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  1. #1
    Senior Member mpearson76's Avatar
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    Looking to lose weight? This is what you have been waiting for: The Shangri-la Diet

    Hi all, I am a relatively new member to the forums, started riding in the last few weeks on a bike my wife got me for Christmas. I had been commuting by bike for the last 2 1/2 years (10 min. ride--pretty short), but I finally dedicated myself to cycling when several running injuries pretty much ended my efforts in that area. Long story short; I had gained weight in the last 2 years as a result of starting grad school, being injured, an pretty much letting my health go by the wayside. I was looking to lose some weight to be able to start training in earnest without putting too much stress on my body, so I tried losing weight before I was able to train while still injured. Anyway, I stumbled upon a weight loss technique that has been great for me and I wanted to share my success with you all, and hopefully inspire some of you to try the method as well.

    Economist Steven Levitt and NY Times writer Steve Dubner, following the success of their recent book Freakonomics, began writing a regular column in the Times. In one of those columns last fall, they featured the work of UC Berkeley psychologist Seth Roberts, known for publishing the results of his self-experimentation. The results of one of those experiments permanently resolved his weight problem. It would take a long time to explain the method, so I will refer you to articles, but it works by exploiting the body's set point, used to regulate body weight and food intake, evolved during a time in human history when food was not always plentiful. Basically, when the body senses that food is plentiful, it increases the set point and cravings so that you will eat more and put on weight in order to get you through the next time of scarcity (famine, winter, etc.). When food is scarce, it decreases cravings so that you can use up your fat reserves without being hungry all the time. Roberts discovered that this system is triggered by the body's correlation of flavor and calories. And the best part is, it can be tricked into thinking that food is scarce by consuming calories without flavor in the form of extra light olive oil or sugar water (I am skipping over a lot of the interesting "why" part, forgive me, but feel free to ask if you are interested). I have followed a regimen of having a glass of sugar water or spoonful of oil two to three times a day in between meals, and the results are pretty amazing. My cravings for food between meals almost completely went away and I found it quite easy to eat as little as I wanted to without my body fighting back to get me to eat. I have easily (meaning, NO effort, no exercise until I started cycling again in the last couple of weeks) lost 16 pounds over the last 3 months, and I expect that loss to accelerate as I increase my mileage over the next few weeks. I am down to 206 from 222, and I still need to lose about 20 more, but I am really encouraged that this will be easy to take off, and even easier to keep off as I continue to use the sugar water between meals to keep my monster appetite at bay. I know this sounds silly, but this is published science, and soon to be a book called "The Shangri-La Diet" coming out in April. Either this will be the best diet you never heard of (because there is not a lot on money to be made off of merchandizing), or it will be the next diet craze (because it works). Either way, it is amazingly effective. Before the book arrives there is not a lot of systematic info available on this, but it is pretty simple once you get the hang of it. For now, I recommend you read the blog posts here:

    http://www.freakonomics.com/blog/ind...&submit=Search

    That link will provide all of the references to Seth, and if you have a NYT subscription, you can see Dubner and Levitt's original article there as well. This is perfectly safe--just using natural foods without flavor (sweet is a weak flavor as far as this system is concerned) to control your food cravings naturally. There was some controversy as to whether it was safe to use fructose, but table sugar works fine, so no need to go there. Please let me know if this has worked for anyone else, and good luck!

  2. #2
    Fattest Thin Man Az B's Avatar
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    I did exactly the same thing (220-205 lbs in 3-4 months) simply by riding my bike more.

    Oh yeah, and eating more.

    I'm 182 now and I eat like a horse.

    Fad diets are like the lure of the siren... just get out on your bike and nature will take it's course. I' can't imagine riding very far on a couple spoonfuls of olive oil and some sugar water.

