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TOPIC: The 4-Hour Body / Slow-Carb Diet

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December 26, 2010 5:33 PM
Anyone ever try this? The book, The 4-Hour Body by Tim Ferriss sounds really interesting and by his own admittance, can be extreme in some areas. Some of it sounds like solid research on his part, but not the normal of calories in versus calories out and achieving a deficit. The idea of "slow carbs" vegetables, legumes, good fats, protein and supplements all sound promising, but I'm a bit hesitant to jump on the band wagon. I certainly like his idea of a once a week, "cheat or free" day which many plans advocate. Just wondering if anyone has tried his plan.

Thanks!
  688981
December 31, 2010 6:52 PM
I just bought the book, and am really enjoying it. It's a lot of common sense. He dispells some common myths, talks about some studies on the effects of certain kinds of foods.....I haven't gotten to the heart of the diet yet, but will spend the evening reading it. I've heard nothing but good about it.
  2318653
December 31, 2010 8:06 PM
My hubby lost 10 pounds on this diet, and I lost 4. We took this week off, but are going to go back on it on Monday. It's easy as long as you don't get bored, can hold out for your cheat day, and can limit the cheat day to one day and go back strict the following day. It's a bit more of a challenge for me because I don't eat meat, but luckily I love beans and veggies! Plus I modified a bit (allowed yogurt and better n' peanut butter and my probiotic chocolate Attune bar). Hubby went strict. I needed the extra calories.
January 1, 2011 6:54 AM
QUOTE:

My hubby lost 10 pounds on this diet, and I lost 4. We took this week off, but are going to go back on it on Monday. It's easy as long as you don't get bored, can hold out for your cheat day, and can limit the cheat day to one day and go back strict the following day. It's a bit more of a challenge for me because I don't eat meat, but luckily I love beans and veggies! Plus I modified a bit (allowed yogurt and better n' peanut butter and my probiotic chocolate Attune bar). Hubby went strict. I needed the extra calories.


I'm not finding much information on yogurt in the book.....Is yogurt not allowed? I know he says no dairy....but yogurt is a staple in my diet. I am sticking with the Greek yogurt, which is higher in protein. And I only eat the plain, which has little sugar/carbs. Any thoughts, Lucy?
  2318653
January 1, 2011 4:51 PM
QUOTE:

QUOTE:

My hubby lost 10 pounds on this diet, and I lost 4. We took this week off, but are going to go back on it on Monday. It's easy as long as you don't get bored, can hold out for your cheat day, and can limit the cheat day to one day and go back strict the following day. It's a bit more of a challenge for me because I don't eat meat, but luckily I love beans and veggies! Plus I modified a bit (allowed yogurt and better n' peanut butter and my probiotic chocolate Attune bar). Hubby went strict. I needed the extra calories.


I'm not finding much information on yogurt in the book.....Is yogurt not allowed? I know he says no dairy....but yogurt is a staple in my diet. I am sticking with the Greek yogurt, which is higher in protein. And I only eat the plain, which has little sugar/carbs. Any thoughts, Lucy?


So after more reading...I think the plain, non-sweetened yogurt is okay on this diet, because it is a "fermented" food which will increase the good bacteria in the stomach.
  2318653
January 2, 2011 11:58 AM
Thanks all! I agree it sounds like a common sense approach to me and I believe in the idea of slow-carbs. Too many carbs make me tired, but you need some for energy and to help burn fat and protein. I too thouhht yogurt would be OK because of the good bacteria; same with low fat cottage cheese which he does mention his mom and dad both eat.

I'm starting fresh on Monday and will eat the Slow-carb way through Saturday which will be my "cheat" day. weekends are always hard for me anyway, and Saturday is the toughest.

I'll let you know how it works for me!
  688981
January 2, 2011 6:50 PM
QUOTE:

Thanks all! I agree it sounds like a common sense approach to me and I believe in the idea of slow-carbs. Too many carbs make me tired, but you need some for energy and to help burn fat and protein. I too thouhht yogurt would be OK because of the good bacteria; same with low fat cottage cheese which he does mention his mom and dad both eat.

I'm starting fresh on Monday and will eat the Slow-carb way through Saturday which will be my "cheat" day. weekends are always hard for me anyway, and Saturday is the toughest.

