Some guys in a Facebook group asked me for my opinion about the “Beef and Butter Fast” diet (How to Break a Weight Loss Stall on the Ketogenic Diet). It is said to be a “four day diet to kickstart weight loss”. Let’s take a look at the lower calorie option. Here’s the graphic for the diet.
The lower calorie option is 979 calories. 65% of calories from fat and 33% of calories from Protein. I am not sure where the other 2% went (hidden carbs maybe?).
It looks like this probably uses drained ground beef. 7 teaspoons of butter is 234 calories of fat. 2.5 cups of Ground Beef is 780 calories (fat and protein). That’s why I say this must be drained since the total is 1015 calories not 979 calories.
What About the Protein?
The protein in 2.5 cups of Ground Beef is 77g. That’s fairly low depending on body weight. If you are a 220 lb person (100g) that’s just below the minimum 0.8 g/kg Dietary Reference Intake. If you are heavier you are not even meeting the minimum amount of protein for your current body weight.
More important than the total amount is the amount of protein per meal. There’s no protein in the breakfast (it’s fat only). 1 cup of ground beef provides 2.4 g of Leucine so there’s not probably enough protein in the lunch to reach the Leucine Threshold for Muscle Protein Synthesis (particularly for older men). There’s just enough protein in the dinner to reach the Leucine threshold for Muscle Protein Synthesis.
Not hitting the Leucine threshold means that the protein is not used for extra Muscle Protein Synthesis. Essentially the protein is just more calories. One meal a day of sufficient protein is a loss of a day that could be spent building up lean body mass.
So Do I Agree with this Diet?
For some Keto people this diet will be an improvement. The extra fat probably won’t help people who already have enough body fat but for someone who is already leaner they will need extra fat.
A monotonous diet has advantages in making you feel less hungry to overeat.
The Protein to Non-Protein energy ratio isn’t great since it’s a maintenance diet rather than a weight loss diet (with lower fat). The reduced calorie intake should yield a loss of weight for most overweight people.
Is There a Better Choice?
A Protein Sparing Modified Fast is a better choice. Eat 1g of protein per lb of body mass. Eat low carbs (<20g a day). Eat much lower fat.
220 lb man example
Due to the Thermic Effect of Food, the calories of the two are closer than the numbers shown. In fact, the actual calories are less since the TEF for protein is 20-35%. I believe that the PSMF is a much better choice, particularly for preservation of LBM.