in about 2 cups of water three times a day. It worked really well the first four days and I lost around a pound a day. I gained back a pound over the next three days. I thought maybe oil would work better but I couldn't get it down. So I took three days off and stayed about the same weight.

I just started back up again today with the sugar water between meals so I will let you know how it goes in a few days. I can't say that I was less hungry today. I may experiment with drinking more sugar in my water in the morning to see if that changes anything.


Tuesday, September 27, 2005 10:12:00 AM  
Blogger Masa'il said...

Hi, folks,

Thanks for posting here! I've gotten really tired of scouring the web every day to try to find some updating from folks. So I'll try to post here all I can, too. Maybe we can at least feedback to each other!

Some background, my ideal weight is btw 135-145. I'm 5'5", though muscular and solidly built. I've always been somewhat overweight, but gained so much weight recently the time-honored way: babies! I began Sth's diet at 192 pounds, 5 months post-partum and still nursing, plus a toddler. I'm very concerned about health (of course), so I still eat really well.

So far (10 days) I've done the sugar water mostly, diluted to Coke strength. It worked like having a rock in my stomach the first few days, so not eating between meals was really easy. I went from 192 to 185.5 in the first 6 days.

Then my menses came, and my weight hovered between 185 and 187, despite continuing the treatment. However, I usually gain weight during my menses, and drop it after, so I kept my fingers crossed. This morning, the 5th day of my menses (about the end for me), my weight had dropped from 187 to 184. So it looks like that "blip" was indeed just menses-related water retention, and Seth's treatment is still working for me.

Also, oddly, thus far the mornings that I've weighed in with significant weight loss were also the mornings when my hubbie was home to watch the kids and let me sleep in an extra hour or two. Then I had huge spurts of dreams and woke up comfortably, had big pees and etc, and then was much lighter. (I'm generally not getting enough sleep as my baby still wakes up nights for feeds.) Not sure if the extra sleep is related yet, but it seems my body my need that time to do its "cleanup". I also read on the BBC that there's a correlation between more sleep and less weight, though I can't remember the exact study.

The sugar water no longer works like a rock, but it does hold off hunger for about 1-2 hours. And the set point thing may indeed also be going on: I don't think my calories alone explain my weight loss thus far. Last night I also used oil, because I'd already eaten well enough for one day and was still hungry near bedtime. That worked well, and I, too, sipped it like Molly.

As I mentioned, I eat really well, especially because I'm still nursing a five-month-old. My milk production has actually increased! May be due in part to extra care about nutrtition at meal time plus drinking LOTS of water: Seth's treatment makes me realy thirsty! (You?)

I have two big meals at around 10 and 3, containing copious greens (red lettuce or Asian greens similar to spinach, kale, bok choy, etc.), high-concentration vegetarian protein, like tofu or tempeh or gluten, and a carb such as oatmeal or noodles. Then some fresh tomatoes or fruit as well at that meal. Since I'm aiming for optimal nutrition, I even cut my decaf organic coffee in the morning and replaced it with an unsweetened green barley drink (Kyo Green powder). But during the diet, I've also eaten out and munched all kinds of less solidly nutritious things, and I've still lost weight thus far (10 days on, 8 pounds, even with menses interfering). I have often had a small third meal later in the day, too, if I was still hungry at dinnertime after sugarwatering. Usually that meal is similar to a cup of smoothie, or a chapati plus side dish, or bread and cheese, or fruits.

I have, though, tried to keep my meals with a low glycemic impact, to help the set point keep dropping during the day. (For example, my carbs consist of unsweetened oatmeal or pasta, and no extra sugar at mealtime except occasionally. I'm even wary of my beloved smoothie, as it's so quickly digested due to being blended.)

The last note is I've had hair loss mostly overlapping with starting Seth's diet. It began a few days before I started the diet, though, and is my first significant loss of hair since the baby came. I lost similar amounts of hair after my previous baby, and am currently down at pre-pregnancy "normal" hair level. So I suspect it's just post-partum hair loss, but still, hair loss is definitely associated with most diets that produce rapid weight loss, so I'm wondering...

So that's my story so far! I'll keep posting here any useful notes plus progress. I'd love to hear more about how much / well you're eating, sleep observations, hair loss, success or not, etc.


Tuesday, September 27, 2005 11:39:00 AM  
Blogger anonymous said...

Ann, my understanding is that the diet is only supposed to affect appetite, not metabolism. This is a little confusing, because most often one hears setpoint in the context of metabolism. Set point is the weight the body stabilizes around. The idea of the diet, as I understand it, is that when the body ingests calories without making a flavor connection, that tricks the body into thinking it's "famine" time, and it expects fewer calories, reducting appetite. The lowered setpoint is that the body strives to eat (appetite) to maintain a lower body weight than one actually has.

But as far as metabolism, the long term effect is to *lower* metabolism, if you successfully lose weight. Then, the body slows down to maintain the new lower weight - that's why Seth eats such a restricted calorie diet to maintain his new lower weight.

I don't think his diet can ever *increase* metabolism, just lower appetite.

I could be wrong - this is my current understanding.

Any help making sense of this would be appreciated!

Tuesday, September 27, 2005 3:46:00 PM  
Blogger Masa'il said...

Regarding the metabolism thing, you know, if set point theory is as I understand it, I'm not even sure what "metabolism" means anymore.

It seems it might actually be very closely overlapping with or identical to set point. Mightn't someone with a "high metabolism" in current speak be also a person with a "low set point" in set point lingo? (ie, their weight is set at a low "fatostat", so they won't gain weight even when eating many calories...) A low metabolism would equate to a high fatostat, their bodies trying to put on weight all the time...

Or maybe not. Hm.

Well, I don't know. Anyone know?

But actually, as long as I can trim down to nearer a healthy weight while maintaining healthy calories and nutrients, I don't care so much about how much I can ultimately eat at the end, or what my metabolism's like, as long as I don't slow down to move like I'm suspended in agar.

Any more thoughts on this? One thing's clear: if the set point theory is right, a lot of our current understanding about calories, weight gain and loss, and metabolism will have to be completely rewritten, neh? (Much of it sure seemed like nonsense anyway, to me...)


Tuesday, September 27, 2005 10:57:00 PM  
Blogger molly said...

I'm still trying to figure out the set point thing too. I suspect we're going to have to give up the standard idea of set point being immutable. By re-reading Seth's academic paper several times, and uncrossing my eyes afterwards, I think he's saying that the set point actually "moves" in the course of any given day, according to what we eat.

Here's the thing. The weight is coming off WAY too fast to be a result of restricted calories alone. Something else is going on, and I think it has to do with set point. No matter how much I used to exercise and restrict calories, I could never ever take off more than a pound a week. I'm taking off two pounds a week or more. That's significant. So I think it's a combination of appetite suppression and lowered set point due to interrupting the flavor-calorie association.

I encourage all of us not to become discouraged if the sugar water or oil doesn't work on a given day or two. I'm not sure why it happens, but I have perservered, and eventually the loss of appetite kicks back in. One day I got hungry, the next day I got to 800 calories and couldn't even think of eating any more. I'm going to start keeping a record of the things I do and eat to see if I can find a correlation. Wouldn't Seth be proud! I suspect it may have to do with eating more processed food, which has a higher calorie-flavor association. He gives the example of eating an orange (unprocessed) vs. drinking orange juice (processed).

Starting weight on Sept. 12 -- 150 pounds.

Tuesday, Sept 27 -- 145 pounds

I'll try to sign in every day and record my progress.

Wednesday, September 28, 2005 3:30:00 AM  
Blogger Masa'il said...

I totally agree with Molly. The weight is indeed coming off way too fast for me too: must be the set point. Simply not explained through calories: how otherwise can I lose 1 lb a day / 2 days while stil eating around 1500-2000 calories? Another pound off yesterday...

Sept 17: 192
Sept 28: 183.5

Wednesday, September 28, 2005 11:39:00 AM  
Blogger Masa'il said...

Another 1/2 lb gone since yesterday. Bones and muscles are re-emerging from under the retreating fat. It's like glacial melting! At 183 pounds, still way over healthy weight, but getting there in good pace.

Still eating very well and no hunger beween meals if I use the methods. Yesterday I even had a hot chocolate at the end of lunch. Not much exercise yet, alas (no time), though every day my body is feeling more "up to it" again. Milk production still more than enough.

I suspect that the fact that I'm breastfeeding and began at an unnaturally very high (for me) post-pregnancy weight has helped my body throw off the weight so fast once I started encouraging it to do so.

A note about meal size / timing:

Roberts cut breakfast for sleep reasons, but I'm eating a big breakfast and lunch, plus a small dinner if I wish. I definitely function better (and so do many other folks, according to research) with a good breakfast, though I can have it as late as almost 2 hours after I get up. I also keep remembering two folk sayings that some beloved Iranian friends shared with me:

"Eat breakfast like a king, lunch like a prince, and dinner like a pauper."

"Eat your breakfast by yourself, share your lunch, and give away your dinner."

Anyway, that's roughly what I'm doing and it works very well for me. A "brunch" and "linner" schedule, I guess. If my lunch was late and queen-sized after a queenly breakfast, I often don't want dinner at all. Otherwise a small dinner.

Thursday, September 29, 2005 11:24:00 AM  
Blogger anonymous said...

can you guys tell me how much you've reduced your calorie intake, roughly?
How much were you eating, how much are you eating now, and how many calories from oil/sugar water?

If I eat around 1200 cals per day now
and I want to have 275 cals from sugar water, do you really think I can keep my calorie count the same and lose?

Thursday, September 29, 2005 12:37:00 PM  
Blogger Yasu said...

Hi All,
I just found out about all of this yesterday. I am very interested and read two of Seth Robert's Academic papers last night. I have also read the blogs at Freakonomics. I think I have read everything currently available, including criticisms, and am ready to give it a try. I will post some starting information later this evening.

Thursday, September 29, 2005 10:18:00 PM  
Blogger molly said...

To those of you logging on as "anonymous" -- could you choose a nickname? Helps avoid confusion. Thanks.

I'm eating roughly 1200 - 1400 calories per day now, including 240 calories of canola oil (1 tablespoon twice a day). Prior to going on the diet, it's hard to say how many calories a day I was eating. Maybe twice that?

If you were already eating 1200 calories per day before going on this diet, and you start the sugar water now, it will be interesting to see what happens to your weight. If you lose more weight and it drops off faster, that would support the adjusted set point notion. Keep us posted on your progress.

Annie, I've got the same problem you had -- monthly water weight gain -- so I've plateaued at 145. Luckily, it's temporary. I haven't had the time to get started on an exercise program either, but just like you, I'm starting to feel more "up to it."

Good luck to all today...

Friday, September 30, 2005 1:57:00 AM  
Blogger molly said...

To those of you logging on as "anonymous" -- could you choose a nickname? Helps avoid confusion. Thanks.

I'm eating roughly 1200 - 1400 calories per day now, including 240 calories of canola oil (1 tablespoon twice a day). Prior to going on the diet, it's hard to say how many calories a day I was eating. Maybe twice that?

If you were already eating 1200 calories per day before going on this diet, and you start the sugar water now, it will be interesting to see what happens to your weight. If you lose more weight and it drops off faster, that would support the adjusted set point notion. Keep us posted on your progress.

Annie, I've got the same problem you had -- monthly water weight gain -- so I've plateaued at 145. Luckily, it's temporary. I haven't had the time to get started on an exercise program either, but just like you, I'm starting to feel more "up to it."

Good luck to all today...

Friday, September 30, 2005 1:58:00 AM  
Blogger Maven98 said...

Do you think we could just eat the fructose -- not dissolved in the water? That is easier for me than drinking sugar water. And then drink water after that.

Another thing I am wondering -- > if the fructose or the oil causes nausea, does anyone think that taking ginger capsules (excellent for nausea) would complicate things?

And thirdly, anyone tried the fructose in conjunction with, or shortly before or after oil?


Friday, September 30, 2005 3:15:00 AM  
Blogger anonymous said...

"I'm eating roughly 1200 - 1400 calories per day now, including 240 calories of canola oil (1 tablespoon twice a day). Prior to going on the diet, it's hard to say how many calories a day I was eating. Maybe twice that?"

Molly: You wrote this initially:

"Here's the thing. The weight is coming off WAY too fast to be a result of restricted calories alone. Something else is going on, and I think it has to do"

Not true! If you cut 1000-1500 calories per day, then you'd lose a pound every two or three days! Which is what you report!
In your previous diets, you probably did *not* cut calories to such an extent, or there's some otehr explanation. But right now, the weight loss you report can be attributed solely to the calorie reduction. The set point seems to just lower your appetite.

Is anyone else who's been losing weight able to give a rough estimate of calories they were eating per day before going on the diet, and what they are eating now, along with how much weight they've been losing? So that we can test this further?

This blog doesn't allow anonymous comments - I took anonymous as my handle, I should be the only one, unless someone else took the same name! (I don't really want to set up a new blogger id).

Friday, September 30, 2005 4:35:00 AM  
Blogger anonymous said...


You wrote:

"I totally agree with Molly. The weight is indeed coming off way too fast for me too: must be the set point. Simply not explained through calories: how otherwise can I lose 1 lb a day / 2 days while stil eating around 1500-2000 calories? Another pound off yesterday..."

Can you tell us how many calories/day you were eatign before going on the diet? Thanks.

Friday, September 30, 2005 4:36:00 AM  
Blogger Sarah Motes Ashley said...

I've been doing the diet for almost 2 weeks. It is working like a dream. I started the day I read the article in the NYT and have been going strong ever since. I have an approximately 1250-1300 calorie target and i hit it every day without feeling starved. (this was not possible without the sugar water). I use 10 tsps of fructuse in 1 liter of water, twice a day. So that's 300 calories of fructose dissolved in two liters of water; one between breakfast & lunch, the other between lunch & dinner. I feel great, I've got energy to work out for more than an hour, and I am really, really excited tht this is working so easily. I have lost about 4 lbs and that is big since I am trying to lose the last 15 of a 100-lb weight loss and before now, it just would not budge.
I saw a nutritionist just after I read the article and started the diet, and she was interested, told me to take a multivitamin, and make sure I ate a good balance of fruits & veggies and calcium in the 900 calories of real food I get each day. Funny, i thought she'd freak out but she was interested to see how I do.
FYI I am generally a person who can't handle sugar, and I usually avoid it completely; but the fructose water doesn't seem to affect me in the way that a sugary food would. My blood sugar stays even and I'm not craving sweets or simple carbs.
I tried the oil once and it made me nauseous for hours. Yuck.

Friday, September 30, 2005 6:07:00 AM  
Blogger Yasu said...

Starting at age 36, height 5' 9", weight 185 Pounds.

A little history and a eureka! about Seth Robert's work from a personal experience. About 4 years ago, I hit an alltime high weight of 195 pounds. I knew I had to do something and had some success on various diets, but could never seem to lose more than 10 pounds and found it very difficult to stick to certain regimens. Then I tried Neanderthin. Neanderthin is based on paleolithic nutrition and let me tell you it worked. In about 6 months time, I went from a size 16 to a size ten and lost 30 pounds. While I was reading Robert's paper, I realized that Neanderthin worked because I went from a high taste to a much blander diet, hence the weight loss and inevitable plateau.

I was still 10 pounds away from my goal, and no matter what I did, I could not drop the last ten. This was probably because I had aquired a taste for the bland diet and had reached a state of "plenty" of the foods I had grown to like. Slowly but surely, I became discouraged and began eating any which way I felt. It took a while for me to begin gaining weight again, and I settled out at about 175 for a year or so. Over this past year, I have slowly crept up to 185 and am now solidly in a size 12.

Based on Seth Robert's theories, I lost weight because I switched to a low taste diet. This, I believe changed my set point. As these tastes became "flavorful" to me and I was eating an abundance of them, my set point began to increase to store up for the next famine. The next famine never came, and my set point has continued to rise because of the abundance of foods.

I eat a fairly healthy diet as it stands and average about 1500 calories per day. If this will trick my system into lowering my set point, I think I will finally be able to reach that 155 pound goal.

Friday, September 30, 2005 8:50:00 AM  
Blogger Masa'il said...

Hello, again, folks,

Sorry for the long raving post to follow, but hey, it's my blog... :) And I'm just really excited about the results so far.

Anonymous asked about reduced calories for me and whether they could explain the weight loss. For me, NO WAY. Unless there's something like "dark calories" (like our universe's dark matter) that you can't count but that mess with things anyway. I've kept track of several days' eating: I'll try to add the calories and post them here later.

I am now convinced that losing weight through calorie restriction vs exercise is, for me, at least largely, if not totally, bunk. Seth's weight loss principles are working like magic for me--no, sorry, not like magic: like a treatment that actually works. Thus far, at least.

All the times I've lost or gained weight (most recently, ten pounds gained in a one month visit back home to America--familiar, consistently and high-flavored, quick-cal foods) fit his theory. They DON'T fit the standard theories. I also can't think of an observation that doesn't fit his theory.

I've been tracking my weight loss for 13 days now, and I've lost ten pounds. But as I said in an earlier posting, I am in an unusual position, at an unnaturally high starting weight and still nursing, which does burn 500 cal a day, if you like to think in calories. Previously I'd been trying equally hard to lose by eating wholefoods, raw foods, and low-calorie meals and lost nada. Still stuck at the post-US lower-mid 190s.

Every day I've done this diet, except during menses, I've lost between 1/2 pound and two pounds. Two pounds could have been water weight, but not all 10 pounds... Eating the foods I eat, with a rather sedentary lifestyle and only nursing as a big calorie-burner, I don't see how in the world my weight loss is explained through calories. I just think that's bunk now, unless I get an eye-opener later that reconverts me to believing those guys cause weight gain.

I lost another pound since yesterday's weighing, despite eating a bizarre dinner that included a very unhealthy amount of Chinese sweetened and oily chicken and pork jerky: ro-gan or ba-kwa, for those who are familiar with it. (Blech. I'm usually a vegetarian and whole-foodist, but for some reason, that jerky just looked appealing last night. I wasn't even hungry but still ate it, ugh. Maybe just needed some heme-iron...)

That jerky alone was absolutely at least 500 cal: more likely nearer 1000. Then at that dinner I had also had a pomegranate, a quail egg, 1/2 cup of wild rice, and some broccoli. Lunch was half a banana, a Tbs of peanut butter, a small apple, half a sheet of nori seaweed, and one cup of an Iranian green veggie, legume, and noodle soup called Asht-rishteh. Breakfast was a grapefruit, 1/2 cup oatmeal, and 2/3 cup tempeh and 1 cup greens fried in olive oil, lemon, and soy sauce. I think I'm forgetting a food or two. That really looks like about 1800-2000 calories to me, thanks to the peanut butter and ro-gan, though I hate counting calories and almost never do it, and my usual foods are hard to find on calorie indexes. (Foods are often sold here in Asia with no nutritional labeling on them.) Plus about 3 Tbs sugar drunk over the day in two installments. And calcium and iron pills.

Anyway, there's no way that what I'm eating now is 3500 calories less every day than what I ate before. Not even 2000 less. I was "watching my weight" before, too. (It just wasn't going anywhere, and so was rather boring.) I'm really eating roughly the same things as before, and nearly the same quantity. I'm eating way more net sugar, though less at meals, and I've followed Seth's advice about sugar water between meals, and I've stayed away from foods that would trigger a set-point raise. (I leave my oatmeal unsweetened, I hold the salt and use less spices, etc.) That is really the only change.

The ro-gan may still make me fat: I'll eat normally again today and see if the impact shows up on tomorrow's weighing. According to Seth's theory, it shouldn't, as I almost never eat it.

From what I've seen so far, I would as casual and frank conversation (not expert advice, which I can't give) encourage any of my friends who is unhealthily overweight but doesn't have sugar or oil problems to try Seth's methods. And I'd encourage even the diabetics to try watching out for set-point-trigger foods and try to avoid them in their diet, as long as it wouldn't interfere with their diabetes treatment. As long as we keep eating well, it seems this method would actually be more health-promoting than severe calorie restriction or too much exercise. What's to lose but it perhaps not working for you?

We'll all keep seeing how well this thing works. If it does continue to work well with no aftermath, then the face of humanity will be much changed for the happier. And our economy will improve a ton, as well. Let's just hope that none of us get "taken out" by a really irritated investor in weight loss drugs... (Maybe we should make friends in big sugar?)

182 now

Friday, September 30, 2005 11:30:00 AM  
Blogger Masa'il said...

Welcome, everybody newish... Great to see more folks posting here. I'll think about how to reorganize the blog to make it more user-friendly.

Maven98, I've no clue about eating the fructose. Should work, it seems, but sounds really bad on the teeth/gums... I have though tried the sugar water and then followed it with the oil. That was one day when I'd already eaten definitely enough and was just munchy an hour after the sugar water. I used the oil then and it worked great.

Friday, September 30, 2005 4:03:00 PM  
Blogger Yasu said...

Strange effect.

I started yesterday with 4T sucrose in 1 litre of water (180 calories). I am a big morning coffee drinker and usually can't wait to get to that first cup. This morning, I poured my cup out of habit, but didn't really want it. I took a few sips anyway, and still didn't really want it. Anyone else have a similar experience?

Friday, September 30, 2005 9:21:00 PM  
Blogger molly said...

Hello All,

Lots to comment on today. First, to Anonymous, your assessment of my weight loss being attributable to calorie restriction alone may be true. But anecdotally, I'll tell you that at age 50, I've written down every single calorie I've ingested, keeping it under 1200 on past diets, and literally cried and gnashed my teeth day after day as the scale never moved. A pound AT MOST per week, and often only a half pound, and that's with working out at least three times a week. On this diet, I'm completely sedentary (working on deadline on a writing project) and the weight has come off much faster. I think the real test will be getting to my "brick wall" weight -- about 135, at which point no amount of calorie restriction or exercise seemed to budge the scale. If I can move below that and keep losing, it'll be a miracle as far as I'm concerned. And if I can get back to my college weight of 120, well, I'll open the First Church of the Shangri-la.

I don't think the fructose all-at-once idea is a good one. The idea is the tastlessness of the water or oil and I'd imagine straight fructose would have a pretty strong taste. Remember, the trick is to eat tasteless food, to signal our brains (or whatever) that food isn't plentiful. If you do try it, let us know how it works. Self-experimentation is the name of the game here.

Yasu, yes, I had the same experience with two guilty pleasures, coffee and wine. Just kind of a "why bother" feeling. Which is generally the feeling I have about food these days. I'm eating to live rather than the other way around.

A topic for discussion: Seth wondered in a blog why some people have no problem swallowing a tablespoon of oil and others just can't get it down. I find the oil much easier -- nothing to mix or think about, and it makes my lips soft! Do you think it's a mental thing, just the thought of it seems gross? Or what? Is it texture? Taste? I only tried the fructose one day and it didn't seem to work as well. And I'm so susceptible to sugar addiction, I've been afraid to try the sugar water. Why mess with success?

