My Next N of 1 Trial

UPDATE 9/14: five days in and this morning my weight was 157. My BF was 13.2%. Not gaining weight yet *looks at watch*…wonder when those carbs are going to start their evil dirty work?

I enjoy experimenting on myself, especially in regard to diet. It was through experimentation that I learned that I do well on a plant based diet, and that low carb diets make me feel and look like utter crap. I spent 4 weeks recently on a strict paleo diet and was thoroughly unimpressed with the results. I’ve decided what my next case study will be.

I’m going to follow the USDA MyPlate guidelines for four weeks.

Why, you ask? Well, the USDA guidelines get a lot of flack from the blogoshpere. Diet gurus of all philosophies decry them as little more than a shill for the grain and dairy industries. The USDA’s industry-friendly guidelines, they say, are responsible for our nation’s obesity and subsequent chronic disease epidemic. Heck, even I have been heard to say that they are a little grain heavy. What will happen to me, you may wonder? Will I develop leaky gut syndrome from all the lectins in the grains I will consume? Disabling mineral deficiencies from the phytates? Will I gain weight uncontrollably as the carbs run amok inside my body, triggering insulin resistance and fat storage even in the absence of excess energy? It stands to reason, after all, that if I consume the diet that led to our obesity epidemic, I will become obese. Oh, the dangers are myriad, and terrifying! But throw myself upon the sword of MyPlate I shall, all in the name of scientific discovery.

Here are the basic guidelines MyPlate gave me based on my age, height, weight and activity level:

2600 calories, pretty decent. Not a starvation level diet, thank goodness. They even provide detailed guidelines for vegans:

2 cups of fruit, 3.5 cups of vegetables, 9 ounces of grain (wait, 9 ounces? That’s not very much. I thought the grain industry was trying to force feed us massive quantities of grain?), 6.5 ounces of protein (yep, that’s about right), 3 cups of ‘dairy’ (or soy/almond/hemp replacements in my case). This doesn’t sound too terrible. Maybe a little less vegetables and protein than I am used to, but not fatal.

Care to make a wager on the outcome?

I’m starting on Saturday. I will post my beginning stats (weight, BF%, resting heart rate) then, and update periodically as the experiment progresses.

5 thoughts on “My Next N of 1 Trial

    • I had a hydrostatic test done in June of this year to get an accurate baseline (result was 12.5%). For day-to-day changes, I use an Omron handheld bioelectric impedence device. While these devices aren’t 100% accurate, they are pretty good at measuring changes over time. I think my actual body fat is slightly lower than the handheld reads it at.

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