I'll let you know how it works for me!


Saturday will be my first cheat day, too......Today was my first day sticking to the diet, as I ate mashed potatoes last night for dinner. I'm going to eat some Greek yogurt each day as my fermented food/bacteria supply.

My new favorite dish: Black beans with chunks of roasted turkey (1/2 breast meat and 1/2 dark meat)! YUM! =)
  2318653
January 7, 2011 7:37 PM
This is my first week on the diet. It appeals to me because a) I love all legumes and b) I don't get bored - I have no problem eating grilled meats, veggies and legumes 4 times per day. I've been successful losing weight on low-carb diets in the past, but the relatively limitless amount of beans I can eat here allows me plenty of carbs to fuel my exercise (running).

On the subject of yogurt...

I'm not going to tell anyone what to eat, because, what works for one person may be different from the next. HOWEVER, with that said - Ferris is VERY clear that the ONLY dairy that's allowed (aside from cheat day) is cottage cheese. I know that plain greek-style yogurt doesn't contain sugar and is high in protein, but the same can be said of milk - and he explicitly points milk out as a no-no. So, while everyone needs to decide what works for them, I think I can safely say that yogurt is not allowed on this diet, as described by Ferris.

What I'm wondering about are high-protein/low-carb soy products such as Boca Burgers, etc. I know soybeans are allowed, but those count as legumes...I find these to be a very easy/convenient way to get protein+beans+veggies all on the same plate (plus, I love them). Thoughts?
  3645358
January 7, 2011 8:08 PM
This is my first week on the Slow-Carb Diet also. I decided to use some Greek yogurt even though it says not to. While my protein intake is still off the charts for every day, I have been able to keep everything under control, particularly sugar. There was no way I could only drink 16 oz of diet soda, so I simply have given soda up completely.

The hard part is the no white flour. I didn't think I had a problem with this, but suddenly I crave donuts. I don't even eat donuts usually but now I want one. But not a problem, I am keeping track of my cravings and tomorrow is an all you can eat day. So far so good, down about 11 pounds in 4 and a half days and not too hungry.

I still have a lot of the book to read, still need to purchase some supplements, and going to get a hand held fat analyzer. I know I can do this!!
January 8, 2011 5:49 AM
The only mention of yogurt in the 4 Hour Body text is on page 111.

"Unsweetened plain yogurt and fremented kombucha tea are two additional choices. Fermented foods contain high levels of healthy bacteria and should be viewed as a mandatory piece of your dietary puzzle." (Timothy Ferriss, The 4-Hour Body)

This quote is from the section titled "Go Fermented." It's clear that he encourages the inclusion of yogurt in this diet. And, in my opinion, Greek yogurt with it's higher protein level and low sugar content (esp. in the plain variety) is a great option.
Edited by Sporty98 On January 8, 2011 5:55 AM
  2318653
January 8, 2011 8:13 AM
QUOTE:

The only mention of yogurt in the 4 Hour Body text is on page 111.

"Unsweetened plain yogurt and fremented kombucha tea are two additional choices. Fermented foods contain high levels of healthy bacteria and should be viewed as a mandatory piece of your dietary puzzle." (Timothy Ferriss, The 4-Hour Body)

This quote is from the section titled "Go Fermented." It's clear that he encourages the inclusion of yogurt in this diet. And, in my opinion, Greek yogurt with it's higher protein level and low sugar content (esp. in the plain variety) is a great option.


That section also mentions cheese, which he explicitly eliminates in other portions of the book. I think you're taking it out of context. That section isn't about the slow-carb diet, it's about another doctor's studies of disease-free cultures and the benefits of fermented foods in disease prevention. This is why he includes sauerkraut and kimchee on the diet.

He does say on page 91, "I would avoid most milk products. Cottage cheese is an exception."
  3645358
January 8, 2011 8:15 AM
QUOTE:

The only mention of yogurt in the 4 Hour Body text is on page 111.