Annie -- I get such a kick out of reading what you eat every day. That is without a doubt the most exotic collection of foods! Half of it I've never even heard of. It sure sounds healthy, I'll say that! I've forgotten where in Asia you are -- can you remind me?

Also, I have trouble logging on and posting. Sometimes it allows me to post without a username and other times it requires me to register. Then I register and it won't recognize my username. Anybody else having a problem or am I doing something wrong?

Saturday, October 01, 2005 4:00:00 AM  
Blogger Sarah Motes Ashley said...

I forgot to mention the bland food - really works for me too. Especially if I get that "uh oh, I'm really hungry and want to eat a LOT" feeling, I just leave off some salt, sweetener or sauce that I would usually use. Next thing you know, I can't finish the plate of food. I can't live on bland but once in a while it's a big help.
I think bland is a big part of this. My husband is a lifelong thin person, and I've noticed that he generally prefers food blander. He doesn't like very much salt at all (example: a bowl of steelcut oatmeal with no salt at all, eeek), he doesn't sweeten plain yogurt, and he doesn't like pepper, ginger, curry, lemon or cinnamon. Yuck, again! I used to think he was really missing out. But he is gloriously thin and healthy and maybe the lack of flavor triggers is a part of it for him. Something to think about.

I also want to encourage anyone who is scared of sugar, to try the sugar (or fructose) water; I am a sugar-susceptible person but the lack of flavor in the sugar water has a different effect on me,and seems to neutralize my otherwise strong desire for cookies or other delights.

Saturday, October 01, 2005 4:23:00 AM  
Blogger Yasu said...

Day 2 so far.

Didn't need the coffee and did not experience a headache. Last time I gave up coffee, it took me almost a week to get over the headaches.

Molly brought up the oil vs. sugar water question. I gave up sugar for the most part 4 years ago and have had serious doubts about consuming 4 TABLESPOONS A DAY?! However, I don't think I could handle the oil. It may be unrelated, but I have never been able to tolerate oil on my skin. That's right, hand lotion, sunscreen, trying to butter a pan will all send me realing. So just the thought of drinking it makes me cringe. Hence, I have chosen to try the sugar water.

Saturday, October 01, 2005 5:33:00 AM  
Blogger molly said...

To add my two cents to the bland food discussion -- Seth stresses the processed vs unprocessed food connection to the calorie-flavor association. Unprocessed foods tend to have less taste than processed foods. I have some leftover low carb protein bars that I occasionally eat for breakfast. Lots of sugar alcohols to give them taste. I can't remember now for sure, but I suspect the days I ate those were the days I got hungry. Today I had half a peach for breakfast. It's now 4:15 in the afternoon and I just ate the other half. And that's all I've had all day other than one tablespoon of oil. I have NO APPETITE. Zero. I only ate the other half of the peach for nutrition's sake. And, I might add, the peach was delicious. I wouldn't categorize it as bland.

If this holds true, the great thing is -- the more fresh fruits and vegetables I eat, the less likely I'll be to give in to eating crappy processed snack food and the like, and the easier it will be to eat a very healthy, nutritious diet.

Saturday, October 01, 2005 7:29:00 AM  
Blogger Leftblanc said...

I started the diet a day or two after the NYT article. I made no effort to count calories or reduce eating. First I tried fructose, but I drank too much and it caused explosive diarrhea. I switched to sugar water and that worked, I start losing a half a pound a day.
I was still kind of hungry and drinking a lot more sugar than Seth did. It was unclear how diluted it should be -- I've tried both sweet water and very diluted sugar in water. Several days in, I added Bertolli Extra Light Olive Oil. It has virtually no taste and goes down quite easy. I use both sugar water and the oil now. I was 5'11'', 226.5 pounds when I started; now I'm about 218.5 in the morning. Every time I hit a new low, my body seems to gain back a pound or so before dipping down again. But roughly 8 pounds in two weeks, not bad.

I am doing more sugar/oil than Seth recommends. Probably 4 or
5 times a day, a tablespoon each time. Otherwise I get hungry, so there is an appetite effect.

I haven't consciously changed my eating patterns, but I am more likely to get by with two small meals and one large meal. I used to do this before -- I'm not a dieter, really -- but the large meal used to be really large, and I also used to snack all day. In particular, chocolate. There's a steady supply around the office. But since I started this I've stopped eating the chocolate because a) it's impractical if I'm timing the oil/sugar between flavor blasts/meals and b) It simply doesn't occur to me to impulsively walk over and grab some, as I used to.

Also, it's pretty clear that I am eating less at meals, that I can't finish meals that would have been polished off before. I've had desserts but had to force myself. I have had some big meals and felt bloated and didn't feel like eating until late the next day. So I eat one piece of pizza instead of 2 or 3. No more late night snacking, when I used to pop a bunch of cookies or crackers or cheese things. No chip cravings. It's the junk I've cut out.

I really like the sugar in hot water, like tea. I gulp the oil off a spoon.

The other thing is, I used to exercise quite a bit, with very little effect -- probably burnin the junk food off. During this experiment, because of a busy schedule, I didn't get on my bike or go swimming. Today I took a long bike ride, then oil afterward. No hunger. Usually when I exercised I found myself wanting to devour the world -- and felt justified to do so.

So, to summarize, I'm not hungry, I eat whatever I want, but I want less crap and I eat on a more regular schedule. I'm not eating mush.

One thing that did derail the diet for a day was a night of beers with some friends. The needle hadn't budged the next day. But interestingly, I had eaten a good dinner, so when I was out drinking, my friends actually ordered a pizza then were shelling peanuts at the bar like crazy. In the past, I would have had a slice even though I had dinner. I would have eaten a lot of peanuts. Instead I sort of just played with a peanut, twirling around the bar
and the thought of pizza held no interest -- I was full. I'd already had a good meal of sushi
(with wasabi and soy sauce -- I don't like it bland).

While it's probably true I'm eating fewer junk calories, I'm not skimping on foods that my taste buds love -- pizza, fish and sushi, bagels with cream cheese, tuna melts, chinese food etc. I was never a big soda drinker, I already just drink water, so it's no problem to put a few sugar packets in a bottle. And I'm kind of a cheapskate, so I usually just grab a few extra packets at starbucks or the diner or whereever. I keep a bottle of oil in my desk and at home. People think I'm nuts, but in a month or two I suspect they'll be asking for the secret.

Saturday, October 01, 2005 8:15:00 AM  
Blogger Masa'il said...

Wah, some great discussion! I'll definitely have to figure out how to manage this thing better. Will check on your problems, Molly...

I've also lost food cravings, including coffee. I thought it was martyrdom to change my morning coffee for the barley grass drink (it's just unsweetened greens powder in water, basically), but now I'm really not interested in coffee anymore except sometimes a cup in the afternoon.

I left four years of living in very hip and excellent Singapore to move to my hubbie's rather "undeveloped" home city of Seremban in Malaysia 5 months ago, and have since been culture-starved. Seremban just got a Starbucks, which is huge news for this town, and a few weeks ago I would have made a beeline there. Now I'm just vaguely interested in perhaps going there to sit. Literally nothing there I want to eat or drink anymore. That's how much my attitude has also changed toward eating to live. It is such a relief! I can still eat delicious things, but I'm definitely no longer entranced.

I don't have any hunger now other than at widely-spaced mealtimes, but I still have a lot of mouth-boredom/anciness and want to just put something in there. No emotional eating problems, but still that--perhaps it fits under the category of boredom eating? I'm not bored--just used to sticking stuff in there and chewing. So I still have to fight that.

Anyone else?

Saturday, October 01, 2005 12:15:00 PM  
Blogger Maven98 said...

I should have NEVER listened to my mother!!

Remember our mothers saying we shouldn't eat sweets before a meal - because it would RUIN our appetites?

Whatever were we thinking?

Sunday, October 02, 2005 1:56:00 AM  
Blogger molly said...


One of Seth's blogs mentioned a craving he had for crunchy foods. I don't know if that's what you're feeling, but he was able to satisfy it with celery or carrots. I don't think it was so much that he was hungry -- he just wanted the feel of crunchiness.

Leftblanc -- Really enjoyed hearing of your success. Especially since you're not a "dieter." You're not really laboring over this -- and the weight's still coming off. Very encouraging for all of us! I'm glad you mentioned the bloated feeling you got after eating a big meal. I went to a buffet with friends last week and ate more than I meant to (it wasn't that I was hungry, it was just mindless shoveling in of food while talking and drinking wine). Anyway, I felt really bloated afterwards. Like I had a stone in my stomach and I'd piled food in on top of it. Perhaps my brain is getting the message that eating a big meal makes me uncomfortable.

The other development is -- I feel with every day that goes by, I'm getting better at this. Not necessarily consciously -- it's like my body is finding its own groove. Like every day the message to my set point (whatever/whoever that is) is getting stronger. Like it's learning. Hard to describe...

Jeez, this diet makes me so hopeful it's almost scary. I've fought my weight my whole life, and the idea that I might actually be able to reach my ideal weight and stay there is... the word "miraculous" keeps coming to mind. No dangerous drugs? No diet restrictions like no carbs, or no fats? No grinding hunger? And I can eat and enjoy pleasurable foods? It boggles the mind.

The diet industry is a gazillion dollar business, mainly because millions of people will do anything to lose weight. Everybody's been searching for the "secret." Is this it? And could it be as simple and healthy as it seems? Seth Roberts deserves all the millions of dollars he's going to make off this -- although the diet is so simple, I wonder how anyone could fill up a whole book about it. And the "rules" are so simple, it can be easily passed along from friend to friend without investing in a book. I'm surprised that after the article in the NY Times, there aren't more people talking about it or posting here or on the Freakonomics website. You would think this would become viral pretty fast. I feel a little like a pioneer!

Sunday, October 02, 2005 4:12:00 AM  
Blogger Sarah Motes Ashley said...

I agree about - why aren't people really talking about this yet? I have been watching the NYT magazine to see if people wrote in about the article, and today some letters were there. Funny stuff, you should see the huffy replies from doctors (some who didn't seem to have read the whole article) about why this won't work. LOL. Another funny thing is I have told several overweight friends about this and none of them has seemed very interested in trying it. Yet. Maybe I haven't dropped enough weight yet. Another 2.6 lbs this week, which for me is really, really great. All of y'all who are losing 4-6 lbs a week are making me jealous. But, I have 12-15 total to lose, and I was on a restricted calorie diet before i started this, so my bod is not going to let go of very much at a time. I'm happy with even a lb. a week.
I too am wondering if this is really IT, for my weight struggle, and for the rest of the world, too. Maybe it won't work for everyone...I've noticed that even though my appetite is less, I still can stuff my face if I don't pay attention, watch my portions and watch the quality of my food. Junk food makes me want more junk food, so maybe this doesn't work unless you're willing to be super-careful.

Monday, October 03, 2005 5:14:00 AM  
Blogger Maven98 said...

Does anyone/everyone use the sugar water or oil in the evening after dinner? I haven't so far, but maybe that is something I should do. I haven't been hungry for as many late night treats as before I started "Shangri-la" -- but a little. How about everyone else?

I definitely think this way of eating decreases appetite. I do not weigh, as I've usually just gone by how my clothes fit, and also I don't like to hurt my own feelings. I may have to get up the nerve to do so so I can better follow the results of this experiment.

Seth said that his method of experimenting is type 2. I wonder what it is called when you have several people running a type2 experiment with an n = 1, but looking at the same thing, and giving feedback to eack other. Anyone know?


Monday, October 03, 2005 8:28:00 AM  
Blogger anonymous said...

I'm still curious about the calorie restriction thing. Is there *anyone* here who hasn't appreciably decreased the number of calories they eat on this diet, and still lost weight?

Monday, October 03, 2005 9:57:00 AM  
Blogger Masa'il said...

Regarding calorie restriction, I really think that's not behind it for me. I was stuck at the mall two days ago (and malls here in Asia are a real survival experience: no way I could stay on the diet, since I hadn't brought the stuff with me). My total eats for that day was a very small egg and veggie omelet, about 1/2 cup of fries, a few sips of juice, about 4 bites of bread, two spoonfuls of ice cream, 2 softboiled eggs, one cup of coffee, and a few more spoons of rice and veggies at dinner time. I put on one pound. (No sugar that day.) The next day I ate my usual ton of food at regular mealtimes, plus the sugar, and I immediately lost the pound. After another day of my usual big eating, I'm lighter than where I was before the "day off the diet". I use plenty of oil and other high-calorie ingredients (tempeh, peanut butter, etc) when cooking my foods, too... For me, I clearly have set-point-raising trigger foods I must avoid, and also need the sugar or oil to keep my body out of pack-it-on mode.

So, the lesson is, keep sugar packets (or oil packets: hope Seth teams up with a company to start making them!) in your bag for when you are STUCK. Otherwise, you might put soime weight back on, even eating small amounts out, and have to "reclaim territory" like I did.

I'm also surprised by not being able to find more early adopters like us. It sure is exciting, though! I'll be delighted if this keps working and I can really advocate it.


Monday, October 03, 2005 1:01:00 PM  
Blogger Leftblanc said...

I hit the 10 lb mark today, three weeks in.
I also have gotten down to 3 tablespoons of oil a day plus one sugar water. I'm guessing that's about 500 calories total. I have no idea how many calories I'm taking the normal way. This morning I decided to have a big breakfast. Not at all hungry for lunch now.
I might have a piece of fruit because I ought to eat something. But it's strictly a decision of my head not my stomach.

My advice to others:

Don't use fructose; use sugar or oil. Oil seems best. I worry about cavities and other bad stuff from sugar. But it is the easiest to find in a pinch.

As for why others are not jumping on this... well, it's kind of bizarre and counter-intuitive, isn't it? It flies in the face of everything people have been told. Overweight people who have tried dieting are suspicious of fad or crash diet ideas. The Atkins fans might be open to the idea of using the oil, but they're already giving up delicious carbs, so the idea of converting some calorie intake to more tasteless stuff can't appeal. And sugar is what they've been taught to fear.

Tuesday, October 04, 2005 12:42:00 AM  
Blogger molly said...


I was reading your Addenda on your home page about mixing sugar into water and I think there's a typo -- it says something about 1/2 to 1 cup sugar when I think you mean water.

Tuesday, October 04, 2005 2:10:00 AM  
Blogger Yasu said...

Day 5, down 2 pounds. So far, so good. Cravings are gone, hunger is negligible. I've lowered my sugar intake to 3 tablespoons in 1 litre of water. I find this does the trick of curbing hunger while not making me as thirsty. Not sure how many calories I'm eating, but I know I'm eating less than I did a week ago.

Tuesday, October 04, 2005 10:09:00 AM  
Blogger Masa'il said...

Thanks for the correction notice, Molly! Fixed it... And good advice about the sugar and oil, leftblanc. I was just thinking of switching to oil for a while, in the interest of my teeth.

I hit a target today, too: hit 180, down from 192 16 days ago. The actual goal target for this third stage is "below 180": hope to be celebrating in a day or two! I already hit "below 190" and "lower 180s". Next will be "lower 180s", and then I hope I can keep going all the way down to the 140s or so!

I ate PESTO yesterday (homemade) with lots of olive oil and nuts... As well as my healthy oatmeal, tofu, veggies, and fruits. Pesto never would have been allowed on a conventional plan. Hooray, Seth!

On an analytical note, it seems Seth's mothods are a great "treatment" for allowing the body to lose weight. (Praise God and brave Dr Roberts!) However, I bet they aren't a "cure" for those of us who easily get fat. If it were a cure, I wouldn't have put on weight just from that small bit of mall-munching. I was the only person in our party of four who gained, and the others ate more! (Of course, the others are all my Chinese in-family, with an obvious genetic advantage, the buggers! :) )

Anyway, it seems for those of us who gain weight super-efficently, something's going on in our bodies, either with an overenthusiastic set point or something else, that scientists will still have to address. This diet may not get to the root of the problem and allow us to eat like "normal people" with impunity, but it is a great treatment and control method for overweight folks. So I toast Seth, and still encourage scientists that there's still a lot of work to be done on understanding and really "curing" obesity and folks who gain weight too easily. (There was an interesting documentary on National Geographic called "Fat Plague": one scientist had tracked down some obesity in both humans and chickens to an otherwise-mild virus that causes the victims later to gain weight way too easily. Hmmm...)


Tuesday, October 04, 2005 10:22:00 AM  
Blogger Maven98 said...

I looked up the link between sugar and cavities. It appears that it is not sugar itself that causes the cavity but :

Dental caries occurs when acid-producing bacteria (especially Mutans streptococci and Lactobacilli species) dominate the sticky coating (plaque) on the surface of the tooth. These bacteria convert fermentable carbohydrates such as glucose, fructose, sucrose and cooked starches into lactic acid, thus making plaque acidic. The acidic plaque causes demineralisation of the tooth enamel and the underlying dentine. This eventually leads to loss of tooth structure and further bacterial invasion.

This information comes from The World Sugar Research Organisation Limited
(WSRO) which is “ a worldwide alliance of sugar producers, processors, marketers, users and their associations.” However, even though it comes from an “interested party” this same information seems to be available on several websites

It appears that the important thing is to not let sugar stay on the teeth for very long. So, today I have two bottles of water at my desk; one with sugar water and the other with plain water. Maybe that will help a little. I also have in my desk a package of Oral-B Brush-Ups. These are little individually wrapped “wipes.” Here’s what it says on the package: “Get a just-brushed feeling anytime, anywhere with new Oral-B Brush-Ups disposable mint-flavored teeth wipes. Ideal to use after eating, at work, at school, during travel. Wipe teeth, gums and tongue. No water or rinsing necessary. Special moisture shield – helps keep finger dry.”

Here is an interesting story from University of Southern California.

Wednesday, October 05, 2005 12:29:00 AM  
Blogger molly said...

Hey all,

I googled Seth Roberts, which took me to the UC Berkelely Psychology Dept. website. There you can peruse his research papers. I pulled up a 2001 paper about self-experimentation. (It's shorter than the 2004 paper on the Freakonomics website.) I copied the following excerpt, because it explains the set point idea that we've all been questioning.

"The results are understandable,
however, if one of my weight control
assumptions is amended:
although the set point is, in general, raised
by calorie-associated tastes, sweetness is
an exception. Whether calorie-associated
or not, it does not raise the set point. If
you ingested all your calories without any
taste, you would become very thin,
according to my theory; ingesting a fraction
of your calories in a way that doesn’t
raise the set point is a step in that direction."

So, he's saying if you consumed 1200 calories of olive oil per day, you would get thinner than if you consumed 1200 calories of food with lots of taste.

To the poster "Anonymous" -- this may answer your question, (although it may not convince you.)

Sarah, I gather you were already restricting calories before you started the diet. Have you found that the diet only helps you with appetite and staying close to your calorie restriction level, or do you find you're actually losing weight faster while eating the same number of calories (a percentage of these calories being tasteless)?

On another subject -- my husband pointed out since I started on this diet, my breath sometimes smells funky. When I was on the Atkins diet, this was referred to as "ketone breath" a result of being in ketosis. Burning fat instead of readily available carbohydrates in the diet (like glucose) causes ketosis. The ketones are then released in breath and through urine. Here's my question: has anybody else noticed bad breath? I'm wondering if those of you who are ingesting glucose water (carbohydrate) don't have bad breath, while those of us who are taking oil (fat) do. I gather increasing water intake helps with ketone breath so I'm going to try that.

Like Sarah, I'm jealous of those of you who've lost ten pounds already! After 3 weeks, I've lost six pounds, which is still great. I would like to lose twenty pounds, see how I look and possibly lose ten more (to get to my college weight). I'm wondering if weight loss is more rapid for people who are farther from their ideal weight. This would contradict Seth's set point theory, wouldn't it? Wouldn't weight come off as easily at 200 pounds as at 150 pounds? This has NOT been the case for me on previous diets -- the last ten are way harder than the first ten. Of course, among all of us, different metabolism, body shape, genetics, etc would have to be taken into account. I think. As leftblanc pointed out, this diet is so counter-intuitive, I sometimes have a hard time wrapping my mind around its tenets. So much of what I previously thought about weight loss, diet and nutrition seems useless in light of my experience on this diet.

Wednesday, October 05, 2005 6:05:00 AM  
Blogger fredheart said...

My first post here. I've been doing this approach, tho not consistently, since first reading about it in the NY Times. Modest results so far. I notice it's easier to make better food choices.

Since I prefer olive oil, I've been using Bertolli's "Extra Light Tasting" variety. Re fructose: it made my bowels too loose, even when mixed in part with sugar. I just rinse my mouth out with regular water after drinking sugar water. I use 4 T of sugar to a 3/4 liter bottle of water. I start sipping an hour after eating and stop an hour before eating. Similarly, if I'm home and an hour away from eating, I'll take 1 T of oil, up to twice a day.

Wednesday, October 05, 2005 2:04:00 PM  
Blogger Yasu said...

Has anyone take body measurements? The last time I had great success (lost 30 pounds), I found that after a while, the scale stopped changing, but my body continued to change dramatically. I think I may take my measurements tonight in the spirit of self-experimentation. I have also switched from sucrose to powered cactus honey to see if I get similar results, as far as apetite suppression and continued weight loss. I find Honey to be more palatable and healthier that processed white table sugar. I'll let you all know how it works. I'm using the same amount, 3T honey powder in 1 Litre of water.

Wednesday, October 05, 2005 11:44:00 PM  
Blogger Masa'il said...

Great job trying the honey, Yasu! Please let us know. I'm another natural-foodie, so I'd be tickled to switch to a less processed sugar too. (I just dare not experiment much until I'm within the healthy weight zone. Right now I've just left "obese" and am at the too-high end of "overweight": hooray, but gotta keep going!)

I have done some experimenting, though, and I think that for me my rapid weight loss is definitely triggered by both using the sugar water/oil AND adjusting what I eat. I've tweaked my meals so that they don't have the high-consistent-flavor + quick calories combination.

Each time I've gained weight so far was when I had used sugar water but didn't do this tweaking. I ate "healthy" foods that fit Seth's no-no principles: strong familiar flavor plus quickly digested calories. These clearly triggered me to eat more of the same sort of foods for the rest of each day, and the result both times it happened was a pound gained. So my beloved smoothie is again sidelined until I'm in the healthy weight zone, along with my prunes, raisins, dried currants, and corn flakes.

Once I'm at healthy weight, I think like Seth I can truly eat whatever I want: using the sugar and getting back to principles afterwards for a day or two would keep my weight just fluctuating around within the healthy zone. But until then, I'm going to avoid all the trigger foods as much as I can.

My mother back in the States has taken a different tack: she's not been able to tweak what she eats, but she has been using the sugar water to control cravings and delay hunger until mealtime, plus calorie control. She's reporting roughly the same slow but steady weight loss that the rest of you are reporting.

