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Archive for February, 2011

Diet Soda … Good, Bad or Deadly?

Some interesting facts on artificial sugars

Articles: What Diet Sodas and Artifical Sweeteners do to your Abs.

After reading many other 4 Hour Body blogs there seems to be a similar trend on many of them, the addiction to diet soda.  Even Tim mentions in the book that his is a total Diet Coke “whore”.  Personally I have never liked diet soda and after all the controversay surrounding the safety of artificial sugars I personally stay as far away from the stuff as I can.

Tim even mentions his negative opinions on artificial sugars in the book saying to limit diest soft drinks to no more than 16 ounces per day if you can, as the aspartame can stimulate weight gain (Page 74).  And has a whole section on page 98 about Overconsumig Artificial Sweeteners, in which he states that anything over 16 ounces per day affects fat loss.

There have been many studies, Aspartame being the most widely studied of them all, and still there is no definitive answer whether it is safe and healthy or not.  My question is would it be better to drink regular soda or diet soda?  Searching the internet for a study comparing the two turned up a vast amount of contradictory information.

Lets break it down.  Regular soda has high amounts of sugar and/or high fructose corn syrup.   The health concerns with this are obesity and tooth decay.

Diet soda contains one or more of Aspartame, Cyclamates, Saccharin, Sucralose and acesulfame potassium.  The health concerns with these are varied and conflicting between sources.  Some studies claim that diet soda causes weight gain, other have links to cancer (which I did not link to because I did not find a credible one), one to fibromyalgia, and if you do a search on PubMed you will see over 100 papers on just Aspartame.  There are also many people out there that believe artificial sweeteners are the devil, and have some decent facts to back it up (the list of side affects reported is scary).

While the real answer is drink water (lots of water), that is not the purpose of this article.  Personally the fact that there have been so many studies on artificial sweeteners and there still is not definitive answer scares the shit out of me, and makes me think conspiracy (yes I have my tin foil hat on).  This along with the fact that I find the taste of real soda better, I will still drink regular soda and not diet soda.  Living in Canada I am lucky that regular soda does not containg high fructose corn syrup like soda in the US, just regular old refined sugar.

So do you drink soda?  Do you prefer diet or regular soda?  Agree or disagree leave a comment and let me know.

Related Reading


New look for the site

I had never planned on this site being up for this long or being as popular as it is, so I never took the time to implement a descent template. I think this one is better than the old one but could still use some tweaking. I am open to any suggestions or recommendation that people have and would even purchase a theme if it is nice.

Hopefully the site is a bit easier to read now. The only thing I have to do now is improve the content.


Public tracking

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Now everyone can see where I am at with my progress and my goals. I will tweak this spreadsheet based on what my current goals are for strength and running.

Slow Carb Recipe Resources

Here is a list of books, blogs and other resources that I have found for slow carb and paleo recipes:

Do you have any recipes or resources for recipes? Post them in the comments and let everyone know.


Losing Weight The Hard Way

I am down to my goal weight of 160-165lbs at 162.4lbs.  Now I did 1/2 of this the “easy” way with slow carb, kettlebells and PAGG.  Then I got some sort of flu and following that had an odd stomach issue.  Well a week ago today it hurt so bad I had to go to a Doctor, I went to a walk in clinic near by and the Doctor sent me to the hospital for a CT Scan.  After waiting at the hospital for about 4 hours I saw a Doctor that said I most likely have appendicitis and will need surgery that night pending a CT Scan.  The CT Scan came back positive and I was under the knife a few hours later.  After 3 days in the hospital and barely eating for probably 5 or 6 days I got home and the scale said 164lbs, before the hospital I was at 172lbs.  A couple days later I was down to 162lbs and finally starting to eat and feel better.

Today I am about 90%, and doing light workouts, but I have not been eating slow carb yet, that will start again tomorrow.  Although I am down to my goal weight my body fat percentage is probably still 18-20% and mostly around my stomach area.  I still have a lot of work to do, probably a lot of muscle to gain back.

If anyone wants to see a laparoscopic appendectomy there is a great video here on youtube

Interview with Pareto Nutrition

I have been talking to Trevor from Pareto Nutrition for over a month now, he saw some traffic from my blog when I first started and emailed me about it.  He and his business partner Kalin were nice enough to do a interview about their company and their PAGG product.

Q: For people that do not know what PAGG is can you give us a brief explanation?