"Unsweetened plain yogurt and fremented kombucha tea are two additional choices. Fermented foods contain high levels of healthy bacteria and should be viewed as a mandatory piece of your dietary puzzle." (Timothy Ferriss, The 4-Hour Body)

This quote is from the section titled "Go Fermented." It's clear that he encourages the inclusion of yogurt in this diet. And, in my opinion, Greek yogurt with it's higher protein level and low sugar content (esp. in the plain variety) is a great option.


Thanks for pointing out this section of the book. While fruit is strongly discouraged, I am still adding blueberries into my Greek yogurt and just a small amount of agave light. I am also having a difficult time with not eating fruit particularly bananas. But 5 days down and 11 pounds lost, not bad I think. I also started drinking yerba mate which I drink with no sweetener. I think it helps curb hunger. I will probably phase out the Greek yogurt with cottage cheese as Greek yogurt is not cheap.
Edited by brentoski On January 8, 2011 8:17 AM
January 8, 2011 9:02 AM
QUOTE:

QUOTE:

The only mention of yogurt in the 4 Hour Body text is on page 111.

"Unsweetened plain yogurt and fremented kombucha tea are two additional choices. Fermented foods contain high levels of healthy bacteria and should be viewed as a mandatory piece of your dietary puzzle." (Timothy Ferriss, The 4-Hour Body)

This quote is from the section titled "Go Fermented." It's clear that he encourages the inclusion of yogurt in this diet. And, in my opinion, Greek yogurt with it's higher protein level and low sugar content (esp. in the plain variety) is a great option.


That section also mentions cheese, which he explicitly eliminates in other portions of the book. I think you're taking it out of context. That section isn't about the slow-carb diet, it's about another doctor's studies of disease-free cultures and the benefits of fermented foods in disease prevention. This is why he includes sauerkraut and kimchee on the diet.

He does say on page 91, "I would avoid most milk products. Cottage cheese is an exception."


I disagree.....

In that particular section, ("Go Fermented") he is referring to Dr. Weston Price's studies and findings. Ferriss states, "He found that one common element [of near-disease-free indigenous communities] was fermented foods, which were consumed daily."
The next sentence, he lists some of the fermented foods that were included in the diets of these cultures, such as cheese, kefir, sauerkraut, etc.

THEN, the next sentence is the one that I quoted, where Ferriss says that plain unsweetened yogurt and fermented kombucha tea are two other choices. He DOES NOT say that they were other choices in Dr. Price's study, but rather they are two other choices of fermented foods.

Ferriss wrote this section of the book, so it is not the work of Dr. Price, but a reference to Price's studies. Anything that Ferriss has included in the 4-Hour Body text should be considered when doing "The 4-Hour Body diet".....He would not have included this reference to yogurt as an alternative fermented food if it were not allowed on the diet. That is obvious.

It is also important here to notice that Ferriss isn't saying "NO DAIRY PRODUCTS" PERIOD! He says on page 91, "....but I would avoid most milk products. Cottage cheese is an exception." He uses two key words here: "most" and "an."

"Most" dairy products should be avoided. If he meant all dairy, he would have said "all milk products." Clearly, he does not mean that all milk products are off limits. The use of the article "an" implies that there are more exceptions than he is listing. Cottage cheese is simply "an" exception, not the only exception.
Edited by Sporty98 On January 8, 2011 9:15 AM
  2318653
January 8, 2011 9:07 AM
QUOTE:

QUOTE:

The only mention of yogurt in the 4 Hour Body text is on page 111.

"Unsweetened plain yogurt and fremented kombucha tea are two additional choices. Fermented foods contain high levels of healthy bacteria and should be viewed as a mandatory piece of your dietary puzzle." (Timothy Ferriss, The 4-Hour Body)

This quote is from the section titled "Go Fermented." It's clear that he encourages the inclusion of yogurt in this diet. And, in my opinion, Greek yogurt with it's higher protein level and low sugar content (esp. in the plain variety) is a great option.


Thanks for pointing out this section of the book. While fruit is strongly discouraged, I am still adding blueberries into my Greek yogurt and just a small amount of agave light. I am also having a difficult time with not eating fruit particularly bananas. But 5 days down and 11 pounds lost, not bad I think. I also started drinking yerba mate which I drink with no sweetener. I think it helps curb hunger. I will probably phase out the Greek yogurt with cottage cheese as Greek yogurt is not cheap.