So I wonder, have any of the rest of you tried tweaking your foods? Did that make a difference? Or are you still just largely watching calories?


Thursday, October 06, 2005 11:43:00 AM  
Blogger Masa'il said...

Another posting: would you guys rather I set this thing up as a Yahoo group? The difference is we could store files and elect to have messags e-mailed to us if we wished. I'm on another group right now, and it works great. But then you'd have to all have yahoo IDs and join the group.

Let me know!

Thursday, October 06, 2005 11:44:00 AM  
Blogger molly said...


I'm happy with this blog location, but I'm flexible.

I'm still experimenting with what foods make me hungrier than others. I'm having great luck with fruits. I've been on the Atkins program FOREVER and I'm so thrilled to re-introduce fruit into my diet. I haven't had a banana in years! I essentially cut all starches out of my diet permanently (I thought) because I just couldn't control myself around bread, cookies, bagels, etc. I figured keeping my insulin level steady was the only hope. Now, suddenly, I can eat a small amount of these things and not fall down the rabbit hole. Hallelujah.

Thursday, October 06, 2005 1:28:00 PM  
Blogger Yasu said...

Honey Report:
Yesterday I tried the honey instead of table sugar. It was definately better at slowing the appetite. I didn't even want dinner last night, and only ate about a third of my lunch. I did however end up with a terrible headache. I didn't mention it before, but I woke up with a bad headache the first morning after I started the sugar water. That was one reason I changed my "dose" from 4 to 3T. I think last night's headache may have been due to the maltodextrin that is in the powdered honey I used. Today, I am using straight honey. I'll let you all know how it goes.

A Yahoo group would be fine with me. Either way, this blog is fine too.

Thursday, October 06, 2005 8:04:00 PM  
Blogger Yasu said...

One week so far. Current weight: 182 (lost 3 pounds). This was the second day on the honey water. No headaches today, but still plenty of hunger control. Like Seth said, I don't really want to eat, but once I start, I eat until I'm satisfied, and have no problem pushing my plate away, even if it is half full, when I'm done.

Friday, October 07, 2005 9:15:00 AM  
Blogger molly said...

I had headaches too, only with the oil. They've gone away now.

I'm bummed out -- I've hit a major plateau, similar to every other diet I've been on. I've remained at 144 for a week. I haven't eaten over 1200 calories all week and a couple of days I only had 1000 or less. I also got on the treadmill for 30 minutes (admittedly only once). It's so disheartening. Appetite hasn't been a problem, so I will perservere -- it HAS to come off eventually! I also just finished a time-consuming job so I'll be able to amp up my workouts -- that should help...

Saturday, October 08, 2005 3:54:00 AM  
Blogger Leftblanc said...

So I sort of hit a wall the other day and I think the reason was, I had been doing some exercise and then stopped. But my body kept eating for someone who was exercising. So I think you have to keep the exercise regular, although
the body adjusts. It just means I didn't lose my expected half-pound a day for a day or so. Also, weirdly, I have overindulged or thought I was, having a dessert or even a late snack and lo and behold lost the weight anyway so I think there is something to this set point business. It's not just appetite suppression.

Saturday, October 08, 2005 4:04:00 AM  
Blogger Yasu said...

Molly, don't give up. This is why I mentioned taking body measurements. There was a long period for me where the scale didn't change, but I lost a whole size in my clothes. Remember, muscle weighs more than fat. As you lose fat via eating healthier and eating less, and gain muscle via exercising, you are bound to come to a standstill on the scale. But, I think if you stick with it, your body composition will continue to change, and the weight will begin to fall off again.

Saturday, October 08, 2005 4:25:00 AM  
Blogger Sarah Motes Ashley said...

Still going strong. I don't weigh until Sunday, but I expect another lb. or two to be gone, and I take great pleasure in my continuing ability to make good choices and stay within my 1200-1400 target every day. To answer your question, Masa-il, I do think that this is for me a calorie-restriction phenomenon.
Before I tried this, I could have sworn to you that I was at about 1500 calories a day, and that I wasn't losing, and that life is unfair. I even had my metabolism checked, and it was not the culprit (at 1500 I should lose). I also work out strenuously, weights, personal trainer, running, the whole thing. But now that I am truly eating in the 1200s most days, I notice that it's a lot less than the 1400s I used to think I was eating. And I am a careful food journaler. But, I am also a lifetime overeater. So, I think for me the problem is in the reporting. I think there is data out there to back up my belief that most of us under-report the number of calories we consume, and that means that when we think we're restricting calories, we're not doing it as well as we think. Now that my appetite is reduced, I think the sugar water (fructose water, for me) is making it possible for me to be satisfied on less food. I have to plan it carefully, and if I got caught at a mall or a county fair or something I'd be in trouble. i think the appetite suppression is magic, but the calories in - calories out is still the same and hasn't been altered. I'm going to rely on sugar water forever if I have to (just brush my teeth more often, good for me anyway) to maintain whatever weight I get to. America is a difficult place to get/stay thin, and this might be my only chance.
I also think (in answer to someone else's question) that we lose at about the same rate in proportion to our weight. This means if I weigh 300 lbs, I might lose 1% of my body weight (3 lbs.) in a week, but if I only weigh 150, that same 1% is only 1.5. I think everyone's weight loss slows as we have less to lose, depending on how much we've dieted before, how much muscle we carry, and how we are losing. There is also "diet fatigue" to consider, when we just can't look at another bowl of salad, and I know that my motivation was less keen when I could finally fit my butt into the movie theater seat.

Saturday, October 08, 2005 4:41:00 AM  
Blogger Masa'il said...

Interesting stuff! Funny about the theatre seat, Sarah! :) I hear you!

So maybe calories aren't nonsense after all...

Yeah, Molly, don't despair! So true about measurements... When I was swimming athletically after my first kid, I never got below 170, but I looked and felt great! I fit into clothes I wore at 150. A lot of muscle, and probably increased bone density as well--a documented blessing of exercise.

I've been roughly assessing progress using skin-fold measurement below my shoulderblade (where the flab likes to hang out and grow into a little township if we let it). Mine has really shrunk: if you check out yours, I bet it has, too. I just grab and feel; health professionals use calipers.

Another thing that has helped me (I think) is eating half (or more if I want) of a good grapefruit before meals. The BBC reported a study where folks who did this lost 7 x the weight of people who didn't. I think they ate it 1/2 hour before the meal.

I had hit a plateau, too, largely because my in-laws kept dragging me to the mall or my favorite amazing Chinese vegetarian restaurant (run by some ex-Buddhist monks: a great place!). But this is also the time I had run out of grapefruit.

I just got some (at the mall--and got sugar packets), and am back to munching them; I'll see if it makes any difference. (I was using them before the diet and kept using them until I ran out.)

I'm also going to give up eating out even at my fave places until I'm in the healthy zone again. The food was good, but, man, it's just not worth it! What food on this Earth is? None! It took me two days to let the 2 pounds from that fall off again. That was depressing. But you know, at normal weight, it would be fine to put on 2-3 pounds--or even 8--and then let it fall off; then on again, off again... It's just that if we allow that to happen now, we're not going to get anywhere!


Saturday, October 08, 2005 3:29:00 PM  
Blogger Masa'il said...

I was just rereading my post...

Does it strike anyone as actually rather miraculous that Seth's diet DID let my 2+ pounds gained in that restaurant / mall day fall off in just two days? I was complaining, but I just got a wave of "reality check, please!" I've NEVER been able to "let two pounds fall off in two days"--or even almost two weeks!--before. Whether that was water weight or what, doesn't matter: couldn't do it before!

I'm still a fan.

Saturday, October 08, 2005 3:33:00 PM  
Blogger Jim Pivonka said...

I see no comments on acne here. There was a pretty strong thread on that topic at the other location, and I wonder if that has continued anywhere.

Reason is that in the October 1 2005 Science News there is additional confirmation of problems with treatment of acne with antibiotics. The volume is 168, page 221. Title "Acne medicines can be a pain in the throat". Pass it on if you know people who posted in the acne thread, or email me with the location where I should post this.

Sunday, October 09, 2005 3:01:00 PM  
Blogger Jim Pivonka said...

I have some comments, despite not formally following the "plan". For me, my food consumption seems to be strongly habit driven. It has little or nothing to do with anything other than what my established pattern tells my body to want. Cutting food consumption is self perpetuating, and eating more is self perpetuating.

The only way that self perpetuating cycle gets broken is if I keep track of the changes, formally. Then I seem to be aware of changes as "deviations" and they become less self perpetuating.

Are we tracking the wrong things by counting and tracking food intake when we are disciplined, thus making the disciplined state implicitly a deviation from the norm? When we break discipline do we make that seem like the normal pattern by NOT tracking and counting the excess we are consuming?

Maybe we should try to establish a habit based pattern of minimum consumption, with little or no tracking, and only track when we break discipline - then monitor and record every detail of how our over consumption has deviated from our normal discipline. "Hey, I had exactly 487 calories over my target when I went off the wagon yesterday!"

On a daily basis I usually eat nearly nothing until evening. Often that first bite of "real food" is followed by more than I need. This is reinforced by the fact that eating helps me keep going, stay awake after a full day.

I can interrupt that by stopping after the first small helping, drinking a large glass of water with good fiber (unflavored metamucil would be better than the orange flavor I use), and going back to work - or to bed. If I am lucky I will forget to eat any more, which is easier because my belly is full of metamucil.

that's likely a bit more than 2cents so I'll stop.

Sunday, October 09, 2005 3:19:00 PM  
Blogger Sarah Motes Ashley said...

I'm down another 1.6 this week. (Sunday is my only weigh-in day, otherwise the fluctuations drive me a little too nuts). This sugar water thing rocks.

Sunday, October 09, 2005 8:42:00 PM  
Blogger Maven98 said...

I think I am not drinking enough sugar. As I reread one of Seth's articles, it said that he first drank 1000 calories of sugar water and this completely knocked out his hunger -- too much. He then decreased it to 500 calories. I think I am going to try increasing my sugar calores to 500 per day and see what happens.

Monday, October 10, 2005 12:38:00 AM  
Blogger seth roberts said...

thanks, Annie, for setting this up. I just discovered the comments section today. It is thrilling to read the success stories. (Kind of an extended mix of the success stories at I have a suggestion, which is to show the date, not just the time, of each comment.

To answer a question about my theory: yes, it says that your set point is slowly going down when you are not eating. It isn't "set", as has usually been assumed.

Possible problems. If you consume a lot of fructose at once you will get diarrhea, but that's rare. The most common problem seems to be headaches. I think that headaches are caused by the sugar or the oil getting into the blood and thereby reaching the brain. This happens due to incomplete digestion (glucose is okay, fructose and sucrose are not), which occurs because the sugar or the oil is unfamiliar. Your digestive system only makes the enzymes needed to digest the foods you actually eat. If you begin to eat a new food it may take several days to produce enough of the right enzymes. This explanation predicts that the headaches should go away after a few days and that they can be avoided by slowing down the speed of dietary change.

Feel free to call me with questions; my phone is 510.418.7753. Questions are usually more complicated and harder for me to understand than the questionner realizes; this is why I would rather answer questions by phone, when I can easily ask for clarification, than by email or posted comment. I have no objection to anyone posting my telephone answer to their question.

Monday, October 10, 2005 7:59:00 AM  
Blogger Masa'il said...

I've got to go to bed on this side of the world, but briefly:

Great to see your post here, Seth! As you can see, we are fans of yor method so far, though many of us still are fighting depressing battles on plateaus.

About posting the date: we'd have to manually do that: Blogger doesn't have that feature for comments. However, if we switch to a Yahoo group, the date WOULD be there automatically. Switching seems to be a better and better idea. I've created a "placeholder" group over there that we can activate any time. Any more thoughts on this?


Monday, October 10, 2005 10:05:00 PM  
Blogger Maven98 said...

I'm perfectly fine with it, Annie. I'll follow this little group of early adopters wherever it wants to go.


Monday, October 10, 2005 11:36:00 PM  
Blogger Sarah Motes Ashley said...

Hi Seth! I'm going to buy copies of your book when it comes out even if I've already lost all my weight. You rock. :)

Tuesday, October 11, 2005 7:46:00 AM  
Blogger Masa'il said...

Yeah, ditto me on the book! Make sure it's set up for international sales! At least get Singapore.


Tuesday, October 11, 2005 10:59:00 AM  
Blogger Leftblanc said...

I'd rather see a Yahoo group. Then I can have the mail sent to my gmail account. It's a lot easier to follow that way.

Tuesday, October 11, 2005 11:25:00 AM  
Blogger Masa'il said...

Heh, heh, stupid me.
Blogger does allow dates
as you can now see.

Tuesday, October 11, 2005 2:02:00 PM  
Blogger michelle said...

I've been trying this approach for several weeks now, and am envious of those who experience strong appetite suppression. I have not found that happening for me at all. I'm modestly distracted when I'm actively drinking the sugar water, but by the time the one-hour wait is over I am just as hungry as normal. (That said, I have in fact lost a few pounds, but it has been as big a challenge as previous efforts.)

I wonder why some have such strong reactions while others don't.

I'm also curious if there is a reverse taste-calorie sensation. For example, if I'm chewing gum or drinking tea -- things with lots of flavor but no calories -- does my body think it's getting something with calories?


Wednesday, October 12, 2005 1:12:00 AM  
Blogger molly said...

I finally got off my plateau by doing the only thing I could think of to do:

I bought a new scale.

Only half joking here -- I ditched the analog scale and bought a digital. I lost 1.2 pounds over two days according to the digital, and the analog showed no movement. I also like having the the weight broken down into tenths.

The bad news is, the new digital readout registers my weight 5 pounds above the analog scale. So I've had to adjust my graph accordingly. Hence, starting weight: 155 pounds. Weight now after one month: 148.

So glad you've joined us Seth. VERY generous of you to post your phone number. I hope our thoughts and experiences are useful to you as you develop your book.

Michelle, have you tried oil instead of sugar water?

I have occasional hunger pangs, but I find if I just ignore them for a few minutes, they go away. Also, maybe there's a psychological component -- waiting for the hour to pass after the sugar water makes you anticipate being able to eat, and stimulates your appetite. Are you drinking the sugar water at the same time every day? Maybe you should try adjusting the timing. Instead of stopping the sugar water an hour before your regular lunchtime, START the sugar water when you would normally eat lunch. In other words, disassociate one o'clock from eating and see if you're hungry later, at say three o'clock.

One last suggestion. I find when I get hungry, an apple or an orange or a peach is all I need to stop my appetite.

Good luck. I hope this helps.

Wednesday, October 12, 2005 3:25:00 AM  
Blogger Masa'il said...

I'm still "stuck" at 180, which is both a triumph and an annoyance.

I've eaten a lot of no-no foods, thanks to my ideal-diet-saboteur in-laws; yet it's easy for me to get back to 180, with a few days on the method.

However, it seems that my magic pound-a-day weight loss days are over, at least for now. My body clearly thinks it's already given up enough territory at 180, and is not coming to the negotiating table with the current measures. Part of this is due, I'm sure, to having a problem day every 3 or 4 days, and then my body only has time to get back down to 180 before another problem day comes along.

As Molly suggested, resetting the eating clock has helped a lot! I'm now down to two medium-to-large meals a day at 10 and 4, plus at most some nuts or fruit in the evening. This has given me more time to take care of the kids, and increases the chances that when I do eat, I can take the time to make something healthy.

Generally eating out has become a no-no for me, though I found an Indian option that didn't trigger weight gain: chapatis (mostly whole-wheat flatbreads), plus dhal or curry, and unsweetened lassi (yogurt drink). I yummed that down yesterday and the scale needle still inched further down. But Chinese food--even home-cooked-- ALWAYS pushes the needle up: too much MSG, I think, and sugar in the sauces. Always too flavorful with quick cals.

I'm going to keep going with the sugar, oil, and my "tweaked" foods (low-added-flavor plus low-GI, wholefoods) and see how it goes.

I'm off to Singapore first until Monday for some medial work on my daughter: will post when I get back. I'm going to be in a hotel and having to eat out: I'm betting I'll gain 7 pounds! Even with doing my best to eat well! I'll try Molly's fruit suggestions. We'll see... :)


Wednesday, October 12, 2005 11:00:00 AM  
Blogger molly said...

Just a note of encouragement for everyone as I ski effortlessly down the far side of a plateau. I think I may have been the first person here to complain of stagnating, and I gather a few more of you are now having the same problem. Suddenly, the loss is happening faster then ever before. I can't explain it. All I can say is: Hang in there.

Thursday, October 13, 2005 10:44:00 AM  
Blogger Yasu said...

So far, the Honey works. I lost 2 pounds the first week on sugar water, and I lost 2 pounds the second week on honey water. It seems to take less of the honey water than sugar water to do the trick too. I have a cup of "tea" (hot water with about 2 teaspoons of honey) in the morning instead of coffee. Still have had no cravings for coffee and I've been a morning coffee drinker for 22 years. Then I may have another cup of "tea" around 9 a.m. I have a piece of fruit when I get hungry, usually around 10:30 or 11:00. I'm usually ready for lunch around 12:30 or 1:00. Sometimes I'll have another cup of "tea" in the afternoon. I have not been hungry for dinner, but I make myself eat something because I eat a small lunch and I know I need to eat. So I am usuing 1 1/2 to 2 Tablespoons of honey per day, and I physically can not eat very much. I haven't checked how many calories I am consuming, but I know it is low, probably under 1000 per day.

Molly, I am gald to read you have begun losing again. Are you losing at the same rate you were before, or has the loss sped up?

Thursday, October 13, 2005 11:23:00 AM  
Blogger seth roberts said...

Skiing is a good metaphor but I always think of surfing. Your weight is going down, your set point is going down. The goal is to keep your weight just a bit (a few pounds?) above your set point, enough above it to make it easy to eat less but not so much that it becomes hard to eat anything.

In the absence of food both your weight and your set point are going down. All food raises your weight. Most food raises your set point. Sugar water and extra light olive oil (and new foods) do not raise your set point.

Drinking sugar water reduces appetite, thus reducing food intake -- and reducing food intake by itself lowers the set point (1000 calories of food will raise the set point less than 2000 calories of food). So the process has a kind of momentum that need only be sustained with sugar water or whatever, once it begins.

So you kinda ride the process. Drink too much sugar water and your weight will get too far above your set point; drink too little and your declining weight will catch up to your set point, and then you'll get hungry again, eat normal amounts of food, and stop losing weight. Wipe out! Except that it is easy to resume.

That's the theory, anyway. It doesn't explain plateaus.

Thursday, October 13, 2005 5:45:00 PM  
Blogger Masa'il said...

Yeah, Seth's wipe-outs do seem to explain what happened to me, combined with eating no-no foods. The days I was "stuck" or gained weight I had not only eaten too much (and no-nos) but also drunk too little sugar water.

Indeed great news, Molly! Both for you and the rest of us! Please do fill us in with more details!

I'm still trying to survive my Singapore trip, but you know, I've never been so un-stressed about gaining weight. I finally know I can indeed lose it. (At least down to 180. :) ) Hooray, Seth: thanks a ton!


Friday, October 14, 2005 5:33:00 PM  
Blogger Leftblanc said...

I was on a plateau for nearly two weeks, moving from 218 to 220, day after day.
I have started to lose weight again after
making some adjustments. First, I think I was taking way too much oil. I also think
my body was starting to like the taste,
which must be a warning sign. I would gulp
a spoonful and I could almost feel something
primal going yeah, gimme more of dat. So even though it was light-tasting, maybe my body finally figured out it was a rich food source. Still, I wasn't gaining weight and I wasn't hungry most of the time. I just wasn't losing.

The last few days, I shifted the experiment. I all but cut out the oil
and used sugar water only. I also diluted
it so I could not taste or could barely
taste the sugar. Voila! I started losing
again. I also think it's true that if you don't take in enough sugar water, your body ends up hungrier and you eat too much. The one day I nearly starved myself,
drinking sugar water when I got hungry,
I was miserable -- and I didn't lose anything. But the days that I gave myself sugar water before I was hungry, and on a regular basis, I found myself eating well, feeling full and still lost the weight.

So today I'm quitting the oil altogether -- I think it might work as a way to maintain weight, ie take a tablespoonful instead of breakfast -- and going to sugar water only, heavily diluted.

I'm at 216.5 today. I'll report back in a week or so.

Friday, October 14, 2005 11:40:00 PM  
Blogger molly said...

Weight loss going great guns for almost a week now. Here's an interesting and encouraging thing -- I'm recording my weight loss on a graph, and starting on the 15th of September there's a nice gradual decline. On the 1st of October, it's a flatline for a week. Then on the 8th, the line drops sharply. So, I ended up in the same place I would have had I never plateaued. The nice gradual decline would have landed me at the same weight I am today. So the plateau really had no impact, other than discouraging me.

Seth, I agree, the surfing metaphor is particularly apt. And the explanation you gave is easy to grasp, for us non-scientists. Thank you.

Here's my contribution to the Freakonomics discussion: Call me hyperbolic, but I really do think this diet is going to have a huge impact when it goes mainstream. The billion dollar weight-loss industry is going to feel a staggering blow(considering the fortunes to be lost, you might want to consider a bodyguard, Seth!). And the apparel industry is going to do very well. I went out yesterday and spent a couple of hundred bucks on new clothes, all because of my weight loss. Multiply that by tens of millions of former fat people and you're talking a lotta schmattas. So Seth, single-handedly you're going to improve the health and happiness of millions of people and pump up the economy to boot. Not bad.

Someone on the Freakonomics website suggested "shorting" Weight Watchers stock, and the more I think about it, the more I think it's not such a bad idea.

Saturday, October 15, 2005 7:28:00 AM  
Blogger seth roberts said...

Thanks, leftblanc, that's very helpful to know. I agree that if the olive oil starts tasting good something is probably wrong. What brand did you use?

Your observations imply that your weight loss cannot be a placebo effect. They also imply that the weight loss cannot be due to simply eating less. "Any time a diet works, it's because you ate less calories" is a very common idea among weight-loss experts, at least those quoted by journalists.

re Weight Watchers. One of my students, for her class project, tried Weight Watchers. After a few weeks it was hard to stay within the allotted points. Then she found that just a few tablespoons of sugar in water per day made it much easier to stick with the plan. The friends she had started WW with dropped out but she continued.

Saturday, October 15, 2005 10:35:00 PM  
Blogger zencefil said...

just a question: i've decided to try this to see if I can lose some stubborn weight that doesn't respond to exercise or a healthy low-cal diet (i'm not really overweight, but struggle with inability to control snacking/binging, and would like to lose 5-10 pounds). the question is, has anyone had any negative effects from occasional alcohol on the diet?

