The Slow Carb Diet – My Mixed Review After 30 Days on the Diet

March 29, 2011

Have you heard of The Slow Carb Diet? This is an eating approach outlined by Tim Ferriss in the book The 4-Hour Body. I’m a big fan of the book, but not the biggest fan of the diet plan. I went on the diet last month for 30 days and I’d like to give you the low down on whether you should consider giving it a shot.

Slow Carb Diet

[The Slow Carb Diet seems to work best for people with more than 10 pounds of weight to lose. I’m not sure it works as well for someone who wants to get really lean.]

You’ve Probably Heard of The 4-Hour Body

A few months ago Tim Ferriss released a blockbuster book called, The 4-Hour Body. My guess is that 90% of the people reading this, have at least heard of this book. It has quickly become a best seller and really is a well thought out book. I don’t agree with every point that Tim makes, but that isn’t the point of this book. His book challenges conventional wisdom…so it was a must buy for me. In this book he outlines a diet that he follows along with a massive group of loyal readers of his blog.

The Rules of The Slow Carb Diet

  • Avoid White Carbohydrates: No rice, potatoes, flour, fried foods, breading, etc. The only exception is within 1.5 hours of training.
  • Avoid Fruit, Sugar, Dairy and Alcohol: No cheese, fruit, sugar of any type, beer, etc. Tim has found that the diet still works if you drink 1-2 glasses of red wine each night. He also allows a limited amount of artificial sweeteners (1 Diet Coke, some sugar free jello for desert).
  • Eat a Protein Rich Meal Within 30 Minutes of Waking Up: Meal frequency isn’t important. Tim likes to eat 4 times per day. He does stress the importance of having a protein rich meal as soon as you wake up.
  • Eat as Much of These Foods as You Like: Eggs, Chicken, Grass Fed Beef, Pork, Lentils, Black Beans, Pinto Beans, Spinach, Asparagus, Peas, Mixed Vegetables.
  • Eat Whatever You Like One Day Per Week:Whatever sounds good…go for it on your “cheat day”. Everything is allowed on this day, but once the day is over you are back to your diet.

I Decided to Give This Diet a Shot With My Girlfriend

I booked a beach vacation for mid-April and figured that it would be fun to see if The Slow Carb Diet would help me drop about 6-8 pounds. My girlfriend was aiming to lose about 1/2 that amount. Neither of us ever really “needs” to lose weight, but it is fun to get a little extra lean for summer and vacations, etc. We devoted the final week of February and the first 3 weeks of March to this diet.

My Starting Weight 195 Pounds – Ending Weight 191 Pounds

I lost 4 pounds in a month. This is actually really good for someone in my position. My girlfriend lost 3 pounds in a month (which is good as well). So why the “Mixed Review” in the title of this post? Well…since it is a drastic diet with some pretty hardcore rules I was expecting for us to lose about 50% more than what we did. If I would have lost 6-7 pounds and my girlfriend 4-5…then it would have been worth the sacrifice.

Felt Great During the Day With Stomach Problems at Night

This is a great diet for even energy levels. Working out felt like it took a bit more effort, but strength levels remained the same. Typically things went well throughout the day, but my stomach never really adapted to eating a diet so high in protein, beans, and veggies. Bottom line…my digestive system hated this diet! I tried organic stuff, Beano, etc. I felt like I had a 30 day stomach ache.


[Another tough thing for me, was only having beer once per week. Wirklich Schade! (Very Sad)]

A Diet Designed by a Wine Drinker!

Tim Ferriss is a big wine drinker, so this diet allows 2 glasses of red wine per night. This felt like he was setting up a little “cheat” that made this an easier diet for him to handle. Honestly…if I was designing the diet, it would allow for one light beer per evening. I’ve dropped down to 5% body fat while consistently drinking 1-2 Corona Light’s per night with dinner. I followed Tim’s diet to the “T” and didn’t drink beer…but felt like this was an unnecessary rule. I didn’t like the wine rule at all! Beer is good for the soul.

I Prefer Low-Calorie Diets Over Nutrient-Focused Diets

I like to eat what I want while creating a weekly calorie deficit. There are a lot of diets that focus on foods you can and can’t eat. This works for a lot of people who do better with strict guidelines. No doubt, The Slow Carb Diet works. In fact, I could see it working well for the majority of people who follow it. It just wasn’t a great fit for me or my girlfriend. We both felt it was too big of a price to pay to drop weight. I like beer, dairy, and gummy candy too much to make this a long-term deal.