11 lbs. in 5 days!!! That's fabulous! Congratulations! I am not losing that pounds that quickly, but I am seeing a reduction in inches....Today I added some of the exercises that Ferriss suggests.
  2318653
January 8, 2011 9:17 AM
Folks, again, if what you're doing is working, I wouldn't encourage you to change, but Ferris is pretty clear about eliminating dairy that is not cottage cheese.

On page 82 of the book, Ferris explains that dairy products are problematic, because, although they have a low glycemic index, they have a high insulinemic response. I'm not going to type the whole passage here - but you can look it up. He even goes so far as to say the amount of milk used for coffee is too much (if you must have something - use cream, etc..).

As I'm sure you know - same goes for fruit - he's pretty clear about that one. Again, if what you're doing is working, great. You may be able to get away without going "whole-hog" into this program. For me, though, if I start to make small concessions (even for things that are generalized as being healthy such as yogurt or fruit), that opens the door to start making larger concessions. For me, at least, it's a slippery slope.

Remember, that Ferris continually reminds us in the book that this diet is designed to be effective, not fun, or necessarily interesting. He never explicitly states this, but I feel like one of the reasons this diet may work is, because it encourage you to eat the same few meals over and over again, eventually (if you follow that advice), you will stop overeating, BECAUSE the meals are boriing...you get to a point where they satisfy your hunger needs, but don't trigger you to overeat...after all - why stuff yourself now when you're going to be eating the same thing again in 4 hours?

For me, being able to focus on the 1 cheat day is huge. Anything I crave during the week, I can make a note of, and save it for Sunday (which is my cheat day at least through football season).

I wanted to make one final point about Agave nectar. I love agave nectar, and, having been on many brief stints of South-Beachy-type diets in the past, I've had my share of it. I wouldn't even consider making a margarita without it, but that's neither here nor there. One of the reasons it's use is encouraged on such diets is because it has a lower glycemic index than other sweeteners, while still being natural (and tasting great, IMO).

I had heard somewhere recently (I can't remember where), that the glycemic claims were exaggerated, and that it had been renounced by some of the lists or orgs that promoted its use initially. My hearing of this was purely conversational, and I haven't had time to do any research myself, as I'm not using Agave as part of the slow-carb program, but if you consume it regularly under the assumption that it's better for you from whatever dietary perspective you choose, it may be worth checking out.
  3645358
January 8, 2011 9:17 AM
I'm not sure about the soy burgers and things.....Anybody have any thoughts?
Edited by Sporty98 On January 8, 2011 9:18 AM
  2318653
January 8, 2011 9:25 AM
Okay.....On page 91, in the same section as the dairy is listed, he talks about soy....

"....I discourage consuming any refined soy products, including all soy milk and isolated soy protein supplements."

I am not a big soy eater, so I am not focusing on those parts of the book quite so much.

I agree with you, mcferg, that if the diet is working that's great! BUT, on pages 82 and 83 Ferriss does not say "no dairy." He does state "Removing even a little dairy can dramatically accelerate fat-loss...." and "If you must, use cream (not milk)...."

This diet is a great way to remind ourselves that food is our fuel.
  2318653
January 8, 2011 9:48 AM
QUOTE:

"Most" dairy products should be avoided. If he meant all dairy, he would have said "all milk products." Clearly, he does not mean that all milk products are off limits. The use of the article "an" implies that there are more exceptions than he is listing. Cottage cheese is simply "an" exception, not the only exception.


What you're saying here is true. However, it's one thing to assume there are other exceptions for dairy use based upon that section is one thing. It's another to assume that yogurt is one of them. It's clear that dairy products that are to be avoided are those with high insulenemic indexes - the only way to know if yogurt is an exception is to know where it falls on that scale. I don't know the answer to this.

My main point is - the book doesn't say you can eat yogurt on this diet. In that section Ferris says that it's good for disease prevention, though, not for weight loss. It's entirely possible that yogurt fits the profile of the diet, and he just fails to mention it (though, I personally find it odd that it would never be suggested as an addition to a breakfast or something if it were actually encouraged). The main thing is, for me, that there are 5 "rules" for the diet, and rule #2 contains a list of foods to choose from, and yogurt isn't one of them.

