The Diet Channel Interviews Bradley Scott Cailor, Author of "The Beer Drinkers Diet"

Tuesday, June 12, 2007 - 1:18pm

By Donna Feldman, MS, RD

One thing that surprised me was that there wasn't a lot of specific information regarding beer, which is part of your title.

This was never intended to be a beer-guzzling manual. The focus is as a health guide for regular people. Now ironically, there was a study through Harris Interactive that suggests that 86% of American adults drink beer. So, what we are trying to do is put together a weight-loss plan with the regular person in mind. It has little to do with beer drinking, but it's an activity that regular people do. It's not The Beer Drinking Diet; it's The Beer Drinker's "Diet." So, if one is a beer drinker, it's a weight-loss plan that they can follow.

I actually mentioned to a friend that I was reading this book, and she said Oh, my husband would love that. She was thinking it was going to just be about beer.

That was the initial problem: People thought it was some ludicrous beer-guzzling manual. But, after you read it, you realize that's not at all the case.

When will the new version come out, then?

Hopefully later this year. We got feedback from a lot of readers who said Hey, I don't like this or I like this. The revised version is really different, but is still the same format. It's nice when you get input. We've had a guy that's already lost a hundred pounds. He read the initial manuscript about this time last year. This was a plan that got him thinking that Hey, I could follow up a normal life and lose weight. We have had another person lose sixty pounds. Their feedback really helped in this revised version. That's what ultimately makes it a better book. This is a community book that's supposed to help regular Americans. We had a London interview a couple of weeks ago and it seems like people over there drink a lot more than Americans. So, they are really embracing it too.

Are you able to speak to any of the recommendations you are going to make about beer in the revised version?

We are working with a couple of major brewers right now on a version they may carry as part of a responsible drinking campaign. A lot of diet plans say no alcohol whatsoever. But I proved that I can lose over a hundred pounds and still enjoy normal life. Most people like to have a couple drinks sometime during the week. We want to show that it can be part of a sound health plan as long as you drink within reason. I was on the Sally Jesse Raphael show, and the first thing she said was Brad, the title of your book is absolutely ridiculous. You are telling me that people are going to drink all day long and lose weight. But then, she started to see it. Yeah, if you drink all day, every day, you would lose weight, because you'd probably be lying in a hospital, right.

Right. Now, I would say especially with the title, this book seems pretty aimed at men. What do you think?

Well, here's the funniest thing: I just got an email from Michelle Harmon who does a big national TV Show, and she said that she's had more feedback from women. A lot of women bought this as a gift for their spouse or husband, but they ended up reading it themselves. It's like Hey, if I can't get my somewhat lazy husband to get off the couch, I am going to do this thing myself. So, we had a lot of women succeeding with it because they couldn't get their husbands off the couch yet.

Now, you might be working with some beer brewers, but I didn't get the impression that you recommended any particular types of beer, like microbrews or dark beer.

I really don't think that matters. Whatever you like is fine. We have to keep in mind if you have too many calories, you are going to run into problems. Some people stick with light beer, but on the flip side my good buddy drinks only those really heavy German lagers that are extremely dark, and he is in much better shape than me. He looks at the light beers like: Well, I'll have a glass of water. A lot of people don't like light beer, but it really doesn't matter as long as you keep your drinking in check. The calories are calories. If you drink twelve beers, whether it's light beer or big German lagers, too much is too much.

If you look at data from around the world, there are some beer drinking countries where those kinds of beers are more popular, and people are thinner.

A lot of other countries have a healthier lifestyle during the week, and they are not going to hit a McDonald's drive thru on the way home. And so, it's not the drinking that's getting people heavy, it seems to be what they do during the drinking, after the drinking, or every other day during the week.

Now, getting to the food part of your book. You have a lot of recommendations, and many of them are very specific, and some are things not necessarily found in mainstream diet books. For example, you advocate no carbohydrates in the evening. Stick to high protein foods. I believe your assumption is that those carbohydrates eaten later in the day are more easily turned into fat. Can you talk about that a bit?

First and foremost, all research in my book is based upon success of other people. Whether I interviewed people face to face, or read about their stories. Now, our conclusion based upon people's input, suggests that if you are having two many carbohydrates late in the day, it takes a certain amount of time for those carbohydrates to be assimilated and turned in the food energy. And, why would you want that occurring while you are sleeping? Now, I have never done any research on that; it's just what we have read, and the feedback we have from people who really succeeded. That's one of the tips that most people tend to follow. The first thing you might remember in the introduction to the tips is, you may like the tips, you may not, you may try it, you may not; but the bottom line is The more tips you follow though, the more results you will have. You may not agree with every tip, but it's food for thought, to educate you a little bit on what real people are doing to succeed. And, the new version does explain that a little better, where each tip actually came from.