How I Will Spend the Next 3 Weeks Leading Up to My Trip

Monday-Friday: I will have a meal replacement shake for breakfast and lunch…then eat what I want for dinner (within reason). Two days per week, I will do some intermittent fasting until dinner. I won’t have a true “cheat day” but I’ll leave it a lot more flexible on the weekend. If I see a movie I’ll have a bag of gummy bears and a large Diet Coke. If I’m meeting up with friends we will order some hot wings and nachos…and a large beer or two. I will lose another 3 pounds or so, but it will be an easier approach for the way I like to eat.

Is the Slow Carb Diet Right for You?

If you have a lot of weight to lose, then yes it is. Some people experience amazing results. If you are trying to get really lean, and have only 5-10 pounds to lose, then I actually believe strong weekly calorie deficits are the way to go. Here is a link to Tim’s blog which outlines this diet in greater detail: The Slow Carb Diet.

Important Message: Although this site has received 25+ million visitors, I am starting from scratch and abandoning it. This site is dated and old school looking, terrible to read on mobile, etc.

It's like a Ford Pinto compared to my new site...which is like a Ferrari. Click the link to head over to my new site.

Starting Over...R.I.P. Fitness Black Book!


Thanks for reading all these years!



 

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{ 52 comments… read them below or add one }

DanielR May 13, 2011 at 8:10 pm

you did not measure correctly your progress.

you said you’ve lost “only” 4 pounds in 4 weeks, but you say absolutely nothing about your body fat percentage, neither the total inch body measurement

Tim Ferriss’ diet is about body recomposition not about losing weight… you can lose zero pounds and still lose 20 pounds of fat — the swimsuit photos will show that beyond any doubt

since you’ve missed basic requirements as taking into account not only body weight but BF% and total inches, I suspect you’ve missed other “minor but essential” requirements of his diet/method/lifestyle

in other words, as computer programmers use to say: garbage in, garbage out

George Patt May 15, 2011 at 10:27 am

Water is considered as one of the best natural appetite suppressants. Water fills up the stomach quickly and curbs hunger. Drinking a glass of water before every mea suppresses appetite to a great extent. Apples contain a high quantity of fibre. Secondly, it takes a longer time to eat an apple which sends a signal to the brain that the stomach is full up. Therefore, eating a raw apple every day helps in suppressing appetite. Green leafy vegetables such as spinach, lettuce, cabbage, etc. contain large volumes of fibre which lend a hand to decrease the rise of the blood sugar. This in turn suppresses hunger.

Ray - Six Pack Abs Diet May 17, 2011 at 12:44 am

Tim has some interesting ideas about fat loss (my favorite is the light exercise before & after a meal). But yours truly is not a fan of the Slow Carb Diet.

I followed the SCD for 2 weeks but found that it & I mixed like ‘oil & vinegar’! (1) too restrictive for my taste, (2) didn’t like the idea of having to eat breakfast within x minutes of getting up (I DON’T eat breakfast most mornings; having to do so made me think of food more than I usually would), (3) I like beans but eating them every day would make me an outcast in my home and (4) sticking with basically the same meals day-in-day-out bores me to no end! And believe it or not, I couldn’t pig out on my cheat day like Tim recommends … I like to do things in moderation, so going wild doesn’t work for me.

But just because it wouldn’t work for me, doesn’t mean it won’t work for someone else who needs that type of structure. However, for the next 30 days I’m eliminating the following from my diet: white carbs, added sugar & salt, dairy & alcohol (except for a Michelob Ultra. I know there are beers with fewer calories, but I love my Michelob Ultra ;)).

Ray

Monica @ Bitch Fitness May 18, 2011 at 12:58 pm

I also did the slow carb diet and found that I had far less energy for my workouts. I was sick to death of eggs for breakfast, but I loved the pig out days. And man did I look awesome at the end of it all. However, I don’t believe I will do the slow carb diet ever again. There are healthier ways to lose weight.

Sonny May 26, 2011 at 10:55 am

I agree with focusing on CALORIES as the primary factor in weight gain or loss. Let me qualify that statement by stating that you should concentrate on a higher protein intake within your calorie allotment to aid in losing just BODY FAT (as much as possible). Personally I feel unless you are extremely overweight or training for overall “condition” for some reason, cardio is useless for fat burning, which I know is very controversial but oh well, thats my opinion. I stay 5 – 7% bodyfat all year by following this plan training no more than 3 days a week about an hour per workout, maybe closer to an hour and a half counting warming up and some stretching.

Emily May 27, 2011 at 6:54 pm

I’ve been doing this diet for 7 weeks now. It’s simply become how I eat. Admittedly, I do a bit of a Paleo/Slow-Carb hybrid diet. I don’t do a bunch of beans, I do some dairy (generally fermented), and I do a little bit of high nutrient fruit (like blueberries). I’m not doing it to lose weight (I’m 133 and 5’9″, fine by me!), but rather for the other health benefits. I’ve been hypoglycemic all my life, and for the first time, I can go more than 2 hours without eating. I never snack anymore. It’s unheard of! I focus more on saturated fats than a lot of people (Ferriss doesn’t explore fat levels really at all), and it has helped a ton with my sleep.

