back to article Quid-a-day Reg nosh posse chap faces starvation diet

As the El Reg Quid-a-Day Nosh Posse's Live Below the Line challenge enters its fourth day, we're delighted to report that team member Toby Sibley has resurfaced - albeit looking a little thinner than when we last spoke to him. At the beginning of the week, Toby expressed doubts that he'd spend his £5 food budget wisely: Toby' …

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  1. Bottle_Cap
    Happy

    Fair play

    I probs busted that limit with my croissant for brekkie! A donation will be forthcoming!:)

  2. LHGFLICOD

    you may not starve as much as you think

    I think you are using the wrong value for calories in rice, dried long grain rice is around 350-380 calories per 100g, 2kg gives around 7000 calories, unless you do indeed have 2kg of cooked rice hanging around in the fridge then you only have 2720 calories of potential food poisoning to enjoy.

    Having said that I'm not sure I could eat 2kg of rice in a week so good luck.

    1. Lester Haines (Written by Reg staff) Gold badge

      Re: you may not starve as much as you think

      Interestingly, I looked at about ten different websites for the rice value, and as you point out the dried and cooked values are way different. I prefer my rice cooked, so that the figure I used.

      1. JDX Gold badge

        Re: you may not starve as much as you think

        Well yes. But you buy it dry so presumably he bought 500g of dry rice which when cooked weighs more like £2kg

        1. Anonymous Coward
          Anonymous Coward

          Re: you may not starve as much as you think

          2 pound-kilogrammes? A curious measure.

        2. Lester Haines (Written by Reg staff) Gold badge

          Re: Re: you may not starve as much as you think

          Actually, I've just had a d'oh moment here. Due to hunger-provoked brain malfunction, I did the calculation on 2kg of cooked rice. I actually have 2kg of dried, which is indeed 7,000 Calories.

          If I ate the whole lot then, I'd be on 2,190 Calories per day, by my new reckoning*. Still not enough to fuel heavy digging.

          *Do not trust this figure either, I'm feeling rather weary.

          1. Neil Barnes Silver badge

            Re: you may not starve as much as you think

            I did my calculation for the rice (and the beans, too) on the dry weight, on the grounds I didn't stop to weigh my 'delicious' cooked foods...

            1. Anonymous Coward
              Anonymous Coward

              Re: you may not starve as much as you think @Neil Barnes

              Likewise, I did my calculations on dry weight as it's much easier than weighing the cooked stuff that might have other things in it. According to calorie king rice and lentils are 365 and 353 per 100g respectively and potatoes are a mere 77.

              I've just cooked 500g of rice for lunch today and tomorrow and it's a mini-mountain, the wife is going to have to help me with it. Heaven knows how Lester is going to get through 2Kg.

              1. Neil Barnes Silver badge

                Re: you may not starve as much as you think @Neil Barnes

                Yeah, we've budgeted just 150g * 4 = 600g rice for the two of us for the week. No rice on Tuesday.

              2. Lester Haines (Written by Reg staff) Gold badge

                Re: Re: you may not starve as much as you think @Neil Barnes

                There's no way I'll get through the whole lot - I've got a 1kg bag left for tonight and tomorrow, and plenty of stew.

              3. The Mole

                Re: you may not starve as much as you think @Neil Barnes

                But remember a portion of potatoes weighs far more than a portion of dry rice so comparing them gram to gram really isn't a good way to do it. (Which is why the IAMS cat food adverts really annoy me - of course gram for gram dry food is better, you aren't weighing the water or feeding the same weight in food).

          2. Anonymous Coward
            Anonymous Coward

            Re: you may not starve as much as you think

            "If I ate the whole lot then, I'd be on 2,190 Calories per day, by my new reckoning*. Still not enough to fuel heavy digging."

            Of course it is. unless you're already at 15% body fat, and I doubt that many of us are.

