Reporter eats pies for a month, loses eight kilos
A Christchurch man lost eight kilograms in a month living on pies and beer.
Julian Lee, a reporter for Newshub, became slimmer after four weeks pioneering the pie and pint diet.
Lee ate three to four pies (depending on meat content) every day. Once a week he was allowed to swap one pie for three beers.
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When he stepped on the scales live on Wednesday's Story, he found that he'd lost 8kg. On top of that, his blood pressure had dropped from an unhealthy to a normal level.
Lee modelled his diet on US nutrition professor Mark Haub, whose "convenience store diet" - Doritos, cereal and sugary snacks - made headlines back in 2010.
Like Haub, Lee was aiming to prove that it didn't matter what you ate when trying to lose weight - what's important is limiting your calorie intake.
"I liked the point of what [Haub] was doing, and the point of it is that there's a lot of information out there now, people are really confused about what to eat or what not to eat, it just goes on and on," he said.
"It used to be that fat was the bad guy, then carbs were the bad guy, now sugar's the bad guy. Some people, including myself, don't have any idea about what's what. I just wanted to prove that all it is is energy in, energy out when it comes to weight management."
At 1.83 metres tall, it is estimated Lee needs 2500 calories per day to maintain his body weight. On the pie and pint diet, his daily intake was 1600 calories.
Although Lee's low calorie count seemed to be helping his body, he said the lack of nutrients wasn't doing his mind any favours.
"Mentally I'm slowing down quite a bit. My body's loving it but my mind's really not loving it at all," he said.
"I'm definitely getting scratchy, like grumpy, scratchy. I've taken a multi-vitamin every day, but it's not enough."
He said he had been craving the "weirdest things", including courgettes, boiled eggs, and decent meat. However, the diet hadn't done anything to put him off pies, and he had no plans to cut them out completely now the diet was over.
"Pies are good, I really do love them. It's pastry, it's meat, you can't go wrong. But again, I'm delusional right now, mentally I'm losing the plot," Lee said.
DON'T TRY THIS AT HOME
Sarah Hanrahan, a dietician with the New Zealand Nutrition Foundation, said there was no doubt that exercise and limiting calorie intake would cause the kilos to fall off.
However, she questioned the ability of the pie and pint diet to provide enough nutrients to be sustainable long-term.
"I have no doubt that you would lose weight if you limit your calorie intake. But will you remain healthy? No you won't, not in the long term."
Hanrahan said single-food diets had popped up before, but they always ran into issues with long-term nutrition.
"Throughout history there have been diets that are based on one particular food. There's been the grapefruit diet, there's been the cabbage soup diet, you name it. This one's a bit more spectacular, because who doesn't like a pie?
"So all of a sudden it's a food people really like, there's no deprivation, until you think, you eat just pies? Try do that for a year and see how you get on."
Her message about choosing a diet was by her own admission a "tedious" one - but important nonetheless.
"It's so flipping tedious, but the best advice is to stick with something you can do day in day out, stick with foods that you like, plenty of vegetables, and appropriate portion sizes. But that is just the world's least sexy message, if you package it up and call it the 'Pie and Pint Diet', it will take off.
"But you cannot eat pies and pints for any extended length of time, and health will come from the food that you eat day in day out for your lifetime," Hanrahan said.