Everyone seems to find their ideal as a bit different on this diet. My boyfriend had some weight to lose (he’s 6’2″ and down to 185 from about 195). He gained muscle too, even though he hasn’t been working out at all. He does no fruit and less dairy than I do, and that works for him.

This diet seems to be amazing for cholesterol and triglyceride levels though. Look into the sustainable health benefits if it before knocking it for being too hard! =)

Tatianna May 30, 2011 at 1:47 am

After reading your post I purchased the book. I have to say, I also like his unconventional approach, but the slow carb diet sure isn’t for me. I could never give up fruit. I don’t care much for fried foods, or rice or pasta, but I love fruit and I do eat it in in crazy amounts every day.
I think I am going to come up with my own diet, where you can eat fruit and meat all day every day.

Corey May 31, 2011 at 6:41 pm

This is not entirely true. Whether you realize or accept it as fact or not, the composition of what you eat is JUST AS important, if not more important than how much you eat. How do I know this? Well, was a faithful Weight Watchers adherent for years. I stayed within my alloted points ( about 1400-1500) calories a day, worked out with weights 3X a week and cardio at least 4 times a week. Sure, I lost weight, but I never could get rid of my soft middle. After a little research, i adopted a paleo-style diet. Within 3 weeks I got rid of my middle. Oh, and I ate about 300-500 more calories a day. Now, there are SOME who can get by on the simple calories in/calories out + exercise forumula. But just from personal experience, and seeing this very same phenomena in others, it cannot be discounted that certain foods tend to encourage weight loss/ gain. It’s just a fact.

Fatimah June 6, 2011 at 11:39 am

I finished reading the slow carb diet chapters of the book, and I liked it alot because this is how I decided to be a healthy eating-life style- for me long ago (before I even heard about the book). The slow carb diet is stricter than my usual diet, but reading it made me realize where I did wrong. I chose to eat like this because this diet stabilizes hunger and moods; I hate being hungry and I get irritated really easily if my blood sugar drops (I am not a diabetic). So I cut off sugar and almost all carbs and I felt really good. I continued to drink milk and eat white cheese and little fruit. I know now that if I become more strict (slow carb diet style) I will lose weight.

I also noticed that on my diet, I felt warmer and more energetic than when I used to eat carbs and bread. The slow carb diet has the same effects.

Please don’t forget that Tim stated very clearly that the rules and the supplements worked for him and his study cases, and asked you (the readers) to experiment to find what works for you (and then he gave an example of his love to drinking wine in the night). He said that he “found that” (ie. experimented) 2 glasses of wine didn’t hinder his fat loss much. Please experiment!

I don’t think I’ll let go of white cheese! Not for Tim, not for anyone! 🙂

RW June 9, 2011 at 10:43 am

I wonder why so many think this diet would be hard to stick with. Most cultures in the world have a staple diet of beans + veggies + some protein + rice. He’s basically created the diet 90% of the world already eats, but taken out the rice!

Richard June 13, 2011 at 9:41 am

This diet really isn’t that hard. My wife and I have been on it for over 3 months now. It is probably one of the easiest and most controllable diets I’ve ever been on. We liked it so much that it is now pretty much our lifestyle. Just don’t eat breads or carbs or candy during the week and do whatever you want on Saturday (or whatever day you select for Cheat Day). I can actually eat when we go out to restaurants by just removing the carb from the menu. I was kind of blow away by the claims of it being an “extreme diet”. We live in a world that is 100% carb & processed food focused in every meal we eat (carbs are relatively cheap so it makes you feel like you’re getting more for you money). We have massive obesity issues with our country. Every country we export our “food” to, experiences massive increases in obesity, heart problems…etc.. Most of those cultures live on a slow or no carb diet before we get there (veggies, meat, whatever they can obtain locally). Do we not see the problem?

Andreas June 14, 2011 at 9:17 am

I am really missing a solid study on how alcohol (not excessive) limits your progress. Tried it on myself, have never had any negative results!

Gabriel Martinez NYC Personal Trainer June 22, 2011 at 5:00 am

As an NYC Personal Trainer and recreational Bodybuilder In my experience I feel the slow carb diet leaves you close to SUPER LEAN but not close enough. Carb cycling is what worked for me to get even more ripped

Keith June 30, 2011 at 7:01 pm

I’m not a fan of ANY diet that puts restrictions to any type of food. I simply like to choose what I like to eat, just eat less of it.

