Welcome back to The Low Carb Leader podcast! This week’s episode of our Success Stories series is all about Dan Quibell, founder of The Bacon Experiment.
As a child, Dan turned to food to cope with the emotional stress of his parents’ divorce. As he got older, he began having problems with losing weight and keeping the weight off. By the time he was 14-years-old, he was diagnosed with a painful condition called Gout, a form of arthritis that causes pain, stiffness, and swelling in a joint. Gout is often linked to being overweight or obese and is caused by having too much uric acid in the blood.
The Path to Wellness
By the time Dan graduated high school, he was diagnosed with obesity, weighing in at around 250 pounds. In his 20s, he began trying to lose weight through various diet programs and meal plans including a low-fat diet and walking. Through the low-fat meal plan and walking, he lost 70 pounds. Since much of the weight he lost was muscle mass, his friends and family began expressing their concern for his health and well-being.
After the low-fat diet stopped working for him, Dan decided to look for other weight-loss options to help him reach his goals. He began experimenting with a vegetarian diet, as well as a vegan diet – with little to no results.
This set him on the path to continue searching for a program that would be easy and enjoyable to follow while still achieving the goals he set for himself. After discovering the podcast The Fat Burning Man by Abel James, he decided to give the ketogenic diet a shot.
“I knew it was out there, but I just didn’t know what it was yet.” – Dan Quibell
The Bacon Experiment Journey
Dan became determined to give the ketogenic diet a fair chance, but knew he needed to start out slow. So, he decided to stick with a bacon and water diet for the first 30-days to see how much weight he could lose within that time, assess his energy levels, and his overall experience.
He explains how impressed he was with his results after the first 30 days – losing about 20 pounds while still feeling great and having plenty of energy. In fact, his results were so impressive, his friends, family, and other people began asking what he was doing and how they can achieve similar results.
He began The Bacon Experiment Facebook group as a way to not only achieve the accountability he knew he would need to continue receiving successful results, but to also share his techniques and methods with other people looking to lose weight. A few thousand followers later, his story was featured by Diet Doctor!
Experimenting with Food, Ketones, & Blood Glucose
Following his 30-day “bacon diet” and finding great success, Dan explains that he decided to begin experimenting with other high protein foods to see if he would receive similar results while opening more food options. He found good results with:
- Coffee – low calorie, black coffee with a little liquid Stevia and a little unsweetened Almond Milk
“Bacon works really well for getting you into ketosis.” – Dan Quibell
Implementing Intermittent Fasting
Through his experimental process, Dan decided to begin implementing intermittent fasting into his weight-loss program. He says he began slowly by reducing his food intake to only twice a day and at least 4 to 5 hours apart.
What’s So Special About Bacon, Anyway?
While researching and experimenting with the ketogenic diet and why it works, Dan explains that he learned that the amino acids in bacon are actually very ketogenic! This means that when your body breaks down the bacon you eat, instead of converting these amino acids into glucose – they are converted into ketones.
- Ketogenic amino acids – can only become ketones during digestion
- Glucogenic amino acids – can only become glucose during digestion
A Glimpse In The Kitchen
I asked Dan what his meals are like today – or if he is still remaining strict and consistent with eating bacon. He shared with me what his typical meals look like from day to day:
- Bacon – of course!
- Processed meats like ham and breakfast sausage
- Leafy, green vegetables like spinach
Throughout his journey of experimenting with the ketogenic diet, the key lesson that Dan says he has learned is that it is a very personal, individual journey – one that requires finding what works for you.
“You’ve got to experiment for yourself to figure out what works for you, and not just listen to something someone else tells you should work.” – Dan Quibel
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Read Podcast Transcript
041 – Success Stories, Volume 2
Hello, and welcome to The Low Carb Leader podcast. I am your host, Dan Perryman, and you have joined me for Episode 41. In today’s Success Story we are talking with Dan Quibell. Dan suffered with weight gain when he was a teenager and struggled throughout most of his life. He tried numerous different diets. Some were successful, some weren’t, but he did not find long-term success until he found the magic of bacon. So here is Dan’s story. On today’s success story we have Dan Quibell from Toronto, correct, Dan?
I’m not too far from Toronto. I’m in a small town in Ontario, Canada, Peterborough, Ontario.
Okay, awesome. Well welcome, and thanks for agreeing to share your story. And you have a pretty cool story that involves a bacon challenge. So if you want to introduce yourself and then just kind of take us through your journey.
Dan Quibell’s Background
So yeah, I’m Dan QUIBELL. I run a group on Facebook called The Bacon Experiment. I think my story kind of starts many years before I did the bacon experiment, so we were kind of having a stressful time in my life when I was probably in, I think grade 7. So I just went into middle school. My parents were going through a divorce, and a lot of stress. So I ended up turning to food as my comfort back then, and I quickly put on a lot of weight. I had access to my bank account, ended up spending a lot of it on pop and chips and chocolate milk and chocolate bars, and that went on every lunch hour day after day, after day. And of course I started getting heavier day after day, after day with all that sugar. And I started having some medical problems pretty early on. I had gout at the age of 14. So I went into my doctor’s and he spent a few minutes with me and put me on the scale. And he wrote on a notepad, Dan Quibell, obese. I think I was about 180 pounds maybe. By the time I was done high school I was 250, 260 pounds.