Like I said before - if you can eat yogurt and make it work for you..awesome. I'm not saying you shouldn't eat yogurt. I'm just saying that Ferris isn't saying you should.
  3645358
January 8, 2011 9:50 AM
QUOTE:

Okay.....On page 91, in the same section as the dairy is listed, he talks about soy....

"....I discourage consuming any refined soy products, including all soy milk and isolated soy protein supplements."


DoH!

I was looking for that...it makes me sad. Thanks for pointing that out. I'll have to go dig and see if I can get to the why of it, but it bums me out - those soy products are often convenient. Then again, as much as I like them, I've long suspected they're not particularly healthy, so....

Follow up - in the Meatless Machine chapter, page 523, his concerns with soy products are detailed...it has to do with the alleged estrogenic impact of soy. It sounds like he considers it unhealthy, but I'm not sure if it would have a negative impact on the diet or not...either way, I guess I'll not be eating them.

What I find troublesome here is that, in this chapter, what he identifies as problematic with the soy are the amount of isoflavones in soy...including raw soybeans. In fact, raw soybeans contain more isoflavones than the tofu he addresses in this chapter, yet, soybeans are explicitly listed as a food you can eat, and there's no indication or explanation as to why processed soy may or may not be worse than soybeans themselves.
Edited by mcferg On January 8, 2011 9:58 AM
  3645358
January 8, 2011 11:29 AM
QUOTE:


My main point is - the book doesn't say you can eat yogurt on this diet. In that section Ferris says that it's good for disease prevention, though, not for weight loss. It's entirely possible that yogurt fits the profile of the diet, and he just fails to mention it (though, I personally find it odd that it would never be suggested as an addition to a breakfast or something if it were actually encouraged). The main thing is, for me, that there are 5 "rules" for the diet, and rule #2 contains a list of foods to choose from, and yogurt isn't one of them.



I think you're referring to the rules in the chapter called "Slow Carb Diet I" (pages 71-75)......Be careful here....He does not include yogurt in the foods that we can have. You are right. BUT, he also doesn't include turkey! Are we only limited to the protein sources that he's listed? Can we only eat chicken, beef, fish and pork? What about turkey, shrimp and other seafood? Any thoughts?

Further....what about zucchini? That is not listed in the vegetables list.....Can we only eat the few that Ferriss listed? I don't think so, as one of his listed veggies is "mixed vegetables" which is pretty broad......

I am not sure if he's failing to note certain things, or simply laying out the outline of low GI eating, with a focus on proteins. He gives us the foods that have produced the fasted results in his experience (he's starred those items in the list on the above mentioned pages), but does not say we have to eat those exact items.

One thing that I am liking in the diet is that I eat the same few meals over and over and I find that I am thinking about food less. I am not wondering about all of the options for dinner. I am simply fueling my body with these small meals and feeling healthier every day!

Hope it's going well for each of you, too....
  2318653
January 8, 2011 11:36 AM
QUOTE:

One thing that I am liking in the diet is that I eat the same few meals over and over and I find that I am thinking about food less. I am not wondering about all of the options for dinner. I am simply fueling my body with these small meals and feeling healthier every day!

Hope it's going well for each of you, too....


Same here. The thing is I actually like grilled meats, beans and vegatables, but I don't LOVE them. I also don't really get tired of eating them. They're always "fine" (at least). If I'm thinking about anything, it's cheat day...but I have a feeling (my first one is tomorrow), that once it gets here, I won't be motivated to go too nuts.

Also - good point re: turkey and seafood. I'm not sure why that would have been omitted. I was operating under the assumption that those were okay (though, I've not eaten either yet), which is just as fallible as the yogurt assumption you're making. It's frustrating. I think if we went over this book with a fine-toothed comb, we might find a number of places where he leaves stuff out of contradicts himself.