Jamie July 2, 2011 at 4:46 pm

I agree that the beer may be the toughest thing to give up . I read Tim’s book and I’m doing the slow carb diet because I believe that controlling insulin levels is the key to optimal health. We need to get off all the packaged “food” and eat real food. Back to basics. marketing and gluttony have got this country out of whack.
~Cheers!

Steve July 24, 2011 at 11:54 pm

I liked Tim’s book. I am also not a fan of completely restricting foods. It always seems to lead to cheating and eventual failure. There were however some tips in the book that I really enjoyed.

Embracing a cheat day. Again, going cold turkey on all the foods you crave seems to lead to breakdown. Giving yourself a day each week or every other week to enjoy some vice foods can go a long way towards staying on track.

Overall I enjoyed the book. Thanks for the post!

Russel July 31, 2011 at 1:16 am

I think that the core concepts in the book are well thought out and if followed will work very well. On the other hand I do believe that it can be easier than this and that food restriction can be replaced or supplemented by food moderation. I think this approach can have its benefits such as not needing a cheat day, which I have never been a big fan of.

Steph August 5, 2011 at 1:20 am

I have been playing around with the slow carb lately and I don’t find it too restrictive but I admit I have Celiac disease and have been gluten free for nearly 2 years anyway. So I only really gave up rice and potatoes.

Meredith August 8, 2011 at 12:32 pm

Well, I’m a slow carb LOVER. After years of trying this and that diet, this is the first thing (besides Atkins) that has worked for me — and I love Tim Ferriss’ version because of the beans and cheat day. Add working out with weights a couple times a week (also ala Tim) and this over 65 woman is lookin’ good!

Meredith August 16, 2011 at 4:48 pm

I am a big Slow Carb Diet fan — but agree with you that’s it’s more for people with more than 10 pounds to lose. I think Tim has used it to get rid of 25 lbs of fat and replace with muscle. Of course, I hope to do that , too — but I’m a 5’2 woman over 60 and my results will be a tad different than his! 🙂

renea August 20, 2011 at 10:59 pm

I have been on the slow carb diet now for a week. I was 180 lbs starting, and am now 173. the only day i exercised was today, my binge day. i did eat whatever i wanted, but not too excess. people seem to complain a lot about the restricted meals. I do not see any restrictions, its just merely making different choices. I ate at restaraunts 3 times this week, and ordered completely delicious dinners and still stayed on track. I think people are restricive to change, and they need to understand that to get results you have to do what youve never done…..do people realize how many vegetables there are??? if you dont like beans, dont eat em!! i actually just purchased beans tonight from the store because all of my meals were prepared without them. If you must, modify the diet a BIT to meat your needs. its a basic protocol to follow. as for the people who like to “cheat a lil every day” instead of one big day, you havent read the fine print, the purpose of the high caloric load on the 7th day is to hit the reset button on your metabolism. consuming 3to 500 extra calories per every day means youll GAIN a pound by the end of the week!! whereas your cheat day, u will regain BELOW your precheat day weight about 48 hours after your cheat day………

Sissi August 29, 2011 at 6:30 am

An important note on calorie restriction!

For someone who is so educated I am very surprised that you seem to have missed out on the effects that significantly calorie deficient diets can have on the body.
When you consume less calories than needed, first your body will burn excess glucose, after that it’ll move on to lean body mass (muscle tissue) first, and only THEN will it begin to break down fat.
The problem with relying on a diet that is very low in calories and relatively low in nutrients, especially for people who are very overweight or do this regularly! is that as you’re losing weight you are losing some amounts of muscle everywhere.
I am not talking about the dangers of losing some bicep volume! I am talking about heart muscle and other important body tissues that unlike the major muscle groups are very hard to rebuild and can cause breathing problems, weakness, etc!
For anyone looking to lose weight, especially very overweight people or people who do so regularly, it is healthiest to burn calories through a combination of building more muscle to burn more FAT (as muscles are most efficient at burning pure fat, not lean body tissue, unless you overdo it) and then following a diet that is SLIGHTLY difficient in calories and high in nutrients, so your body has the materials to repair the hopefully only slight damage you’re doing to your body by dieting. I do believe that the risks of being significantly overweight are far greater than the possible risks of dieting, but as someone who has so much influence on so many people I’d hope you’d feel oblidged to consider their long term health, not just their flat midsection.
Thanks

Bob @ www.healthymeansyou.com September 14, 2011 at 11:34 am

Sissi,

I agree and disagree with you on some part.
Yes a slow carb diet will be taxing on the body and muscles but you can effectively stop muscles from being broken down by supplementing with BCAAs before and after a workout.

Also the above diet is rich with protein and as we all know protein builds muscle.

Also the diet emphasizes that you will be avoiding white carbs but NOT within 1.5 of training. And that’s because you will need that energy for your training. So you still technically are eating carbs but only within that time slot.