The sugar water seems to be doing away with most of my food cravings thus far (it's only been 2 days), but I usually have a glass of red wine most evenings and would be reluctant to give up this little luxury....

Sunday, October 16, 2005 5:41:00 PM  
Blogger Emily said...

Hi all,

I have about 100 lbs to lose to be what doctors consider a healthy weight. I exercise moderately, and before I tried this, I did not restrict my food, other than trying to eat less in general.

I haven't been terribly consistent with my sugar water, but here is my progress so far:

9/23 drank 500 calories worth of sucrose water, good appetite suppression
9/24 ate less than normal, no sugar water
9/25 ate normally
9/26 drank 400 calories worth of sucrose water, ate significantly less than normal
9/27 drank 400 calories worth of sucrose water, continued to eat less
9/28 drank 400 calories of sucrose water, down 2 lbs since 9/23
9/29 and 9/30 drank 400 calories worth of sugar water, continued to eat less
10/1, 10/2, 10/3 no sugar water, tried to eat less
10/4, 10/5, 10/6 took 400 calories of sugar water with me, but did not finish it, so probably averaged about 200 calories of sugar water per day
10/7 down 6 lbs., tried 1 Tbs Canola oil, EWWWWW! Worst thing I have ever tasted, and didn't seem to work as well as sugar water for me. No sugar water, had soda with lunch and dinner. Soda makes me want more soda, and sugar water does not have that effect. I do find myself eating just for pleasure, I have to curb that.
10/8, 10/9 no sugar water, ate less
10/10 400 calories sugar water
10/11 down 7 lbs from starting weight, 400 calories sugar water, I notice I weigh a few pounds more in the evening, so I am doing all weigh-ins in the morning first thing
10/12 down 7 lbs from starting weight, not happy with analog scale, it reads differently depending on where I stand on it, varies by 3 or so pounds. 400 calories sugar water
10/13 down 7 lbs from starting weight, but overate at dinner on 10/12
10/14 bought new digital scale, reads 11 pounds down from starting weight. I think this is not an accurate portrayal of how much weight I've lost, but I trust the digital scale more than the analog. 400 calories sugar water. I'm waking up dehydrated, need to drink more water in general.
10/15 down 11.5 lbs from starting weight. Ate less, no sugar water
10/16 back up to 10 lbs from starting weight, plan to do the 400 calories sugar water today.

Generally I have been splitting my sugar water into morning and afternoon portions, about 1/2 and 1/2. I either eat a small breakfast or skip breakfast, eat a minimal lunch (fruit and something with a little protein), and eat a meal for dinner with a smaller portion size. I have mostly elimitated soda from my diet (before this), and I probably drink alcohol about 2x per year. Typically drink water, decaf tea, or milk. I find I have to consciously drink all of the sugar water. If I leave it open on my desk, I won't drink it all. Appetite is definitely down, even on days with no sugar water. I had a couple of headaches the first full 5-day stretch that I did the sugar water, but I can't definitely pin them on the change in diet. No headaches 2nd or 3rd week. I definitely feel like my appetite is reduced, and once I start eating, it is easy to stop. Before I started the sugar water, it was hard to know when I was full. I find myself eating because I know I should eat something, not because I'm hungry. I also find myself eating out of habit, which is not so good.

I have been dissolving 100 grams of table sugar in 1L or more of water. In 1L it's extremely sweet, but it's convenient to carry. I'll dilute it further if possible.

It's great to read about other people's progress. I think this is working for me, but I should try to be a little more consistent. I also need to curb the desire to eat when I'm not hungry.

Thanks for setting up the blog.

Sunday, October 16, 2005 11:31:00 PM  
Blogger molly said...

Zencefil -- I was also a lover of wine with dinner most evenings. I've given it up completely for dinners at home. I realized at some point as I poured myself a glass, that I didn't really want it, I was just doing it out of habit. This occurred about a week or two into the diet. So you may find the same to be true. I now have a glass or two when we go out to a nice restaurant for dinner. Last night we went out for Chinese food and I ordered a glass of wine but ended up not drinking it. Generally, I'll put on a pound after a dinner out -- I think part of this has to do with wine lowering my ability to resist a second helping or dessert. So maybe you'll find yourself better able to forgo that nightly glass of wine after a couple of weeks on the diet. And if not, it's not the worst thing -- a small glass is a couple of hundred calories, I think. You'll just lose a little slower probably.

Emily, I'm intrigued by your reaction to canola oil. The worst thing you ever tasted? Seriously? Was it the actual taste or was it the texture/consistency? I take two tablespoons a day, and it tastes like, well, nothing. No taste, really. Which is sort of the point.

Just for the sake of experimentation, I'm going to try sugar water for a couple of days and compare that with my canola oil experience. I also have some fructose, so I may try that again as well. I only tried the fructose once and I didn't think it worked as well, but perhaps I didn't give it enough time.

Monday, October 17, 2005 7:54:00 AM  
Blogger anonymous said...


Why is it that you write to avoid baked products? What about whole grain, low fat bread? Why do you presume that this would raise setpoint?

I have always eaten a high carb diet, but careful to keep to low glycemic index products. Whole grain bread is usually not as low glycemic index as eg whole grain bulgar or whole grain rice, but still, I don't understand why you view it as a no-no on the diet? Is it really a more consistent flavor, or higher flavor than other whole grain products?

Or is it NOT a no-no?

Monday, October 17, 2005 12:31:00 PM  
Blogger seth roberts said...

Anonymous, thank you for your question but I am afraid I do not understand it. Whole-grain bread "a no-no on the diet"? I don't know where that came from. My views about whole-grain bread are not simple; I eat it regularly, in small amounts. Anonymous, please call me at 510.418.7753 and I will be happy to answer your questions.

Someone told me today that whenever she quits sugar or caffeine she gets headaches that last three days. This may be why people doing this diet sometimes get headaches -- because they are consuming less sugar and caffeine than usual.

Monday, October 17, 2005 1:47:00 PM  
Blogger Emily said...


I tried canola oil in the morning, and I tasted it the rest of the day. I know oil can go bad, maybe mine has gone bad. I think the flavor, the texture, and everything combined to make it a bad experience for me. I considered olive oil, but since the sugar seems to be working pretty well, I think I'll stick to it. The oil didn't make me feel full either, I guess for me maybe the quantity of liquid as well as the sugar helps. I know I've tried plain water before to limit appetite, and it works for a while, but I think the calories in the sugar water keep me going.

Did the sugar water yesterday, down another 2 lbs since Friday morning, even after bouncing up on Sunday morning. I do think there are some fluctuations here, but I'm happy if I see an overall downward trend :)

Tuesday, October 18, 2005 12:22:00 AM  
Blogger buddha504 said...

what kind of sugar does one use?

Tuesday, October 18, 2005 6:54:00 AM  
Blogger buddha504 said...

what kind of sugar do you use? how much in how much water?

Tuesday, October 18, 2005 6:54:00 AM  
Blogger Yasu said...

Different ones of us are using differnet things. Some are using oil, some sucrose (table sugar), some have tried fructose, and I use honey. Each person has found the "dosage" that works best for them. The trick is to find the substance and amount that suppresses hungar, accelerates satiety, lowers the set point, and fits one's lifestyle. Most everyone has outlined what they are doing in the above posts. Hope that helps, and welcome.

Tuesday, October 18, 2005 10:38:00 PM  
Blogger Sarah Motes Ashley said...

Still going strong here. I lost a bit less this week, about .6, but that is typical for this particular week of the month. I am staying consistent with my sugar water and my calorie target (1350, sometimes I am in the 1200s, occasionally I hit 1400). Sometimes I think if I eat the same exact food too many days in a row, it starts to not satisfy, so I am switching things around. Bland food still helps me to feel more satisfied. I have nothing to report except consistent, slightly boring weight loss with not a lot of effort - which of course is huge and unprecedented for me.

I can't get over the irony that sugar water is usually the placebo, but in my case seems to be the active ingredient.

Thursday, October 20, 2005 3:44:00 AM  
Blogger Masa'il said...

Still in Singapore...

Great to hear everyone's progress! I'm still off the diet--no kitchen, too many social engagements--but a day here and there on the sugar water has certainly helped keep me from ballooning while here.

Just a thought: I watched the "Obesity Olympics" on 20/20 a few days ago. The obese family members featured only lost between 15 - 22 pounds in 8 weeks of strenuous exercise and diet change (reducing quantity and eating healthier). How much more could they have lost if the concept of adjusting their set points had been attended to? I lost 12 pounds in just over 2 weeks... (And it looks like I'll have the chance to do it again when I get back rather enlarged from my Singapore trip :))

I'm DELIGHTED I don't have to take that route (the killer exercise) like they did and Oprah did--and Oprah's diet REALLY restricts what you can eat! Hooray, Seth: we'll keep going and see just how "generalizable" your methods are!


Thursday, October 20, 2005 3:25:00 PM  
Blogger molly said...

I noticed today that my watch kept falling down and twisting around on my wrist and suddenly it hit me -- it's too big! I've lost weight in my wrist! HA!

Friday, October 21, 2005 6:36:00 AM  
Blogger Leftblanc said...

Hi folks

So, I cut out the oil (Bertolli's very light olive) and the weight loss started again with just sugar water (plain old sugar packets swiped from a coffee shop and the office, 2-3-4 packets depending on the size of my bottle of water, never enough that you can really taste much sugar; drink 3-4 bottles a day). I had been stuck around 218/219. Saw that steadily drop to about 215-216 where it fluctuated for a few days. Today I wake up -- 211 pounds. Now, I know that'll go up when I eat and drink today but that is amazing. I don't really think of myself as particularly overweight, though doctors may disagree, but this is the least I have weighed in about five years. I had been solidly parked in the 220-225 range for quite some time, even in periods of heavy exercise (this is not one of those periods). My ultimate goal is 180, what I weighed in college 20 years ago, unless that starts to scare people. I had an illness earlier this year and don't want people to start whispering at the office!
So I might slow it down once I get to 200.

Seth, per your question, I was using Bertolli very light olive. I had not tried canola oil. I was using oil and sugar at different times but as I mentioned I could feel my body wanting its slug of oil, especially in the morning. It's also easier to calibrate amounts of sugar -- one lump or two? heh -- whereas a tablespoon of oil is a calorie bomb, you
don't want too many of those, but you can
spread the sugar out, dilute it more etc.

I just don't understand the calorie/set point/taste/appetite link here. I can't say for sure that different calories behave differently. On the days I lost weight, I definitely ate far fewer calories, and more nutritious calories, than on the days when the needle barely budged. So it could be that appetite suppresion and calorie restriction are the main factors here. I also think there is something to the varied foods business. I seemed to get stuck when I ate the same food over a period of days (tuna melts, or pizza) and there may be something to the bland food business (I love sushi and had it last night, in far less quantity than I would normally eat, though, and I still used soy sauce, not so much wasabi as usual). The needle also didn't budge if I decided to indulge in a calorie dense sweet snack like a big cookie. There have been days when I was a little hungry and consciously suppressing my appetite with extra sugar water. There have been days when I ate my fill, which wasn't much. I probably lost a little more on the hungrier days, but I also lost on the days when I was satiated and ate a bit more (with more sugar water, sometimes).

By the way -- sugar in hot water is great,
kind of like tea without the tea. And I
am drinking less coffee so that could explain the occasional headache, caffiene withdrawal. Coffee is too often a habit,
with a dose of milk calories and fat,
that falls between meals.

I do imagine this account would annoy a scientist who wanted to measure everything and test the diet. He'd want a complete food diary and so on. But luckily I am not conducting a scientific study. I'm just losing weight. It's not entirely effortless, you have to plan to have some sugar and water around (though it is everywhere!) but I have never stuck to any diet this long, apart from my semi-vegetarianism, which is more driven by a personal repulsion to meat. This always caused the Atkins types to shake their heads at me, but I fully expect them to be asking me how I lost all this weight without counting carbs. Without counting
anything really, except sugar packets.

One word of warning -- I am on a medication that requires monthly testing,
and I think the weight loss has messed
up the dosage my doctor prescribed. So
she may have to lower the dose because I'm
not as big. Hey, she told me to lose weight. But any of you under medical care
should be sure to let your doctors know,
at the very least, that you are losing weight, and, you might want to tell them how. I don't see how a spoonful of sugar can be worse than the 10 mini candy bars and all the chips I USED to eat EVERY DAY.

So, I'll take another week and report back. I've lost roughly 12-15 pounds since
the original New York Times article in September. It's true that I "eat whatever I want" -- but not as much as I used to. But I don't walk around crazy hungry, I've cut out candy bars and junk food (apart from chips now and then), never drank soda anyway. So I actually FEEL better with less junk in my system. I do feel sometimes like I'm in an anorexic state of mind, thinking about my weight on a daily basis and exulting in the control, but if I hit my targets I fully expect to lose interest in that. I think this is just hte initial fascination that this is so easy.

Good luck everyone.

Friday, October 21, 2005 8:35:00 PM  
Blogger michelle said...

This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.

Friday, October 21, 2005 9:26:00 PM  
Blogger michelle said...

My experience has been very similar to leftblanc's. I reported earlier that I haven't noticed the strong appetite supression that some people feel, but continued to experiment with timing so that the big hunger doesn't coincide with the one-hour, post-sugar wait (otherwise I would overcompensate and eat a lot).

I don't like the idea of skipping meals entirely, but thought I'd give Molly's suggestion a try (timing the sugar water for when I'd normally start to eat lunch).

So now I eat a small but satisfying breakfast (tea, toast and five-grain hot cereal -- go carbs!) Then, after the first batch of sugar water (3 tbsp in about 3 cups of water) I find myself wanting something in the early afternoon. Many of you have talked about eating fruit at this point, but the idea of sweetness following sugar doesn't appeal to me. So I've settled on a large mug of vegetable broth. It gives me the savory flavor I need and feels surprisingly satisfying. Another batch of sugar water in the afternoon, then a sensible dinner.

I'm also doing the sugar in hot water, and finding this much more pleasant. I'm not a soda drinker and the cold version seemed too much like that for me.

Like leftblanc, I'm not sure I understand or am convinced that this is anything more than reduced calories. And whether it's that the sugar calories provide just enough to tide my body over, or simply the ritual of it all coupled with large blocks of time where I'm committed to avoiding all other meals and snacks, I can't say. (I tried oil for a while, but it just felt like I was eating empty calories. And since it took only seconds, I had more time during the day to think about whether to eat something.)

I also feel a little obsessed with the weigh-ins and overly conscientious food decisions, but I'm definitely making better choices when I do eat and finding it very satisfying to do so. I had a solid weight loss three years ago (wiped out with the birth of twins late last year), and recall falling into a similar kind of mindset. Food is still very appealing to me, but I'm drawn to good food and proper portions. It's not effortless or even particularly easy, but it does seem possible, and this provides me with enough control to make it happen.

Current status: 14 pounds down since September 16, 16 pounds to go.


Friday, October 21, 2005 9:28:00 PM  
Blogger Masa'il said...

Back from Singapore, and up--only 2 pounds!! Wah! I even ate ice cream, drank coffee, and had eating-out food! (I did trot my self (and kids) all over the little island-state, though, enough to generate new leg muscles...)

Very surprised and happy! I really thought my weight would yo-yo in those 9 days off the diet--but no worse than one day eating out here!

So I'm back on the diet tonight: will see if those 2 pounds indeed fall off, and if I can make any more progress. Will post back in a few days.

It looks like weight loss from the diet may be at least somewhat resistant to re-gain! Anyone else who has periods off the diet, please let us know your results, too!


Saturday, October 22, 2005 6:27:00 PM  
Blogger Masa'il said...

Just had an amazingly good should-be-Shangri-La-approved dish and thought I'd share the discovery. It's a whole-foods porridgey-cerealy thing. Super easy to make, and as unprocessed as can be.

-Boil a bunch of your choice of whole grain (they look like--ARE--seeds): whole oats, wheat, buckwheat, varous rice, etc., until "done". Done = anytime at/past the point when they change from being hard-&-unpleasant-to-eat to being resilient-but-nicely-squishy. Beyond resilient-squishy, they poof and get really soft (as long as you cooked them with enough H2O): also nice. I used whole wheat this time. (It's sold in natural food stores as wheat berries.)

-Dump on fresh berries if you can get them. I used dried organic blueberries & strawberries, smuggled back from my last U.S. visit, reconstituted w hot water. Also cut apples. Tangerines, etc also likely good.

-Nuts: I used pumpkin seeds, again organic and smuggled. Cashew, walnut, or almond sound great.

-Add milk or (I used) a nice thick unsweetened soymilk, to the consistency that looks tasty. Unsweetened yogurt should be great, too. Cream?--ooh la la! Man, I should pick up some of that at the store...



Saturday, October 22, 2005 8:39:00 PM  
Blogger Hopscotch said...

Michelle, do you have an idea of how much you are eating a day, calorie-wise? (What is your height, and target weight, if I may be so bold?) What is an example of one of your 'sensible dinners'? I have a target to lose about 20#, at 5'6" I am guessing I am at about 140, though it's a guess, since I don't have a scale, but I want to go back to wearing a size 6.
I have been very irregularly having sugar water or oil; usually instead of lunch. I am fine until dinner, and then have a small healthy dinner, and then get a darned craving for chocolate, peanut butter, whatever, calories. I need to try trading it in for sugar water; I know...

Sunday, October 23, 2005 4:22:00 AM  
Blogger molly said...

I'm still experimenting with sugar water. I really appreciate the recommendation about drinking it hot. It's more satisfying somehow and may even quash the appetite better (still experimenting, as I said). I've been mixing 4 tablespoons of sugar in a liter of water (180 calories) twice a day (for a total of 360 calories). When I consume canola oil, it's 1 tablespoon (120 calories) twice a day (for a total of 240 calories). That's 120 calories less than the sugar water. For the same calorie count, I could consume another tablespoon of oil and REALLY quash my appetite. Or I could eat some real food. So I'm not quite seeing the benefit of the sugar water over the oil. Leftblanc, it sounds like you add quite a bit less sugar to your water (what's in a sugar packet? A teaspoon?) But you're still getting the benefit. What are you other sugar water people using as your mixture? Am I using too much? Less doesn't seem as effective. But based on your reports, you sugar water people are losing a lot more weight than I am. I'm down 7 1/2 pounds since September 12, and some of you report twice that. What's up with that? My target weight is 135 -- 20 pounds from my start weight. Then, if I want to go further, I'd like to try to get to my college weight of 120. I'm 5'4". My age may play a part here too -- I'm 50 and consequently my hormones are bouncing around like crazy. And my metabolism is most likely lower than people in their 20's and 30's.

I'd like to expand on Hopscotch's idea and state our "stats." Age, gender, start weight, target weight, calories consumed, exercise per week, weight lost, time on the diet, and anything else we can think of. Perhaps this could be useful not only to us, but to Seth as well.

6 weeks on diet
7.5 pounds lost
1200 - 1400 calories per day*
(*about 200 or 300 more on occasional off days)
Starting weight - 155
Target weight - 135
Perfect weight - 120
Height - 5'4"
Gender - Female
Age - 50
Exercise - walking 1 hour twice a week. (Hope to add more exercise).

Maybe once a week, we can cut and paste this info onto our signature and adjust the weight and other variables as needed.

In the interest of science!

best to all,


Sunday, October 23, 2005 5:44:00 AM  
Blogger molly said...

P.S. I forgot to add oil or sugar water dosages to my stats.

2 Tablespoons Canola oil (Enova brand) per day OR 8 tablespoons sugar in 2 liters water per day.

Sunday, October 23, 2005 5:48:00 AM  
Blogger Emily said...

I hate sharing stats... but in the interest of science/helping others:

30 days (4+ weeks) on diet
lost: 11.5 lbs
calories per day: ? I think around 1500 including sugar water
Starting weight: 276
Target weight: 175*
*high end of range for females of my height (I have a large frame)
Height: 5'11"
Gender: Female
Age: 25
Exercise: brisk walking 15-20 minutes at least once per day, 40 min moderate paced walk in evening 2-3x per week, 10 mile bike ride on weekend (weather permitting)
sugar water: 400 calories (100g by weight) sucrose (table sugar) in 1L of water (diluted further if possible)
oil: none

I think am experiencing one of those plateaus others speak of. Held out at 11 lbs under starting weight all this week, now finally this morning dropped to 11.5. I'm hanging on... here's to skiing (surfing) down the other side (hopefully soon)!

Sunday, October 23, 2005 12:05:00 PM  
Blogger seth roberts said...

yes, thanks, this info is indeed useful to me.

Some of you will remember Dewar's Profiles.

Sunday, October 23, 2005 9:51:00 PM  
Blogger Chantal said...


I've been trying out the sugar/water solution (mostly fructose) since I read about it in the NY Times.

I haven't been as organised as most of you: I'm not keeping track of calories, nor of the exact amount of sugar water consumed every day. I also have not made an effort to watch what I eat during and after dinner.

I tried skipping breakfast with the sugar water, but I was worried that this was a bad habit to develop. I tried skipping lunch with the sugar water, but I find that I'm starving by dinner time and make up the calories by heavily snacking while cooking.

I have had trouble sticking to a rigid routine, simply because as a student, I do not have a daily routine. But generally, I try to have 500ml water with 2tbs after breakfast, and again in late afternoon. I suspect that I am not having enough sugar water, based on the entried on this blog.

Despite all this, I have managed to lose 5 pounds.

Here is what I have noticed:

1. The sugar water does prevent me from feeling that deep feeling of hunger which caused me to snack regularly throughout the day.

2. After a couple of days of regularly drinking sugar water, my appetite is reduced and I get a very unpleasant bloated feeling after dinner (despite this, I usually insist on eating my full portion, plus dessert).

3. At first, I waited until I was hungry to drink the sugar water. However, by doing it this way, as soon as I would stop drinking it, I would be starving again. The stretch between 4-5pm (from my last sip, to the time I can eat again) was very difficult, and I would then pig out while cooking and at dinner time. This mostly happened when I skipped lunch.

4. After reading this blog, I tried drinking sugar water an hour after breakfast and lunch instead, rather than waiting until hunger struck, and that seems to be working much better. It's only been a couple of days now though, so we'll see.

5. Despite eating too much in the evenings, I think my overall calorie intake is down (tiny breakfast, no lunch, no daytime snacking), and I suspect this might account for part of the weight loss.

6. Most diets that I've tried begin with some initial water weight loss which is easily gained back. I'm sure it's not different in this case. For the past four days for example, I've been sick and at home. I have stopped the sugar water diet. I'm not eating that much more food (...I'm sick), yet I've gained back 3 pounds of weight... This must have been water weight. I'm sure they'll come off easily when I get back on the routine tomorrow. So everyone should keep in mind that up to 10 pounds of weight loss could be water. Not enough time has gone by to really know what percentage of weight loss is really fat.

