The Slow Carb Diet

The Slow Carb Diet was popularized in “The 4-Hour Body” book by Tim Ferriss. It is a fairly simple diet to follow and many body builders and others use it as well..

Beans Can be a mainstay of the slow carb diet
Beans can be a mainstay of the slow carb diet

Tim claims he lost 25 pounds of fat in six weeks on this diet!

The basics are simple. Eat almost anything you want, with the restriction of high glycemic carbs.

That means no bread, grains, milk (a very little milk or cream in coffee in OK), cheese, fruit except for avocados and tomatoes, refined soy, grains, and starches. Many of the recipes in The Anabolic Cookbook are fantastic for this diet.

One day a week you can eat anything you want to help prevent the body from going into starvation mode. Go wild and have fun, eat till you are sick if you want, then back to the basics the next day.

So what can you eat?

Meat (emphasis on grass feed organic), eggs, fish, seafood, veggies, beans (be careful with densely caloric beans like chickpeas and hummus), oils and more. Salad dressings that are not cream based and do not have sugars added are fine, as is a glass of red wine a night.

We can describe the basics of the diet extremely well in 5 simple rules!

1)      Avoid White Carbs – with the exception of cauliflower, avoid all white carbs: breads, potatoes, rice (even brown rice), pasta, cereal, crackers, etc. They are almost universally high glycemic, and the chemicals used to bleach them are often nasty! Many diets recommend this.

2)      Eat the same few meals over and over – most people do this naturally and do not eat the variety they think they do, so this should be hard. Choose proteins (allowed include: eggs, egg whites, chicken, beef (grass fed is best), pork, and fish), legumes (basically beans and lentils), and vegetables.

Most restaurants will let you replace junk like French Fries or rice with a salad, and if they charge extra, just consider it a slight fee for keeping you fit!

3)      Don’t Drink Calories – admittedly a tough one for me. Avoid soft drinks and juices for example. When it comes to diet soft drinks, they have nasty stuff in them, so try to limit to no more than 16 oz a day. I’ll admit to having the occasional energy drink. One or even two glasses of red wine a night is OK. If you drink coffee, no more than 2 table spoons of cream!).

4)      No Fruit! – fruit is full of sugar! The two exceptions are tomatoes and avocados (eat sparin

gly as they are high calorie).

5)      Take One Day Off Per Week – and go wild! This is important.

Of course exercise is also recommended, including 2-3 workouts in the gym. The workouts in the Muscle Maximizer can be used.

No calorie counting, just as in most low carb and low fat diets. If you think calorie counting is all that matters, well, maybe you still think the world is flat. The human body simply isn’t that simple!

This morning, as an example, I had an egg/eggwhite omelet with mushrooms and hummus (humm

us is awesome in omelets), and coffee with just a little cream. For lunch, I’m having simple roasted garlic and grass fed steak tips. For dinner, I’m thinking of making an Indian flavored bean dish that will last me a few days.

The slow carb diet, also called the 4-Hour Body Diet, is pretty simple to follow and works well for most if you stick to it. Remember, one day a week you can go wild!

Low Carb Versus Low Fat Diet, Which is Best for Weight Loss?

Healthy Vegetables
Healthy Vegetables – required on most any diet!

Low carb versus low fat? I hear both my buddies in the gym and chubby women on the bus arguing.

Now diet is not a dirty word, but merely means what we consume. That said, many people try specific diets for weight loss or more specifically fat loss.

Whether you are an average couch potato who wants to lose a few pounds of spare tire or a bodybuilder knowledgeable about nutrition, there are certain trends in diets and types of diets that mirror them.

But despite seemingly endless dieting, the world keeps getting fatter; there is an obesity epidemic that affects couch potatoes and serious bodybuilders and other athletes as well. This article is based in part on research by Christopher Gardiner, director of nutritional studies at the Stanford Prevention Research Center.

Gardiner pooled data across a number of different studies on different diet types across the years. He also is running his own studies including one where he assigned 311 obese  women to one of four diets ranging from very low carb (Atkins), middle of the road diets (Zone and LEARN diets), and very low fat (Ornish).

Read on for his results. Basically, any diet can work but most dieting attempts fail.

A “balanced diet” used to be touted, and balanced is good, but people kept getting fatter,

Then for decades, low fat diets were the rage. A prime although extreme example is the Dean Ornish Diet. Other than banned foods such as fats and oils, nuts and seeds, avocados, refined carbs like sugars and white rice/white flour, you can eat all you want. This pretty much means fruits, veggies, and grains. Fats are about 10-20% of your caloric intake.

I followed the Ornish diet and stayed relatively trim and muscular (lots of beans for protein etc.) for years. But the diet is not especially easy to stick to especially when traveling, entertaining, during the holidays, or if you simply like food!

After the low fat diet rage we had still, as a group, gotten fatter. Clearly simply low fat is not the answer.

The “low carb” diets came next with the Atkins Diet being an extreme example. It allows eating plenty of meats and veggies (no restrictions on many foods). Bacon, eggs, steak, salads (no croutons!), broccoli, etc.

Low carb is popular and like low fat it can work. For years I followed a very low carb diet and could even have several glasses of wine most nights with no problem and keep my bodyfat low. It still works for me although as I’ve aged I need to be more restrictive of alcohol in order for it to work well.

Still, although it can absolutely work, in general the population got fatter during the low carb dieting craze.

So what did Gardner discover about low carb versus low fat?

After one year, in Gardner’s study, weight loss ranged from a lot (30-40 pounds) to even gaining a few pounds. The average participant lost very little weight! Average weight loss ranged from 10 pounds for Atkins to 3 ½ pounds for the Zone Diet. LEARN was 6 pounds average, and Ornish was 5 pounds.

Now all diets used high quality foods: organic vegetables, pastured grown chicken and eggs, grass feed beef, etc. and plenty of fiber.

None of these results were impressive! Obviously it is not diet alone that matters.

There is some evidence that if you are insulin resistant (and there is no easy test) that low carb is better for weight loss for you.

Gardiner’s studies are ongoing, and his advice for losing weight today is very simple: focus on quality food, eliminate processed sugars as much as possible, less packaged and processed foods, and “go to the farmers market and buy what’s fresh.”

And I’ll add, together with healthy foods (whether low carb, low fat, balanced, whatever), you need to exercise, ideally resistance exercises as well as aerobic exercise like walking, running, or biking.

So fat loss? It’s not just diet. But you knew that right? So get off your butt and do some exercise!