Personally I wouldn’t follow that diet because I’m kind of like Rusty. I like to eat what I want but within certain limits and no junk food (unless its my cheat day).

Bob

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Christina October 9, 2011 at 7:35 pm

The slow carb diet works. Period. I started it before the book came out just from reading his blog posts and I lost serious weight- and no- it wasn’t just water weight- thats a misconception. Once the “keto” aspect kicks in the body has nothing but fat to burn since excess glucose is no longer available- this translates to fat burning. It’s that simple. But its not necessarily keto because he allows carbs- which is more beneficial and not as hardcore crazy; thus the “slow carb” diet.

He never said the diet was supposed to be “fun.” Its a diet- and just another option to reach a goal- once you’re there its just about maintaining and that’s easier once you are at a target weight.

My body completely changed on a lot of his ideas- from HIIT to dropping fat- not “weight”, or essentially water- which a lot of these low fat diets emphasize. He isn’t really into the “Calorie” theory-as in all calories are the same, etc. It just isn’t true. Different foods affect people differently despite calorie amount.

Tim is all about working Smarter- not harder. You do the minimum to reach the maximum- and the body is just a cool side effect of his little science experiments. Again, he’s not promoting a diet revolution like Dr. Atkins- he’s just a guy who has done a lot of different things in numerous ways to discover the best outcome and shared it with others.

Rob October 16, 2011 at 11:11 pm

I just finished my fifth week on this diet. I am 180lbs trying to get to 130lbs. I started at 180 five weeks ago, and have lost absolutely nothing.

It wasn’t a hard diet to adhere to, but the problem I had was that I saw no results. No weight loss. And none of my body measurements got smaller; so no fat loss, either.

I followed his five “rules” to a T and got nothing. One byproduct of this diet has been a caloric deficit as I’ve been consuming less than 1500 calories a day on it. The only positive takeaway is that I’m not eating junk anymore. But now eating is the bane of my existence. I no longer enjoy food, now I’m just stuffing my face. I can’t stop by any fast food joints because there’s white carbs in everything. The closest I’ve come is going to KFC and getting a bucket of GRILLED chicken. Hopefully, that didn’t break any of the ridiculous rules. On cheat days I would go wild, but the problem came from not being able to lose the cheat weight during the course of the next week. And that was the last straw for me.

Halfway through my fifth week (last week), I eliminated beans and felt no loss of energy as a result. Tim has stated that his five “rules” should work for “99.9%” of people, well then I guess I’m part of the 0.1%.

Some observations I’ve made during this diet:
– I shouldn’t have to eat if I’m not hungry, but I was eating 30g of proten every morning for breakfast within 30 minutes of waking like he suggested, even though I NEVER used to eat breakfast. (I also never eat lunch; dinner is my only meal everyday)
– Eatiing 30g of protein within 30 minutes of waking is complete rubbish. And Tim provides no scientific evidence to back this up.
– In one chapter he talks about how his father drank only Myoplex ready-to-drink shakes for breakfast and lost fat. Also, in an interview on the Nerdist podcast, he suggested changing only your breakfast to Myoplex shakes and that it would yield significant results. Guess what happened? After 3 weeks of changing breakfast to Myoplex (42g protein) shakes, nothing happened, that’s what.

This is the longest I’ve ever stuck to any diet, and I’m currently eating the same food for this week minus the beans and minus breakfast, and will see how it goes. I’m changing to the Primal diet/lifestyle and will not be following any advice from Tim Ferriss ever again.

Jim A. October 24, 2011 at 8:40 am

I just started the slow-carb diet. Tim Ferris says to avoid artificial sweeteners, as they can stimulate weight gain. What about Stevia? I drink copious quantities of iced tea and I sweeten it with stevia.

Andrea December 14, 2011 at 10:29 pm

I actually find the Slow-Carb diet a lot easier to maintain than calorie management, I ony miss dairy and fruit and I have one-two meals with a bit of dairy or fruit rather than a junky filled cheat day. I don’t lose weight very quickly but I definitely see results. I’ve found the ice pack protocol to be most beneficial in terms of results though.

More than weightloss, I find the diet levels out my energy levels the best. I react to sugar spikes very badly (not clear why, but a sandwich at lunch makes me nearly comatose), so Slow-Carb works for me. I’m fully aware that it isn’t for everyone, but it’s an option for some…

http://easyweightloss99.com December 22, 2011 at 7:24 am

Hi guys, people have been know to loose between 1-2 ponds a day on this diet, in some cases people have even lost 4 pounds a day on this diet. Its not for the faint hearted but has some really good reviews. 🙂

David @ The Natural Health Service February 3, 2012 at 7:07 am

Seems like a reasonable approach, but like you say you don’t really need such rigid rules.