7. I tried oil for one day... did not work for me at all. But then, I had waited until I was hungry to swallow it and so maybe it would work better if I tried it an hour after meals.

8. Sugar water can help you avoid that hungry feeling, and minimise snacking. But obviously, it cannot do anything for bad eating habits. And that's my biggest problem. Despite feeling full with less food at dinner, I often keep eating, and I have dessert because I love it. And that's the real problem.

Having said this, sugar water will be a good solution for those who are willing to modify eating habits, but find it difficult to adjust and hate the feelings of hunger that often accompany diets.

To be honest, I am not overweight but on the high end of my healthy BMI, too close to the overweight mark. I would prefer to be closer to the low end. I only have 15 pounds to lose now. Of course, this will impact my determination to modify my diet -- the sense of urgency is not there.

I will begin again tomorrow.

Monday, October 24, 2005 12:15:00 AM  
Blogger seth roberts said...

To reduce "over-eating" or eating "bad" foods or eating late at night -- if they haven't already been reduced enough -- I think in most cases all you need to do is increase the daily amount of sugar water and/or ELOO (extra-light olive oil). For example, Chantal consumed about 200 kcal/day (4 T) of sugar water and found that some of the eating she wanted to stop went away but some of it didn't. Someone else I've spoken to has been consuming about 400 kcal/day -- 3 T/day of sugar water and 2 T/day of ELOO -- and found that all of her cravings, etc., were vastly reduced or had vanished.

If ELOO or other oil doesn't work right away, don't give up if it is unfamiliar. You may not be digesting it. It may take several days of exposure for your body to make enough of the enzymes needed to digest an unfamiliar food.

Monday, October 24, 2005 11:06:00 AM  
Blogger michelle said...

Regarding stats:

Started Sept. 16
14 pounds lost
?? calories per day
Starting weight - 170
Target weight - 140
Height - 5'8"
Gender - Female
Age - 35
Exercise - none consistently

People have inquired as to the total number of calories per day, but I really don't know. (I don't eat much prepared food that has the handy nutritional information printed on the package.)

I'd guess I'm eating about 350 for breakfast, negligible amounts for lunch, and about 300 in sugar water.

For dinner, I eat what I ordinarily eat -- salad, soup, quiche, quesadillas, pasta, asian noodles -- but a more reasonable amount. I find that if I can make it to dinner having done well, I'm more motivated to control myself for fear of canceling out the day's efforts. Closer to bedtime I end the day with ginger tea and occasional dessert.

For me, consistency has been helpful. If I stick to similar times and amounts with the sugar water, I do better throughout the day.

Regardless of how I think I'm doing, the scale responds very erratically. I had a week where I bounced up and down 2-3 pounds, but last week I registered a pound less each day.

Monday, October 24, 2005 9:28:00 PM  
Blogger Leftblanc said...

My stats:

Started diet 9/12/05
Sex: male
Start Height & Weight: 5'11, 226.5 lbs
Current weight: 213
Target: 180
Previous calorie intake: ? 2,500-4,000 /day (probably was more on some days)
Current calorie intake: 1,500-2,000 kcal
including sugar water (very rough guess,
quite possibly higher)
not counting sugar water
Exercise: 15 minute walk twice a day, including stairs, swim or bike once a week if I'm lucky
Sugar intake: 3-5 tablespoons a day
in water which I'm guessing is about 440-600 kcal, depending on the day. When I've tried to do less, I ate bigger meals and felt more snack urges.

Current diet:
I skip breakfast, which was my past practice. Two other meals:
one small, one big. Usually the small
one is lunch. If I have dessert or coffe,
I now eat it with a meal. I used to be a between meals snacker; haven't had the urge lately. I eat seafood and vegetarian recipes, generally (as always), but it's
not always as healthy as it sounds: I love cheese, chocolate, beer, chips and French fries, and I still eat all those things,
in far less quantities than in the past.
I was always the guy who ate the second piece of cake, polished off the pizza, grabbed my share and your share of the cookies, eat a full meal right before bed etc.
Now I too get the "I can't eat another bite" feeling after a good but not huge dinner, I have no desire to snack, and that's when I know the sugar water is working.

The sugar details:
Three restaurant packets of sugar equals
about one tablespoon. I typically mix 2-3 packets in a standard one-pint bottle of water (or bigger ones sometimes). Shake it up. Can't really taste the sugar. Sometimes I put just two packets in a hot mug of water or cold 8-0z glass, slightly sweeter than the bottle.

A typical day lately (though it varies, and I have been modifying this continuously):

Wake up - hot or cold 8 oz sugar water (2 packets) (used to be extra light olive oil)

Mid morning - 1 pint water, 3 packets


one-two hours after lunch: 1 pint water, 3 packets

sometimes: an hour before dinner - hot 8 oz, 2 packets (again, used to be the oil)


sometimes: an hour or more later, 1 pint water 3 packets

before bed (only if hungry or feeling like a snack): a mug of hot water with 2 packets (used to be oil, a lot more calories)

I don't really worry too much about the amounts, although I try to do a minimum of three packets (1 tbsp) of sugar in water three times a day (3 tablespoons/420kcal), otherwise I really chow down at meals and will grab a cookie or whatever is lying around the office.

Monday, October 24, 2005 9:56:00 PM  
Blogger Masa'il said...

Wow! It sounds like everyone is really making progress in losing weight and getting "control" over eating!

Me too: 3 days after getting back, the Singapore pounds are gone and I'm lower than ever. I was 179 until "that week" came: now even bloated I'm only 180. I'm sure after this week is over I'll have broken through the 180 barrier.

Gender: Female
Height: 5'5"

Starting weight: 192
Target weight: 149 or lower
Length on diet at posting: 23 days, plus 10 days travelling and not-quite-able to-apply-the-diet
Lost so far: 13 lbs

calories per day: ?? Guess around 1800-2000 including the sugar water

Exercise: only as occurs naturally in the life of a mom chasing a 3-year-old and baby, shopping, etc. Breastfeeding: this burns significant calories.

Method: sugar water: 1 dose 2 Tbs fructose or sucrose (varies) in 1/2 L water, 1 dose 3 Tb in 1/2 L water. Usually no oil. Have changed diet to be low-set-point-raising: low GI, almost no added flavorings, no added sugar in meals. Low added oil except for omega-3 and flax oil capsules supplemented.

Tuesday, October 25, 2005 11:01:00 AM  
Blogger molly said...

I've become a believer in the sugar water. It took me a couple of days to get the effect, but now I'm doing well on 3 Tablespoons in 1 liter of water twice a day. I really enjoy it heated up in the morning. Soon I'm going to try mixing and matching with canola oil to see what works best.

Michelle, if you're interested, I recommend

It has calorie counts for just about any food you can imagine -- fresh fruits and vegetables included. I've been eating more fresh fruit lately and it helps me to keep track of my intake.

Which brings me to my next point. I'm keeping a daily count of my calories, and I'm eating consistently 1200 - 1400, sometimes less, and the weight is coming off, but much more slowly than at first, and according to everyone's stats, much more slowly than all the rest of you. It's a little discouraging, but I'm determined. It has to come off sooner or later!

Thanks to all who participated in the Dewar's Profile. (Last book read, anyone?) I plan to post my stats every Monday which will help with discipline I think. I hope. I especially want to improve my exercise stats.

Thursday, October 27, 2005 3:39:00 AM  
Blogger Masa'il said...

Molly, some thoughts on weight loss:

It really seems it might be that we simply started from an unnaturally high (for our bodies) weight, and the body lost faster due to that (in which case we, too, slow as we get closer to ideal weight); or

I'm still eating two large but very healthy and low-GI, low-added-flavor meals in the morning and afternoon, plus sometimes a smaller dinner--could MORE food help? :)


Thursday, October 27, 2005 1:22:00 PM  
Blogger Masa'il said...

Also, anyone tried whether morning eating or evening eating makes a difference? I think I'm the only one who's doing mornings / afternoons and cutting dinner, right?


Thursday, October 27, 2005 1:26:00 PM  
Blogger Masa'il said...

Well, I've hit healthier-heart hip-waist ratio this last measuring.

On Sep 10, my ratio was .868 (over .85 is dangerous). Today (Oct 28) it's .81. Yay! I'll feel comfy once it's down in the .7s...

Also it looks like I've lost several cm all over (almost). And this morning my weight was down to 178 (from being stuck at 180 plateau, and starting weight of 192).

Hooray! Keeping going... 6 more pounds and I'll be down 20 from when I started!


Friday, October 28, 2005 5:54:00 PM  
Blogger Leftblanc said...

Flatlined all week at 212-214 lbs. Felt a cold coming on yesterday and said, the heck with it, kept up with the sugar water but ate two fairly big meals and a chocolate chip cookie as a late night snack. This morning -- 210.5. Go figure. I'm thinking there's some kind of balance here -- if you eat too little, your body fights like the dickens to maintain weight. If you eat too much, it packs calories away for the future.
The key is to find the middle ground.

Saturday, October 29, 2005 11:51:00 PM  
Blogger Masa'il said...

Leftblanc, your ideas definitely groove with my experience.

Makes sense with the "toilet paper analogy" that Seth used in one of his texts: that the body "stocks up" on fat when certain stimuli are present, just like stocking up on toilet paper when it's on sale. Then when it's not on sale (stimuli removed) it starts using up the stockpile... But if I felt that there was a flat-out toilet paper shortage, I would use up my stockpile, yes, but VERY SLOWLY. I don't wanna run out! But if it's simply no longer on sale but still definitely readily available, then, yeah, I'd go at normal pace through the stockpile.


Sunday, October 30, 2005 1:46:00 PM  
Blogger Leftblanc said...

I've made an important discovery. I was sick of swiping sugar packets at coffee shops and getting funny looks from family and coworkers so I finally found them for sale somewhere. It seems each packet contains 15kcal, not the 30 I estimating for some reason. That means my estimate of my sugar intake was about twice reality. Four packets of sugar into a pint of water is 60 cal, not the 120 or so I was guessing. That means my daily sugar calorie intake is more like 240 cals not roughly twice that. So it means I have more of a comfort zone if I'm still feeling hungry; I've probably been taking too little sugar on some days. And that might explain the plateaus.

(I like the packets for their portability, no need to carry around a spoon etc... otherwise I would have noticed a lot sooner that I wasn't taking as much as I thought.)

Monday, October 31, 2005 6:18:00 AM  
Blogger molly said...

Well, I fully intended to put up my stats for the week, but in the interest of science, I can't because I'm having scale problems again. I'm on my third scale and I'm beginning to think my body's electromagnetic or something. The first one was analog and too difficult to read (plus it seemed to stick in one place unnaturally) so I bought a digital. After a week or so, I started disbelieving the results and tried stepping onto the scale two or three times in a row and I got very different readings -- as much as 2.5 pounds difference in a matter of seconds. So I turned that one back in and got a different, more expensive model (Salter) and now it's doing the same thing. Very frustrating! I don't have it anywhere near any electronics so I'm stumped. I've reset it, taken out the battery -- everything. I'm going to call the manufacturer tomorrow and see if I can get another one. Anyway, blah blah blah -- that's my excuse. I'm being VERY GOOD about my food intake, and I've noticed my clothes loosening up (and my wedding ring feels bigger), but that's as scientific as I can get right now. I'm still 5'4". And female. Sadly, my age will soon change -- and not for the better. Last book read: "No Country for Old Men" by Cormac McCarthy (two thumbs way up btw).

Ciao for now, bambinos.

Monday, October 31, 2005 9:58:00 AM  
Blogger Emily said...

I've been stuck at a fairly consistent 12.5 lbs down for a week. However, "that time of the month" just ended, and maybe that has something to do with it. I'm also wondering if I'm not eating enough, as you all have pointed out. Maybe I've put my body into crisis mode and it's saving every calorie it can. I'm eating about the same as I have been the whole time while drinking sugar water, and nothing has been happening. Maybe I need a cookie!

About scales, I noticed with my digital scale that where I put my feet makes about a 5lb difference in readings, so I'm just trying to be consistent about how I stand. If I put my feet on the outer edges, I weigh more than I have been recording, if I put my feet close together, I weigh less, so I'm attempting to keep my feet in the middle. I'm also taking several readings within 3 minutes or so, and taking the most frequent reading as my "actual" weight. This fluctuation is slightly better than the analog scale, but if anyone finds a good scale, I'd like to know.

I'm not giving up yet... at least I haven't been gaining.

Tuesday, November 01, 2005 10:30:00 PM  
Blogger michelle said...

Yikes! I've completely derailed. We moved last week and I skipped the usual routine for a few days, but even upon returning to sugar water I've been ravenously hungry and unmotivated all day long. The leftover Halloween candy isn't helping, either.

I'm going to try to up the amount for a few days to see if I can get my rhythm back. The total lack of control in the past few days leaves me skeptical, though.

For those who've experimented with different amounts of sugar, did you truly notice when you hit your optimal mark? I'm hoping something will click.

Thursday, November 03, 2005 2:03:00 AM  
Blogger buddha505 said...

Hmmm, have tried both sugar water and extra light olive oil and nothing is happening. My scale fluctuates between 141 and 142.5. I feel that I am eating less, but maybe I'm wrong. Anyone else had problems like this?

Thursday, November 03, 2005 2:27:00 AM  
Blogger Masa'il said...


I've had times "derailed" as well: in the Singapore trip and recently when we celebrated the 1st and 2nd says of Diwali here with my hubbie's Indian friends. This last time (Diwali) I weighed 177 Mon morning before we left to celebrate, and 186.5 Tues night when we stopped "partying". Yikes! And I only ate like a "normal" person. Much of that of course was "extra" food in my body and water weight: certainly not all fat. But I still was all plumped up, and didn't like it!

Today, Thurs am, I'm back to 178 in the a.m., and expect to be 177 tomorrow again. Getting strictly back on the diet is what does it for me, including cutting out my no-no foods, and using a slightly-greater-than-usual amount of sugar. Also, drinking a lot of water, to flush out the extra water weight...

I think it would be harder to re-motivate if you haven't had a scare not from Halloween, but your scale! Anyway, good luck getting back in rhythm!


Thursday, November 03, 2005 12:02:00 PM  
Blogger seth roberts said...

Do the readers of this blog have any ideas on how to make extra-light olive oil (or other flavorless oils)easier to drink?

Many people find this hard, of course. Someone yesterday said it was a "cultural" thing, which I think has a lot of truth to it. People in Culture A routinely eat food that people in Culture B would never touch. There is a street in Beijing with lots of food stands selling plenty of foods I have never seen anywhere else -- not just fried bees and other fried insects but also sheep testicles and starfish and on and on. I will usually try anything and everything but . . . I didn't. Still, with the right experience of course I would have eaten fried bees, etc. If they had been served to me as a child, for example, and I had seen my parents eat them.

If the difficulty is learned ("cultural") it can be unlearned, but I wonder how. Yesterday I spoke with someone who swallowed oil even though she originally thought it was "gross". After a few weeks she still doesn't like doing it but it isn't as bad as she expected. She drinks water after the oil to get rid of the icky feeling.

Olive-oil capsules are often suggested as a way around the problem. But it takes 12 big (1 g) capsules to equal one tablespoon. I once tried swallowing fish-oil capsules (big ones). My original plan was to take, like, 10 per day. I think I swallowed 2 the first day and that was the end of my plan.

Thursday, November 03, 2005 8:10:00 PM  
Blogger Masa'il said...

Re. the oil... What about using one of those teeny kiddie straws to suck it down? ...But then you'd have to clean the straw, hm, or get a new one each time... What about taking it frozen in ice cubes?

Hey, Seth, while we can still reach you before you're too famous, please do consider tying up with some food co.s to make the following:

-One-serve oil packets. Easy to carry, tear, and use: like ketchup packets or snazzier. Canola and ELOO, please... :) Then perhaps flax or other Omega-3-full options. If you make each pkt 1 Tbs, then people can just douse themselves with as many as they need. An organic line would be great, too! I would SO love that! And buy lots!

-Quick-dissolve sugar pkts (here it's called caster sugar) on 1 Tbs sizes. Again, organic also?

That would be great! You can get really rich. And we and other dieters will be really happy. Just tie up with Spectrum Naturals or a larger oil company, and a sugar co. Or maybe Newman's would be interested...

Hear, hear, other folks?

Oh, yeah--and then when you're rich you can send us all complimentary cartons of the goods! ;)


Thursday, November 03, 2005 11:00:00 PM  
Blogger seth roberts said...

thanks for the suggestions, Annie. One-serving oil packets has been my top choice for a tie-in product, too. A friend and I kicked around names: I think "tote-size" was the winner.

Friday, November 04, 2005 10:08:00 AM  
Blogger Chantal said...

I wrote before that the oil did not work for me, but that I was having semi-success with the sugar. At this point, it seems to be the reverse. Sugar leaves me hungry as soon as I stop drinking it, leaving me to think that I might have inadvertently created a flavour association with it. I would guess this means that I can never use sugar water again. But I will give it another try later.

It's possible that the difference is fructose vs. white sugar. I ran out of fructose and began using regular sugar -- maybe the glycemic index of fructose made it a better choice for me. I will test this also.

The oil, taken 1h after each breakfast and lunch has been successful for the past couple of days. I follow it right away with a cup of hot water (as hot as I can take it). It helps to get rid of the oily residue in my mouth.

The down side to oil is that it's more difficult to consume in public without people asking questions!

A suggestion for Seth's question about how to consume the oil: maybe try to vigourously shake hot water and oil in a jar before swallowing might help to create an emulsified oil/water concoction? Like making salad dressing.

I have a few concerns and wonder if anyone has any thoughts on it:

1. Brushing our teeths: a few people have raised this before, but it's a valid concern. Aside from the oral hygiene issue of drinking so much sugar water, there is the mint flavour association which might pose a risk (and which might be another possible factor for causing the sugar water to stop working for me).

2. Diabetes: both my parents have it and so I'm concerned about consuming more sugar than necessary. Ideally, I would cut all sugar from my diet. And in a way, I'm rooting for the oil and hope it continues to work. But Seth should keep this in mind when doing his research... particularly for fructose which I've read could be worse than white sugar.



Friday, November 04, 2005 11:58:00 PM  
Blogger Masa'il said...

Glad to hear you're thinking about tie-ins!

I forgot to mention another: some un-soda: just canned sugar water. Sounds stupid, but there have been several times I could have really used it. (And you could add calcium or vitamins...)


Saturday, November 05, 2005 12:11:00 AM  
Blogger Chantal said...

A third concern that has crossed my mind: the value of replacing the calories from vitamin rich foods with with those of oil and/or sugar...

Seth gives the example of someone who consumes 400 cal of oil and sugar a day, presumably replacing food consumption (that's the whole idea, no?). What if that person had simply eaten 400 cal of vegetables instead? Would they not have felt just as full? And have the added benefits of essential nutrients?

Which leads me to the idea that perhaps it would be worth exploring other bland foods that could work as effectively as oil/sugar but with more nutrients. 1/2 cup of plain lentils for example is about 100 cal -- and very bland in my opinion! Maybe other beans. Someone, somewhere, had suggested rice bran mixed with olive oil. Various whole grains without seasoning.

In his paper, Seth had suggested that foods with a low glycemic index (slow to digest) also worked to reduce the appetite, and so that's why I suggest these types of foods.

It would be worth trying out...


Saturday, November 05, 2005 12:48:00 AM  
Blogger seth roberts said...

thanks, Chantal, for all your comments and ideas. I'd like to address your concerns.

1. Teeth brushing. The evidence is mixed about whether sugar water in moderate amounts causes tooth decay. If this is a worry, you can drink some plain water after drinking the sugar water. I don't think the flavor of toothpaste is likely to become associated with calories unless you drink the sugar water around the same time.

2. Diabetes. The American Diabetes Association used to advocate fructose in place of sucrose because fructose is digested more slowly; in Germany I saw "candy for diabetics" that was sweetened with fructose. Now the American Diabetes Association has moved away from a blanket condemnation of any sugar; see
for what they say.

3. The lack of nutritional value of sugar and oil. Wouldn't regular foods be better? This is a complex question. The short answer is that I never found regular foods that were anywhere as weight-loss potent. For example, I knew for years that bland foods would cause weight loss but even the most palatable bland food I could find -- sushi -- I could only eat for a little while. When I stopped eating sushi I tried to find a more sustainable bland food and never did.

I think it will turn out like Vitamin C and Vitamin-C-deficiency diseases. Sure, it's better to get one's Vitamin C from foods than from a pill but in practice we need both. Likewise, one could use my ideas to lose a lot of weight without ever drinking sugar water or olive oil but in practice my guess is that most people will want to do both.

I do both. On the food side, I try to avoid foods that taste exactly the same each time. It isn't entirely possible. I don't worry about glycemic index but I've eaten that way for so many years I simply like those foods, such as lentils, better. (Eating a low-GI diet I lost a mere 6 pounds.) I also drink sugar water and low-flavor oils. I'm still trying different oils, such as flaxseed and safflower. Hot sugar water at cafes, oil when I'm home.

Saturday, November 05, 2005 8:32:00 AM  
Blogger Leftblanc said...

I dipped below another milestone this week, weighing in at 209 this a.m. So that's another 1.5lbs in a week. It'll bounce up, a little, of course. Whoever used the ski slope metaphor was right. Or another way
it seems to work-- lose two pounds, gain
one back, until I settle into what seems to be a rather firm number give or take a half pound. So what I can expect in the coming week is to fluctuate in the 208.5 to 209.5 range and maybe drift to 208 after a week, if past performance is any measure. I can tell I'm losing body fat but it's not necessarily translating into as much weight loss as I expected -- I guess fat has a lot of volume, heh.

I had no problems swallowing oil, so can't help you there. I did worry I was getting a taste association. I also felt my consumption of it was kind of conspicuous. I hesitate to mess with what is working now, but if I get down to my target I might give a "breakfast" shot of oil a chance. I don't care to be gulping it down at work, easier to pretend I'm drinking tea or doctor a bottle of water. Fewer stares.

So it's pretty amazing to me that I've lost 17 pounds with minimal exercise.
Someone wondered if we'd be better off
eating 400 cals of vegetables or other nutritious food. Well, sounds good in practice, but that was my diet for 15 years, 10 of them as a vegetarian. Later I added seafood back in. Without the sugar water I just find myself eating three big (nutritious) meals, plus snacks. The sugar water lets me eat smaller meals and I just have very little yen for snacks. When I eat the snacks, I am not hungry for the meals. So the one danger here is that you live entirely on sugar water and snack foods as meals. I wouldn't recommend it. I suspect that you will still lose weight but you'll be unhealthy. If you eat nutritious meals, then 400 cals of sugar rather than 1,000-plus cals of snack junk seems like a fair trade to me. In other words, if you honestly assess what you ate before sugar water, there was probably a lot more non-nutritious calories than you realize (for me -- chips, soda, cheese on pizza and pasta, extra sugar and empty filler in processed foods etc). I kind of liek the idea of saying, ok, here's the straight dose of empty energy, now you don't need that other stuff tricking up your meals. You control the dose.