    Az

  3. #3
    Senior Member mpearson76's Avatar
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    Uh, well... I'm sure the criticism was well-intentioned, but I am just sharing something that worked for me, and something I think is the furthest thing from a fad diet (published in a top academic journal by a reputable psychologist; no commercialization). Also, perhaps I didn't make this clear, but I don't try to ride on sugar water--this is not starvation, it simply made it much easier for me to cut back on my caloric intake without fighting cravings. If that doesn't sound natural enough for you, feel free to use your willpower--I am glad that works for you. I liked the extra help it gave me though, and I am happy to tell others about my success. I eat three healthy meals and a snack a day, get plenty of food, but I am finding it much easier to control the urge to over eat. I am very encouraged about that, because I have unsuccessfully fought those cravings my entire life, and if this method helps others, I am glad to have shared it with you.

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    Quote Originally Posted by mpearson76
    snip
    ...discovered that this system is triggered by the body's correlation of flavor and calories. And the best part is, it can be tricked into thinking that food is scarce by consuming calories without flavor in the form of extra light olive oil or sugar water (I am skipping over a lot of the interesting "why" part, forgive me, but feel free to ask if you are interested)...snip
    This is interesting. I would characterize the food at the college I attended as "calories without flavor" and that would explain why I didn't gain any weight there. Since that time I usually try to eat tasty meals and I have gained weight. So if I start again eating at bad restaurants, I should lose the desire to eat more and therefore lose weight.

    A serious question: when you change your set point by consuming the oil and sugar, does your body increase the amount of energy you burn or are you just less hungry?

  5. #5
    Senior Member mpearson76's Avatar
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    It seems like it certainly should not increase the energy you burn. If anything it should decrease it, if in fact your body thinks that food is more scarce and is trying to conserve energy. However, this is a point that is debated by people like me who are trying the diet without much official word from Prof. Roberts. I hope to have more clarity when the book comes out. If your metabolism slows down, however, it is more than compensated for by the set point reduction and corresponding decrease in appetite.

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    According to Amazon.com, the book is due out April 25. Should be an interesting book.

    You mentioned you had success with this, exactly what did you do? How long did it take for your set point to be re-set? Was it an immediate loss of cravings/hunger or did it take a few days?

  7. #7
    Designated Drinker Wulfheir's Avatar
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    did your total daily caloric intake increase, decrease, or stay the same?
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  8. #8
    Senior Member mpearson76's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by dazed&confused
    You mentioned you had success with this, exactly what did you do? How long did it take for your set point to be re-set? Was it an immediate loss of cravings/hunger or did it take a few days?
    The set point is something I cannot observe, I only observe my cravings. I notice that I crave less food immediately. So, for instance, I drink a glass of 3 Tbsp sugar dissolved into a glass of water an hour before lunch, and an hour after I have eaten breakfast. At lunchtime I notice that I become full on much less food than before, and I do not crave heavy, starchy, comfort food type food, but rather flavorful, crunchy, fresh food and lean meats. It is a subtle difference, but if you pay attention to what your body is wanting, you will find that you simply cannot eat as much as you could before. So generally I will eat 2-3T sugar dissolved in water 2-3 times a day. I used more sugar at the beginning than I do now, and sometimes I don't eat any, say on a weekend when I know I want to be able to eat more because I am going on a long ride or to a nice restaurant, or feel like taking a day off. I do not use the oil very often because it is disgusting, but some people don't mind it. I typically try to take about 250 calories in the form of sugar water or oil over the course of the day, and the net caloric intake is reduced (to answer your question, Wulfheir), meaning that the extra sugar calories reduce your appetite so that you consume more than 250 calories less in meals. Make sense? If anyone is interested in trying it, you should be able to tell how it is going to affect you within 2 days. Just make sure that you take the sugar water at least an hour since you last ate, and an hour before you will eat again, so that the calories are not associated by your body with the other food. You can fudge this a little as you become accustomed to how this affects you, but follow the rules rigidly at first. So maybe try 3T sugar an hour before lunch, again before dinner, and then maybe again before breakfast or after dinner, depending on when you think you need it, or experiment with both.

  9. #9
    Senior Member Albany-12303's Avatar
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    Congrats!