A: The PAGG stack is a dietary supplement formulation developed by Tim Ferriss in his New York Times bestseller The Four Hour Body. The idea behind it is that by taking a specific combination of 4 ingredients at various times of the day, you can produce a greater benefit than by taking them all at once. The result is fat loss; when combined with other practices as defined in the book, such as resistance weight training and proper diet, the outcome is a leaner body.
The dosage schedule for the PAGG Stack, as outlined by Tim Ferriss, is very specific. The AGG portion of the stack is to be taken four times each day, before breakfast, lunch, dinner, and sleep.

  • Alpha-lipoic acid: 300 mg
  • Garlic extract: 200 mg
  • Green tea extract: providing 325mg of EGCG
  • B-complex vitamin (especially Biotin)

On the final dose of the day, before bed, include policosonal, the P in PAGG:

  • Policosanol: 23 mg once each day.

Q: Why is your product better? and have you checked out your competition at and and how do you compare?

A: From the beginning, we made a decision not to be distracted by what the competition was doing. I know it sounds cliched, but we were completely focused on our product and our business and that involved, and continues to involve, a lot of time researching ingredients, dose combinations and even new products.

That said, when you are constantly reading and working to find that advantage you do come across the competition. Being the first all-in-one PAGG stack to the market, we attracted a lot of copy-cat imitators. At first we brushed it off as flattery, but there were several cases of extreme plagiarism where they even used our product images and used MS Paint to poorly cover our name. Here’s a couple that were particularly, ahem, sad.

Eventually these “competitors” disappear after they’ve burned through their Google Adwords credit and free month of hosting, but it still has an impact when it creates confusion in the market and creates a general feeling of distrust among consumers. That’s a frustration that we have had to overcome.

As for the two you mentioned:

  1. — They had an interesting idea for a specific niche, but their website disappeared a few days ago, almost exactly 30 days after it first went online.
  2. — This site popped up in late December and has left us wondering exactly what they have been doing ever since, for three reasons.  UPDATE: see comment below from Tyler of
    1. First, a lot of what is on that site is either confusing or stolen. If you line up the supplement facts graphic over ours, the pixels on parts of it match ours perfectly. Then there’s just odd things like the ‘community’ feature. Worse, for the first month, they were trying to sell the site as a cash-flow positive business so they could move to New Zealand. It’s disappointing to us because we feel it reflects poorly on the supplement industry.
    2. Secondly, they have never shipped product. I remember seeing their ads back in early January, maybe even late December, saying that they were shipping now. We’ve heard from several of their angry customers, who paid money, that it just wasn’t the case. We have visited them occasionally since late December and their shipping date has changed 5 or 6 times since then. That’s not good for anyone.
    3. Thirdly, and to answer your core question about why our product is better, there are three reasons why this is true: 1) our decaffeinated green tea extract delivers the exact EGCG dosage Tim Ferris recommends. The green tea extract from is only 50% EGCG, meaning you need to take two pills to get the same dose as ours. And since green tea extract is the most expensive part of the stack, if you cut your percentage, you can lower your cost albeit delivering an inferior product in the process. 2) Our product uses an aged garlic extract, not a fresh garlic extract. Aged garlic extract (AGE) contains high levels of the active ingredient S-allyl cysteine. The aging process also removes the components that cause the garlic breath and odor that are a problem with non-aged extracts or fresh garlic. 3) We use capsules, which are better than tablets for storing alpha-lipoic acid (ALA). ALA is unstable if exposed to air and sunlight. Our red capsules were selected to minimize against that degradation to preserve the antioxidant’s potency until it hits your body.

Q: How did you get started with the PAGG stack?

A: We’ve been big fans of Tim Ferriss for quite a while. One of us had the chance to meet him after a talk he gave at Railsconf 2009 when he disclosed a “secret project” he was working on that involved a new book on extreme training, sleeping, eating, etc. We were more than intrigued and the concept of the 4 Hour Body was one we knew Tim would nail. It didn’t take much reading between the lines of his blog posts and chapter excerpts to know what was coming and having lived through the 90s with the ECA stack, we thought Tim might just have something that could change the training scene. As soon as we had the book in our hands and saw the PAGG stack, we knew we had our work cut out for us.

Q: What is your background in bio-chem/pharmacy/supplements?

