My First Protein Sparing Modified Fast Experience – Dr. Michael Eades’ Thin So Fast

(This is part 5 of a multi-part series on How to Tweak a Low Carb Diet. It discusses my weight loss journey so far. If you didn't read part 1, you can do so by clicking on the how-to link. Part 1 also includes links to the rest of this series.)

After leaving the Kimkins’ weight loss diet behind, I began reading through Lyle McDonald’s website and body building forum because of a comment I received to one of my blog posts. This commenter had gotten stuck when she was almost to goal weight and had broken her stall by incorporating Lyle’s technique of using refeeds to reset her Leptin and other hormone levels back to normal. She warned me that the forum participants were not always nice to each other, especially newbies, and that they could be a bit over-the-top, but she believed the information I would find there would help me decide what to do next.

That piqued my interest. Not only because I trusted the source of that information, but because I knew there had to be a valid reason why hundreds of dieters were finding ourselves permanently stalled on a low carb diet plan. In a manner of speaking, the information I found at the Body Recomposition website and its attached forum literally rocked my world. It offered the truth about all forms of weight loss diets that few low carb dieters were willing to face and believe. There, I found information on basic low carb diets, cyclical low carb diets, a protein sparing modified fast, and dieting in general.

What I came to realize was that far too many individuals want to believe that a low carb diet plan is magic. They want to believe that they can just avoid most of the carbohydrates found in a typical American diet, eat all of the dietary fat and protein they want, a few veggies and low glycemic fruits like strawberries and blueberries, and everything will miraculously correct itself. Except…weight loss diets don’t work that way.

All diets work through calorie restriction, even low carb diets. So the Body Recomposition website introduced me to a whole new way of thinking and looking at weight loss diets in general.

With that information in hand, I went back to the very beginning of the protein sparing modified fast section of the forum and began working my way through every single forum post on that original site that dealt specifically with PSMF diets. Now, a PSMF diet was originally created to treat obese individuals in a hospital setting. This was back during the 70s, around the time that Dr. Atkins was publishing his first low carb diet book. It involved medical scientists at Harvard Medical School and Mt. Sinai Hospital in Cleveland. Their goal was to find a better way to treat obesity than the current method of fasting.

While fasting works for obvious reasons, it causes muscle depletion as well as potassium and other vitamin and mineral deficiencies, so it was necessary to find a more effective way to get the weight off as quickly as possible. The weight loss solution turned out to be an egg protein powder and glucose supplement that prevented muscle loss, offered only a few carbohydrates, and was low in calories. The only drawback to this weight loss method was the expense of a hospital stay. So it wasn’t very long before a PSMF diet turned into an outpatient program.

That outpatient program created an explosion among manufacturers who scrambled to create protein powders that dieters could use to lose weight successfully. Since the name of the game for Big Business is always “profits,” these original protein powders were made of the cheapest protein source there was: collagen. Collagen is not very useful to the body, so those who followed these initial protein powder diets actually put themselves into a protein deficiency similar to unsupervised fasting. As a result, many people died.  

This caused Dr. Michael R. Eades to design a protein drink for himself that was far more safe. This protein shake used the equivalent of a quart of milk in the form of nonfat dry milk powder, a quarter of a cup of protein powder (egg or soy protein was available by then), a teaspoon of granulated fructose and a teaspoon of No Salt potassium substitute. He divided the recipe into four servings and mixed the powder with water to create four protein shakes that he drank throughout the day. In addition, he ate a small low carbohydrate meal of lean meat and vegetables for dinner.

This is what Dr. Eades actually did to transcend his own weight problem. It was the first diet program he created. Called Thin so Fast, this protein sparing plan consisted of:
  • 100 grams of protein
  • 53 grams of fat
  • 40 grams of carbohydrate
  • 1,000 calories
He used this low fat, semi-liquid protein sparing modified fast himself to reach his goal weight. He did not use a high fat, high calorie, low carb diet.

Now, there is nothing magical about this shake formula. It was just the healthiest recipe Dr. Eades came up with at that time. Today, were he to do this diet program again, he has said that he would skip the non-fat milk powder and the fructose, and just use any of the protein powders available today. But that still makes his proposed weight loss diet a low fat, low calorie, low carb diet plan. Not what the low carb community is preaching today.