Is this the way you eat?

Yeah, I gave you an exact sample of what I eat everyday, and why I do it. All I can say is It worked for me; and it worked for all the other people I talk to. We try to have a game plan that's easier to follow, where instead of following a diet that tells you what to do, we simply give you fifty tips to choose from. Hey, the new book has a hundred tips. We doubled the amount of tips, and you can take what you like and use them. Even if you are just doing a little bit, and lose two pounds of fat a month, you are still heading in the right direction, right. People sometimes jump in too fast, and then they get burned out and don't enjoy this much.

Right, that's probably what happens with most fad diets. Atkins probably caused lots of diet burnout.

I have been there, done that. Tell me not to have carbohydrates for a day or a week or two...I couldn't stick to it, no way.

You talk a lot about proteins, but I am hard-pressed to find where you really talk a lot about fruits and vegetables. I know you say you should eat them, but what do you do?

A lot of people don't like fruits and vegetables, so I can't decide you must eat fruits and vegetables. I say, eat an apple, and eventually, hopefully they realize that an apple is not that horrible, and that it's actually tasty. I enjoy apples, and that's why I am using baby steps when I introduced fruits and vegetables, because a lot of people hate fruits and vegetables. As I tell you there in page one of the book, I am not going to dictate what you eat. I am just going to give suggestions and guidelines. As long as they try to have wholesome foods, they are at least heading in the right direction. We are getting a lot of people who are used to horrendous fast-food lifestyles, and we are trying to at least get them taking baby steps in the right directions.

One thing you are clear about is lots of protein. In fact your recommendations are two to three times what the official recommended daily intake would be. Now, there are good and bad points to that. It is pretty clear that a high-protein diet will blunt your appetite. You weren't always eating lots of protein, but when you made your big change, did you dive right into a high-protein diet?

As I say, you can have a gram of protein for a pound of body weight, if you are lifting weight hard, and running hard, but I said up to. It's not really a high-protein diet; it's an emphasis on protein. So, it wasn't me just dictating. It's a consensus of what a lot of people were doing, and if you read, read, read, and research, you are going to find that seems to be a growing trend for a lot of people today, but of course it's not for everyone. No one has come up with a conclusive diet that is 100% this is the right way.

Okay. You mentioned chicken a lot. You could almost name the book The Chicken-Eating Beer Drinker's Diet.


Is that your favorite in particular? Do you eat much beef or pork, or...

Didn't you see that I have a hamburger almost everyday, and I have steaks all the time on the weekends? And we have turkey: Turkey and chicken can almost be interchangeable. I do address the point when it comes to healthy foods that I don't eat fish, but chicken seems to be a popular source of protein. I have burgers almost everyday, and I have steaks once or twice a week. As long as we keep the burgers 96% or 94% lean, and we try to have a smaller steaks that are trimmed, I don't mind that.


But, we know that too much red meat is overkill. Most of the people that we researched eat a lot of turkey and chicken, too.

How about eggs?

It's part of my sample diet. I have scrambled eggs on the weekend. The reason that I don't have them everyday is that it takes a little bit longer to prepare. So, two to four eggs a week, and I don't just pour the yolk out like a lot of people recommend, because hey the yolk gives it taste, and I don't mind that.

And, you are a big milk drinker.

Skimmed milk, I think, is a perfect emergency meal. A lot of people claim they don't have time to eat. But, I say do you have time to pound a pint of skimmed milk? That takes about five or ten seconds. I drink a lot of skimmed milk, I really like the way it tastes, and I think it has a good ratio of nutrition.

You mentioned the "Caveman Effect." I Googled that and came up with some very different definition that has to do with anthropology. Did you create that phrase for the book?

A lot of people called it the "Caveman starvation mode," and I remember that from my research twenty years ago. So, we wanted to have a fun way of describing it, where at least you remember it, and that's why we keep bringing back Mr. Caveman, and "Caveman starvation mode." If you are going three hours without eating, and then it becomes four hours and you start remembering Okay, Mr. Cavemen is knocking at the door. And, there is a kind of a tongue-in-cheek way to get you thinking that you really shouldn't be starving yourself, because that's not the best thing you could do to lose weight. But again, that came from twenty-five years ago. That's how I remember it, and it's a fun way to remember it.

How I read your explanation was, if you stay low calorie indefinitely your metabolism will go down, and you will become more efficient, and burn less calories and lose less weight perhaps. But, if you challenge your body on a somewhat regular basis with a bit more food one day, you will get around that lowered metabolism. Is that correct? Is that how you intended it?

Well, remember it goes back to what our ancestors thousands of years ago actually did. They would gorge, and that was maybe their last meal for days, if not weeks. We found that the human body is intended to be that way: the body is trying to hoard as much fat as possible. And, if you are in that self-preservation mode, our research suggests that it's going to hoard as much fat as it can.

