Fat Tuesday marked the end of Mardi Gras and Carnival activities. It also marked the beginning of a beer blogger’s quest to drink only beer throughout Lent. Although some may choose to give up beer for Lent, J Wilson isn’t acting heretically; he’s following what was once a tradition of Paulaner monks in Munich.
The monks made a carb-dense beer that was viewed as similar to bread. By cutting off the fermentation process early, you’d be left with a drink with a nutritional profile similar to bread, especially because yeast didn’t exist back then to break down the starches to simple sugars. To pull off his stunt, Wilson enlisted a Rock Bottom Brewery in Des Moines — for those of you who forgot your state capitals, that’s in Iowa.
Here are the facts:
- 4 beers per day
- Each beer has 6.67% ABV and 288 calories
- Lots of water
- Nothing else
That’s 45% efficiency, meaning 45% (130) of its calories are from alcohol and 158 from other sources. Figure a few grams of low quality protein and approximately 37 grams of carbs per beer. That’s just 632 “food calories,” which is going to be close to starvation level over the course of 45 days. Almost all carbs, trace protein and zero fat, as beer does not have any fat.
I’d opine that this diet sucks and he’ll probably alter it or abandon it after getting sick or not being able to function normally. It would be one thing be sedentary at near starvation levels, but it’s another to continue working and try to live “normally.” Daily activities dictate that more calories are needed just to live.
The monks did this fast because they couldn’t eat, but there’s ways to drink calories. Wilson even realizes this, saying he could “drink bacon fat,” which probably wouldn’t be a bad idea. Aside from the extra calories it would provide, the body needs fat to absorb fat soluble vitamins and promote proper organ function. I’d guess that the monks used olive oil to add the fat calories. And for 45 days, olive oil and beer would be an unhealthy but not dangerous diet. What Wilson is doing shouldn’t work.
We’ll follow here and stay tuned to see how it turns out.