Monday 17 March 2014

Pies Don't Make You Fat! I Ate Pie for EVERY Meal for a Week and Lost Weight

It was a cold, rainy day. As I walked home across Gloucester my hands were starting to go numb. I still had quite a walk before I would get home and so I looked around desperately for somewhere I might be able to warm up. I could see a chip shop ahead and so I dashed inside, not so much out of desire for fried potato but more out of a desire to be inside for a few moments and gather enough strength for the rest of my journey. The friendly glow from the hot counter instantly made me feel better. Not just because it was actually giving out plenty of warmth but also because I could see some hot pies behind it. 

Despite the fact that I had come in with no intention of buying a pie I knew that one of these crusty delights would soon be warming up my frozen fingers. There was a gentleman in front of me who I instantly felt had quite a lot of presence. Not because of any personality he may or may not have had, but because he was rather a large gentleman and there wasn't really a lot of space. I didn't think it would be unreasonable to assume he was clinically obese. He seemed to be struggling to breath just from the walk along the counter and up to the till. He ordered a large portions of chips, a batttered sausage and a large piece of cod. After he had paid I ordered my single beef and onion pie. The obese man leaned across to me and said 'I wouldn't touch those son, it was pies that made me the fat b@stard that I am today.'

Initially this didn't seem to be too much of an unreasonable comment but after a while it got me thinking. Was it really pies that made this guy as fat as he was? Certainly he didn't seem to have solved his problems by switching to chips, sausage AND cod. Was my single pie treat for the day really going to have much impact on my health? How did our society come to blame pies so heavily for our obesity problem? It was then I decided on the challenge I would undertake for British Pie Week. I needed some way to find out what effect eating a lot of pies would have on my health.

This why I annouced my #PiePledge for British Pie Week would be to eat pie for every meal, giving a total of 21 pie meals in one week. The generally accepted wisdom is that this kind of diet would leave me with more than just weight on my mind, I should end up physically weighing more than I did at the start of the challenge. Many might also expect other noticable effects, such as digestive issues or a loss of energy. In order to make this a fair test I needed to isolate the effect of the pies. To do this the rest of the food I ate was mainly healthy and I made sure I ate at least my 5-a-day of fruit and veg. I also completely cut out snacks between meals. However, I by no means only ate small pies, I made sure I always ate at least a medium sized pie, with some being over 1000 calories.

I have now completed the challenge, managing to eat all 21 pie meals and recorded my weight throughout the challenge. I can officially annouce today on Pierate that upon completing the challenge I did actually find myself 2 pounds lighter than when I began. This wasn't completely scientific because of course my weight varies due to time of day, clothing, etc. But, also my body fat did go down during the challenge, by the end I recorded body fat around 2% less than when I started. (Down from 11.8% to 9.6%.) How is this possible I hear you ask? Well... I'm not quite sure...

I realise now that I do snack quite a lot and I think this is much more of a contributor to my body weight than pies. It was actually quite hard to give these things up and made me realise how many calories I consume in chocolate, biscuits, crisps etc. Despite containing many calories these things don't really stop you feeling hungry. At least with a pie there is a sense of fulfilment as it can be a whole meal in it's own right. I felt quite satisfied just eating my three round meals a day. I also did a moderate amount of exercise, although only a similar amount to what I would normally do.

But how did I feel during the challenge? I know it might be hard to believe, but genuinely I felt better than normal. I did have one bout of stomach acid issues, but this is actually less than normal for me! I occasionally longed to eat pizza or muesli but most of the pie meals really were satisfying and I didn't crave snacks all that much.

Too often people say to me that they would eat pies but they can't as they are unhealthy. I would say this, don't blame the pies, they admittedly can have a lot of calories in them but they can be enjoyed in moderation (and even in excess) without making you put on weight. A pie might even fill you up and help limit the desire to eat between meals. Pies should not be simply used as a scapegoat or as a symbol of our obesity problem because it simply isn't fair on the pies! Who ate all the pies? I did, but you wouldn't know it...

*Please note, I did on occasion significantly exceed my Guideline Daily Amounts of saturated fat and salt, although most days I was quite close to the GDA figures.

See below for my video diary from each day. There is also a separate review which can be found by clicking on each pie listed, in total 18 new pies were reviewed. The #pie4everymeal challenge completed 7 consecutive days of Pie-thagoras Theorem but it was by no means the only challenge to do this during British Pie Week. We also completed a range of other #PiePledges, see our summary of British Pie Week for what we got up to here at Pierate, the unofficial home of British Pie Week.

Day One

Breakfast: Co-op  - Rhubarb
Lunch: M. Manze - Minced Beef
Dinner: Nice Pie - Crocodile

Day Two

Breakfast: Welsh Pantry - Steak & Kidney
Lunch: Sainsburys - Melton Mowbray Pork
Dinner: ASDA - Ultimate Steak

Day Three

Breakfast: Welsh Pantry - Steak & Kidney
Lunch: Dickinson & Morris - Melton Mowbray Pork
Dinner: Morrisons - Steak & Ale

Day Four

Breakfast: Morrisons - Individual Apple
Lunch: Morrisons - Cheese & Onion
Dinner: Morrisons - Chunky Steak

Day Five

Breakfast: Morrisons - Individual Apple
Lunch: Morrisons - Steak & Kidney
Dinner: The Farmers Boy Inn - Steak & Stout

Day Six

Breakfast: Greggs - Minced Beef & Onion
Lunch: Tom's Pies - Steak & Ale
Dinner: Hollands - Potato & Meat

Day Seven

Breakfast: Linda McCartney - Vegetarian Country
Lunch: Dickinson & Morris - Melton Mowbray Pork
Dinner: Homemade - Gluten Free Sausage, Black Pudding & Apple

Pierate is a pie review website searching for the ultimate pie. For all the pies we have reviewed have a look at our Pie Rankings or find pies of a particular flavour under Pies: Categorised.

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