            A typical "not fat" male still carries around 20% of their body mass as fat. You could burn off down to 15% and still be carrying more than an athlete, and not looking underweight, so that's 5% of say 85 kg, meaning that there's a minimum of 4.25 kg of lard you could force your body to use.

            At 900 calories per 100g, that's a built in bum-bag of 38,000 calories just asking to be used. If you're less than svelte then your resources may be far greater.

            1. KirstarK

              Re: you may not starve as much as you think

              900 Calories per 100g of body fat ?

              really ?

              1. Danny 14 Silver badge

                Re: you may not starve as much as you think

                900 calories per 100g is uncooked though (sliced straight straight from source so to speak)

                1. Anonymous Coward
                  Anonymous Coward

                  Re: you may not starve as much as you think

                  "900 calories per 100g is uncooked though"

                  Well, I wasn't suggesting that Lester or the other cooked and ate either themselves or each other. Although if they do could we have pictures? Some readers may recall the tragic tale of Horace, the boy who ate himself (those who don't should google it).

                  But to our commentard quizzing the high energy content of fat, yes it is (subject to my maths), because biologically that is the very purpose of fat, to form a flexible, compact, energy dense resource that you carry round with you until you need it. In the developed world most people never burn it off, leading to the high incidence of obesity, and resulting health problems.

            2. DocJames
              IT Angle

              Healthy body fat percentage

              6-11% for men

              12-18% for women

              You need fat to cushion organs, provide insulation for neurons, transport various (fat-soluble) things around the body etc, as well as energy storage. Women have much higher healthy levels of body fat as they need the additional reserve when pregnant and breast feeding. (This is why women with anorexia stop having their periods.)

              Given the generally overweight nature of the population, and the fact that we can survive for prolonged periods without any nutrition (see IRA hunger strikers, who in comparison to the current day were all remarkably skinny at the start - normal for the 70s and 80s) this is a psychological exercise rather than one which will put your physical health at risk. (This means I have lots of respect for those who undertake this challenge.)

              And remember: basal metabolic rate is directly proportional to weight.

              If you're fat, you eat more to maintain your weight.

              Obesity is a societal issue, with social change required to fix it.

              1. Fluffy Bunny
                Boffin

                Re: Healthy body fat percentage

                A lot of obesity is caused not so much by eating too much, but by eating the wrong things. If you're married to a type-2 diabetic, watch the blood sugar levels as they measure them. Eating any sort of carbohydrate (which are really just complex chains of sugar) will cause a gigantic sugar spike immediately after eating. Whereas eating the same number of calories of meat doesn't. As well, the blood sugar levels stay in a healthy range for much longer after a high protien meal, generally the next mornig, compared to a carbohydrate based meal where the sugar levels start to crash in a few hours.

                What does this have to do with otherwise healthy people that just have a bit of extra weight? Well, people evolved to take in carbohydrates in the autumn as the grasses and fruit trees ripened. The plants produce a lot more than people can use in such a short time (obviously a mechanism to overwhelm any consumer and ensure as much as possible is left on the ground to grow the next year). The body couldn't use all that energy, so the sugar spike causes insulin to be produced, which triggers the fat cells to absorb most of the sugar (after conversion by the liver).

                The extra fat will be used later to get the person through the winter when energy is very hard to come by. The reason we are seeing high obesity rates now is firstly because we have invented lots of very good ways to preserve our carbohydrates so we can use them year-round. In other words, we no longer have an enforced famine to burn off the extra energy. The second reason is the instructions by the nutrition industry to avoid anything that could have fat in it (like meat) in favour of things that don't have fat (like carbohydrates). I assume the idea was that if we consume fat, we get fat, whereas "healthy" carbohydrates can't make us fat. This turns out to be contrary to our biology.

                One of the interesting new facts I have recently discovered is that carbohydrates can't fill you up. That is, there is nothing in them to trigger the satisfied feeling of having had a good meal. You can go straight from hungry to stuffed without ever feeeling like it is time to stop. You can even be stuffed and feel the need to eat something more. Whereas protien (ie meat) will make you feel satisfied and this is the basic principle behind modern diets such as the Atkins and LCHF diets: if you are satisfied from eating enough protien, you won't want to keep eating and end up taking in much less calories, and there is little temptation to snack either.