Though I do think wine is a lot better than beer, as beer is estogenic.

And would like to know why he feels it important to eat first thing in the morning, as continuing the fast for a few hours has definite health benefits, with no negatives provided you eat healthily the rest of the day.

Kelly Fitzsimmons February 7, 2012 at 9:08 pm

Hey Rusty!
Great post. I haven’t personally tried Tim’s diet but I’m always interested in following what he recommends. I don’t believe n counting calories, and/or cutting calories. I rather workout harder to accomplish a daily calorie deficit.
Thanks for the diet review. Cheers

pjnoir February 9, 2012 at 7:43 pm

After reading the comments: Some should read the book before deciding it is undoable and nothing tastes better than being fit- even beer which you can drink on cheat days if you read the book. Turn your body into a FAT burner instead of a CARB burner.

Paul- good diets February 18, 2012 at 6:12 am

This sounds great, I’m a believer of slow dieting and the low carb diet can be drastic in the short term. I also like the fact that you take one day off, It alleviates one of the killers of successful dieting.. boredom.

Nella-Essential oils uses March 5, 2012 at 5:22 am

Hello
I am trying to loose weight as well, and even though I tried diets that worked in the past, the weight came back when I stopped it. I am very intrigued of this diet and I am going to try it. I also use peppermint and grapefruit essential oils to keep my cravings under control. Good luck to everyone who is trying to loose weight and be healthy!

Emily March 8, 2012 at 7:31 am

I haven’t tried the Slow Carb Diet to be honest, but I think the problem with beans has to do with soaking.

If you don’t properly soak and prepare beans in an acid or alkaline solution (depends on the bean) for an extended period of time changing the water every 8-12 hours to break the phytate bonds and enzyme inhibitors there are extremely indigestible. Apart from being difficult to digest, phytates bond to necessary minerals and because we can’t digest them we expel them with the minerals. Furthermore, Beans have an extremely high content of phytates compared to any other grains and nuts so it can actually cause a build up in phytic acid (this is what causes blootedness, indigestion, and gas) and long-term digestive health problems.

Beans are a great source of protein and necessary nutrients, but to really prepare beans properly you need to soak for extended periods of time and cook for hours making sure you remove any white foam that floats to the top. After this process they become very digestible and easy on the digestive system.

Basically, I think this diet could work for many people but one has to keep in mind the time and care it takes to be able to eat beans. I plan on doing the Slow Carb Diet after I give birth but because I won’t be having a very rushed or busy lifestyle.

Michael- Somebody Lied March 13, 2012 at 6:29 pm

Sounds a little to restrictive in my book. Much prefer the eat stop eat and lean gains way of fasting to lose fat

Me March 22, 2012 at 6:28 am

I love the slow carb diet. In the first two weeks Ive gone from 219 down to 210 and I drank 2 glasses of red wine every night and binged like crazy on sweets, pizza, beer, etc on Saturdays. I am a female but my results are amazing. At 5’9 Im still quite large but I could do this diet forever. Losing weight is never fun, you will always suffer in some way or another. I find this particular eating plan is the least sufferable of all the hundreds that I’ve tried in the past and now on week three, the psychotic daydreaming and planning of the weekend binge has actually become very mild. I am not anticipating the weekend like I was in the first two weeks. Im just looking forward to it but Im loving how I feel on a day to day basis. No more stomache issues, no more bloated feeling, no more laziness. I feel awesome and cant say enough about Tim’s plan.

Dax - MightyMuscleMania April 4, 2012 at 9:21 pm

Hey Rusty, another great article here. Thanks for taking the time to review this diet and let us know what you think. I was very interested in it but had my concerns.

I went on a gluten elimination diet for a month and it was torture trying to find things to eat when i was away from my apartment. Going out to restaurants that had zero gluten free options was truly frustrating and very hard to stick to.

This slow carb diet seems almost too restrictive like the gluten elimination was…i think i’ll look elsewhere.

Thanks for the review!

-Dax

John Oxnard April 28, 2012 at 9:22 pm

I try to stay away from white carbs like rice and potatoes. Processed foods are also off limits because they tend to be on the unhealthy side. I like to only eat natural meats, veggies, and some grains. I also have to occasional chocolate bar.

Nick Rose May 22, 2012 at 1:11 pm

i have been trying out certain elements of the slow carb diet for about 3 weeks now. My goal was to lose some of the fat around my midsection. I don’t find the diet that bad to follow and i have started to see more definition around my core. The beans certainly did seem to affect my wife than myself, i just need to get more veggies into my diet now that i have cut back on fruit. I find that if i stick to low GI fruits i still reap the benefits of the diet.

