Some of the links in this post are affiliate links. This means if you click on the link and purchase the item, we will receive an affiliate commission from the vendor at no extra cost to you. These business relationships allow us to keep bringing you great EatMoveHack content. All opinions remain our own.
Tim Ferriss, the author of The 4-Hour Body, created the slow carb diet, which he included in the book. The diet’s premise is to guide people on a simple, yet rapid fat loss program that also enhances sexual performance and allows them to take control of their health.
What Is the Slow Carb Diet?
The slow-carb diet involves eating only five main food groups (animal protein, legumes, vegetables, fats, and spices) and teaches people to eat four meals per day for six days. It also offers one cheat day where all foods are allowed – you can eat whatever you want.
The idea behind the diet is to follow a low carb regimen to increase your body’s ability to burn fat for energy, thereby reducing your overall fat stores. In turn, you reduce your body weight. In the book, Ferriss talks about essential supplements (like magnesium and calcium) and nootropics that you can take even though they are not a requirement.
What Are the Slow Carb Diet Rules?
The basis of the slow-carb diet is five straightforward rules:
Rule One: Avoid White Carbohydrates
The diet requires you to avoid white carbohydrates, which include all types of processed carbs made from refined flour. If you are on a strength training program, you can consume these carbs within 30 minutes of finishing your resistance-training workout. Avoid these foods at all costs during the diet days if you want to lose weight.
Rule Two: Eat the Same Few Meals
Ferriss states that with so many foods available to choose from, practically thousands, only a handful will not lead to weight gain. Thus, the idea is to mix and match a few foods from all the five food groups allowed to build your meals and repeat them every day.
Rule Three: Don’t Drink Your Calories
Yes, you can and should drink plenty of water to stay hydrated as well as other calorie-free beverages, including unsweetened coffee and tea. However, do not take any drinks with calories such as protein shakes, fruit juices, or smoothies because the rule is that these provide little to no nutritional value. So, eat your calories, don’t drink them.
Rule Four: Don’t Eat Fruit
Fruits are technically part of a healthy and balanced diet, but the slow carb diet suggests that they are not helpful to those looking to lose weight. The reason is that fructose, which is the sugar in fruits, could potentially delay your weight loss by increasing your blood sugar and fat levels, thereby decreasing the body’s fat-burning capacity.
Rule Five: Take One Day off per Week
The slow-carb diet allows participants to take a day off and eat whatever they want. Thus, on that one designated day, you are free to cheat on your diet.
Foods Allowed in the Diet?
The diet builds on five food groups, namely protein, legumes, fats, vegetables, and spices. It mentions a few foods from these five groups because, with only a few choices, you are less likely to deviate. Below is the list of allowed foods by groups:
- Protein: Egg whites, grass-fed beef, fish, pork, chicken breast or thigh, protein powder (lactose-free, unflavored).
- Legumes: Lentils, black beans, red beans, soybeans, and pinto beans.
- Vegetables: Spinach, cruciferous vegetables (broccoli, cauliflower, Brussels sprouts, and kale), peas, asparagus, green beans, sauerkraut, and kimchi.
- Fats: Butter, olive oil (low-heat cooking), nuts, ghee, grapeseed or macadamia (high-heat cooking), and creamer (dairy-free and only one to two teaspoons per day).
- Spices: Salt, garlic salt, herbs, white truffle sea salt.
Consume only small quantities of the last two food groups.
What Foods Are Not Allowed in the Slow Carb Diet?
The slow-carb diet has outlined foods to avoid throughout the weight loss program and possibly forever after. These are:
Fruits have a high fructose content. However, the diet allows the consumption of avocados in small quantities because of its high dietary fat content.
Dairy is not allowed because it causes your blood insulin levels to rise, which is detrimental to your weight loss goals. However, cottage cheese is allowed because, according to Ferriss, it has high levels of protein casein and low lactose levels compared to other dairy products.
3. Fried Foods
The diet does not permit the consumption of fried foods because of their high-calorie content and low nutritional value.
When to Eat
Timing is essential during the slow carb diet. Consume breakfast within one hour of waking up and then space out your meals approximately four hours apart throughout the day. However, this depends on your sleeping schedule
What Types of Result Would You Expect?
According to Tim Ferriss’ slow-carb diet survey, he found that 84 percent of people who stuck to the diet plan religiously for four weeks lost weight even without any form of physical exercise involved. What’s more, 14 percent of participants lost over 15 pounds in the same period.
It means that every 14 out of 100 people who followed the diet lost about 3.75 pounds per week, which is an incredible result in such a short time. The diet’s secret is reducing your overall energy intake to promote fat loss.
How to Use Foods Planning to Help Accomplish Your Goals
In his book, The 4-Hour Body, Tim Ferriss provides some food planning recommendations to help increase your chances of sticking to the diet plan throughout its duration and in the long run. Some of the solutions common questions and problems that you may encounter include:
1. Stick to the Diet When Eating Out
Here, the default strategy would be to replace any carbs with beans and vegetables. For instance, eat salads without cheese or croutons or a grass-fed beef burger without ketchup or the bun, etc. Also, keep a list of low-carb, diet-friendly eating places near your home or workplace.
2. Eating When in a Rush
Keep essential foods like frozen veggies, canned beans, canned tuna, spinach leaves, or eggs at hand that you can turn into quick meals.
3. Sticking to the Slow Carb Diet When Traveling
Success is all about preparation and avoiding haphazard eating that does not help your weight loss goals. You can take: canned foods like beans or tuna, nuts and nut butter, or protein powder.
Benefits of the Slow Carb Diet
The slow-carb diet is relatively easy to follow. It only involves a few allowed food items with five rules to follow. Its structure promotes a high metabolic rate, fat-burning capacity, and weight loss throughout its duration. For instance, it suggests eating a protein-rich breakfast within one hour of waking up.
The diet also recommends that you avoid eating sugary foods to reduce your calorie intake and aid your weight loss. Furthermore, the presence of a free cheat day per week to eat whatever you want increases your calorie intake to enhance fat-burning and control your hunger.
Over to You
Tim Ferriss based the slow carb diet on practical techniques that are easy to understand and simple to follow. They also promote weight loss, limit your sugar intake, and increase your body’s ability to burn fat for energy. The diet supports those who are looking to eat cleaner and lose weight.
Please, take some time to look at some of our other articles on healthy diets and lifestyle.