                It looks like 50 years of nutrition doctrine was based on nothing more than sympathetic magic.

              2. Anonymous Coward
                Anonymous Coward

                Re: Healthy body fat percentage@DocJames

                "Obesity is a societal issue, with social change required to fix it."

                Not in my book. That's a cop out to the overweight who don't want to take responsibility for being lardy. I've dropped a couple of stone and kept it off, but it requires me to take the action.

                I'm not sure that you meant it, but for the public health specialists "societal change" seems to involve fat taxes, outlawing large fizzy drinks, regulation of where shops are allowed to put the sweets and other nonsense. As per Fluffy Bunny's excellent post, much of the advice people have been given is wrong, although the reality is they don't even follow that advice. But this wrong advice extends to things like encouraging exercise - most people simply don't do enough to make a difference to the considerable over-eating most of us do of our own free will.

                If people are happy being fat, is it society's (or rather government's) job to intervene? And if they aren't happy being fat, isn't it their responsibility to reduce the amount of junk they eat? All very well blaming McDonald's and demanding regulation, but I don't see long queues of people at salad bars, and closing the fast food industry down would have the same effect as the War on Pubs, which has simply meant people drink at home.

                1. DocJames

                  Re: Healthy body fat percentage@DocJames

                  Sure, individuals can lose weight, but we live in an obesogenic environment. Exercise is seen as something special that you need to visit a gym for, and calories are unimaginably available and cheap, even compared to the middle of the 20th century. The extent of obesity in the population has normalised being overweight - just look at photos of any mass occasion in the past compared to today.

                  Congratulations on losing weight. That's great for you. If you want to improve the health of the population though, you need political change: less out of town supermarkets, more walking/cycling for transport, people consuming (marginally) less calories. There are a variety of ways of achieving these goals, ranging from the neofascist, to the gentle nudges (eg: if you make cycling safer; people will cycle more rather than drive).

                  I'm not in favour of government regulation demanding a 1:1 salad bar:McD's ratio or similar. A war on fast food industry would have a dramatic effect, as the food is full of calories and doesn't fill you up like a meal at home does (personal opinion, ymmv), but is excessive regulation. You could reasonably regulate to require calorie content information of food. And large fizzy drinks are an easy win: huge amounts of calories that do not satiate, whilst regulation has little collateral damage.

                  I suppose it comes down to a personal opinion on the role of government. I see it as protecting its citizens.* In this case, it should protect us for the sake of our future health.

                  * in an ideal world, which this is not.

                  1. Dodgy Geezer Silver badge

                    Re: Healthy body fat percentage@DocJames

                    ...I suppose it comes down to a personal opinion on the role of government. I see it as protecting its citizens.* In this case, it should protect us for the sake of our future health...

                    So to 'protect the health' of the average citizen, we would empower a central bureaucracy to enforce currently-held scientific standards onto a compliant group of obedient subjects. And after 'health', what else will this organisation decide to 'protect'?

                    Ever thought that the cure might turn out to be worse than the disease?

                    1. DocJames

                      Re: Healthy body fat percentage@DocJames

                      In less emotive language and without the hinted at slippery slope argument, yes.

                      The trick is to ensure the cure is not worse than the disease. The balancing act is hard and the balancing point alters as "currently-held scientific standards" alter. To pretend otherwise is foolish. The bureaucracy is called government.

                      If you wish for some Roussean state of nature, I don't think you've fully considered the problem.

          3. JLV Silver badge
            Pint

            Re: you may not starve as much as you think

            Thing about rice is that it really is only a fuel. No nutritional value to speak of, 'sides calories - no minerals, protein, fibre or vitamins. A tiny bit better with brown rice, but not very much.

