The Slow Carb Diet, authored by Tim Ferris in the 4 Hour Body, has gained some traction in the online space lately. I remember reading about it when he blogged it a few years ago and saying out loud “this is exactly what I recommend”. While there have been numerous positive reviews of the diet, I wanted to take the approach of a nutrition expert and examine the Slow Carb Diet slightly more in-depth.
In the 4 Hour Body, Tim Ferris outlines the Slow Carb Diet and its many advantages for anyone looking to lose fat, build muscle and improve their health. In all honesty, this is very much similar to a traditional pre contest bodybuilding diet. I kid you not. Here’s the points that he recommends
- Avoid all white carbohydrates: Anything that is white flour based like white rice, pasta and breads is off limits. Tim advises you to consume these, if you want, within one hours pre or post training.
- No fruit, dairy,sugar or alcohol: No milk, no cheese and no artificial sweeteners.
- Eat 30 grams of protein with 30 minutes of waking up: Tim stresses the importance of eating protein as soon as you wake up.
- Eat a small menu of foods including chicken, beef, fish, green vegetables,beans, pork and lentils.
- Have one cheat day per meal, anything goes
I actually like the diet just because it’s so simple. While hardcore diet advocates will knock this meal approach for one reason or another, I feel that it keeps things simple. Dieting is hard enough, why would I want to confuse people? If you’re trying to lose a lost of weight and need to, this diet keeps simplicity in your life. If you only have to lose a pound or two pounds per week, this approach also works very well since you aren’t restricting your cheat meals.
The only problem that I have with nutrient based diets, that is meal approaches that only focus on food quality, is that they are very easy to overeat on. Again, it’s a simple diet but it’s very easy to overeat on the Slow Carb Diet. If you followed a carbohydrate or calorie controlled diet there would be a ceiling set every single day.
Another issue that I have with the no white carbohydrate recommendation is that it causes increased hunger daily. There’s no bad about white carbohydrates, I prefer not to eat them because they are unhealthy but if you just want to lose fat you can get away with eating a little bit every day. Your body doesn’t recognize the difference in the carbohydrates between a Snickers bar and white bread. Your body only sees the nutrients in the food. I’m not advising a Snicker diet, all I’m saying is that you can eat a small out of white bread, if you want, and still get very lean.
Ultimately I feel that the Slow Carb Diet is a very good approach for anyone starting out on a diet. Most people can get very lean using it but if your results hit a plateau then I’d advise you to think twice about using it.