One other thing that's troubled me is the notion of fat. It's not really addressed. He seems fine with pretty much any beef or pork. Yet, he consistently makes references to mixing whole eggs with egg substitute or eating turkey bacon. Why? Why would you eat egg substitute vs. whole eggs other than to save fat and/or calories? Same thing with turkey bacon. I don't get it.
  3645358
January 8, 2011 8:44 PM
WELL....I had my first cheat day today! I wasn't sure if I'd actually do a cheat day, because it felt odd to not eat this way. So, I had a "normal" breakfast (one of my daily meals: 1/2 cup black beans with 2 oz. turkey). But then a friend called and invited my husband and I out to an early dinner and a couple of drinks. We decided to go, (so, I decided I'd have a cheat day) and had a great time! It was really nice to just eat whatever! BUT, I am glad that we ate out and don't have all of those foods here at the house! We ate chicken wings, poutine, and had some chips & pretzels with our drinks.

I didn't end up going crazy with the "free" foods. I suppose it's because my stomach really couldn't take it. I ate 3 chicken wings. I love wings! I'm the one who used to eat a dozen and then want more! So, there are some real changes going on here. The poutine was good, but that was another food that used to be my favorite! And tonight, it was just good. It isn't what I crave anymore. I'm not even sure if I am craving anything anymore!

Even the drinks weren't great! I had a drink. Then ordered another....half of which I left. Wow! Now that's a change for me!

So, I suppose it was a successful cheat day. Another reason I went ahead with my "cheat" is that I wanted to go over my routine calorie consumption. I'm having a hard time reaching 1200 calories on this diet. The foods are so dense and filling, that I usually end up between 900 to 1100. So, today I went over on the calories. Now, if I'm reading the book right, Ferriss says this will keep me from plateauing.....

How does everyone else find "cheat day"?
  2318653
January 8, 2011 9:36 PM
I like this post and hear about this diet before but I can't go without fruit and dairy, that being said I have a question. So what happen after you loose all the weight? Can you eat normal stuf including dairy and fruits? Or this is a forever thing?
There is two reason I like this diet: I love beans and eat a lot of beans and the cheat day! wink
  3356070
January 8, 2011 10:44 PM
I'll be honest, I didn't read every response. But it sounds like this person is a little off in their theory.

It sounds like they are trying to emulate the low glycemic index diet, which is a very healthy way to live with "slow carbs." It's all about moderation and choosing the right types of food, like whole grains over white, vegetables over fats, etc. These foods give you the most bang for your calorie and they affect your blood sugar slowly so you don't have sugar highs and crashes and eventually you stop craving bad carbs like candy and refined sugar. It is also a lifestyle you can stick to for life without feeling deprived forever (things like low fat ice cream and even pasta are a part of this lifestyle in moderation).

From what I've seen, take the book with a grain of salt. As advice? Certainly. But as gospel? Not so much.
  2742205
January 9, 2011 8:06 AM
QUOTE:

I'll be honest, I didn't read every response. But it sounds like this person is a little off in their theory.

It sounds like they are trying to emulate the low glycemic index diet, which is a very healthy way to live with "slow carbs." It's all about moderation and choosing the right types of food, like whole grains over white, vegetables over fats, etc. These foods give you the most bang for your calorie and they affect your blood sugar slowly so you don't have sugar highs and crashes and eventually you stop craving bad carbs like candy and refined sugar. It is also a lifestyle you can stick to for life without feeling deprived forever (things like low fat ice cream and even pasta are a part of this lifestyle in moderation).

From what I've seen, take the book with a grain of salt. As advice? Certainly. But as gospel? Not so much.


This is a low GI diet....The gist of the slow carb diet is that you will eat these foods that are digested more slowly, and have less of an effect on your blood sugar. I think this is a lifestyle choice, and could be maintained for life. It factors in a lot of long-term issues, like having a cheat day, drinking alcohol, etc.

As far as fats go, they have been given a bad rap! Fat is an essential part of any diet. You need to take in the healthy fats and include them with the protein, fiber, etc. I find this diet a bit "freeing" in that I can have fats.....After years of doing a low-fat diet, it feels so good to eat whole eggs and dark turkey meat! It's delicious and good for me!

I think that we all have to do what works best for us. The 4-Hour Body book has a lot of interesting and amazing material on building your body, burning fat, developing muscle, etc. It's a great resource! Like you've said, we should not take this book OR ANY OTHER BOOK ON DIET AND WEIGHT LOSS as "Gospel"....There is a lot of information out there (and right here on MFP) that is questionable.....We all have to think for ourselves!
  2318653

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