            Still, as I have been tempted to remark to folks going on about "empty calories", for plenty of people getting the calories IS the point. It's not like everyone eats as much as they want. And not everyone can blather about gluten issues and organic food choices. Not in the West, and certainly even less so elsewhere.

            Impressed with your commitment! Have a pint on me (when done).

            1. This post has been deleted by its author

  3. JDX Gold badge

    an average man needs 2,500 Calories each day to survive

    No, that is an approximate figure for the calories needed to sustain the same weight. For a week, you'll just be hungry and rue your bad planning.

    1. fishman

      Re: an average man needs 2,500 Calories each day to survive

      2,500 calories is too much for the average man, unless he is fairly active. I'm, 6 feet tall, walk 4 miles a day at a good clip, exercise 25 minutes a day, and I burn 2,500 calories.

  4. wowfood

    I often

    look at these shopping lists and think "Bugger me, how cheap?" It makes me regret living alone. Sure I could bulk buy the giant sack of potatoes and save 50%, but by the time I get through about 20%, the remainder of the taters wouldn't be so nice anymore.

    Although I don't do too bad at living close to the line.

    After working it out online, my average food costs roughly

    Breakfast (if I wake early enough) is two slices of toasted seedy bread. 15p give or take.

    Dinner 46p + rice. Don't remember what that costs per portion. Would cost less if I bought a giant bag of the stuff.

    It's lunch and drinks where I foul up miserably. bottlse of pop, canteen food etc. I would pre-cook something at home and bring it in, but my freezer has zero space in it any more. As stated, living alone is a pain because you have to bulk buy stuff for a decent deal. I tend to buy a lot of meat from the butchers, (more you buy, better the discount) then cook a load of stuff one day after the next in the slow cooker. Freezer is filled to the brim with chilli, bolognase, curry, shepherds pie, and some pasta stuff I make. Majority of it is pretty easy too. All use a similar bases too.

    1. dogged

      Re: I often

      You can still bulk-buy dried goods like rice and pasta and non-perishables like oil.

      I make regular use of Costco for this purpose.

    2. Lamont Cranston

      Re: I often

      Take some of the stuff out of your freezer, and eat it for lunch? Unless you're stockpiling for the inevitable collapse of society...

      1. breakfast

        Re: I often

        At which point the power would presumably go off and the contents of the freezer need to be consumed in short order.

    3. FlatSpot

      Re: I often

      Grass is always greener... but by being single you'll be saving a fortune in not buying wine

      1. WraithCadmus

        Re: I often

        "but by being single you'll be saving a fortune in not buying wine"

        Speak for yourself! *hic*

      2. I ain't Spartacus Gold badge

        Re: I often

        Grass is always greener... but by being single you'll be saving a fortune in not buying wine

        Oh dear. I must be doing it wrong. Glug, glug. A rather nice man brought me online-ordered boozy nectar at 8:30 last night. It was all wine and port. There'll be considerably less of it after this weekend.

        I can't buy veg in bulk, as I'm too lazy to have a mass cooking and freezing session to use it up. But I do currently have over 2 years supply of dishwasher tablets, as Sainsbury's had it on special offer, and gave me even more cash if I spent £25 on cleaning stuff in one shop. And dry goods like rice and pasta last. Although you do then come up against the problem of limited cupboard space.

    4. Eddy Ito Silver badge

      Re: I often

      "by the time I get through about 20%, the remainder of the taters wouldn't be so nice anymore."

      Doesn't any one have a root cellar? It doesn't take much to build one from a chest freezer if you have the space. All you need is to add a small fan and a temperature controller which can be something as simple as a line voltage thermostat driving a spdt relay and set it for around 36 F.

      1. Danny 14 Silver badge

        Re: I often

        Girly products hogs the most of our shopping. Being thrifty on food saving £20 a week is pointless when a jar of goop costs more.

    5. Evil Auditor Silver badge
      Devil

      Re: I often

      wowfood, admit it, you're just making up an excuse to find a partner.