And then I don’t think it was until my 20s that I started dieting. First thing I did was low-fat, of course, and it seemed like the low-fat and walking, it did work for me. I was able to drop some pounds. I think I got down to about 190 pounds. So I dropped 70 pounds doing that, but my friends were pretty concerned about me. They thought I was sick, and they thought – you know, they were asking me if I was dying because my skin was pale, and I had lost a lot of muscle mass, and I just didn’t look very healthy. And that was from, like I said, I was eating really low-fat. So it would be things like sugar-free Jell-O and a lot of fruit and things like that. And then I would walk for anywhere from an hour to two hours every single day.
My low-fat wasn’t working for me anymore, so I decided to try a vegetarian diet, and that sort of made me feel a little better. I wasn’t really losing much weight. And then I was told it’s not strict enough; you’ve got to go vegan if you want to get results. I didn’t really get very far on it. I found that it was easy to cheat on. So I tried raw vegan, and I was making my smoothies and having lots of fruits and vegetables. And I found not too much success with that and things, so I moved on from that to a fruitarian diet. With that I had up-and-down energy all day long, and I had to have a nap every afternoon. So I knew that wasn’t the answer. I knew it was out there, but I just didn’t know what it was yet. And then I actually stumbled upon a podcast. I’m not sure if you’re familiar with this one, but you might be, the Fat-Burning Man by Abel James.
Oh yeah, love it.
The Bacon Experiment
He was talking – I seen how good a shape he was, and here he is eating bunless burgers, and he’s eating all the stuff I love. So yeah, I listened to probably two or three episodes in a row, and I was like I’ve got to try this right away. Like I didn’t even – I didn’t really learn too much about it. I just cooked up a big pan of bacon. And this is when I was doing my fruit diet. So I went from all fruit to a big pan of bacon. I right away felt pretty good, and I stuck with that for a week or two, and I started losing weight right away. I think I lost 10 pounds in a couple weeks, and I just couldn’t believe it that here’s something that’s finally working for me and I can actually sit on the barbecue and make all this delicious food. So I stuck with it for about a year, a year and a half, and I lost I think about 40 pounds in that time. And that’s when I started, you know, other people were coming to me saying, how are you losing all this weight? What’s going on? And how can I do what you’re doing? And I decided to start a group and do a little experiment where I did nothing but bacon for 30 days. And I thought this is something that’s going to get people’s attention, and I’m going to introduce them to the same diet I’m doing, which is a ketogenic diet.
Day one I ate two pounds of bacon, and I went to a local farm here and bought some really good pastured pork. 60 pounds of bacon is what I bought, and it was more for accountability. I started the group up, and I wanted to make sure that I followed through and stuck with it. So yeah, by the end of the first week I think I had lost something like eight pounds, and then people thought – they thought it was quite interesting. They kept bringing their friends in, and the group was 200 or 300 people, I think, at the time. And they were following on every single meal I did. I took a picture of it. I kept weighing myself I think every day, almost. And a lot of people said oh, it’s water weight. There’s no way that you’re losing weight this quickly. And sure enough, day after day, week after week, it kept coming off. And I was following a standard ketogenic diet, but just doing bacon only seemed to do much better, and I lost much quicker. And I felt great. I started measuring ketones, and my ketones were over 3.0. So I just felt fantastic during this, and I kind of learned a lot. By the end of the 30 days I was down 19.6 pounds, so 20 pounds we’ll say, and I think there was 1000 or 2000 people. And I’d give an interview, and I got on the Diet Doctor website. He covered my story, and it kind of took off from there. Next thing I knew I had thousands of people in my Facebook group.
I wanted to know why it worked so well, so I spent another year since then, and I did a lot of experimenting with ketones and my blood glucose and eating other foods to see if they worked the same. Like I did a week of salmon. I felt great doing that. I actually – I think I dropped 5 pounds body fat in a week doing that. I did all kinds of experiments. I did eggs only. I did chicken only. I just did individual foods like that and seen if they all worked as good as bacon, whether, you know, is bacon unique, or is it just because you’re cutting out so many different things? You’re cutting out maybe some of the veggies that have more carbs. And bacon does have some unique properties, so it does work really well for getting you into ketosis.
So Dan, for 30 days you ate nothing but bacon and water?
Yeah, I also had coffee, but I was going to do the Bulletproof coffee, but I had a lot of people say well don’t do that. That could mess up your results.
Yeah because of the calories in there.
So I did stick with just black coffee, and I added just a little bit of liquid Stevia and a little bit of unsweetened almond milk, not very much, probably 10 calories’ worth, maybe 5 calories’ worth. I know a whole cup of that almond milk is only 30 calories, and it’s low-calorie. So I kept it as strict as I could. I didn’t quite just do water though. So I kept with that, and I would have – I ended up figuring out that I’m going to implement intermittent fasting when I do this. So I had two meals a day, and I tried to keep them four or five hours apart.
