Challenging myself to the Guinness diet
Is the Irish beer truly a “meal replacement in a can?”
As an avid beer drinker (or “connoisseur” if I were to give myself a pretentious title), I have sipped, gulped, chugged and shotgunned many beers in my lifetime, but one of my favorites has always been the dry stout hailing from Ireland, Guinness.
I have always been fascinated by Guinness because it has been popularly referred to as a “meal in a glass,” meaning that the Irish beer contains all the necessary minerals and vitamins needed for the human body to survive (excluding vitamin C and calcium). Because of this, people have tried living solely off Guinness, foregoing meals in favor of it. This is appropriately called the “Guinness diet,” and I decided to challenge myself to this unique diet for five straight days.
I ate my last official meal at noon on a Sunday (it was a Teen burger combo at A&W, thanks for asking), meaning that my challenge officially started and I would be replacing all of my normal meals with Guinness beers until the Friday at noon.
As an added note, I decided to weigh myself at the beginning of this challenge to see if I would see any weight loss results on account of this diet. I came in at 177 pounds, meaning that I was at an apparent healthy weight in relation to my 6’2 height, according to the internet.
The following are my daily thoughts and findings during the five days of living off this diet:
After eating a delightfully greasy burger and fries for my last meal at lunch time, I am pretty content for the rest of the day. I crack open my first Guinness in the evening and pound it back. I feel decently full after having the one, so I opt to not have another one. The start of this diet has truly begun. I go to bed feeling good.
My first full official day of replacing meals with Guinness. I work a short morning shift at my part-time retail job and get home in the early afternoon. Since I usually don’t eat breakfast, working without any food in my system does not feel any different than any other day. Once I get home, I down a Guinness for lunch and proceed to park my butt on my couch for the rest of the day, marathoning television shows and movies on Netflix. I start to feel a bit hungry in the later evening, so I have a couple of beers to fix this. That hunger goes away again. Thus far, the beers are doing their job, giving me a full feeling which can most likely be attributed to the heavy consistency of the drink itself. I’m still feeling happy and healthy, even without having any hint of food during the course of this day. I’m ecstatic that this diet is going well in the early going.
With no work or any plans of leaving the comfortable confines of my home, this Tuesday proved to be a lazy one. Even after having a couple of lunch beers, my stomach was starting to make noises comparable to the dragons on Game of Thrones. But, I hold strong and distract myself by playing Overwatch (the popular new multiplayer game) until dinner. I rarely go a single day without eating, so I can feel my stomach trying to adjust to not ingesting food since Sunday afternoon. It rumbles. A LOT. It feels like a solid 7.0 on the Richter scale. I have a couple more beers for dinner, which delays the rumbling for a bit. Being in a house surrounded by food and groceries is not helping though. I distract my body some more by binge-watching a season of New Girl and whenever my stomach would rudely remind me to eat something, I would reassure it that “I had its best interests in mind” and that “everything was going to be okay.” I felt like I was a dirty liar. Whatever. This diet was going to be completed. I was not going to let my body prevent me from finishing this challenge. I’m stubborn. I head to bed early feeling exhausted.
This day. This day was the worst day. I woke up and I struggled to even roll out of bed. My body was feeling a great deal weaker at this point, so I was pretty much at my physical low-point here. I continue with my incredibly dumb strategy of having only a couple of cans of Guinness for my meals. After lunch, I sink into my couch and watch more television to try and trick my body into thinking this is normal. My body was not having any of this. All of a sudden, my hands become cold and clammy. The rest of my body starts heating up, to the point where I am almost sweating. Was my body starting to shut down? That’s what it felt like. I was definitely not ingesting enough calories for my body to function properly. Guinness beer has 125 calories per can, and I was having 4-5 cans a day! Pair that up with the glasses of milk and orange juice I was drinking too (to supplement the vitamin C and calcium I would have been lacking) and I was basically putting less than 1000 calories in my body per day. Compare that with the recommended 2400-2600 calories that an adult male my age is supposed to drink, I can see now why my body was basically going into shock. Even worse, I had to go to work in the evening and I was in no condition at that point to even move physically. My solution to this issue? Right before I go to work, I stop off at a grocery store and pick up a couple of Mars bars and devour them on the spot. This gives me enough energy to make it through the night of work (although there were a couple of times I needed to sit down). Did I cheat by eating those Mars bars? I don’t think so. Guinness is supposed to be a MEAL replacement. I was still drinking the beers for my meals. I considered this a nice snack to prevent me from passing out at my place of employment.
The Mars bars last night appeared to have helped. I was still feeling physically weak, but at least my body did not feel like it was trying to implode today. I had my usual four beers throughout the day. The issue though was that I had a softball game in the evening that required me to do actual physically exerting things like running and swinging a bat. Guinness would not be my saving grace for this, so I decide to buy five bananas from the store. I eat two before the game, two during the game, and one after the game. That potassium overload definitely helped me out, but barely. I go home afterwards and have one more beer before bed. This was the last night of this diet. I don’t know whether to smile or cry at this point.
I wake up right before noon and have one more Guinness to finish the challenge off. I crush the beer can triumphantly and immediately start finding things to snack on. I read that you want to ease into the eating process after doing something like this, so I eat some nuts and cookies. Later on I ate some toast and eggs and then followed it up with a large burger and fries (I also had a beer with dinner, but it was definitely not Guinness). Food has never tasted better in my life.
So, could you replace meals with Guinness beers? Maybe. But, unless you were eating snacks as well, you would probably have to drink around 15 beers a day to get the recommended daily calorie intake one needs to live a healthy life. With packs of eight Guinness beers costing about 25 dollars, that could prove to be quite expensive. Stick to a balanced diet instead. You’ll enjoy it a lot more than just sipping a heavy beer for your meals.
As an added note, because I did not have a working weight scale after completing the Guinness diet challenge, I do not know how much I weighed afterwards. But, having had less than 1000 calories per the majority of days and just by judging how I felt, I can say with total confidence that I probably lost around 50 pounds. Feels accurate.