The Extra-Fat Experiment

Tasty.

Tasty.

I like fat. A lot. I typically go through a pound of aged cheddar a week. I just ate a homemade, grass-fed bacon cheeseburger. I like fat. A Lot.

I like carbs. I typically drink a liter of chocolate milk from Jersey cows after my workout. I’m about to enjoy a local blonde ale. I like carbs.

So what does the latter have to do with the former and how am I going to use both to improve my body composition and test a few new supplements? Trek on, fair reader.

Carbs get a bad rap, in my opinion. I think they serve a great purpose as a tool for creating an anabolic environment in hard training athletes. I think most individuals who are over-fat/obese looking to lose weight would be wise to avoid them as I explained here. When you’re lean and your insulin sensitivity is drastically improved, you can get away with more carbs. When you’ve earned them after a great workout, they become a fantastic ally. The trouble is that most people take “eat carbs after a hard workout” as “gorge on carbs after a walk around the block.” It’s not unlike those damn Subway ads from a few years back: people doing dumb shit under the guise of it being “ok” because they ate Subway, only substitute “Subway” with “workout.” It increases insulin sensitivity, doesn’t make you a garbage disposal or create an unlimited ceiling for caloric intake. But I digress.

Understand also that I’ve lost large amounts of fat on both high carb and high fat diets, simply because I tracked my caloric intake. However, I know my tendency is to go batshit crazy eating carbs just to feel filled up, so I’m going to use carbs and supplemented great fat in a 3 month experiment I’m calling Targeted Paleolithic Diet, or TPD for those who love acronyms. Regardless, low carb on non-training days, lots of tasty carbs on days in which I train. Alan Aragon calls this culking, Martin Berkhan centers his Leangains approach around this, Rob Fargin’s NHE diet is centered on this…if you’re trying to gain muscle and keep fat low, you’re going to have to go cyclic and use insulin to your advantage.

That said, what about the fats? Since reading the work of Richard over at Free The Animal, I’ve taken even more to tasty fats. In my case, this means lots of cheese and lots of cream. For this experiment, I’ve added a few more to the equation, the ones with the most research pegging them as assisting in speeding up fat loss. So what the hell am I taking?

Coconut Oil

Since fat makes up the majority of my calories on my non-workout days, the medium chain triglycerides (MCT’s) hugely present in coconut oil provide me with a fast, even energy. Coconut oil also possess immune boosting and HDL raising tendencies that I appreciate, if only from a “here are my cholesterol numbers. Be jealous” perspective. They also make my shakes much more tasty.

CLA

Conjugated linoleic acid (CLA) was touted with the old standard of “miracle fat loss supplement” a number of years back. It’s not. It helps, but it’s not a miracle. There are studies showing that 3.4 grams/day contributes to a reduction in body fat. There are also studies indicating that certain isomers of CLA (specifically trans-10 cis-12) increase oxidative stress and increase insulin resistance. I’m lean and low carb most of the time, naturally increasing my insulin sensitivity, and most of my carbs come post-workout when I’m maximally insulin sensitive. I’m not worried, especially because of my next addition.

Sesamin Extract

Sesamin extract doesn’t get much love, and I think a lot of this has to do with how people use the stuff. It’s a lignan, not a fat, but it functions much like a “super” fish oil. Instead of rattling off 35 study links, I’ll just link you to the write up about the stuff. What I was referring to earlier about how people take it is that, as reported from message boards, people were super-dosing the stuff in an effort to keep any fat from being stored. Some of these polypharmacological, adventurous types found that really high doses killed their libido. I’m keeping my dose right in the mid-range for the supplement.

Krill Oil

The new king shit in the world of fatty acid supplements, Krill supposedly imparts fish oil benefits on a lower dose. In reality, you combine krill with a lower dose of fish oil and get the best of both worlds. Krill has astaxanthin, a potent antioxidant that can actually cross the blood brain barrier, meaning it is helpful for the eyes, brain, and CNS as far as reducing oxidative stress. The price has come down considerably, as more quality sources have come to market. I’m using RPN’s Krillipid.

So those are what I added to my diet. In told, this is my daily “Super Fatty Fat Fat Lipid Love” supplement doses:

  • Fish Oil: 4 grams/day (A staple of mine, reduced because of the sesamin and krill)
  • Vitamin D3: 4000iu/day (Also a staple)
  • Sesamin: 1500mg/day
  • Coconut Oil: 2-3 tbsp/day, or about 39 grams of fat
  • Krill: 1 gram (non-workout days), 500mg (workout days)
  • CLA: 3 grams/day

So what’s the bloody point?!

Well, fat loss and cholesterol improvement. My cholesterol numbers were fine before but I’d like to push them into the realm of jaw dropping. And the fat loss? Well, I’d like to lose 6lbs over the length of the 3 month experiment while gaining strength, getting below 10% bf according to calipers and bioelectric measurements. Do I think the fats are going to make that happen? No, no of course not. The minor deficit I end up in over the course of the week is going to ignite that. Do I think they’ll maximize my efforts? Absolutely, beyond a shadow of a doubt.

So, fair readers, what nutty experiments have you tried on your way to improved health and performance?

