Guest post: low carb diet diary

This guest post is written by Roger.

Diet diary: 1

There are more diets available than you can shake a stick at. Most of them have attendant publications written in dreadful English that serve primarily to make some charlatan some money1.roger_sc

All the evidence is that any snake oil can be presented to make somebody, somewhere, some money, so it was interesting to learn that the Frau was intending to roadtest some of these offerings for

  • T=Tolerability: like, can I put up with this? That has to mean “for a long time” since presumably any idiot can see that putting up with a diet for just a few weeks is not going to have lasting effect. Let’s grade this from 0 to 10 (whole numbers only).
  • E=Effectiveness: do you actually lose weight? I think this is usually measured in kilos, by which I mean stone. (Actually, my preferred measure is belt holes but that’s not really very reliable or general, is it?) Let’s grade this as 0 to 10 as well.

Then, for some α, M = T + αE is a useful measure of something.

As usual, let us start with the limiting cases. We might assume that the Ddiet of Eat as much as you want whenever you want has T=10, E=0 and so M=10, while the Ddiet of Eat nothing at all has T=0, E=10 and so M = 10 α.

You can already see how useful this approach is.

If Dis Eat nothing but vanilla fudge and Dis Eat nothing but celery, then someone who loathes fudge might have M(DF)=0, and someone who loves celery might have M(DC)=10(1+α), the minimum and maximum of the measure.

To practicalities, the Frau has determined the Djanuary diet to be low carb, among whose merits was an introduction to the word “ketogenic”. Our domestic machine for weighing people has a very high variance so weight estimates are a bit crap – nevertheless, I think I lost about half a stone in 4 weeks on this regime and so will  award E(Djanuary)=8.

T(Djanuary) is a bit trickier: I spent many days feeling hungry and lapsed more than once. Lapses ranged from a small portion of rice with some other healthy looking stuff, to a visit to Y Dafarn Datws. Whoops. But seriously, I couldn’t live like this for ever, so T(Djanuary)=3.

I’m not sure what the correct value of α is: perhaps we should use several and allow a retro-fitting of a good result later on.

So anyway, scores to date:

Month T E M, α=0.5 M, α=1 M, α=1.5
January 3 8 7 11 15

More anon.

1. Dieting without tears or willpower, Roger Boyle, Y Lolfa, forthcoming 2018. Dr Boyle exhibits a dietary regime that does not alter what you eat, or when you eat it. Likewise what you drink and smoke. The results are astounding. Testimonials: “Roger is my Hero”, H Dee; “He treats food as bathos, and drink with antistrophe.” L Blissett.

Roger home


  1. Most edifying, but I feel the need to point out the beautiful technique used in this paper for combining factors such as those proposed above that you may find of interest:
    It essentially reduces each metric to a “bit count” and uses a log function to prevent one factor from dominating, if I recall correctly. Rather more principled than your “Tafarn Tatws approach”. It is also given credence by its adoption at the Caersws ice rink for analysis of the quality of the ice surface as measured by a number of “high tech” approaches including the horse-drawn bump-o-meter and the number of ambulance visits per hour.


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