Saturday, November 05, 2005 11:56:00 PM  
Blogger Masa'il said...

Ya, I totally agree, leftblanc. (Great to hear you've lost 17 lbs by the way! Great work!) I, too, was a very healthy-eating vegetarian (mostly wholefoods or raw, much organic, and VERY few "unhealthy" snacks) for 15 years before trying this, yet my weight was in danger of killing me. Now in a few weeks I've lost 15 pounds and still going, with no effort beyond dietary, despite having a vacation, celebrating holidays, and eating out sometimes.

Post-sugar water, I eat even healthier than before, because I'm super-careful to pack my two meals (and 3rd one if it's there) with the very best. Because our food bill has shrunk since I went on the diet, I can afford to eat more organic foods. I've practically eliminated sugar from my diet except as my "medicine", so I, too, feel no qualms about my "empty" calories. The other calories I get are ridiculously "full" (compared to most people in either Asia or America's standard diets), and I'm also supplementing with iron, calcium, occasional C and Bs, acidophilus, and fish and flax oils.

At my previous weight, or even current one, factoring in my way of eating well, it seems far more likely to have health problems from weight than the seemingly-remote chance of malnutrition. If that ratio ever tips the other way, then I'll make adjustments.

So while I, too, have wondered about my "empty cals", I definitely see them as medicine now, and don't question their efficacy at this point.


Sunday, November 06, 2005 1:14:00 PM  
Blogger Hopscotch said...

I assumed flax seed oil wasn't in the flavorless running, but I'd be glad to know if you found it works as well as a bland oil ----

Sunday, November 06, 2005 11:34:00 PM  
Blogger seth roberts said...

Inspired by leftblanc's comment that the oil started tasting better and better (and therefore should have become less and less effective) I have been testing various oils to see which start to taste better. One of them is flax oil. It hasn't been very long but it hasn't started tasting better.


Tuesday, November 08, 2005 5:29:00 AM  
Blogger Hopscotch said...

aha - so it is not so much about not _having_ flavor but is about not having _good_ flavor?

Tuesday, November 08, 2005 5:11:00 PM  
Blogger molly said...

8 weeks on diet
12 pounds lost
1200 - 1400 calories per day*
(*about 200 or 300 more on occasional off days)
Starting weight - 155
Current weight - 143
Target weight - 135
Perfect weight - 120
Height - 5'4"
Gender - Female
Age - 50
Exercise - 5 hours (walking, weights, floor work)

Had a GREAT week. Finally got a scale that works last week. I've lost about a half pound a day since then. I've been very disciplined with food and added a lot more exercise, which really made a difference.

I have four pairs of my favorite jeans -- size 12, size 10, size 8 (like new) and size 6 (tags still on). I passed from the size 12 to the size 10 this week. My husband did a double take over the weekend, "Wow! You look great!" He's about 20 pounds over his ideal weight himself, and he's been pretty dubious about this diet all along, but he said, "Okay, now you've got my attention. Tell me about how to do the diet."

I bought some sugar cubes, which I've found to be very convenient. I drop ten (@ 15 calories each) into a liter water bottle. No measuring. I also put ten cubes in a zip loc bag in my purse, so I can mix up a batch anywhere.

I've got a challenging week coming up. We've got friends coming from out of town -- they own several restaurants in NY and they want to go to as many great restaurants here in LA as they can. So I'll be tempted to overeat -- lunches and dinners out pretty much every day, which makes it hard to fast all day and then have a regular sized dinner. Plus my friends love to order good wine, which is a further temptation and also lowers my resolve. I'm going to try to have a good time within reason and get as much exercise as I can. And the week after that -- Thanksgiving! Oy.

Does anybody have any advice about what to order in mostly Italian and French restaurants? Other than a salad? Is a bland pasta dish better than a spicy one? Is white wine better than red? I know new tastes are supposed to be good, but I don't think there's anything on any menu that I've never had before.

Wednesday, November 09, 2005 2:21:00 AM  
Blogger Leftblanc said...

Here's an interesting link that relates to Seth's diet:

Two studies in the October issue of Behavioral Neuroscience show that when animals are stressed, deprived and exposed to tempting food, they overeat, with different degrees of interaction. The powerful interplay between internal and external factors helps explain why dieters rebound and even one cookie can trigger a binge if someone's predisposed to binge.

The findings also implicate the brain's opioid, or reward, system in regulating overeating, especially when the food is extra-tempting – and not only in under-fed animals. This knowledge may help even non-stressed people to avoid overeating, keep their weight down and improve their health. Behavioral Neuroscience is published by the American Psychological Association (APA).

A study by M. Flavia Barbano, PhD, and Martine Cador, PhD, at the University of Bordeaux 2 in France, separated the distinct roles in consumption played by food deprivation and the "yum" factor, establishing that the interplay between internal and external factors regulates food intake, at least in mammals. Although much has been learned about human overeating, it is easier to untangle and verify the different variables involved in controlled animal studies.

Working with laboratory rats, the researchers tested three aspects of eating behavior: motivation (how bad did they want it), anticipation (how excited were they in advance), and intake (how much did they eat), all relative to homeostasis (satiety or deprivation) and food type (ordinary lab chow or "highly palatable" chocolate breakfast cereal, as verified by a pre-test of different foods).

For motivation, the researchers measured how fast 16 rats – who either had eaten freely or been put on a diet -- ran down an alley to a bowl of either chow or Choc and Crisp, a German-brand cereal. The animals ran faster when they were either food-deprived or presented with the chocolate cereal. However, when the food-sated animals were presented with Choc and Crisp, they ran just as fast as the hungrier rats.

The authors also measured anticipation in 32 rats by comparing activity levels when placed in individual cages where they would get either chow or cereal. First, the authors got the rats used to unpredictable feeding times; then for 10 days fed them a half hour after they went into the cage. Whether they expected chow or cereal, the food-restricted rats were more active, rearing up a lot more. Regardless of food type, only the deprived rats were more active, so the researchers concluded that anticipatory activity depends not on food type but on whether the animal has had enough to eat (homeostatic state).

As for actual intake, when presented with the Choc and Crisp, the food-sated group ate almost as much as the food-deprived group. But when presented with lab chow, they ate very little. Barbano and Cador concluded that highly palatable food motivates an animal to eat more than it really needs. When food type and satiety interact, attractiveness overrides satiety -- a phenomenon known to anyone who has ever stood in a buffet line.

In another key study, neuroscience psychologist Mary Boggiano, PhD, and her colleagues at the University of Alabama at Birmingham focused on the regulatory role of the brain's opioid system. Opioids or endorphins (the brain's "feel good chemicals") play a key role in our liking of food. Yet external substances such as heroin and morphine mimic endorphins by binding to the same receptors in the brain, produce a sense of reward (among other functions). The researchers compared how binge-eating rats versus non-binge eating rats responded to drugs that either turn on opioid receptors (butorphanol, which treats pain) or block them (naloxone, which treats heroin addiction).

From the rats' responses to these drugs, Boggiano and her colleagues inferred how stress and dieting change the brain's opioid control of eating. The binge eating occurred after rats experienced both foot shock (stress) and cyclic caloric restriction (dieting). Either caloric restriction or stress alone were not enough to produce changes in food intake, but stressed and underfed rats ate twice the normal amount of Oreo® cookies, which rats find rewarding. In other words, animals subjected to both stressors became binge eaters, confirming how strongly these outside factors interact to change eating behavior.

The findings also implicated opioids in the neurochemistry of binge eating. The highly rewarding butorphanol enhanced the binge eating; the reward-blocker naloxone suppressed how much the stress/deprived rats ate, to the level of the control rats. The authors say this pattern of findings in rats who were sated at the time of testing strengthens the evidence that reward, more than metabolic need, drives binge eating. Boggiano and her colleagues speculate that sensitized opioid-receptor signaling may be necessary to initiate binge eating. In the rats, stress and reduced calories seemed to sensitize those receptors to the presence of highly palatable food, in this case cookies. This, they write, "may underlie the common clinical observation that just a bite of highly palatable (often forbidden) food triggers binges and makes it difficult to abstain from binge eating."

The researchers speculate that the deprived and stressed rats may have been in a "hedonic deprivation state," essentially craving something good and rewarding. The research underscores how what is viewed as an unhealthy behavior (indulging in palatable foods, which are cheap, convenient and often high in fat and sugar) may have its roots in the need to survive. It suggests that binge eating is an adaptive response to abnormal environmental conditions. Boggiano cites other scientists' findings that among healthy people without eating disorders, dieting is the biggest predictor of stress-induced overeating.


Wednesday, November 09, 2005 2:58:00 AM  
Blogger seth roberts said...

to answer hopscotch's question: you are sort of correct. The "scientific" goal is to avoid foods with strong flavor-calorie associations. Such foods taste good.

however not all foods that taste good have strong flavor-calorie associations -- sugar water is an example. sweetness is pleasant for reasons that do not involve learning.

so don't avoid sugar water!

restaurants: in the future I like to think you will be able to ask for a "Shangri-La Tray" which will consist of ten different spice shakers assembled by the restaurant so that you can randomly flavor your food. But for now, I guess you have to bring the shakers yourself. In one study people who used shakers to flavor all their food lost lotta weight. The flavors changed once/month.

Wednesday, November 09, 2005 7:01:00 PM  
Blogger Leftblanc said...

Fascinating on the flavor shakers. I do notice that I have a bad habit of putting
a certain hot sauce on a lot of my food,
from pizza to veggie burgers etc. I expect
that's not the best thing. But are there
really that many different flavors that
can be so easily sprinkled? What are we
talking about -- salt, garlic, cayenne,
tamarind...? I can't think of a traditional cooking flavor that doesn't have a strong association in my mind already. And I don't want to put something repulsive on my food.
Oh well.

I hate the Shangri-La name, by the way.
You'd probably be better off with something more scientific sounding or related to the method (The Set Point Diet, the Flavor Diet) or related to you (the Sacramento Diet, Seth's Diet, the Seth Roberts Diet). My non-random sample suggests that people who are fed up with diets kind of roll their eyes at "Shangri-La" and think it sounds like yet another gimmick.

Thursday, November 10, 2005 1:39:00 AM  
Blogger anonymous said...

"restaurants: in the future I like to think you will be able to ask for a "Shangri-La Tray" which will consist of ten different spice shakers assembled by the restaurant so that you can randomly flavor your food. But for now, I guess you have to bring the shakers yourself. In one study people who used shakers to flavor all their food lost lotta weight. The flavors changed once/month."

This is interesting. Can you go into more detail about how to implement this at home?
Sounds relatively easy to do, but I'm confused. Does one use a single flavor for a month, then change it? A Different mix of flavors each month? Or change proportions daily?

Thursday, November 10, 2005 8:29:00 AM  
Blogger seth roberts said...

The study used two flavors per month: one for sweet foods, the other for salty foods. You can learn more about it at

Thursday, November 10, 2005 11:01:00 AM  
Blogger granada271 said...

Hi there, I've been following Dr. Robert's methods for the last month, and have been seeing obvious results (but since I don't have a scale, I can't give you weight numbers. It seems like I've lost 10 to 12 pounds).

I've read the Roberts studies on flavour/calorie association as well as the Hirsch ones on smell. But I see a conflict between the concepts that has confused me: Hirsch is saying that you need to smell STRONG food odors to stimulate the hypothalamus and get you to feel full, but isn't this contradictory to Roberts' findings that BLAND flavours caused weight loss? Hirsch says you need flavour to lose weight, and Roberts says you need to remove flavor.

Dr. Roberts, am I getting this wrong? Thanks and good luck with the studies everyone.

Friday, November 11, 2005 8:06:00 PM  
Blogger seth roberts said...

Hirsch's ideas and mine are quite different, that's true. But I don't say you "need" bland food to lose weight. I believe there are other ways to lose weight, such as eating unfamiliar food. I think the subjects in Hirsch's flavor-shaker experiment lost weight because the added flavors made their food taste unfamiliar.

I'm glad my methods are working for you. Thanks for letting me know.

Friday, November 11, 2005 10:03:00 PM  
Blogger Emily said...

I had been wavering around 12.5 lbs. down for a couple of weeks, with my daily intake of 400 kcal sugar in 1L or more of water with probably 1100 kcal of food for 1500 kcal total. I lapsed over the weekend and decided to just stay off the sugar water this week just to see what would happen. Of course I'm eating more food, but not much more, probably averaging about 2000 kcal this week (which is still less than before I started the sugar water). Surprisingly, I lost another pound, breaking me out of my plateau and putting me at 14 lbs down. I don't know if I will continue to lose at this level of calorie intake, but maybe this is a lesson to me not to cut so many calories so fast. I think I will go back to the 400 kcal sugar water today and make a reasonable attempt to eat about 1600 kcal in food. I may reduce the sugar water if I'm not able to eat enough.

It is very interesting to feel like I might have some measure of control over my weight. Previously I have tried the standard diet and excercise method and have felt hungry, deprived, and frustrated. Using the sugar water, I'm only feeling a little puzzled - I haven't quite figured out the optimal balance of calories yet, but as long as I keep my calories under 2000 kcal/day, I think I can only continue to lose. I'm not feeling hungry or deprived, and that's great!

Friday, November 11, 2005 11:03:00 PM  
Blogger granada271 said...

But Dr. Roberts, if the sense of "taste" is actually 90% smell, as Hirsch claims, wouldn't that mean that repeatedly smelling a strong food odor after drinking the sugar water or taking a tablespoon of oil (let's say by sniffing this food odor a couple of times over a few minutes) would ruin their "no-flavour" effect?

And if taste is mostly smell, how does this work with your calorie/flavour association approach to diet?

Saturday, November 12, 2005 9:09:00 PM  
Blogger seth roberts said...

Experiments that have tried to associate something a rat sniffs with calories have not been very successful. I doubt that sniffing a strong odor after drinking sugar water would have much effect.

I used to call it taste-calorie learning but that was my ignorance: Because what I meant by "taste" was flavor = smell + taste. We have smell receptors in the back of our mouths.

Sunday, November 13, 2005 2:44:00 AM  
Blogger granada271 said...

But there's the conflict as I'm seeing it: flavour (being 90% smell and 10% taste, according to Hirsch) is associated with calories. So by extension, wouldn't smelling something and eating calories create an association? Wouldn't that conflict with your findings then, since this is indeed flavour and calories at the same time?

The only explanation is that either Hirsch is wrong, and that smell does NOT effect the brain as a taste does, or that actually the Roberts method is working for a different reason.

Since I've seen the results of the Roberts method myself, I'm inclined to think there's something wrong with Hirsch's theory then. Smell and taste might actually just be different senses that happen to occur at the same time. Any thoughts on this?

Sunday, November 13, 2005 3:08:00 AM  
Blogger Hopscotch said...

I know 'crackpot' is a contentious term, but Alan Hirsch is a total crackpot! I live in Chicago, as he does, and I have seen him on the telly, etc., and seriously, he is really a mad, kind of creepy, joker.
"Sprinklethin" crystals, with undisclosed ingredients?
How did he get introduced into this discussion?

Sunday, November 13, 2005 11:49:00 PM  
Blogger Hopscotch said...

Unless your body is used to eating the same thing every day, I can't imagine how the unfamiliar food thing would work. I eat food from all over the world, and I think my brain is pretty used to that.
If you have spent your life eating a bowl of cereal with a banana for breakfast, a grilled cheese sandwich and a bowl of split pea soup for lunch and a salad with italian dressing and spaghetti with pesto for dinner everynight, THEN I imagine varying foods /smells, whatever, would work in the way being discussed. I think Hirsch likely could have used a bunch of midwesterners who have never eaten food from anywhere but Denny's___

Sunday, November 13, 2005 11:59:00 PM  
Blogger seth roberts said...

granada271, I'm not sure which study by Hirsch you are thinking of. If you call me at 510.418.7753 I'd be happy to answer your questions.

For someone who has eaten food from all over the world, or at least from all nearby restaurants, the eat-new-food idea would involve using new flavor combinations. Flavoring food you've eaten before in new ways.

Hirsch came into this discussion because I mentioned a study he did where people sprinkled flavors on their food and lost weight.

Monday, November 14, 2005 5:27:00 AM  
Blogger Julie said...


It has been awhile since I have written here. I stopped drinking my sugar water because I didn't think it was working for me. I gained back the weight I lost. I am going to start again tomorrow and see how it goes this time.

I also heard that the Shangri-La diet is going to be featured on Good Morning America tomorrow morning.


Monday, November 14, 2005 8:45:00 AM  
Blogger seth roberts said...

They filmed me this morning for Good Morning America tomorrow (Monday). I didn't say anything readers of this blog don't know but you should get to see me drinking safflower oil and hot sugar water.

Monday, November 14, 2005 11:02:00 AM  
Blogger seth roberts said...

It will appear in the 8:00 am section of Good Morning America. I think that means soon after 8 am.

Monday, November 14, 2005 11:18:00 AM  
Blogger molly said...

Awww. The end of an era. The secret's out. Our little band of acolytes is about to become a "movement." How many millions will start the diet tomorrow? It's bittersweet, but it had to happen.

Seth, your life is about to change in a very profound way. I predict a couple of network newsmagazines in December. The cover of several magazines by Spring. And then the Holy Grail. Oprah. Are you ready? Is the book ready? Is your website ready?

Get an unlisted number. Get a publicist. Fasten your seatbelt. And keep in touch...

Monday, November 14, 2005 12:13:00 PM  
Blogger Julie said...

Here is a link to info from the GMA segment with the text of the article below.

Oil and Water: Key to Weight Loss?
The Shangri La Diet Said To Suppress 'Caveman' Instincts

Nov. 14, 2005 — - A spoonful of sugar helps your weight go down, according to one University of California, Berkeley, professor.

Seth Roberts says he lost 35 pounds in three months by drinking tablespoons of oil and glasses of sugar water in-between meals to quell the urge to continue to eat.

"I take one tablespoon of a day of extra virgin olive oil," said Roberts, a psychology professor. "That's for me. For other people it could be different. And when I'm in a café, I have a cup of hot sugar water."

Roberts calls it the Shangri La Diet, and suggests it works by suppressing a basic "caveman" instinct from days when access to food was intermittent. The diet tricks the body from thinking it needs to eat every last bit of food before an impending famine.

"It isn't really a fad diet," said Stephen Dubner, co-author of the "Freakonomics" column in the New York Times. "It's more about understanding the theory behind eating. It's not about denying things. It ultimately leads to lessening the amount you eat. In effect, by taking this canola oil and this sugar water, you're tricking your metabolism."

Dubner and his co-author, Steven Levitt, tried the diet themselves. Dubner said he lost 5 to 6 pounds over the course of a couple weeks, and had a "shockingly" easy time skipping lunch. Dubner said he wasn't really trying to diet, but Roberts, who began the diet at 200 pounds, eventually lost 40 pounds. His friend lost 80 pounds in six months on the Shangri La Diet.

"This is an incredibly simple and elegant way of understanding what appetite is about," Dubner said. "The novelty of this is trying to persuade you to be more disciplined and tricking the system."

Monday, November 14, 2005 10:22:00 PM  
Blogger kim said...

Hi this is my first time here. I heard about the shangri-la diet this morning on GMA. I tried my first sugar water this morning about 11 AM (1tbs per 1cup). With my lunch being at 12:45 PM (I was hungry). I am presently consuming another (1tbs per 1 cup)sugar water and again feeling very hungry. Does anyone know if I should change my sugar water formula? or should I continue on my current solution for a few days? Any input would be helpful.

Tuesday, November 15, 2005 4:37:00 AM  
Blogger elke said...

This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.

Tuesday, November 15, 2005 10:30:00 AM  
Blogger Masa'il said...

Hi, Kim, see my new post at "How to "do" Seth Roberts' diet". You will likely need to take in MORE SUGAR: 3 to 4 Tablespoons is what is working for most of us.


Tuesday, November 15, 2005 1:18:00 PM  
Blogger SFC said...

I had read some of Seth's postings about self-experimentation, including sugar water, a few years ago, but never really tried it. Having read about it more recently on the Freakanomics blog, I decided to try it. I'm 6' 1". On Sept 27th, I weighed in at 184 lbs. I have a thin build and "the right" weight for me -- and when my cholesterol profile is ideal -- is at about 165 lbs. As of today, November 15th, I'm at 174 lbs having used the sugar water technique with no exercise. (That's a loss of about 1.4 lbs per week.)

A couple of observations from my experience:

1. In terms of quality of food, I was a very healthy eater before. Typically, I would limit myself to vegetables, lean protein, oatmeal with artificial sweetner, fruits, and not too much junk food. Despite that, whenever trying to lose weight, I would usually be pretty hungry if I stayed below 2000 kCal per day. I would also be voraciously hungry some nights around 10:00 - 11:00, and would sometimes wake up at midnight and eat 500 - 1,000 calories (sometimes more). Since starting on this program (using fructose, not sucrose), it is pretty amazing -- I am easily able to get by on between 1,300 - 1,600 kCal without any nagging hunger. A "bad day" is now around 2,000 kCal. I have not eaten anything after dinner since I started six weeks ago, and not felt like I wanted or needed to.

2. My weakness before the program was junky carbs -- pretzels, breads, and the like. I noticed in the first week or two that my desire for carbs was significantly diminished. No terrible surprise since I was drinking between 400 - 500 kCal/day of fructose water, but interesting, I thought.

3. What I did the first five weeks was 1/3 cup of fructose (260 kCal) in about 32 oz of water before lunch, 2 apples and some almonds (300 cal around 1:00pm), and another dose of sugar water (same as above) in the mid-to-late afternoon. Total for the day before dinnter was 820 kCal. I would go home feeling not terribly hungry and have maybe 800 kCal for dinner. In the last week or two, I've cut out the lunch time food and have the sugar water (total 520 Kcal) throughout the day, and still am easily able to have 800 to 1,000 kCal for dinner and not be hungry before bedtime at all. In some cases, my appetite is supressed enought to only have 350 - 400 kCal of sugar water before dinner, and I'll finish the day off at 1,300 to 1,500 kCal.

4. I used to drink A LOT of diet soda (diet Dr. Peppre) and coffee -- about 600 - 800 mg of caffeine a day. I decided to skip flavored beverages from the get-go to elimate flavor-calorie assosciations. Needing SOME caffeine, I switched to using caffeine tablets, and amazingly, my caffeine consumption has dropped to about 200 mg per day (1 tablet, cut in half, half in the a.m., half in the afteroon.) I did have some headaches and heart palpitations the first few weeks, which I think was probably the significantly reduced caffeine intake. (I had both of these symptoms when I gave up caffeine several years ago, too.) Both symptoms went away after the first two weeks or so. When I'm thirsty, but not hungry,instead of coffee or diet soda, I've started drinking plain water or, more frequently, water sweetened with a little bit of aspartame and liquid sweet-n-low, which is essentially zero calories. I'm not a huge fan of plain water, and like the little bit of sweetener added to the water.