James Crockett June 14, 2012 at 9:33 am

If you aren’t losing weight then you are making some mistakes. Not drinking enough water to aid in the breakdown of stored bodyfat. Too much salt or artificial sweeteners. Also, not eating enough is also a problem, you need to maintain calorie levels to prevent going into “starvation mode” this diet is designed to be midly ketogenic so you burn stored fat, instead of carbs for energy. For people who don’t have 10+ lbs of excess body fat, then this diet is more about body recomposition. I have actually gained 5 lbs on the diet (i lift 2-3 days a week) but my love handles and gut have gotten alot smaller. Do a google search for “Wheat Belly”.

Also check out the Bulletproof Diet, for you fruit lovers and bean haters… Although I feel it has more restrictions then SC, as it is more of a Paleo diet.
http://www.bulletproofexec.com/tag/bulletproof-diet/

Kim Smith June 27, 2012 at 8:41 am

Question-Do you have to drink two glasses of wine everyday???

Jessie July 12, 2012 at 3:14 pm

For those who are not a fan of the slow carb diet, you need to remember the frame of mind Tim Feriss has. In his previous book, The 4-Hour Workweek, he finds a hack approach to income and early retirement. The same is for his diet. It’s a hack approach. It’s supposed to be effective and efficient.

I’ve had to approach this diet more than once. The first time I did not have the correct frame of mind and I ended up quitting after 4 weeks. But when I re-approached it with a different frame of mind I got very different results. I’ve been on this diet for over 6 months and have lost 45 pounds. Will I do the SCD forever, probably not (I’ll most likely move into a paleo-like diet). However if you want to do this diet you need to understand that this is a hack way of doing it, a VERY effective one.

EJC July 19, 2012 at 7:04 am

@Kim Smith…

No, you don’t have to drink red wine at all if you don’t want to. It was just a vice that Tim found he could still indulge without hindering his goals.

Personally, I have tried the SCD diet before and failed. But, that was my own fault. If you aren’t careful that cheat day can derail you altogether.

Recently, I restarted the SCD. I have been on it for only 4 days. However, I have already lost 8 lbs. But, I am super strict. When I commit to something I usually go all out. I haven’t had dairy, alcohol, bread, or any other “bad” carb of any fashion. It’s been all pork, grass fed beef, beans, vegetables, eggs, and bacon/sausage (in moderation). The only sauce I use is “hot sauce”. Now if I can get by the first few cheat days, I should be set. LOL

If you like tacos… One of my favorite meals consists of the 1 lb of grass fed beef cooked with taco seasoning. Then, you dump a 14-16 ounce can of Pinto beans in with the seasoning. After it’s all cooked…. you just add some Taco Sauce (about 2 tbsp). It’s pretty delicious and I can eat it for any meal.

I am hoping I can go from 6’1 (365) to 6’1 (185). Wish me luck… LOL

Chris NYC August 3, 2012 at 8:39 pm

EJC best of luck

I have a bit of unique situation, ive never really been overweight per se and have always been a pretty active guy. that said i was lucky enough to have a fully torn ACL so i went ahead and got that surgery about 5 weeks ago. Needless to say i was pretty immobile during that period, so i began reading whatever i could get my hands on and stumbled across 4HB and the SCD.. I am just about 2 weeks in and jumped on a scale for the first time this week – mind you my goal was not necessarily to lose weight but more to maintain and not gain a bunch since i had no way of doing cardio. my avg weight was about 179-183 (5’11”) and current weight after 2 weeks of SCD was 172.5.. almost 10 pounds lighter. side note – im thinking a good amt of that was muscle atrophy due to my surgery, the quad is a heavy muscle but i would say as of the weigh in i have about 75% of my quad strength back. being the son of a nutritionist here are a few suggestions i have with SCD:
hot sauce all over everything – i love the green tabasco – delicious on eggs.
get your lentils in – Tims tuna, red onion and lentils was a little strange but hot sauce and boom, not so bad (green tabasco)
eggs i love to begin with and have always eaten but for the faint of heart, eggs can be super diverse. try poached on top of beans.. scrambled with broccoli and mushrooms.. omelettes with spinach, onions and tomatoes and dont get too nutty with the egg whites, the yolks have plenty of good stuff as well, so mix it up.
Chicken and the foreman grill are clutch, making large salads that last me a few meals help and drink plenty of water and go with (generic store brand) cold green tea w ginseng and honey.

All that said – I am a big fan of the SCD so if youre really trying to shed weight im confident this diet can really work for you. tomorrow will actually be my first cheat day – and i plan to enjoy a few bread items and fruits but its just in my nature to not get too excessive. No matter which way you turn the tables.. 4 big macs on binge day would just be a terrible idea. good luck!

