As detailed in Losing 43lbs in 144 days: the ex150 diet works but I don’t know why.

The original hypothesis I designed it for was that my protein intake on a meat-heavy keto diet was too high, which I speculated raised my insulin. I aimed for a very-low-protein diet. I’d previously tried a low-protein diet, where I consumed 500g of beef per day, and got all further calories from heavy cream and butter. This was the next iteration of that.

But there are of course other hypotheses that ex150 fits. While I love that it (still) works I want to know why.

So here’s an overview showing my current hypotheses, and past/potential diet experiments to refute them.


(refutations/experiments executed/experiments conceived)

(0/1/2) - 2 experiments conceived, 1 was executed, it did not refute hypothesis
(-1/1/2) - 2 experiments conceived, 1 was executed, it refuted the hypothesis

Main hypotheses

Low-protein (0/1/8): My original hypothesis. It would be invalidated if I continue losing weight when adding back a significant amount of any meat or whey protein. Or by the all-refuting Croissant Diet.

Low-PUFA (0/0/2): I got this hypothesis from Fire in a Bottle and Hyperlipid. It posits that (poly-)unsaturated fats inhibit the body’s satiety response on a cellular level, making you overeat. There’s a lot of fascinating science behind it. The neat thing about this one is that it fits a whole lot of anecdotes and data, e.g. the existence of cultures that eat a lot of carbs (often in the form of starch, e.g. wheat/corn/rice/potatoes) yet stay lean, and some (like the 70’s French) even mix those starches with saturated fat like butter and creamy sauces. It seems like a common denominator between low-carb/keto, low-fat, paleo, veganism, the diet bodybuilders typically follow (rice/chicken breast), and many others.

Low-palatability (0/1/5): This hypothesis posits that we overeat when food is too palatable. ex150 is pretty monotonous because every day is exactly the same. And while 1/4 of the calories come from a hyper-palatable (to me) meal of ground beef with vegetables and sauce, 3/4 come from a somewhat bland mono-food - heavy cream. This hypothesis could be refuted by taking in the majority of calories from highly palatable sources.

Low-carb (0/0/2): I don’t think this is the one, but not impossible. Also, needed something for ex_cream_rice to refute :-) I’ve been doing keto for 7 years, and had several months of carnivore/zerocarb in there, where I did not lose any weight. But it’s still possible that this one is even lower carb/more ketogenic I suppose?

Secondary hypotheses

I do have a bunch of secondary hypotheses that I think are less likely, difficult to test right now, or they’re just variations of something else. Stuff like “it’s the high testosterone” or “it’s that it’s a mostly liquid diet.” I’m not listing those because they aren’t the main focus right now.

Past Diet Experiments

What the experiment is designed to refute is listed in parentheses. If it just says variety then it doesn’t refute anything, just widens the range of what works. If it says confounded then external factors or messing up on my part led me to believe the experiment doesn’t prove what it attempts to prove.

ex150: the OG experiment that started it all, causing me to lose 43lbs in 144 days.

ex150deli (variety): the ground beef from ex150 replaced by deli meats. Same resulting fat loss.

pemmican (variety): I tried eating only pemmican for two weeks. I didn’t make it. I did lose a bunch of weight, but mainly because I couldn’t stomach the pemmican at all. I was eating maybe only 500kcal a day, with starvation symptoms quickly setting in. I stopped after 7 days and threw all the remaining pemmican away.

ex150choctruffle (refutes low-palatability, confounded): ex150, but heavy cream is replaced by chocolate truffle, which is really just chocolate mixed with heavy cream. Inconclusive due to multiple confounding variables, although it looked good for the first week.

ex225lean (refutes low-protein, confounded): Increasing daily ground beef to 225g, and using 94/6 lean instead of 80/20 chuck. Surprisingly, I didn’t seem to lose any weight on this after the first few days looked good.

ex150monkfruit (refutes low-palatability, confounded): This included adding a monk fruit-sweetened magnesium supplement to my daily whipped cream dessert. I abandoned the experiment after only 4 days. For one, it actually tasted way worse than normal cream. It was disgustingly sweet like sweeteners sometimes do. Second, I realized (from a reader’s input) that I was actually messing up the experiment - the magnesium alone might’ve caused pretty dramatic water retention, and I was also adding another supplement that contained Vitamin C, potassium, and more magnesium. Just the electrolytes alone could have a massive impact on water retention, and whatever the sweetness of monk fruit did would be confounded.

ex150sardines (refutes zero-carb bringing my Non-24 back): Replaced my ex150 lunch of beef/vegetables/sauce by a protein-matched ~120g of canned sardines in water for 20 days. No fiber/plants at all. Contrary to my expectations, my Non-24 circadian rhythm disorder stayed in remission. I lost 4lbs in 20 days, for a slightly slower -0.2lb/day, but the difference could be mostly from sampling error due to the short experiment time.

Conceived Diet Experiments

ex450 (refutes low-protein): 450g of beef per day instead of 150g. The 450g is somewhat arbitrary. It would be 75g of protein total or 0.88g per kg lean body mass, going off the upper range of normal BMI for me (188lbs or about 85kg). This is more than the common “minimum” amount of protein recommended, although actual requirements are likely lower.

ex_tcd (refutes low-protein, low-carb, low-palatability, low-variety): The Croissant Diet refutes reality as we know it.

ex150pufa (refutes low-PUFA): ex150 with polyunsaturated fatty acids introduced into the diet. Disgusting, yes, but could refute the low-PUFA hypothesis.

ex150whey: Whey protein added to ex150. In case there is an effect in meat that is not about protein.

ex_cream_rice (refutes low-carb): What it sounds like. A diet of only rice with plenty of cream. Maybe it’ll taste like rice pudding. If I lose weight on this, it’s not the low-carb hypothesis.

I have a bunch more, but usually variants (eg. ex150grassfed, ex150collagen) or just ex150 mods to introduce variety (ex150fastfood, ex150sardines).