4. I've tried a little bit of extra light flavored olive oil, and that seems to work, too, but mostly, I've just used fructose because it seems to work very well for me.

5. My grocery bill has dropped significantly because fructose is very inexpensive.

In general, for me, this has been nearly effortless. My food cravings are down, my appetite is down, and I very, very seldomly eat more than 2,000 calories a day, which before I started was more like my minimum calorie consumption. There has been no huge need for self-discipline. I've been meaning to go and have a lipid/triglyceride blood panel done at Qwest diagnostics, but haven't gotten around to it. If/when I do, I'll post the numbers.

My plan is to get down to 165 lbs, and then see how I stabilize there, using less sugar water to control my appetite if needed.

Hopefully, my experience will be of some help to others.


Tuesday, November 15, 2005 11:39:00 PM  
Blogger de Benci said...

Hi folks,

Glad to see everyone is progressing. I haven't posted in a while, but here is the update. I am the one trying the honey water, and here are the modifications/discoveries I have made. First, a lifestyle change has to be a change I can live with for the rest of my life. I have over the years started many different exercise routines from kick boxing to a personal trainer to bike riding to walking, etc. None of these have lasted very long. Conclusion: adding regular exercise is not a longterm solution for me. It may well work for other people, but not me.

Second, dietary changes must include food that is readily available, does not have to be prepared at home, and does not include counting calories or portions. Limitaions on specific food items work, but not strict adhearence to amounts.

Third, any change must fit into my schedule with the least amount of effort. I'm not lazy, just realistic about what I can and can not stick to. I have had many years of self experimentation and know certain things about myself as a result.

I said all of that to say this. I have implemented parts of the Shangra La Diet that I feel I can stick with in the long term. I have taken what works for me and applied it as follows: I have about one to two teaspoons of honey in a cup of hot water each morning. This has replaced my usual cup of coffee that I stopped craving my very first day on sugar water (Sept. 29). If I am hungry an hour or so later, I may have a piece of fruit. I eat lunch sometime between 12:30 and 2:30. I have no idea how many calories, but I eat healthy and less than I used to. Sometimes I may have some dried fruit and nuts in the afternoon, depending on my schedule and hunger. I have dinner between 6:00 and 8:00.

Since I have been doing this, my between meal cravings have all disappeared, and for the first time in my life I can look at something like popcorn, chocolate, potato chips, french fries, etc. and say "I'm not hungry" and pass it up.

I am losing and average of 1 pound per week. I have lost 8 pounds so far and am quite content with the slow, but steady pace. The important thing to me is that I have been able to incorporate the one cup of honey into my regular routine and while I don't know if it is enough to "trick" my set point, it is enough to eliminate my cravings. This works for me.

Wednesday, November 16, 2005 12:22:00 AM  
Blogger de Benci said...

de Benci aka Yasu

Not sure what happened, must have had a previous blogger account.

Can I get my own space under de Benci?

Wednesday, November 16, 2005 12:28:00 AM  
Blogger molly said...

Seth, it was great to see you on GMA! As usual with that type of show, they got their facts about half right. I was hoping for a more comprehensive report, but I suppose that's not possible in that format. It'll be interesting to see how quickly the word will get out. I still think the tipping point will be Oprah!

Managed to keep my weight gain to a pound during my friends' visit. I'm back on the program now. I dropped a lot of weight the week prior and I noticed that my face looked a little gaunt, so I think slow and steady is best for me anyway. I'm beginning to think my body naturally wants to stabilize itself after I lose three or four pounds -- like that's what the plateaus are about. They seem so regular and unaffected by food intake.

Wednesday, November 16, 2005 3:55:00 AM  
Blogger Masa'il said...

Thanks for your very useful summary, Sean, and for re-appearing, de Benci (your area is created, BTW).

It's amazing how everyone's postings reflect generally the same results! Looks "generalizable" so far, Seth!

A request from me: can anyone who is getting their cholesterol, etc tested report the results (as a trend--"worse than before", etc.) here? I'll get tested too, as soon as I can.

I'm also still losing weight by a general pattern: steady slow dropping, except after eating out, etc I'll gain a pound or two but then drop it fast after that. My pound-a-day days are over: but that's probably better for me!


Wednesday, November 16, 2005 12:51:00 PM  
Blogger Masa'il said...

A story at BBC outlines research on rats that concluded that rats who regularly took in sugar water had less stress hormones--the kind that contribute to obesity. The human implication mentioned was that eating occassional sugary snacks (made with real sugar, particularly in times of stress) might be good.

...Or, Seth's sugar-water!!! (They didn't mention that, though. :) )


Wednesday, November 16, 2005 2:24:00 PM  
Blogger Julie said...

So I decided to give the diet another try but with oil this time. I couldn't get olive oil down so I bought some Canola oil. I was able to keep it in my mouth but not swallow. I put it in some water and was able to drink it down. I hasn't been sitting well with me, though. I have felt queasy ever since. As soon as my hour was up I had something to eat and am starting to feel better now. I don't think I will be able to drink it again, though.

I guess it has to be sugar water for me. I hope it works this time around. I will try adding a bit more sugar and see if that helps.

Thursday, November 17, 2005 1:09:00 AM  
Blogger splow27 said...

I just started with this the other day. Drank the sugar water(3TBS in a large glass of water) and my afternoon snack appetite was supressed. But about an hour after I drank the sugar water I got very sleepy. The next day I tried 1 TBS of the canola oil, but I was already hungry and it did no good. The next day I tried 2 TBS of canola oil before I got hungry and about 2 1/2 hrs after a snack and felt hunger coming on about 1/2 hr after the oil. Ate a normal amount of dinner after that. I am a 44 yr old female and have about 10 lbs to lose.

My husband, on the other hand, has had more success than I. He is 50 and has about 10-15 lbs to lose. He has been taking 2 TBS of canola oil right when he gets home from work, waits and hour to eat and eats half or less than half of what he normally eats. He has lost a few pounds after only about 4 days of doing this!!

Does anyone have suggestion for me?

Friday, November 18, 2005 11:04:00 AM  
Blogger Masa'il said...

splow27, I would KEEP TRYING. :) If I were you and had more hunger-supression success with the sugar, I'd keep trying that for a few days (unless I had sugar issues, such as diabetes, etc.).

My only tips are 1--it might take your body a few days to adjust, and 2--I drink rather a good bit of water in the hours after sugar water and before eating. That keeps me going and happy.

Good luck! I'm sure our other posters can give more advice.


Friday, November 18, 2005 11:19:00 AM  
Blogger SFC said...


A couple of things from my experience. First, I started off with "a little" sugar water, a couple of Tablespoons in a glass or two of water. That just didn't do it for me. After that, I went to 1/4 cup in 32oz of hater, and then to 1/3 of a cup (260 lbs) before lunch and another after a couple of apples and some almonds. Now-a-days, I can skip the lunch and on some days, get by with only one 1/3 doze of sugar water before dinner. My recommendation would be try a lot more sugar water (maybe up to a max of 1/4 of your normal day's worth of calories). Also, you could try a little more sugar water and little more oil together and see how that works.

Another suggestion would be just to figure out what the maximum amout of sugar water you'd be willing to try and just start there. If, when doing that, you have no appetite, you can always scale back to a more appropriate amount. If that does work for you, then at least you'll know the sugar water can and will work for you. If it doesn't, then maybe it's just not the right program for you.

Saturday, November 19, 2005 12:03:00 AM  
Blogger Jennifer said...

Hi, Am I the only one who thinks this diet might be an enormous hoax perpetrated by the Freakonomics guys? I feel like such a sucker for even considering the idea that drinking sugar water could make me lose weight. C'mon, you people just yankin' my chain aren't you? :)

Saturday, November 19, 2005 4:52:00 AM  
Blogger Julie said...

Hi Jennifer,

I felt the same way you did when I first read about and actually started drinking the sugar water. I thought it was some kind of experiment to see how gullible people who want to lose weight can be. Now I usually don't feel that way, even though it hasn't really worked for me. In the back of my mind I still wonder about it occasionally.

Saturday, November 19, 2005 8:04:00 AM  
Blogger Masa'il said...

Hi, Jennifer,

I'm sure you're not the only one who thinks this diet is a "hoax" or otherwise not credible. I think that is a common response--but largely coming from people who haven't tried it, or haven't read Roberts' papers.

It's working for me very well, or else I wouldn't have bothered setting up this blog. I'm still losing weight and feel very "freed" and in control of eating.

But you'd have to just try it yourself, or at least read Roberts' papers, to seriously investigate the thing.

All the world's most wonderful new ideas were regarded as nonsense by the orthodoxy, without having been explored thoughtfully and with an open mind. We're just open-mindedly exploring Roberts' ideas, and generally very pleased with the results.


Sunday, November 20, 2005 12:59:00 PM  
Blogger Jennifer said...

Hi Annie:

Sorry, I was being flippant. I don’t actually think it’s a hoax. I’ve read Seth’s papers, and they make perfect sense to me, but so did Atkins and the South Beach Diet, and neither of them made me lose weight either. I actually tried drinking the fructose water for a few days as well, but didn’t feel any appetite-suppressing effects. In fact, I think it made me more hungry.

At the root of my skepticism is the fact that I’ve been through this all before. At the beginning of the low carb trend, I scoured Web sites for every bit of information I could find on Atkins, and heard tale after tale of the “miracle” weight loss people were experiencing. I tried it, but didn’t lose any weight. I was told to make certain minor adjustments in the sort of food I was eating, or the amount of artificial sweetener I was consuming (etc. etc.), but I still didn’t lose weight. It seems to me that if these things are really miracles, they should work for me too, right?

FWIW, I can definitely see the effects of habituation on my own diet. I’ve been having granola and soy milk for breakfast every day for months. At first it made me extremely full until lunch time. Now I’m hungry within a couple of hours. And I know for a fact that eating less-tasty foods makes me eat less. We all know that, right? So I’m definitely going to experiment more with variety and bland food.

I’m deeply skeptical of everything, but I’m also very open minded, so I’m glad this diet is working for you all. Maybe I’ll give it a few more days and see what happens. Drinking the fructose water didn’t make me feel full, but it did curb my urge to snack even though I was hungry, so I guess that’s good.

My best to you all.


Sunday, November 20, 2005 11:44:00 PM  
Blogger Masa'il said...

Thanks for adding more info, Jennifer! It's very useful to see that your skepticism is experience-based! (It had sounded like you were just popping up with skepticism. :) ) Have you already tried the doses as big as the other posters have recommended?

I wonder, in addition to Jennifer, who else still reading this blog hasn't had the sugar water or oil, or other parts of Seth's methods, work "really well" for them? Would you be comfortable posting your experience? I would really appreciate being able to hear you, and learn. I'm sure others would, too...

Getting the real range of experiences posted would definitely be the best way to really explore this thing. I can't post any failures, because it's still working, though more slowly, for me. Any failures or "less-than-spectacular successes"? And how so?

This could also help keep folks from repeating the same problems with Atkins, etc: only the successes talked about it, and then those whom it didn't succeed with felt alienated, and never gave their useful feedback.

Actually, that happens all the time, doesn't it? Folks who get good results from something (or believe in it) are always naturally so eager to talk about it. Then others who didn't get good results, etc, are less eager to share their views, or feel overwhelmed by the gung-ho guys, and their voices stay all locked up in their heads or get posted on a different site dedicated to skepticism or failure-reporting. Too polarizing! Not good--very hard to find the truth when the range of views and experiences gets all separated out...


Monday, November 21, 2005 12:43:00 PM  
Blogger SFC said...

One thing I think is worth mentioning is a general comment about Seth's work. The first published paper of his that I read was about learning through self-experimentation, with weight loss being one of the topics he learned about through his own self-experimentation. In my experience so far, the fructose-water approach IS working and working well, but I'd be the first to say that what works for "A" may not work universally for all. (Can anyone think of ANYTHING that really does work for everyone all the time?) In any case, I would suggest fully trying the sugar water and/or oil thing for a week or two (it definitely got more effective for me as time went on), but if that doesn't work, try some of the underlying self-experimentation that is really the genesis of the sugar-water/frcutose approach.

For anyone who's interested, here's a link to a page, where you can download a paper on self-experimentation that Seth wrote some years ago:


Monday, November 21, 2005 10:02:00 PM  
Blogger Leftblanc said...

Hello folks, checking in again.
I'm down to 205 lbs, having lost 21lbs since
starting the diet on 9/12. Some people have
started to comment.

I've continued to adjust my method: A tablespoon of lightly flavored olive oil first thing in the morning.
Later in the morning, a hot mug of sugar water (3 or 4 packets). An hour later, a light lunch. Then a big bottle of water with 4-5 packets of sugar. A light dinner. A mug of hot sugar water (4 packets) when I get home. I am generally not hungry and I eat reasonable dinners, no urges to snack between meals, rarely reach for dessert anymore. Oddly, the
few times I've decided to splurge, it didn't seem to matter. For example, last night I went out with friends and on the spur of the moment ordered a shrimp and garlic toast appetizer. I fully expected
to lose some ground. Instead, I lost more weight.
It's still the ski slope for me -- bouncing from 208 to 207 back to 208 then 206 for four days then out of the blue, 205, after a day with an extra meal.

I can certainly understand Jennifer's skepticism. I hardly believe it myself that this works. There were days and weeks when I thought it had stopped working. I am skeptical that it will continue to work.
I never bought into Atkins, and it seemed unhealthy to eat all that flesh; your body needs carbs.
But I'm not even sure I look forward to a lifetime of sugar water or oil between meals, even though the calories are small compared to donuts or whatever else I was stuffing in my face before. But now I am simply curious to see how much I can lose. Not long ago, I would have been delighted to have lost 21 pounds. I probably would have been happy to just keep from gaining it back. But I look at my body and it's still pretty flabby. And not only do I think my 180 pound target is within reach -- it might be too modest a goal. The one issue I see is, do I really want to buy a new set of clothes twice in the next six months to a year?

Thursday, November 24, 2005 1:20:00 AM  
Blogger Robert Fiertek said...

I haved tried the diet over the past two months with only minimal success.

Several things I am reconsidering is:

1. That I am not counting my calorie intake accurately enough as I eat out all the time

2. That I have gained muscle mass negating any weight loss (I have lost some belly in the past two months)

3. That my resumption of eating carbs and caffeine the past two months has negated any potential weight loss by adding back into the equation blood sugar spiking and corresponding fat gain

4. That I am sensitive to the sugar flavor and need to dilute the sugar more

5. That I am not following the regimen consistently or well enough and hence still eating too much food out of habit and comfort level

Reconsidering some of the factors and assumptions I am making, I have a couple of questions that maybe someone can answer.

I have wanted to turn up the amount of sugar water I consume from 90ml of sugar per day to 180ml per day. Also, While I love food, I want to skip a meal or even two if at all possible.

I have been counting my caloric intake and have tried to eat 500 calories a day less than the 2750 I should supposedly be eating (I am a 40 y.o. male, 5'-11", 218 lbs).

My concern is that if I drink the sugar water 2x per day and eat 1x to 2x per day that the intervals between calorie intake or the reduced total calorie intake will cause my body to go into starvation mode, negating any weight loss.

Has anyone tried to drink sugar water 2x to 3x per day and eating only one meal?

Is it possible to eat 1000-1500 calories a day less and not feel hungry or revert to starvation mode (hence not losing any weight)?

I notice I am often very hungry in the morning and therefore need to comsume something or else I am starving til lunch. Recently, I have tried to eat three times a day but find it hard to not overeat. I went for years without breakfast, and now am afraid my body may have gotten accustomed to starvation mode (another reason I suspect my weight loss has turned into extra muscle as my body may have used this new diet regimen as an opportunity to regain some lost muscle mass)

Any advice from the field would help as I am wondering how my two months of (admittedly) not constantly self monitored "shangi-la-ing" has so far resulted in nearly no weight loss.


Tuesday, November 29, 2005 2:06:00 AM  
Blogger SFC said...

Hi Robert,

I am by no means an expert here, but will share my limited experience on a couple of your questions.

In terms of how much sugar water and how often: it's hard to say how much is enough based on volume of water since different dilutions result in different calorie amounts. I mix 1/3 cup of fructose (260 kCal) into 32 oz of water, and always do one, and sometimes, two of those per day. That's a total of 520 kCal of water per day. The first one will last sometimes all day, sometimes, only until 1:00pm, at which point, if I'm still hungry, I mix up another one. I don't drink it all at once, but sip it as needed to quell my hunger. My basic, self-created guideline was that I'd do up to 1/4 of my day's normal calories in sugar water. (For me, I'm guessing my normal maintanance calorie level should be about 2,000 to 2,100 kCal.)

That will almost always take me to dinner time or beyond before I feel the need to eat anything else. At that point I'll have dinner, which sometimes is 600 kCal, sometimes, 1,000, and maybe once in a while a little more. On the days where I only end up consuming, say, 1,300 kCal, that would seem a little like starvation-level, but I'm continuing to lose about 1 lb a week or so.

You could also try the oil to see if that makes a difference. Maybe different people react differently to oil vs. water.


Tuesday, November 29, 2005 5:42:00 AM  
Blogger Leftblanc said...


Definitely try more sugar water. You might want to consider oil,
too. My own experience suggests that you should not go through the day hungry. You want to feel full.
I was surprised on many days when I thought I had eaten too much, but lost weight. On days when I was
hungry, I didn't lose anything.

Consider having some sugar water an hour before your meal and an hour after -- if you feel full, it's working. Anyway, this is what has worked for me.

Tuesday, November 29, 2005 5:46:00 AM  
Blogger Masa'il said...

Hi, Robert,

As far as I can tell, no one on this blog is "eating" three times a day while doing the diet. I eat twice (10:00 and 4:00), others once.

It seems fine to skip one meal, certainly, and maybe two--as others are doing--as long as you get adequate nutrition in terms of vitamins, minerals, necessary oils, protein, etc at the meal/s you DO eat. So attend to that: just try to fill the meal/s you do eat with good healthy stuff, then try sugar water or oil the rest of the day to give you adequate frequent calories and avoid the starvation mode you mentioned.


Tuesday, November 29, 2005 1:35:00 PM  
Blogger seth roberts said...

hi Robert,

I suspect you are not losing much weight because of "resumption of eating carbs". If you return to your pre-Shangri-La carb intake, you should have better luck.

If you want to make the diet more powerful, I suggest you try drinking oil.

Tuesday, November 29, 2005 7:43:00 PM  
Blogger Dixie said...

Hello Everyone!!

I've read all your comments and think I'm ready to go.

I dabbled with the sugar water yesterday and although it leaves a bad taste in my mouth...I think it's something I can live with. It really curbed my afternoon munchies.

Today I started off with a tablespoon of olive oil. It really didn't have a taste but felt kinda funky (if that makes any sense)...also something I can live with.

You are all inspiration to me...THANKS!!!

Wednesday, November 30, 2005 12:56:00 AM  
Blogger Masa'il said...

Seth, I have a question for the next time you're blogging here...

A natural concern with drinking sugar water is that the sudden onrush of pure sugar into our digestions regularly (once or more every day) might be putting ourselves at risk for developing diabetes. (Though certainly losing weight lessens that risk, right?!)

Is there anything you'd say to address that concern?


Wednesday, November 30, 2005 11:11:00 AM  
Blogger seth roberts said...

I share that concern, Annie. I think that anyone doing this diet should drink the sugar water as slowly as possible. And eventually switch to oil as your main source of Shangri-La calories.

The risk of diabetes goes up sharply with greater weight. So, yes, if you want to reduce your risk of diabetes it is a very good idea to lose weight.

I realize many people find the thought of drinking oil disgusting. I never did -- I was just apprehensive -- but I think I understand. I find the thought of eating bees (sold as food in China) . . . well, disgusting, for lack of a better word. I imagine that the gust in disgust and the gust in gustatory have the same source. But I have never eaten bees! So why do I have a strong opinion about it? It must be social learning. And surely can be unlearned. Moreover, oils such as olive oil are apparently not just safer than sugar water but positively good for you.

Wednesday, November 30, 2005 9:23:00 PM  
Blogger Robert Fiertek said...

Thanks everyone for the comments. I did change my eating pattern yesterday, trusting my body not to go into starve mode as long as I put something in every few hours. So:

9am 200 cal sugar water
12 2 pieces chicken, coleslaw (750)
3pm 100 cal sugar water
5pm 100 cal sugar water
7pm still hungry, a few crackers, ice cream bar (I know, not much of a dinner) (400 cal)

total 1550 calories and not many hunger pangs at all.

When there was some sense of hunger, I merely mixed up some more sugar water. I may try oil eventually, but it seems so much more convenient not to have to carry around oil as I work in two places and am on the road a lot around people.

I also did notice that I think there is a psychological element to my hunger feelings, I suspect subliminally I am contracting or adjusting my stomach in such a way as to bring on hunger feelings, so as to then justify eating more. Or else I begin to think about food, which leads to the hunger feelings.

Both of course would defeat the diet without me even having a fighting chance. But then I have long suspected I eat out of habit, boredom and/or loneliness.

The difference I notice is that as soon as I realize this and 'tell' my body to never mind and then think about something else, the [what I call] HABITUAL hunger pangs go away like **that**. Real hunger seems to stick around or return seconds after I tell myself to forget about it.

Another thing, I readjusted my expected calorie take-in down 300 cal per day (from 2750 to 2460), realizing I am relatively sedentary. This of course had alone wiped out any potential weight loss as I originally had sought to eat only 500 cal per day less than my body supposedly needed.

Will now try to maintain 1500 cal per day max, with no more than 400-500 of that as sugar water and some vitamins thrown in for good measure.

My body expects to get 2460 cal per day, so at a supposed rate of loss of 2 pounds per week (1000 cal/day x 7), I should hopefully begin seeing better results within a week or two.

But Seth may have cracked the nut that eating is nearly completely tied to mind-body psychology, and also in the ways I mention above as well.

Thursday, December 01, 2005 12:46:00 AM  
Blogger Leftblanc said...

Some good points in these last posts. I had hit a plateau on just the sugar water and started losing weight again when I added a tablespoon of oil in the morning. Recently I've gone back to eating a small
breakfast about an hour or more after that, then
a smaller lunch, then a normal dinner. It really amounts to two large snacks and one real meal each day,
plus oil or sugar before, between, and after. I am not
too worried about diabetes right now given that my
actual total sugar increase is much less because of
the elimination of snacking and desserts.

I hit 203 the other day, which is a 24 pound drop since mid-September.

Thursday, December 01, 2005 2:42:00 AM  
Blogger molly said...

