Wednesday, April 06, 2005

The Sweetwater Diet

Alex Tabarrok of MarginalRevolution writes:
Seth Roberts is a psychologist at Berkeley who for the past twelve years has obsessively kept data on himself in an effort to generate and test new ideas. In a recent paper in Behavioral and Brain Sciences he explains some of his methods and findings...

Roberts, for example, drank 5 liters (!) of water every day for 4 months to test a theory of weight loss (he lost weight but he couldn't keep up the drinking!). He also began standing for more than 8 hours a day, initially to test the affect on weight loss but instead he found that standing, especially 10 hours or more a day, dramatically improved his sleep. Eventually, he did find a novel form of weight loss involving fructose water (read the paper). Some of his findings seem bizarre, such as watching faces on tv in the morning improved his mood the next day but lowered it that night.

I've often performed similar self-experiments but my data collecting has been much less rigorous. Many years prior to my recent provigil experiments, I tried switching to a 20-minutes-every-4-hours sleep schedule. Which worked, but was too difficult to maintain and not really compatible with a normal workday.

Seth's weight loss results are interesting enough that I'm going to try it. I've lost weight in the past with the Hacker's Diet and a lot of Dance Dance Revolution, but there's no getting around it - eating little enough to lose weight or maintain weight loss makes me hungry. Hunger is an annoyance, a distraction, and tends to lead me to gain the weight back. So I'm going to see if fructose water controls hunger in me to the degree it does in Seth. Whether it works or not, we'll soon have data from an experiment of size n=2 instead of n=1.

Initial glen-weight: 177 lbs on 4/5/05.

The protocol: 15 g of Crystalline Fructose (5 "Estee" packets) dissolved in 1 liter of water, per day. Drink between meals, spread out over at least 2 hours. Other than that, eat when hungry or as it seems appropriate, but with no particular dietary restrictions.


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