Slow Carb Diet Rules: What is the Slow Carb Diet?
Unless you’ve read The 4-Hour Body (by Tim Ferriss), you may not be too familiar with what the slow carb diet rules are, and how to make sure you’re following the diet correctly.
Although the diet’s simple principle of “avoiding carbs” seems rather obvious by its name, this isn’t your average low carb diet.
Fortunately for you, there are five simple rules. Although you could get into a lot of nitty gritty detail, the slow carb diet essentially breaks down into these rules…
1) Avoid “White” Carbohydrates
This is a pretty standard rule of most (or all) low carb diets. “White carbohydrates” is pretty all-encompassing, and includes the following foods:
- All types of bread
- Rice (even if it’s brown rice)
- Breaded food
- Anything similar to the above items
2) Eat the Same Meals Over and Over Again
Technically, you could break this rule and still stick to the diet, but the diet becomes much easier to follow when you have a routine. It’s certainly okay to try new slow carb recipes from time to time (especially from my blog!), but you should probably have some standard meals available to you.
Two of my “go to” meals are spinach and scrambled eggs for breakfast, and chicken sausage for lunch (easily microwaved at work). I will usually mix things up a bit for dinner, but end up repeating at least 2-3 meals each week (for dinner).
When you don’t have a routine, you’re more likely to say “Aw, screw it” and eat something bad that just may be more convenient.
3) Don’t Drink Your Calories
Hopefully if you’ve decided to lose weight, you have already eliminated calorie-filled drinks from your diet.
On the slow carb diet, you really don’t want to drink anything that has calories, including “healthy” drinks like orange juice (which can be jam-packed with sugar). If you drink coffee or tea, be sure to sweeten it with a sugar substitute (my favorite is Splenda).
UPDATE: Subsequent to writing this article, I was informed that Splenda doesn’t fit within the slow carb diet. Basically, it’s been shown in some cases to stall fat loss, despite it having 0 calories. I will still continue to use Splenda because I feel the benefits (i.e. my enjoyment of it) outweighs the cost, however you shouldn’t use it if you want to strictly adhere to the diet’s rules. If you’re looking for an approved sugar substitute, check out Truvia.
Tim Ferriss does mention that you can drink red wine, up to two glasses per night. Honestly, I think he threw this little rule in there because he likes his nightly wine (nothing wrong with that), and didn’t want to feel like he was cheating. Feel free to do this as well, but I avoid it, since it’s technically still drinking calories.
4) Don’t Eat Fruit
This may seem controversial – after all, isn’t fruit healthy? While there’s a lot of good nutrients found in fruit, there’s also a lot of sugar. Ultimately, through science that I don’t quite understand, this sugar is stored as fat.
The exception to the “don’t eat fruit” rule is that you can eat tomatoes and avocados, which are technically fruit. Ferriss still suggests that you limit your consumption of these to one meal per day.
5) Take One Day Off Per Week (i.e. Enjoy Your “Cheat Day”)
To me, this is what makes the diet sustainable – or at least, more so than other diets. One day per week, you can literally eat whatever you want. If you’ve been craving fruit all week, get your fix on this day.
If you want to eat an entire tray of brownies or two bags of potato chips, knock yourself out (which you might literally do if you eat a ton and induce a food coma). Everything is fair game.
Be sure to start your diet at least five days before your first cheat day – most people like to start on a Monday so that their cheat days occur every Saturday. This is my preference too, although I have been known to move around the cheat day if necessary (for example, if I know I have a family gathering on an upcoming Sunday, where eating copious amounts of food is unavoidable).
If you have any specific questions about the diet, please do leave a comment below and I will do my best to answer them. I’m not a dietitian or nutritionist, but I’ve read the relevant sections of The 4-Hour Body along with countless internet articles and forums.