And how much bacon were you eating a day during the 30 days?
About 30 pieces. It was two pounds a day. And that’s the weight of it before cooked. But yeah, so I learned – like I said, I learned a lot, and I wanted to break it down and figure out why it worked so well and found out – there is a lot that I’ve kind of figured out – but part of it was the amino acids in bacon are actually ketogenic. They’re not glucogenic. So they can only become ketones. I didn’t even realize that proteins were like that, that certain amino acids can only – that are ketogenic and certain ones are glucogenic, so they can become glucose. And I think a lot of it, too, is just being strict. And you have a set amount of calories. You have – you know, you’re cutting out dairy, which is definitely a food that affects me. It makes me hungry and gives me cravings. I cut out nuts, which I find that, you know, I know macadamia nuts are high in fat, but they can add up pretty quick calorie-wise. I think it’s more just the nutrient—or the caloric density of nuts that I think that’s kind of one of the reasons that they’re a problem. They were a huge part of when I was doing the standard ketogenic diet for the year. They were a big part, as I would have Brazil nuts, and I would have cashews sometimes. They’re a little higher in carbs. But I had macadamia nuts and that. And I had a lot of dairy. Dairy was a big part. I think everybody likes cream cheese.
But yeah, I think cutting those things out and just having a set amount of what I was eating and hitting enough protein every day I find important. When I was doing the original bacon experiment I just want to say that I was doing half back bacon and half regular, like belly cut bacon. So my protein was actually pretty high during this. A lot of people think that I’m anti- like I don’t know, the protein people, there seems like there’s two sides. I’m sure you’re well aware of in the community. There’s people that follow high-protein and lower fat, and then there’s really high-fat. And I kind of find somewhere in the middle is where I find best for me, and that’s through a lot of experimenting and testing my own blood ketones and looking at what’s actually happening on the scale. I think through everything I’ve tried that’s kind of one of the more important things I’ve come away with is that you’ve got to experiment for yourself to figure out what works for you and not just listen to what somebody tells you should work.
So what do you eat on a typical day now?
Life After the Bacon Experiment
I still – I eat a lot of eggs. I feel that they’re pretty nutrient-dense. I do eat a lot of bacon still. I’m not sick of bacon. I do have a fair bit of processed meat still. I’ll fry up ham and bacon, of course, and breakfast sausages. But I do eat eggs. I do try to have salmon once or twice a week. I know that the Omega-3s are important to get in. I do have a lot of leafy greens. I try to get spinach, and I like sautéing spinach. Sometimes I’ll sauté spinach, and I’ll sauté it in about a tablespoon or so of butter or a tablespoon of MCT oil. I know that you actually absorb a lot more of the nutrients that way just by cooking them in a little fat.
Actually I have a program now where I teach other people how to do the diet, and I’ve been gathering up recipes and that kind of thing for a while. So there’s quite a few, and I actually just follow my own program that I designed. I just follow it myself. There’s coconut curry chicken. There’s these things called stuffed beer can burgers, and it’s probably 8 ounces of ground beef, and you stuff it full of mushrooms and bacon bits and red peppers, hot peppers if you want, and wrap the whole thing in bacon. One of the things – one of my favorites, I guess.
So if somebody wanted to find these recipes, where would they go?
More Information on Dan and his Program
The website is thebaconexperiment.com. What I’ve been doing is running 30-day programs. I have a free group called The Bacon Experiment. It’s on Facebook. I think there’s 13,000 people or so in there now. And I spend my days basically helping other people. If they want to give it a try themselves it’s something that you can prove to yourself. Another thing I want to mention here if we’re getting near the end to wrap up is just that through all this I’ve been going to my doctor, and I’ve been doing blood tests. But all along I found that my A1c has improved. My fasting blood glucose has improved. All my liver markers have improved greatly. All my cholesterol numbers are really good. I think my triglycerides are somewhere around 50, I think, and my HDL is around 70. I think my LDL is somewhere around 100. So all my cholesterol is really good. My blood pressure was actually about 140 at one time, and now it’s about 112/80. All across the board everything is improved health-wise, not just a number on the scale, which is the reason I’ve made this lifestyle now. And I plan on doing it for the rest of my days because there is no going back for me. I don’t want to go back to being on medications. And I ended up having gout all my life. I mentioned it earlier, but I had attacks every single year, and sometimes they would last days, and I had some attacks – when I did my fruitarian diet I had an attack that lasted six weeks. So I was out in the wintertime with a big swollen foot and a plastic bag on my foot because, you know, it was so bad. I don’t want to go back to that. So I think for me this is a lifestyle change, not a diet anymore.
Thank you for sharing your story. It definitely is a success story, and we’ll link in the show notes to your website because I’m sure people want to check out The Bacon Experiment.
You’re welcome. Thanks for having me on.