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15 thoughts on “The Extra-Fat Experiment

  1. while I am not following a full fatty diet like yourself I am currently doing a slow recomp ending at slightly below maintenance for the week. low(er) calorie days are high protein, fruit and fats from fish oil, peanut butter and lots of eggs. High days are more zone like at about 5-600 over maintenance.

  2. You gotta have an all-pork rinds day somewhere in there. I’m thinking about doing a three day fast. I’ve done a day before but I think three would test my meddle quite well. Might be a nice contrast to this experiment…

    • Dave,

      Any acute effect you’re hoping to experience from the fast, other than initial intense cravings and dreams of fried chicken? ;)

  3. Well considering I haven’t had a fried chicken dream in weeks… I finished a bio on Bernarr Macfadden – Google him, He’s amazing – & he was a big proponent of fasting for what ails ya. The author actually did the fast and said aside from smellin’ like hot garbage on day three he felt like a new man. So my intrigue is piqued

  4. I normally eat a pretty primal diet of meat, veggies, some fruit and cheese and cream, little milk, and very little sugar or refined carb most of the time. I don’t typically try to eat low carb, and frequently eat plenty of nuts, berries, and a piece of 85% dark chocolate with a glass of red wine.

    I’ve found recently that in addition to working 1-2 fasts of 18-24 hours in a week (that’s about my limit on what I can manage w/ my work schedule), I am having some success (fat loss wise), of adding one other day of nearly zero carb. I’ll pretty much only eat eggs and meat those days (except for perhaps some garlic or ground almonds to crust the meat), and I find that doing this absolutely zero’s my hunger, where I just don’t think about food at all and have no desire to snack on nuts and fruit. It seems similar to what you are talking about, in that I am trying to do this on days where I don’t train, to keep the FFA’s flowing and the insulin down.

    I’ve only done it a few times, but it was so easy I think 1 or 2 super ~zero carb days a week would be an easy addition to my routine.

    Thanks for the interesting posts.

    • Bryce,

      Good to see someone from Methusalah’s blog over here.

      As for my experiment, it’s going quite well. I find that all the added fats, even though the actual macros aren’t much, really blunt the hunger. I’m leaning out quite well and not thinking much about food on my non-workout days. Though, and this is something I’ve noticed in the past, the day after my deadlift workout has me eating more because my appetite demands it. However, yesterday was the day after a squat workout and, in spite setting PR’s, I didn’t feel much hunger at all yesterday. I have no idea why, but it is what it is.

      If you were interested, we’re discussing how to ramp into ketosis faster over on another forum, so that one starts chewing on the FFA’s faster (so to speak). If I use some of the ideas, I’ll report it here.

      • Yeah you’ve probably seen me at conditioning research and theory to practice as well.

        I have to say that one thing I’ve learned both from my own experience and from reading the research (including the enormous amount of research elucidated in Good Calories Bad Calories), is that it isn’t that fat and protein are so filling, but that lots of carbohydrate is hunger inducing. I have tested this on myself many times, and I know that (at least for me), I will be hunger sooner if I eat a steak and mashed potatoes than if I had just eaten the steak (read as more hunger despite more calories). Same thing goes for bacon & eggs w/ fruit vs. bacon and eggs without fruit. I’ll get hungrier sooner with the fruit. The same amount of protein and fat either way, but I get hungrier sooner when the carbs are included because of the hormonal effects.

        I still love fruit and don’t fear carbohydrates or anything. But, I know myself, and if getting hungry is going to be inconvenient for me, I’ll avoid the carbs.

        I’d definitely love to hear more about what you come up with in regards to hunger control and FFA release.

        -Bryce

      • I’ve done zero carb and low carb before. However, a few days after reduced carbs I feel like warmed over dog shit. It takes a few days to get through this. Once I become fat adapted I’m fine. I’ve tried loweing carbs slowly but it always seems to lead to feelings of irritability and brain fog no matter how I do it until I become fat adapted. Anyone else experience this?

        Greg

    • Dan,

      That’s a typo on my part that has been corrected; I’ve been taking D3 for that very reason! Thanks for the keen eye.

      Best,
      Skyler

  5. Hi Skyler,

    Do you have any updates on this approach?

    I’m trying to kick my metabolism and fatloss up a few notches. I’m going to be starting my 3rd 5/3/1 cycle up in a week and since I don’t tolerate stimulant preps worth a shit, I’ve come up with the following regimen for some extra FFA oxidation/PPAR stimulation:

    FFAS:

    TTA
    MCT
    Sesamin
    CLA

    I’ll be combining that with Caffeine as needed, ALCAR, and Green Tea Extract.

    Cheers!

    • Sam,

      Be careful with the TTA. There is speculation that is over-stimulate PPARg. Seems to be OK for short term use but it has been pulled from a lot of supplement companies, either because it wasn’t a cash cow or the tendency for substantial bloating and cramping to occur on the stuff.

      Cyclic use would likely be OK. YMMV.

      Best,
      Skyler

  6. Hi Skyler,

    Thanks for the heads-up. I have seen reports of cramping. I’ve never used TTA before-out of the above stack, it’s the only thing I haven’t tried.

    I’ll try it for a cycle.

    Thanks.

    Sam

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