A: Neither of us are chemists but both of us have undergraduate biochemistry, organic chemistry and even genetics under our belts. We’re also a lot like Ferriss; having tried and measured the results for almost everything on the market, our kitchens look like they might be FDA testing facilities sometimes. We had a good head start with PAGG, with Ferriss already designing the formula. That allowed us to hit Pubmed for many long hours to make sure that the logic was sound and things made sense. While Ferriss recommends a B-Complex vitamin in the book, we knew that the most important thing here was to make sure people got enough Biotin, since your intestinal bacteria produce less when you take ALA. All of our competitors have copied that idea now. Finally, we also knew when to bring in the right expertise and we contracted chemists to extensively review our product prior to manufacturing.

Q: Where does the name Pareto come from?

A: Anyone who read The Four Hour Work Week will know who Vilfredo Pareto was – the originator of the 80/20 rule. Right from the start we wanted to deliver people a lot of benefits without requiring them to do too much extra work. Pareto Nutrition’s mission is to help people achieve their health and fitness goals with as little effort as possible.

While most supplement companies pick their measurements and pill quantities at random (why do so many come in 90 capsule bottles regardless of the daily dose?), we focus on delivering exactly what you need, when you need it. Our goal is to create products designed around protocols based on the newest research and recommendations of top nutrition experts and body hackers. To try to sum all of that up in one name, Pareto Nutrition was a natural.

Q: Are there any regulations that you need to follow?

A: We strictly follow the FDA’s Good Manufacturing Practice (GMP). We’re fanatics about details and this is the only way we can ensure a quality product is delivered in every bottle.

Q: I have read your post about EGCG and insomnia, will you be keeping it in the night pill?

A: Yes. Everyone’s body is different, but after shipping out a lot of product we have found what we expected, and what the peer-reviewed research supports. There have been almost no complaints about insomnia; in fact, there has been only one so far. We actually have gathered a fair amount of anecdotal evidence (including our personal experience) that people are getting deep, restful sleeps while taking PAGG. Maybe we should include that as a side effect, uberman sleepers beware!

Q: Have you had any returns?

A: We offer a 110% guarantee if you return the unused product within 45 days. A lot of people see that and imagine that there will be a high return rate because a lot of people will take a chance on a product that might not be right for them. So far our return rate has been below 1%, well below industry averages, and we think that speaks to the quality of our product and the research and care that went into producing it.

Q: Do you or will you be selling other 4HB supplements? CQ? Athletic Greens or similar?

A: There are a lot of plans in the works, but we’re keeping tight-lipped at the moment.

Q: What chapters from the book have you found most beneficial other than the four horseman?

A: If you ask us, we would say there is one very important concept that stands out in the book – the commitment to collecting data about your training. From taking measurements to having before and after pictures, people often underestimate how important it is to measuring progress, and ultimately success, in any program. Without any proof of change, it’s difficult to make a good decision to stop, continue, or modify a program.

Q: Have you reached out to Tim about this or has he commented about it?

A: We tried to contact him when we first started but he was understandably very busy with the book launch. We know he’s aware of us.

Q: Where can people find it?

A: We welcome anyone to try the best PAGG stack on the market:

Doing it without PAGG

So you may have seen on the Pareto Nutrition Blog a picture I sent in of my PAGG bottles.  I am an affiliate of their and I always try to promote things that I believe in and use myself.  I have been sick for a few weeks so I did not want to start using the PAGG stack pills until I am feeling 100% so I have a good baseline to work with.

Previously I bought each item separately at my local Walmart (green tea and garlic) and health food store (ALA and Policosinol).  I did not buy green tea that was decaffeinated though, which was a big mistake.  This is why buying pre-mixed pills from Pareto is something I highly recommend, less guess work, no mistakes, easy to swallow in one pill.

So how to you stay on the low carb train while you are sick?  If anyone else has had this problem please leave a comment.  I have been having a fever, head and neck ache and a real lack of appetite.  I added a bit of fruit to my diet, and started taking multivitamins, calcium and magnesium every night and morning.  I have not yet been to the doctor so not sure what kind of flu I have but after a few weeks I am getting better.  I didn’t miss any work and was able to get through the days with some extra strength Advil, that shit work miracles.

So I did jump up in weight a few pounds, but I lost it all again very quickly and then some.  I am now down to 171-172lbs and close to my 165lb goal.  I have not had the energy to do my workouts though so I have to get back to that ASAP.

I will be sure to have a full review of taking the PAGG stack as soon as I start.