  5. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Bulk buying

    As long as you've got a cupboard, larder, or under-stairs cubby hole you can use, you can still bulk-buy stuff like rice and dried pasta as that will keep for ages. Also I keep spuds for maybe a month in the fridge, so you can buy them in at least 5KG bags at a time.

    Agreed though, you should definitely use some of that stuff in your freezer as it's only using up lecky - get it 'et!

    1. FunkyEric

      Re: Bulk buying

      Doesn't a full freezer cost less to run than an empty one as you don't have to keep chilling the warm air that gets in when you open it up?

      1. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        Re: Bulk buying

        "Doesn't a full freezer cost less to run than an empty one as you don't have to keep chilling the warm air that gets in when you open it up?"

        In theory yes. But unless you're loading it with pre-frozen goods the marginal air-exchange heat losses of (say) three openings per day become relatively small compared to the energy use in freezing home cooking, even from room temperature, largely because there's three orders of magnitude between the volumetric heat capacity of air and typical solids.

        In practical terms the primary inefficiency of an under-utilised freezer is down to the fact that you've got a steep heat gradient across a larger surface area than you need, and you've got continuous heat loss/gain on that unnecessarily larger surface area.

    2. Paul Fowler

      Re: Bulk buying

      Be careful putting spuds in the fridge, apparently it increases sugar which converts to acrylamide at high cooking temps.

      1. pdh

        Re: Bulk buying

        Just store them somewhere cool and dry -- they'll be fine -- they'll keep for a very long time as-is.

        I grew potatoes in the garden last summer and I got *lots* more than I expected. We keep them in a dark box in the basement (double-boxed actually, to keep the light out), and we're just now finishing them up.

        They look kind of shriveled and they're sprouting, but once you cut off the sprouts and cook them (we either bake or mash them), they're perfectly acceptable.

        1. Eddy Ito Silver badge
          IT Angle

          Re: Bulk buying

          Actually you want cool and humid, like 90% rh. Use a fan to keep the air circulating and prevent mold. Give it an IT angle by making it a cpu or case fan.

          1. Marvin the Martian

            Re: "use a fan to keep the air circulating"

            (1) I can see how you're saving money by having a fan + AC/DC convertor running... Hm.

            (2) no need anyway, in most draughty UK houses

            1. Eddy Ito Silver badge

              Re: "use a fan to keep the air circulating"

              "I can see how you're saving money by having a fan + AC/DC convertor running... Hm."

              Sure bet, an old case fan mated to a usb cable plugged into a cell phone charger has to cost less to run than tossing half a sack of potatoes every month or so.

    3. DrXym Silver badge

      Re: Bulk buying

      One time after a holiday from Dubai I bought a 5kg sack of basmati rice from a supermarket for about £2 feeling smug about how much money I saved. I used it once, left it in the cupboard and next time I opened it was crawling with little mites which must have found their way in. Ended up binning it. I stick bulldog clips on everything now.

      1. Dodgy Geezer Silver badge

        Re: Bulk buying

        ...next time I opened it was crawling with little mites ..

        Mites are extra protein. CF Royal Navy biscuit in the 1800s ....

  6. phil dude
    Unhappy

    energy...

    Although I know this is not the point of the "study", it would be interested to see how much extra energy is required too. It is a serious point that some people in our society might freeze to death, fearing the cost of power....

    Sad, but it does happen.

    P.

    1. Neil Barnes Silver badge

      Re: energy...

      A fair point, which has been discussed a little. Lester's been doing his cooking outside, but I suspect few of us are able to measure/calculate the energy costs accurately - I know I can't.

      I am using a pressure cooker for the pulses which keeps it down a bit - ten to twenty minutes cooking rather than an hour or two.

  7. Charlie Clark Silver badge

    Easier not just not eating

    I remember going without food for a couple of weeks (I drank juice and tea) and still being able to cycle 7 miles two and from university and attend classes without any problems. Once the initial hunger is over it was pretty easy and I think most of us could do this for about a month without any problems. The body just uses up all the energy stored as fat.

