Sam Feltham – Eating 5,000 Calories and Busting Myths

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Jonathan: Hey, everyone, Jonathan Bailor back – with another bonus, Smarter Science of Slim Show – very, very excited about today’s show because we have an individual who gives us just an amazing story of an example of these diabolical calorie myths that we have stuffed down our throats for the past 50 years. He said,enough of this – he’s going to smash these myths, he’s going to smash the fat and he is going to consume – well, I’ll let him tell you about his story, but let’s just say, that he is a great guy. He’s the proprietor of the wonderful website and one of the UK’s fastest growing fitness franchises – Smash the Fat – you can learn more about him at smashthefat.com. Sam Feltham, welcome to the show, brother.

Sam: Whew — happy to be here Jonathan.

Jonathan: And Sam did I get your last name correct?

Sam: Feltham, yes.

Jonathan: Feltham, okay –

Sam: Yes.

Jonathan: I got it basically right, well, Sam to get us started, please tell us a bit about what inspired you to do these two wonderful, let’s call them experiments and then tell us about the experiments themselves.

Sam: So, (Inaudible 00:01:35) Jonathan, I’ve done a lot of research in the health and fitness arena and what are the most effective exercises are and what the most effective diets are for helping people lose weight and be healthy and there’s just so much research out there that’s telling us or giving us clues as to what is the most effective system, but I felt like there’s still some naysayers out there that feel like that it is not compelling evidence quite yet, so I thought I’d come up with these 5,000 calorie experiments or what called over-feeding experiments, so back in June, I ate 5,794 calories — every single day of a high fat, low carb diet of real foods and now during that experiment and despite being at a 56,000 calorie surplus over three weeks, I only gained just shy of 3 pounds, but I actually lost an inch of my waist, QED (sp??) right, but then —

Jonathan: Sam, just I want to go on with the numbers, but, just to make sure the listeners caught that, you did gain weight, but it sounds like you didn’t gain fat from my understanding.

Sam: No, no, not necessarily. It was mostprobably, possibly a little bit of muscle, but not sure, but also because of the pure quantity of foods, could have been a bit of backing up let’s say.

Jonathan: Well, because you did shrink, like your waist was smaller –

Sam: Hm…yeah, precisely, so my waist actually shrunk by just over an inch, say, yeah, so despite being in such a calorie surplus, I did get slimmer.

Jonathan: Amazing and can you tell us a little bit, so it was high, higher fat, lower carbohydrate type diet, but were the types of foods you were consuming?

Sam: So they’d be the types of foods that you’d call SANE foods, say it was eggs and salmon for breakfast, along with some spinach and then nuts for snacks through the day, but then for lunch it would be macro and green beans and then in the evening, it would be steak and broccoli, and again I’d still have nuts in between all of those meals and including in the evening, as well.

Jonathan: And so you were using it sounds like healthy fats to drive up your caloric intake?

Sam: Oh, yeah, big time, say because fat is the most calorific micronutrient that we’ve got. It’s actually called – it’s actually relatively easy to put it out there. People always say how can you eat so many calories of real food, but real food is generally full fat and fat is the most calorific nutrient, so again it sort of brings down their argument a little bit, but, hey —

Jonathan: But it also shows how dangerous it can be to get caught up in these calorie myths because if a natural food has fat in it, and we’re afraid of calories, then our first inclination is to change it or modify it in some way or just avoid it completely in favor of maybe like a 100 calorie Oreo snack pack.

Sam: Precisely. Precisely and all of these sugary foods can claim that it’s a zero percent fat. That’s a great health claim and a great marketing ploy for food companies, but as you and I know that isn’t probably the best diet that we can be on.

Jonathan: Well, Sam you know what else is low calorie and in fact, 100 percent fat free?

Sam: (Inaudible 00:05:21)

Jonathan: Heroin.

Sam: Whew – there we go — yeah.

Jonathan: No, and ironically it’s actually been shown to be potentially less addictive than sugar in many studies, so Sam that was your first experiment was this caloric surplus experiment eating SANE foods. Didn’t you do a second one?