    Since our body chemistry is essentially the same as our hunter-gatherer fore-fathers. this diet makes sense. I would'nt be suprised if it works.

    Self-experimentation is not the best avenue to predict success. If the book sells well, maybe Seth will pony up the $$ for a controlled clinical study.
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  10. #10
    Senior Member Jarery's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Albany-12303
    Since our body chemistry is essentially the same as our hunter-gatherer fore-fathers. .
    With all the recent postings of people supporting the diets based on early mans hunter/gathere diet It got me wondering.
    Current thinking on what early man ate is changing, will these diets change with it? Or will the diet remain the same and the 'evidence' used to support it change ?

    Previously it was thought that early man was a great hunter and ate a lot of meat. Recent research is changing to the belief that early man ate very little meat since hunting was not actually that successfull. Fruits, roots, nuts etc that the females gathered making up the bulk of the diet. Insects and grubs making up to 20%. And most meat was carrion scavanged from others animals kills.

    What is the current early man thinking on % of carb/fat/protein?
    Jarery

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  11. #11
    Designated Drinker Wulfheir's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Jarery
    Current thinking on what early man ate is changing, will these diets change with it?
    No. People use blanket statements all the time to defend themselves without putting any effort forward.
    Quote Originally Posted by Jarery
    Or will the diet remain the same and the 'evidence' used to support it change ?
    Bingo!
    Quote Originally Posted by Jarery
    What is the current early man thinking on % of carb/fat/protein?
    I would like to hear the answer to this.
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  12. #12
    Senior Member mpearson76's Avatar
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    I don't think my OP has anything to do with the content of the diet, and frankly, I think that is less important than a lot make it out to be (see the recent study on low-fat diets that made headlines last week). The essence if this is to trick the mechanism your body uses to regulate craving and food intake. I think the content of the diet is still for you to decide, and this method does not depend at all of what you eat. Sorry I can't answer the paleolithic diet question though, I have no idea.

  13. #13
    Senior Member socalrider's Avatar
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    Is there a particular brand of virgin olive oil that you use?

  14. #14
    Senior Member mpearson76's Avatar
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    I would use Extra Light Olive oil, not extra virgin, because the former is flavorless, and the latter is not. But I think Canola or another type of flavorless oil will do the trick. Brand is unimportant because you are not concerned with taste or cooking properties. I suppose if you had some money it would work to use fish or flaxseed oil tablets because you would get the health benefits of Omega 3 as well.

  15. #15
    Senior Member cyclezealot's Avatar
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    As posted before. How about a bike fat farm. I would like to loose 20 pounds. Having a a bad time of it for now; since far away from my bikes for another two weeks or so. We all need vacations. Only 20 lbs. But, why not a bike vacation.Put a lock on the refrigerator and lets hire Oprah's dietician.

  16. #16
    Senior Member Albany-12303's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Jarery
    With all the recent postings of people supporting the diets based on early mans hunter/gathere diet It got me wondering.
    Current thinking on what early man ate is changing, will these diets change with it? Or will the diet remain the same and the 'evidence' used to support it change ?.


    But this diet seems do have nothing to do with what our ancestors ate. The thinking on what early man ate is changing but we can safely say that our physiology is similar and has the same buit in feast/famine safeguards. The reasoning behind the diet intirigues me.

    But being a science geek, I would not buy the book until I see the results of a relevant clinical study in a peer reviewed jounal supporting this hypothesis - or at least 10 or more Testimonials from BF members
    Last edited by Albany-12303; 02-14-06 at 01:56 PM.
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  17. #17
    Immoderator KrisPistofferson's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by cyclezealot
    lets hire Oprah's dietician.
    I'd rather we hire someone who's a success in their field.
    Quote Originally Posted by Bikeforums
    Your rights end where another poster's feelings begin.

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    Senior Member Jarery's Avatar
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    My questions regarding the paleo hunter gatherer diets should have been put in a different thread. They wernt really meant for the OP based on his post, but on some of the replies mentioning early man.