It's an interesting concept; I am not sure that university-based researchers have ever actually set up a study to look at that.

We try to explain things in a layman's way, because you've got to remember it. Sometimes if you are overtly scientific, then that makes the book boring. That's why it's written that way, because it's a little bit more fun than just overt scientific mumbo jumbo.

Now, speaking of mumbo jumbo, you are very adamant about people avoiding miracle cures and weight loss pills. And, you do suggest that you had some experience purchasing these things a while ago. Would you care to address that?

Well, I spent two days in the intensive care unit thanks to one of those formally banned pills that almost ruined my heart. I had heart palpitations, and that was the miracle pill of that era. The funny thing is, out of everyone I talked to and read about that lost weight, not one of them attributed any of their results from actually taking a pill. Because they finally came to some kind of sound plan, like we are preaching here. Not one of them, as in zero percent, attributed their weight loss to a pill.

That's a great point.

None of them. Diet pills may help one percent or five percent for some research, but that's really difficult to prove. And, if you lost those hundred pounds, 5% is only five pounds out of a hundred pounds. So, really that's not much, but hey help yourself. If it motivates you a little more, that's not necessarily a bad thing. But, I don't want people going and spending hundreds of dollars on that stuff. I spent thousands trying that for you. And, I have yet to see anything that really does work. A lot of those pills are hyper doses of herbs and caffeine. Why not just swallow a pot of coffee, because that's a very similar effect. I don't like being jittery and anxious and moody all day as a result of some of those pills. I guarantee that I will not pop any pill ever again for as long as I live, because when you spend two nights in the intensive care unit, it's simply not worth it.

You are also a big advocate of exercise. I like where you encourage people to mix it up and do different things so as not to get bored.

Yeah. If you don't have fun, you are not going to do it. Coming from the biggest couch potato of this era, my idea of exercise was getting off the couch, grabbing a beer and sitting back down. So, if I can do it, anyone can do it. My first exercise session was walking to the end of the driveway, taking a break, and walking back. And, that was as hard as I could push it at the time when I first started. Now, well, you name it, I can do it. I enjoy it now. I hated it at first, but after a week it gets a little better, and after a month it gets a lot better. I can't imagine a morning that I don't do something.

What would you say: Is exercise or diet the biggest hurdle for people to adapt to?

I think if you ask ten people, you get ten different answers. Both are hard at first, but it all depends on where you are. That's not an answer that's going to be the same for any two people, because it could be equally hard.

Back to beer for just a minute. Do you think there is anything about the beer itself that might actually help with the process? Or is beer basically just something that people enjoy and you want to just include it because you don't want the enjoyment factor of life to go away?

Well, actually that's what it is. See it's a mental thing: Let me do what I enjoy in life, and then let's just work it in. Because, if you tell me from day one to stop drinking beer or stop enjoying my life, I don't think I am going to read your book. So, you've got to get their attention and let them know that you can still enjoy life and lose weight. Once people start losing weight, they naturally drink less for two reasons: They feel better about themselves and they have more self-pride. Then when they stop drinking so much, they are healthier

Do you have any other words of wisdom for these people?

Do you want to be fifty pounds lighter in one year, or do you want to be five pounds heavier by having three or four failed miracle plans? Do you want to take it slow, lose one pound of fat a week, and still be fifty pounds lighter in one year? You've got to look at the big picture. Everyone wants a quick fix. If you get fat over one year, or five years, what makes you think you will lose it all in thirty days? You try to get people thinking Yeah, that doesn't make any sense. So, try to use commonsense and take your time. You'll be there a year from now. You will be a lot better off, instead of being another failure. After years of failing, why not try something different, right?

A lot of the appeal and charm of the book is your own personal story in the first part. I suspect that without that section, this book would be less interesting to people.

And that's why some people hate it. They want to jump straight to the tips and hints. Well, that's fine, because you can jump straight to the hints and tips. You could bypass my story, but we make the new version a little more humorous and more fun. It's about time that we had a breath of fresh air, and maybe go a different way. And, trying to have a little more human element, I made myself the central character. That gets people to jump on board because they are seeing a real person struggle and then succeed.

I think that's probably more motivational to people than just a straight scientific diet book.

Yes, I think so. The new version says okay, it's not required that you read Part One of the book. You could jump straight to Part Two right now and have great success. However, most people tend to comeback to Part One anyhow, because it's a natural tie into the second half of the book. You may like it, you may not, but it's there in case you want to see it. The funny thing is, most people who like that part of the book are women. I don't know why, because maybe it just reminds them of their spouse or father. Take your time and enjoy the book. Because, this is going to be part of your life the next year or five, so take your time.

Thank you very much for taking time to talk to me.