    Going on a crash diet of reduced calories confuses the body as it doesn't know what to do. This often leads to the body trying to store the energy from the food consumed and leads to weight loss. The body needs some time to adjust to the new regime.

  8. tony
    Happy

    Get yourself into ketosis, then you can eat around 600-800 calories a day and still feel great.

    People around you not so much, especially if you breath out.

  9. Phil Atkin

    PORRIDGE!

    I have spent the last 4 years eating porridge for breakfast AND lunch. Some 700 calorise, total cost abot 20p. Come on, this should be easy.

    1. Fluffy Bunny
      Thumb Down

      Re: PORRIDGE!

      Eew, that's revolting.

  10. SANm@n

    A-maize-ing Food

    Have you thought about corn instead of rice? A quick Mr. Google query showed that is roughly 3 times "better" than white rice. (calories, protein, carbs)

    Millions of us overweight Americans can attest to it's potency! Not sure how it stack up pricewise against rice across the pond.

    1. Marvin the Martian

      Re: A-maize-ing Food

      Maize isn't a complete protein I think, so you'd be best off with a mixture wheat-or-rice-plus-maize. Else: Pellagra.

      1. Swarthy Silver badge

        Re: A-maize-ing Food

        Rice is not a complete protein either, which is why you usually have beans+rice, combined, they are complete. I think maize + tomatoes is also complete, but I would not quote me on it.

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    1. John Bailey

      Re: Think 3rd world...

      "Doesn't anyone hunt animals for food anymore?"

      Not unless they refuse to drop my sandwich on command.

    2. Lamont Cranston

      Re: Think 3rd world...

      Not in the UK, they don't! No guns (for the most part), bow and arrow is illegal for hunting purposes, and we're not allowed to run things over on purpose. That only leaves trapping, and most of us wouldn't know where to start.

      Anyone fancy wrestling a deer to death?

  12. Winkypop Silver badge
    Gimp

    It's a gas, gas, gas!

    Lentils and beans meanz fartz, no?

    --> Think gas mask.

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: It's a gas, gas, gas!

      "--> Think gas mask."

      Not IME. You get the gas volume from pulses, but you need plenty of spices and ideally some meat to get a good strong aroma. So a bland pulse laden diet gets you noisy cold farts, but if you spice it up and mix in some meat you can produce rewardingly warm, aromatic and often silent trumps.

      It really is about time that we had some proper research on what diet produces the fastest, richest, and most reliable flatulence, to bring this everyday pleasure closer to an "on demand" experience, rather than coming as an unplanned delight.

      Do you think that Kickstarter could fund the "On Demand" research project?

      1. Neil Barnes Silver badge

        Re: It's a gas, gas, gas!

        @Ledswinger: You are Le Pétomane and I claim my five pounds!

      2. TheWeenie
        Pint

        Re: It's a gas, gas, gas!

        FaaS - Fart as a Service, love it!

        1. Anonymous Coward
          Anonymous Coward

          Re: It's a gas, gas, gas!

          Well, a service is something provided to a third party, and I'm not sure that they'd appreciate FaaS. I prefer the "on demand" concept, so FoD.

          For the Kickstarter project, I did think that we could harness home PC users for the basic data collection Folding@home style. They could keep scrupulous records of their diet (including timing) and of the subjective quality of their emissions, under the obvious name of Farting@home. Then we have proper boffins with white coats and pointy heads to undertake some scientific and statistical magic.

          Obviously we'd need to protect the IP, so that (for example) appropriate mixes could be sold to the highest bidder, and protected against imitations and copy cats. I can feel a whole business model coming on: Company name: Miasma Natural Fragrances Ltd, Fast Food Product lines: "Boffburger", "Kids Party Guff Box", "Quarter Pounder With Attitude", Pre-prepared meals for supermarkets under the MNF Vilest brand: Duckstepper Beans, Braised Lamb Gutrotter, and so on.

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