    As to the OP and the sugar water brain fooling, interesting concept, and if it works, go for it

    Im all for anything that helps people succeed in meeting weight loss goals. Once there, people can re-evaluate a healthy eating lifestyle to maintain a healthy weight.
    Jarery

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    Senior Member borderline's Avatar
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    You mention that the reason the diet works is because cravings are diminished and when you do eat you have less desire to eat a lot... I was wondering if I drink a glass of sugar water around 11:00 am will that diminish my hunger for lunch? Since I usually bring lunch, I dont have the problem of overeating (limited supply), but I find usually around 11am I get very hungry and can hardly work because I am thinking about lunch... same around 4pm... there is no temptation, I just can concentrate when im hungry...

  20. #20
    Senior Member mpearson76's Avatar
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    Absolutely. I have the same problem. If you are up at least 45 min. before breakfast, try a (perhaps warm) glass of sugar water before breakfast. You will find that the breakfast stays with you longer. I usually also have a glass around 11. The days I do that I could easily skip lunch if I wanted to (I don't). I then usually have a snack around 3:30 and more sugar water around 5 before dinner at 6 or 7.
    DFL>DNF

  21. #21
    Used to be a climber.. GuitarWizard's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by borderline
    You mention that the reason the diet works is because cravings are diminished and when you do eat you have less desire to eat a lot... I was wondering if I drink a glass of sugar water around 11:00 am will that diminish my hunger for lunch? Since I usually bring lunch, I dont have the problem of overeating (limited supply), but I find usually around 11am I get very hungry and can hardly work because I am thinking about lunch... same around 4pm... there is no temptation, I just can concentrate when im hungry...
    Eat 5 smaller meals a day. Problem solved. No sugar water/fad diets necessary.
    1999 Trek 2500 - hit by a car on it in May, 2011 and currently bikeless

  22. #22
    Senior Member mpearson76's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by GuitarWizard
    Eat 5 smaller meals a day. Problem solved. No sugar water/fad diets necessary.
    Glad that worked for you. Would have been nice if it had worked for me as well. I don't understand the antagonism though. People who have done it the "hard way" seem to disparage those of us who think they have found something better/easier. But what's the harm in seeing whether this works better? Different people respond to different methods differently, and I have enough experience with myself and others I know to have confidence that it does work quite well for at least some.

    It is not difficult, dangerous, does not have the potential to backfire and cause weight gain (simply stop if it does not work for you) and I am not trying to sell anybody anything, all of which are reasons to avoid fad diets. You may be skeptical as to whether it works, but you can find out whether it works for you with a simple experiment that is nearly costless. Perhaps a clinical trial is needed to figure out its effectiveness on the general population, but a self-experiment is a mere glass of water and spoonful of sugar away. In fact, I reckon it is easier than a reply to this post!
    DFL>DNF

  23. #23
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    Yeah, it's funny how some people are against trying something different (that is perfectly harmless). I'm not looking to lose much weight (if I lost more than 5-10 lbs or I would be too skinny). I just want a way to curb hunger desires. I don't mind trying an experiment to see if it works. Although after 1 day I did not notice any difference in my cravings... I will give it a week though and let you know what I think.

  24. #24
    Used to be a climber.. GuitarWizard's Avatar
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    It's not that I'm against trying something different.....it's that eating 5 (and sometimes even 6) smaller meals a day is actually better for you, and water makes for an effective "filler" as well as keeps you well-hydrated. No need to add sugar. The biggest problem people have is lack of willpower, and being too accustomed to stuffing themselves silly during meals to get that "full feeling". But....if ya wanna stuff yourself, it becomes simple....ride 100+ miles a week, and you won't have to worry too much about overeating .

    If you think I was harsh in this thread, you should've seen the thread I posted up on another site about those idiotic low carb/no carb diets.....
    1999 Trek 2500 - hit by a car on it in May, 2011 and currently bikeless

  25. #25
    Senior Member DesFlurane's Avatar
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    Is that 3 tablespoons of sugar? Also in what size glass?
    Sounds like a great deal of refined sugar everyday.

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