Sam: Yes, I’ve just finished my second one, which was pretty much doing the exact opposite, so high carb, low fat, (Inaudible 00:5:51) foods, so primarily sugar and refined carbohydrates, say I’d be having, a well named cereal brand with skim milk for breakfast in the morning, along with some jam crumpets and then my midmorning snack would be these mini pizzas along with a can of cola. And then for lunch, it would be whole wheat sandwiches, along with some chocolate muffins and then in the afternoon it would be fresh Swiss chips, sorry, and reduced fat rice pudding and again a can of cola and then (Inaudible 00:06:31) and garlic breads in the evening and then of course, some zero percent fat yogurt because we know how un-fattening zero percent fat yogurt is (Inaudible 00:06:41)

Jonathan: So, Sam how many calories were you taking in per day of your healthy low fat well balanced diet there?

Sam: Five thousand Seven Hundred and Ninety-Three calories, so I gave up one calorie less (Inaudible 00:06:55)fighting chance.

Jonathan: And what were the results — this was for 21 days?

Sam: Yeah, this is exact same amount of time — 21 days to do exactly the same amount of exercise as I did from the previous one, and I ended up putting on just shy of 16 pounds.

Jonathan: Wow…

Sam: Yeah, that’s actually – and I put on three inches around my waist, so three and a three and a half inches in fact…

Jonathan: Wow…

Sam: Around my waist as well, so it’s quite a difference between the two.

Jonathan: Sam, that’s amazing – on two levels, one obviously consuming about the same number of calories, they’re very, very close, at least as close to as any human could estimate, keeping exercise the same, I would assume you were trying to keep sleep the same, keeping everything else the same, you saw a dramatic difference in the amount and type of weight gain, so that was conclusion number one, conclusion number two is in both instances, though, ironically, in neither instance did you gain as much weight as you should have according to the standard calorie math we’re all taught.

Sam: So the standard calorie formula predicted both experiments I put on approximately 15½ pounds — like the first one is more like 16 pounds, and then for the second one it was 15 ½ pounds because I ended up over the few months’ break that I had, I actually put on three kilograms of muscle…

Jonathan: Hm…

Sam: Or about 6 ½ pounds of muscle during that time, so I actually lifted up my BMR – and so yeah, the second experiment actually under-predicted the amount of weight I put on, so I put on more than the calorie (Inaudible 00:08:39) said I would and then obviously in the first one, it seriously under- predicted about 12 pounds less.

Jonathan: And Sam, I know you’re super active in the Internet and nutrition community let’s call it, I know there’s obviously folks that are anti-calorie myths like you and I, they want us to focus on food, want us to focus our brains on contributing to the planet rather than doing metabolic math all day, but there are still those flat earth believers out there that think it’s just a calorie’s a calorie — what were their reactions to your experiment?

Sam: They really tried to nit-pick at it and rightly so and (Inaudible 00:09:22) over to try and nit-pick at it and that’s the process of science is trying to question it and see if your logic can sort of supersedes someone else’s logic and some of the things where protein content wasn’t quite the same, fiber content wasn’t the same, I lied – was a lot of the objections, just flat out you are a liar, so it doesn’t make sense, so anybody that knows me personally was probably (Inaudible 00:9:54) to that saying that I’m possibly one of the most honest people that they know, but, I don’t know. Anyway, once (Inaudible 00:10:03) worked out all of this, the difference in the thermic effect of protein, the fiber content, and there was actually a third more fiber in this past experiment that I just did.

Jonathan: Hm…

Sam: Actually so there was more fiber in it and once you work out all of those variables, it turns out that there’s a difference of 63 calories between the two.

Jonathan: Hm…

Sam: So, it turns out that my calorie surplus in the first one, the low carb, high fat of real foods, was 47,175, and then this past experiment (Inaudible 00:10:37) experiment, it was a surplus of 47,238 calories, so there was actually more of a calorie surplus in the carb one and despite there being a little less protein and things like this and yet it’s a difference of 63 calories, basically so – you know, the arguments sort of fall down a little bit, but people are always just going to say flat out you’re a liar.

Jonathan: And I’m just curious why do you think they do that, Sam, I mean if you’ve demonstrated here that individualscan just eat food when they’re hungry, stop when they’re full, and then live the life we’re all meant to live, which is spent doing things that don’t involve counting calories and monitoring the treadmill, right, I don’t think any of us were put here to do that. We’re put here to do different things, so why would anyone dissuade someone from eating this way?

Sam: I was just want to say one thing. (Inaudible 00:11:39) hate is going to hate (Inaudible 00:11:41) That’s pretty much it, really. Unfortunately there are people out there that just feel like they just want to destroy the world almost. I know that sounds quite crazy, but just some people just don’t want to see people succeed.