Eric August 4, 2012 at 6:36 pm

I’ve experienced similar results as you, Rusty, which discouraged me from continuing beyond a few weeks on the diet. With that said, there seems to be a lot of people finding success with it, so I’m willing to give it another shot again. I’m 6’0″, 196 lbs, so I feel like I could easily lose 20 lbs. (although it’ll probably require a good deal of exercise too).

Jessie August 7, 2012 at 1:39 pm

@EJC

You can do this. I’m 5′ 11″ and I started out at 321 lbs. I’ve been doing this for 11 months not I’m down to 235 lbs. You can do it!

if it helps you out I have a blog of the meals that I make. Almost all of them are four the SCD. The rest are my binge day favorites. I have to go even further because I need to stay gluten/dairy free. My blog is http://www.thecorporatepunk.com. Shoot me an email if want some pointers.

@Chris NYC

I agree with the hot sauce, lentils, eggs, and chicken are my staples. I’ve gotten the most luck out of those foods.

Good luck to every one.

Megan August 23, 2012 at 9:30 am

This was a very interesting post and comments. I’m starting it next week so I’m mentally preparing this week (and getting rid of all the white food in my house by eating it! lol). Unfortunately, I have a significant amount of fat to lose and I hope this works. I listened to Tim’s interview on the Nerdist podcast and considering one of the hosts has lost over 100lbs on it, along with some of the people here, I’m confident it’ll work. I really liked the part in Tim’s book about domino foods. If I know I can’t stop eating a certain food, I’ll avoid it altogether. I had never really thought about that before. I believed (falsely) that I could have just one or a few. That has already helped me and I haven’t officially started the plan yet.

Anyway, thanks for the post and the comments have been interesting, too. Good luck everyone!!

Stephanie November 21, 2012 at 9:35 am

I went on this diet and lost 20 lbs each month without working out at all. I went from 195 to 130 quick. I would’ve lost more if I had worked out. If you only lost 4 lbs then you did not stick to the diet at all. I lost all that weight even though I cheated some days and had a cupcake or other snack. I know many people who have gone on this same diet and I’ve never heard of anyone not losing 20+ lbs a month.

You also have some things wrong and you misunderstand.
You are allowed to eat cheese, meat, and veggies.
No fruits or sugars.
No pastas, potatoes, breads or rice.
You are allowed to eat anything you want 1 day a week. Pick a day, mine is every Tuesday. On that 1 day each week you can eat anything you want and you are expected to binge eat. The reason for this is because it shocks your metabolism.

gabby November 29, 2012 at 8:53 pm

Can I incorporate meal replacement shakes (adkins shakes) with the slow card diet?

Kim February 26, 2013 at 12:37 pm

I have done this diet and have lost wieght with it. Being socialy active makes it harder to stick with one cheat day especially around the holidays.
Yes Stevia is allowed. And the biggest thing I found by drastically cutting the sugars for a long time. When you go to cheat with a cupcake, suddenly it’s too sweet and it becomes disgusting. It took me the whole day to finish the cupcake, when before I could scarf it down and look for seconds.
The diet works, and don’t forget the supplements mentioned in the book, some of them are hard to find. Few of my local helth foods stores carried them. But when I found a store that did, the extra boost that they provided was great

Brian March 30, 2013 at 12:03 am

Know it’s a bit late on this response to Atkin’s shakes but answer is…well no. They contain dairy which is perfectly fine on Atkins but not on SCD.

Few years ago I went from 280 to 220 (I’m 6’3″) on the Atkins diet and did notice a slowdown in weight loss whenever I ate cheese. Yes it causes an insulin spike but also takes the longest to digest.

When I started the SCD didn’t pay attention to ingredients and was frustrated I wasn’t losing weight as quickly as on Atkins. I was drinking the Atkins shakes and eating the bars as a snack like I did previously. Would use the GrillMate seasoning packets to marinate steaks/chicken. Also used pork sausage with my omelettes in the morning.

The problem? Milk with the Atkins products and sugar with the rest. Changed up to ground turkey with 3 jumbo eggs in the AM + decaf chamomile tea , rotisserie chx with pinto and salsa and then just started marinating meats in olive oil and adding a seasoning rub (without sugar) with broccoli or spinach for dinner. Instant positive effect.

I still use Splenda and have noticed no ill effects. Timclaims that it causes an insulin spike but no research out there has been able to conclusively prove that. At least none that I’ve been able to find.

So with that small hiccup in the beginning I’m definitely down though I’m not stepping on the scale anymore. Just going by the mirror. Hope this helps.

Mark January 19, 2015 at 3:26 pm

Stuck to this SCD religiously for 3 weeks and didn’t lose an ounce. However, I hardly have any fat to lose, but thought I’d give it a try.
I agree, this will work but only if you have a lot to lose!

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