So after thoroughly investigating the possibilities at Lyle’s website, I first tried this liquid PSMF approach because it seemed like it would be the easiest way to go. My plan was to use it for five days, Monday through Friday, and then eat typical low carb meals on the weekends. I used a high-quality, tasty whey protein powder that I spiked with some Hershey’s cocoa power. I sweetened it with Splenda and used diet Dr. Pepper for the liquid. I used 2 tablespoons of heavy cream or 1/4 cup cottage cheese to thicken it up. Sometimes I added cinnamon for a little extra kick, and sometimes I omitted the cocoa and used one of the flavored Splenda-sweetened zero carb syrups available from Davinci.

While tasty and filling, I didn’t last even a week. By day four or five I was having to gag down the protein shakes. At that point in time, I was too addicted to food. So using protein shakes everyday for both breakfast and lunch was just too much. Now, don’t get me wrong. I LOVE protein shakes. And with my current dietary issues and restrictions, it might work very well today. I don’t know. I haven’t tried egg protein powders before, so I don’t know how they taste. Nor, do I know how complete of a protein a brown rice protein power would be. I haven’t investigated gluten free, dairy free protein powders yet. But I do remember that soy powders are awful.

After realizing that the easy way wasn’t going to work for me, I was finally ready to take a closer look at what Lyle McDonald recommended for people in my situation.

Part 6: Lyle McDonald's Rapid Fat Loss Diet -- Taking a Full Diet Break


  1. Even the healthiest weight loss diet has its restrictions when it comes to calorie count. As we decrease intake of food containing calories, some of our body minerals decrease as well, consequently requiring alternatives to keep our body functioning well. A protein shake is one of those alternatives that replenishes those minerals and provides energy to our body. Protein shakes are advisable to those who are active in their daily intense workouts, or fitness enthusiasts, since they need restoring of fuel source the most.

    Erlinda Lilly

  2. Hi Erlinda,
    I used a lot of protein shakes during the weight-loss portion of my journey. They are easy, quick, and can be made low-fat, high-fat, or anything in between -- depending upon a dieter's needs. Thank you for your comments.

  3. I lost 20 lbs thanks to PSMF last year and have kept off about 18. I used some recipes from to keep from going crazy with just chicken breast and egg whites.

    1. Thank you for sharing that. Eating just chicken breast and egg whites can get quite boring.

  4. This comment has been removed by the author.

  5. I throughly enjoyed your article here about PSMF. You gave a very concise, yet thorough and (seemingly) unbiased review of it. Of course, how unbiased can one be if it's a review?? ;)

    Anyways, it was informative to say the least. I follow McDonald's work quite extensively so I do have a background in what you've talked about here. In any case, I thought you described the PSMF in a way Lyle would be proud of :)

    I'm actually on diet that consists of PSMF intervals; few days of 'regular' diet, then one or two days a week of PSMF using primarily protein powder. Although McDonald believes have one's diet primarily protein powder, if even for one day, isn't a good idea in the long term. He cites that the first time a PSMF was utilized was back 70's, albeit in a very ignorant matter, and killed some people. The reason, McDonald explains, is that they relied on JUST liquid nutrition for several days. Obviously a bad idea.

    Thanks for the good read and nice job on your website here! I'm also attempting to create a website/blog of challenges that I've put myself up to. If you're curious at all, I suggest you check it out! Let me know what you think; If you don't want me putting my blog address on here, I totally understand. I'll edit the comment and take this last part out.

    1. I haven't looked at this post in ages, and appreciate your comments. I've had a couple of people ask me about PSMF diets, so I took a quick look at your site. Your blog looks great! The link to it is fine. I do delete most comments with links, but only because 99.9% of them are not relevant or just trying to sell something.

    2. Yes... I've had some problems with that too.

      Vickie, are you trying to lose weight or on a specific diet? Just curious...
      And if so, what are you doing?

    3. I gained a lot of weight due to Graves Disease, so right now, I'm just making small changes, one at a time, and sort of backing into the diet thing.

  6. This is a great article. The protein sparing modified fast is an excellent choice for someone looking to lose weight fast. The article is so true about why everyone's situation is unique. It takes a great deal of will-power to achieve this diet, but it is very worth it.

    1. Thanks. Doing just shakes takes a lot of self-discipline, but I really enjoyed doing the whole foods type of PSMF. I definitely would not have accomplished what I did without cutting down on the fats.


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