Jonathan: And Sam I think that it doesn’t sound crazy at all, because any time an individual, I mean when I look at your experiment, just taking off my science hat for a second, I say, wow, like Sam has found an approach that works amazingly well for him. He can basically eat ad libitum, which in the scientific community means, (Inaudible 00:012:17) and he will not gain fat, in fact he’ll shrink down. I’m going to assume your blood lipids were all doing well, that all your health markers were doing well, for anyone to discourage – like you found something that worked for you and there’s plenty of science to support it. So, anyone who would criticize that to me is not interested in helping people live better. They’re interested in being right.

Sam: Uh-huh.

Jonathan: Like that’s why wars get started. I don’t understand that logic.

Sam: Yeah, yeah, and some serious conflicts of (Inaudible 00:12:51) and just, I don’t know, just some people just want to see the world burn as they say in the Batman series.

Jonathan: And Sam, you and I want to see fat burn, so that’s the big –

Sam: Yeah.

Jonathan: Difference there.

Sam: Precisely, precisely, and I’m always willing to listen to someone – I try to listen to what someone says, rather than read all the letters after their name.

Jonathan: Uh-huh.

Sam: Really. That’s the most important thing that we can do is to listen to someone. See what they have to say, look at what they’re saying, see if it make sense instead of sort of looking at their formal qualifications and things like that, although you know these things sort of do matter to a certain extent, but then also the most important thing that you can do is to listen and listen to yourself as well and to your own intuition.

Jonathan: That’s brilliant, Sam, well, what is next from you? You’ve done these experiments. Are you going to continue doing this self-experimentation or you found the happy path that you’re just going to continue to eat smarter for the rest of your life?

Sam: Well, I’m definitely trying to continue to eat smarter, but over the past 21 days – so it’s 42 days that I started that 5,000 calorie (Inaudible 00:14:06) experiment. For the past 21 days, I’ve been doing this fake food rehab diet where I’ve been eating a calorie maintenance so approximately 3,500 calories every single day, but again of a low carb, high fat, diet of real foods and I’ve tried to maintain the weight I put on originally, but then over these past 21 days, I’ve, I’ve lost 5 ½ kilos, which is about 11 pounds and so I haven’t lost it all of the weight that I’ve put on and all of my (Inaudible 00:14:39) marks have nearly got back to where I started from so, I’ve carried on doing a self- experimenting from there, but in January, 2014, I’m going to be doing another 5,000 calorie experiment again of a high carb, low fat diet, but with real foods, so it will be rice, sweet potato, lentils, beans, things like that, and seeing if real foods make a difference in a high carb diet.

Jonathan: Fascinating, Sam, I really, really like this and I continue to support everything that you’re doing and where can folks learn about you, your future experiments and the more mundane things in your life.

Sam: The best place to go is to the website and blog which is smashthefat.comlive and then you can go to all of the experiments and loads of other videos and things like that. That will link you up to the (Inaudible 00:15:42) channel as well, but then if you want to ask me questions directly, or just to follow my day-to-day life, you can go follow me on Twitter at Sam Feltham as well.

Jonathan: Sam I think we need to get this Sam-cam, which is like a little helmet you wear that just shoots a little webcam onto your face and follows you around all day, cause you seem like you said — you’re honest, I mean you’re an open book so I think that’s your next experiment should be the Sam-cam that just follows you around every day for a week, 24/7, it’s like the Truman show.

Sam: I love that – I love that Sam-cam, let’s (Inaudible 00:16:18)the next show on the YouTube channel definitely Jonathan thanks for that suggestion.

Jonathan: My pleasure, brother, well, folks, please do check out Sam’s work. It’s awesome and the thing that I love about Sam more than anything else is he is willing to walk the talk, right? People out there can be saying all these things and then you ask them, well, what do you actually do? Hm…well, okay —

Sam: Yeah, yeah, it’s pretty much and I truly do to walk the walk, and not just talk the talk as you said, there are a lot of people that just talk the talk and they don’t really sort of open up their lives to what they’re actually doing themselves and I try and do that as much as I can because as you say, Jonathan, I try to be as honest as I can.

Jonathan: I love it. Ladies and gentlemen, I hope you’ve enjoyed this wonderful chat with our brilliant guest today, Sam Feltham, as I have — Sam thank you so much for joining us today.

Sam: Thanks a lot Jonathan and just remember — smash out.

Jonathan: I love it. Listeners remember as Sam said, smash it out, eat smarter, exercise smarter and live better. Chat with you soon.