29/05/2013 08:41 BST | Updated 29/07/2013 06:12 BST

Halfway Through My 21 Day 5,000 Calorie Experiment

10 days ago I started a 21 day experiment where I eat 5,794 calories of a low carbohydrate high fat to diet to see if a calorie is really just a calorie. I have come across some militant scientists, who say my experiment is bogus, and some very supportive ones, who have applauded me for trying to push science forward. The only premises that I'm starting with are that a calorie is a calorie, that if you eat more than you burn you put on weight and that 1lb (0.45kg) of fat is 3,500 calories.

At the start of my 21 day experiment I weighed in at 85.2kg in the morning and 86kg in the evening making my mean for day 1, 85.6kg. My waist measurement was 78cm in the morning and 81cm in the evening making my starting mean 79.5cm. As it stands from this morning, halfway, I'm in a calorie surplus of 26,841 and according to the calorie formula I should be 3.5kg heavier than when I started at 89.1kg. On day 10 of the experiment I currently weigh 85.7kg and my waist is 76cm, so a gain of 0.1kg and a loss of 2.5cm...but how can that be? I thought the calorie formula in relation to the consumption of food was a robust formula that follows the linear laws of thermodynamics and the universe?

Here are some before and halfway photos for you to compare, and before anyone comments on my paler skin in the halfway photo it is because of a flash from the camera :)

For those of you that are sceptical and are thinking that I'm just going to the gym all day here is what my calorie expenditure looks like. To calculate my calorie expenditure I'm using the revised version of the Harris-Benedict equation by Roza and Shizgal in 1984:

BMR = 88.362 + (13.397 x weight in kg) + (4.799 x height in cm) - (5.677 x age in years)

Based on my starting mean weight, 85.6kg, that would make my BMR, calories burned at rest, a steady 1,973 calories. Once you have this number you can use the following list to workout your daily calorie expenditure:

- Little to No Exercise (BMR x 1.2) = 2,368

- Light Exercise, 1-3 days per week (BMR x 1.375) = 2,713

- Moderate Exercise, 3-5 days per week (BMR x 1.55) = 3,058

- Heavy Exercise, 6-7 days per week (BMR x 1.725) = 3,403

- Very Heavy Exercise, twice per day (BMR x 1.9) = 3,749

I cycle 3 times a week for 40 minutes along with 3 strength training sessions that last 4 minutes. This puts me in the moderate exercise category making my daily calorie expenditure 3,058!

My calorie intake each day is as follows:


15g of coconut oil; 135 calories, Carbohydrate=0g, Fat= 15g, Protein=0g

200g of salmon; 374 calories, Carbohydrate=0.4g, Fat= 19.8g, Protein=48.2g

180g of green beans; 60 calories, Carbohydrate=18g, Fat= 0g, Protein=2g

250g of eggs; 390 Calories, Carbohydrate=3g, Fat=26.5g, Protein=31.5g

Total; 959 Calories, Carbohydrate=21.4g, Fat=61.3g, Protein=81.7g


150g of walnuts; 1,058 Calories, Carbohydrate=4.6g, Fat=102.75g, Protein=25.95g


15g of coconut oil; 135 calories, Carbohydrate=0g, Fat= 15g, Protein=0g

180g of green beans; 60 calories, Carbohydrate=18g, Fat= 0g, Protein=2g

260g of mackerel; 785 calories, Carbohydrate=5.2g, Fat=62.92g, Protein=48.1g

Total; 980 Calories, Carbohydrate=23.2g, Fat=77.92g, Protein=50.1g


150g of pecans; 1,059 Calories, Carbohydrate=8.25g, Fat=105.15g, Protein=16.35g


15g of coconut oil; 135 calories, Carbohydrate=0g, Fat= 15g, Protein=0g

400g of topside beef; 576 calories, Carbohydrate=0g, Fat= 15.6g, Protein=108g

180g of green beans; 60 calories, Carbohydrate=18g, Fat= 0g, Protein=2g

Total; 771 Calories, Carbohydrate=18g, Fat=30.6g, Protein=110g


150g of almonds; 967 Calories, Carbohydrate=9.75g, Fat=83.7g, Protein=38.1g

Grand Total; 5,794 Calories, Carbohydrate=85.2g (10%), Fat=461.42g (53%), Protein=322.2g (37%)

Well, I have another 10.5 days left on the experiment before I write my full conclusion from the results that I have collected. However, so far the calorie formula does not seem to be working as we've been told despite my rather conspicuous calorie surplus but I have another 10.5 days to get to the predicted 93kg, so I will keep on over consuming and reserve judgement until the experiment is completed!

There is a lot of debate going on throughout this experiment, especially on Twitter and YouTube, that hasn't been seen before as most research studies are done behind closed doors without prying eyes! So, I encourage you to join in on the debate by following me on Twitter and by subscribing to my YouTube channel for the latest updates and daily video diary's :)