Hey Everybody,

I've been out of town for a couple of weeks, and had a major diet flameout (gained back six pounds!) Eating out three meals a day, socializing, cocktails all conspired to do me in. I actually kept up the sugar water most days (altho only one liter instead of two) and thought I was doing pretty well -- I turned down desserts and skipped snacks, etc, but clearly I was kidding myself. Ever notice that vacation dollars and vacation calories both seem to have lower value in the moment?

So, I'm back -- chastened, sadder but wiser.

A couple of thoughts. I used to be an oil-only person. After several weeks on the diet, I switched to sugar water and became a believer in that. Today, I went back to Enova oil as an experiment, and it's working really well. I have zero appetite. I suspect that alternating between the two has a salutory effect. I'm going to experiment with this. Sounds like Leftblanc is having good luck using both in a given day. I'm wondering about alternating daily, weekly, monthly?

Annie, diabetes-wise, wouldn't fructose avoid the problem too? I notice that there aren't many fructose-users blogging here. I know some people had a problem with diarrhea.

Robert, a couple of things I noticed on your schedule... are you stretching out your sugar water ingestion over an hour or two? I dissolve 10 sugar cubes in one liter of water (150 calories) and then I sip it all morning. Sometimes I heat it up and drink it like tea. Then I wait an hour after my last sip and have a very small late lunch (fruit, yogurt, etc) Then I start the same sugar water mixture again an hour after that. Around 4 pm I get a little hungry, so I eat some carrots or a handful of nuts, just to take the edge off. That usually holds me until dinner, which can be as much as 800 calories. Psychologically, I think it might be better to have your big meal at dinner rather than lunch. I know the regular diet gospel says it's better to eat a big lunch, but I've found that a lot of the old rules no longer apply with this diet. You mention not wanting to go into "starvation mode." Again, I think that "rule" might not apply anymore. You might want to think of the set point in a different way than you're used to.

I agree with Seth that the oil-aversion is cultural or psychological. It can't really be the taste because it's virtually tasteless. So it must be the texture? I think cough medicine is much more unpleasant. Same texture, yucky taste. Maybe pour a bit in a snifter and pretend it's fine cognac! Maybe it's a matter of motivation -- I'd gladly eat bees if I thought it would help me lose weight!

Off to the treadmill. Let's hope that six pounds comes off as quickly as it went on!

Thursday, December 01, 2005 7:13:00 AM  
Blogger Robert Fiertek said...

Hi Molly,

I do tend to drink the mixture all at once rather than sipping throughout a time period. I have done this both because I want to treat the water as equivalent to a meal for the body and partly because I am afraid my body might fall into starve mode if it is only fed very little at a time.

I may change my habit after this week though. It does sound like many people on this board do drink the sugar water gradually and that this is not a bad thing at all, maybe even better than drinking it all at once.

I do have another question, I have heard conflicting reports where someone has said the amount of water in the sugar mix does not matter, others say it does. Maybe someone already posted on this, but is there a consensus so far if seems to matter or not?

Thursday, December 01, 2005 8:01:00 AM  
Blogger anonymous said...

I can't believe the sugar water effect is anything more than placebo plus the sugar water filling people up. Everyone must have taste associations to sugar.
I thought the whole idea of the diet was to drink something like fructose, which has no taste associations.

I'll bet many of those not losing are using regular sugar.

Thursday, December 01, 2005 9:11:00 AM  
Blogger Masa'il said...


I used regular sugar all along, until recently I experimented with fructose. My biggest weight loss--the 1/2-pound to one-pound-a-day losses--in the early weeks happened while I was drinking purely "normal" sugar. I suspect that rapid loss was mostly due to early phase issues: a few pounds of water weight plus much weight that, in Seth's terms, was way over my set point and hence came off easily once I "let" it, using his methods, including dietary change.

However, it also seems to show that I clearly had no problem losing weight while using "normal" sugar. I'm going to switch to oil now, to see how that works.


Thursday, December 01, 2005 3:11:00 PM  
Blogger Dixie said...

Howdy Folks!!

Just a quick update. I tried the sugar water on Monday and Tuesday. It worked great but I found I was feeling very lethargic in the evenings when I got home from work. This happened both days and from what I'm reading now, It may quite possible be from drinking the water quickly.

Wednesday and today I've been solely on the oil. It's a little icky but the feeling goes away quickly and like someone else said...I'd eat bees if I thought it would really work :-). The oil is working very well for me and I didn't have the whole too tired to move feeling in the late afternoons.

I haven't been on the scale since I started on Monday and will more than likely wait until Tuesday before weighing again. I'm going to try and only weigh once a week so I don't get so scale dependent for my feeling of success.

Thank you all for posting...I learn so much here. I can't find a blog anywhere else that talks about this diet. :-)

Friday, December 02, 2005 5:38:00 AM  
Blogger molly said...

Two pounds of vacation weight fell off overnight. So I'm feeling a little better.

Robert, what do you mean when you say "starvation mode?" Are you afraid that your body will starting hoarding fat because you're not eating every hour or so? Maybe Seth can speak to this point, but my understanding (and experience)is that isn't an issue. The tasteless sugar water and/or oil is sending a message to your caveman brain: FOOD IS SCARCE. Your caveman brain then sends a message to your stomach: DON'T BE HUNGRY (because food is scarce). So your appetite quiets, you eat less, and you lose weight. As long as you take in 1200 or so calories a day, you should be fine. And I highly recommend you sip the water. Not only does it keep your appetite at bay for the hour or so it takes to drink your liter of water, but you've got to avoid eating for the hour after your last sip, so you've got built in discipline.

Anonymous! Welcome back. Haven't heard from you in a while. Still as skeptical as ever I see. Always good to have a doubter around to keep us honest. In all fairness though, have you tried the diet? I'd like to hear your experiences with it, especially if you are more or less "immune" to the placebo affect because of your skepticism. I've wondered too about the placebo affect. Do you hypothesize that eventually the PA will wear off? Is there a threshold (either weight or time) at which you would be convinced of the diet's efficacy?

My experience is: this diet isn't a magic bullet, but it is a very useful tool for controlling eating while trying to lose weight. And I'm very grateful for that.

Best of luck everyone!

Friday, December 02, 2005 10:52:00 AM  
Blogger Masa'il said...

Ditto Molly's comments about the efficacy of the diet as a tool. Thanks for the tool, Seth! It's not magic, but definitely irreplaceable so far: nothing has helped me as much as your methods.

I'd also like to thank everyone for posting here! It has been a huge help to me too to be able to hear everyone's experiences and join in the conversation. And very satisfying as well!

It'll be interesting to hear how long it takes your weight to fall off again, Molly. All my Singapore weight was gone in a few days--but it was only two pounds or so.

The last week or so I wasn't rigorously doing the diet due to the irregularities of life. My weight was hovering at its lowish 177-178, but not making progress. Yesterday I got solidly back on track, starting oil, and now I'm down to 176, which is the lowest point I've hit before. I'm going to keep going on the oil for a while and see if I can break through to lower 170s or even the 160s.

I'm using a bizarre method: liquid flax seed oil (I've taken that for years) is hard to find and bloody expensive here in Malaysia, so pre-diet I was already taking capsules I brought back from the States, along with fish oil caps. (Caps are easier to transport, and more heat-stable--important in my climate! )

On the diet now, I thoroughly chew my generous dose (taking extra for my nursing baby's benefit) of 3g flax oil plus 3g fish oil gel caps. Then I round this off with sipping a few teaspoons of ELOO until I get that ugh-I'm-full feeling. I repeat this, with only 2g of each healthy oil and then the ELOO, if necessary later. So I'm getting a total blend of ELOO, flax seed oil, fish oil, and a good bit of gelatin, mmm. :) Chewing the gel caps gets in some chewing, which seems useful: rather like "chewing the fat". Very primordial! Anyway, this worked fine yesterday.

Chomping so many flax and fish caps is not very economical. But due to shipping times, the nutritional fragility of those oils when bottled, and our tropical temps, it's really hard to get quality more-economical liquid flax or fish oils here, though I'm working on it.

I need to take some of those oils anyway, and I eat very low-fat, so clearly using the oil method, including these oils whether in caps or sipped, is nutritionally superior to the sugar. (Though I'm sure that sugar is NOT harmful, even in sugar-water or "rock sugar" form, if used ocassionally.) But does it work as well? I'll see.

Regarding alternatives to ELOO...

Our local grocery store has just started carrying high-quality organic extra-virgin olive oil: Seth, any idea whether extra-virgin is too flavorful?

I'm also going to research high-quality coconut oil's nutritional benefits. If it looks good, I'll experiment with it instead of ELOO. It's local to this climate, unlike the three oils I'm currently taking.

That's it for me, until my needle moves significantly one way or the other!


Friday, December 02, 2005 12:10:00 PM  
Blogger seth roberts said...

After reading this

I too am wondering if extra-virgin olive oil has too much flavor. I haven't tried it, nor has anyone else I know. I've tasted extra-virgin olive oils at Williams-Sonoma many times. They haven't yet started tasting good the way bread or wine tastes good. I may try it.

Friday, December 02, 2005 8:53:00 PM  
Blogger Robert Fiertek said...

Molly, by 'starvation mode' I meant the mode the body goes into when one eats seldom, once a day for instance. I used to eat one big meal a day at lunch and never really lost weight (I wasn't consciously trying to lose weight, though I was overweight) despite probably taking in less than 2/3 of the calories I should be eating. My understanding from others is that one way to lose weight is to eat a little at a time intermittently rather than a lot once a day- commonly people will say to eat five times a day for instance. Often when talking about starvation mode, I have heard that the body can take in as little as 1200 calories a day (even though it needs 2500+) and still not lose weight. I do not know if there is a scientific definition of "starvation mode", but this is my anecdotal take on the term.

Saturday, December 03, 2005 3:25:00 AM  
Blogger AGNOSTIC said...

I would be curious to hear from anybody who lost more than 5-6 pounds.
I lost 5 pounds in 3 weeks and then it stops. I haven't lost any weight for a month now. I've been doing the oil version digilently for 7 weeks now.

Here is my theory: Maybe you can't trick you set point for more than 2-3 weeks? Then your body metabolism adjusts?
That wouldn't be far fetch since Seth has also this theory that a new flavor remains new for a couple of weeks. Maybe the olive oil taste is becoming part of the known flavor after 2-3 weeks?

Anyway that's just a theory...

Saturday, December 03, 2005 3:38:00 AM  
Blogger SFC said...

I started at 183.5 on 9/27, and as of this morning (12/02)am at 170lbs. I did fructose water up until this week, and just started trying oil instead this week, just to see how that worked. I've definitely continued losing over all 9 weeks. I've been very good about making sure I don't eat or drink flavorful things w/i an hour of doing the water or oil.

Saturday, December 03, 2005 8:30:00 AM  
Blogger Masa'il said...

I started my coconut oil research and bumped into found some fascinating claims about the health of various oils. I'm still researching--so don't panic. I'll report back on the ultimate results I find: meanwhile, if anyone knows anything about this matter, could you please post?

The stuff I'm reading now is from 1996 (quite old) by Raymond Peat, at . I've no clue whether the guy is a quack or not: still researching.

The basic claims of this guy's work is that the seed oils--canola, soy, corn, sesame (! surprised about that one), and even flax (!) are toxic due to their very unsaturated nature. He argues that unsaturated fats are toxic in our bodies. Olive oil passes his test however, due to protective molecules it has, as does coconut with a big thumbs-up, as well as safely-produced butter and some safely-produced animal fats. If this is true, I'm going to be rather pissed about eating so much flax oil and feeding it to my kids... Will keep researching and post back. Below are some excerpts:

Q: You say vegetable oils are hazardous to your health. What vegetable oils are you talking about?

Mainly, I'm referring to soybean oil, corn oil, safflower oil, canola, sesame oil, sunflower seed oil, palm oil, and any others that are labeled as "unsaturated" or "polyunsaturated." Almond oil, which is used in many cosmetics, is very unsaturated. Chemically, the material that makes these oils very toxic is the polyunsaturated fat itself. These unsaturated oils are found in very high concentrations in many seeds, and in the fats of animals that have eaten a diet containing them. The fresh oils, whether cold pressed or consumed as part of the living plant material, are intrinsically toxic, and it is not any special industrial treatment that makes them toxic.

Q. What oils are safe?

Coconut and olive oil are the only vegetable oils that are really safe, but butter and lamb fat, which are highly saturated, are generally very safe (except when the animals have been poisoned). Coconut oil is unique in its ability to prevent weight-gain or cure obesity, by stimulating metabolism. It is quickly metabolized, and functions in some ways as an antioxidant. Olive oil, though it is somewhat fattening, is less fattening than corn or soy oil, and contains an antioxidant which makes it protective against heart disease and cancer....

Q: Isn't coconut oil fattening?

Coconut oil is the least fattening of all the oils. Pig farmers tried to use it to fatten their animals, but when it was added to the animal feed, coconut oil made the pigs lean [See Encycl. Brit. Book of the Year, 1946].

Again, anyone know anything about this guy's work or his claims?


Saturday, December 03, 2005 4:53:00 PM  
Blogger Masa'il said...

Sorry, looks like the web address got cut off. It is

Saturday, December 03, 2005 4:54:00 PM  
Blogger Masa'il said...

Did it again: should end with "saturatedfat.html"

Saturday, December 03, 2005 4:55:00 PM  
Blogger seth roberts said...

web addresses that seem to be cut off can be read if you make the type smaller (Cntrl-"-" in Foxfire). If only Foxfire had a keyboard shortcut for clarifying complex issues, like the effects of different fats.

Saturday, December 03, 2005 9:17:00 PM  
Blogger molly said...


I lost 12 pounds, then went on vacation for 2 weeks and (stupidly)gained back 6, of which I have now re-lost 3 (in 4 days). And Leftblanc has lost over 20 I think.

I suggest you try going off the oil for a while and switch to sugar water. Or fructose water. See if your results improve. I'm becoming convinced that alternating between oil and sugar water gives the best results.

Sunday, December 04, 2005 6:34:00 AM  
Blogger Rena said...

Hi all! Been reading all the input and after figuring out how to become a blogger (so i can leave my comment), thought I would share my experience as well.

A bit of history: I am 39 years old and have managed to maintain my weight of 115-118 for the past 18 years (even after two 55 lb pregnancies). I watch my weight, I often starve myself, I work out, I have issues with weight. Age ( I suppose ) finally kicked in and I have gained ten pounds in the past six months. None of my older techniques of losing the weight has worked, then I heard about the shangri la thing and decided to try it.

My experience: I have been on the diet 18 days now. Started at 128 and trying to get back at 118. The first week was inspiring! I used only canola oil; 1 Tbs in the afternoon and one in the evening. Lost three pounds right away. On the 8th day I felt ill (unrelated to the diet) and could not continue, I ate normally on that day, maybe I slightly over day after getting back on the scale I had gained all 3 lbs back. !!!! Started right away back on the diet but used fructose with water instead (couldn't stomach the oil), I did that for a few days and found that I preferred the oil. In the past ten days I have only lost two pounds. But...I am not disappointed...I found after using the oil that I have much more energy all through out the day than I did before. Also found that when I do decide to eat, I chose things that are good for me. No more junk food. I also found that this method has helped me control my appetite and I no longer have cravings. Anyway, all of your postings have helped me out, I hope this can help. I will keep you all updated

Monday, December 05, 2005 9:49:00 PM  
Blogger molly said...

Seth's site is up and running and is a great clearinghouse for information about the diet. Highly recommended, especially for those of you just starting the diet. There's a link to this blog, which means we may start getting more posts soon!

Annie, is there a way to archive the posts we've gotten so far and start a new area? This one's kind of full... Maybe organize them by month? Or you could wait until the end of 2005 and start a new one then. Just a thought.

I'm wondering how the holidays are going to impact our diets. Any thoughts, strategies? How did everyone do on Thanksgiving?

Tuesday, December 06, 2005 3:32:00 AM  
Blogger Emily said...

I made it through Thanksgiving with no trouble. I tried to be good, but I did eat pie (apple and pumpkin). We were away from home too, so I ate out a lot on the days surrounding Thanksgiving. The result was 0 lbs gained, 0 lbs lost. Since I was traveling, I wasn't taking any oil or sugar water for about a week around Thanksgiving.

I've been having health problems (not related to this diet experimenting in any way), so I will probably have to start this diet fresh when I'm feeling better.

I gave oil another try. I had a bad experience with canola that I posted somewhere back in this area. This time I tried extra virgin olive oil: I still experienced some sort of nasty taste, I can't call it a flavor. The only way I can describe it is that it tastes exactly the way the oil smells, and all of the oils I have (corn, peanut, canola, and extra virgin olive oil) have this smell to varying degrees. I don't think my oils are bad. In fact, I opened a brand new bottle of EVOO to test this theory, and the smell is similar. The new bottle of EVOO has some fruitier smells that the old bottle doesn't, but they are different brands. Out of all of my oils, corn oil is the one with the least of this bad smell. I haven't tried taking it for a calorie supplement because I'm not sure how good it is for me. Anyway... I think I can live with it, I just have to hold my nose and get it down fast or something.

I think when I'm feeling better I will try a combination of oil in the morning and sugar water throughout the day. Someone somewhere else (CalorieLab?) mentioned that they thought the oil was improving their skin, and I can use all the help I can get on that front. My skin is super dry.

Right now, I do the diet when I'm feeling ok, and I do seem to lose weight. When I'm off the diet, I don't seem to gain, so the health issues are slowing my progress, but not destroying it.

The best thing about trying this strategy (tool) is that it seems to lower the hunger enough that I am able to make good decisions about how much I need to eat to keep my body going. I'm even doing better at curbing the emotional/comfort eating.

Thursday, December 08, 2005 11:07:00 PM  
Blogger SFC said...

Emily, Keep in mind that Seth recommends extra LIGHT FLAVOR olive oil, NOT extra VIRGIN olive oil. The ELFOO has much less taste, which, of course, the whole idea.

Thursday, December 08, 2005 11:51:00 PM  
Blogger Emily said...

Yeah, I know that ELOO was recommended. EVOO is all I had around, aside from the super-nasty Canola.

I tried the nose-holding approach yesterday, and it helped a lot! Maybe I'll try going back to Canola.

With the oil in the morning, I still get hungry for lunch, but if I ignore the hunger pangs, they go away. With sugar water, I never get hungry at all. I probably need more than 1Tbs of oil in the morning.

Friday, December 09, 2005 10:35:00 PM  
Blogger Leftblanc said...

Hi folks,

I hit another plateau for a while, drifted from 204 to
205 for more than a week, using just sugar water. I didn't gain, but I didn't lose. Then I added oil back into the diet and this week have dropped two pounds rather effortlessly. I'm now at 202 lbs, down from 226.5 in September. Typical regime: oil in the morning, no breakfast, sugar water, piece of fruit and something else for lunch, sugar water, sugar water, as much dinner as I want (but healthy) even perhaps with dessert, sugar water, bed.
Good luck.

Friday, December 09, 2005 10:52:00 PM  
Blogger Masa'il said...

I'm down to 174 for the second straight day today, from being stuck at 176/177 for about 2 weeks. (I started at 192 in September: 18 pounds lost now, woo-hoo!)

The difference is I too had switched back to oil. And not just any oil--GHEE! (That's clarified BUTTER! Pure butter oil!) I've only been using the ghee for about four days now: I'll see how long it keeps working.

I switched to ghee (plus still some fish oil caps occasionally) after reading a bunch of very- challenging-to-the-orthodoxy,-but-persuasive research that indicates the saturated fats are actually far better for us than the unsaturateds, with the exception of e.v. olive oil. I have suspended all intake of unsaturated oils (yes, the supposedly "healthy" ones) except extra virgin olive oil, and gone back to the more-naturally-occuring-in-the-human-diet saturated oils. So goodbye flax, canola, corn, soy, "healthy" margarine, etc: hello, butter and coconut oil--at least until I find truly good evidence countering the health of these particular saturated oils.

Coconut oil seems by far the best, with a built-in fat-burning property among its many health benefits, and fortunately I live in a coconut-rich zone of the planet. My Malaysian grandmother-in-law even knows how to make coconut oil at home from squeezed coconut milk. However, I haven't yet had time to go to the market to buy the coconut and make the coconut oil with her yet. So I bought butter: the next best. I would have just used straight butter for my oil, but as it was salted, I processed it into ghee (just light heating and straining does it) to take out the salt, plus some misc milk solids.

Now it's a pure lovely nearly-unflavored oil. If it continues to work past the two-week threshhold, I think it's a great choice for those having problems with oil. Ghee is easily made at home from butter (the best choice) or can be purchased at Indian shops.

Still waiting for a chance to clean up this blog: promise to do it soon!


Saturday, December 10, 2005 4:45:00 PM  
Blogger Masa'il said...

About reorganizing this blog...

Due to the unusal way we're using the blog (operating mostly within the comments rather than the actual blog pages), it's looking very difficult to archive comments. There are settings for archiving the main posts, but not archiving comments. When I copy the comments to paste them in to a new "archive" post, they lose all their formatting--not good!

So what seems most sensible for now is to continue posting here through December. January 1 I'll rename this area "Sept-Dec 2005 archive" and create a new area titled "January postings". Feb 1 that area will be "January 2006 archive" and there will be a new space: "February postings". This seems the best way to manage all our comments, given the way we are posting vs how Blogger is designed.

So just hang on in here until January, OK? :)


Thursday, December 15, 2005 1:32:00 PM  
Blogger molly said...

Sounds great. Thanks again for handling all this Annie.

Pretty quiet around here lately. Perhaps people are busy with the holidays, or like me, struggling to manage the diet program in the face of Christmas cookies and eggnog and buffets and cocktail parties and office parties and aaaaagggghhhh! I successfully lost almost all the weight I gained over Thanksgiving, and then WHAM! The REAL eating season arrived. I've decided to cut myself a bit of a break and not try to actually lose weight between now and Jan. 1 -- my goal is to maintain the weight I am right now. Which means 1800 - 2000 calories per day, as opposed to 1000 - 1200. So far I've been able to manage that and still enjoy myself and not feel too deprived. A couple of times I've skipped the second oil dose in the afternoon and still not felt overly hungry.

Saturday, December 17, 2005 6:07:00 AM  
Blogger Leftblanc said...

Hi folks -- busy with holiday stuff but still on the program. Down to 201 lbs. One tbsp of oil
in the morning, a piece of fruit and something
else light for lunch, second and last meal
is a real one, whatever I feel like eating. If I
find I'm hungry I'll have a snack...just not
around any sugar water. Sugar water several
times a day. Probably losing a pound a week.
This despite the onslaught of xmas treats around
the office, which I sample but no longer stuff into
my face.

Sunday, December 18, 2005 6:31:00 AM  

Post a Comment

<< Home