The slow carb diet shows how to lose weight effectively when certain foods are avoided. This is not a classic Atkins style low carb diet. It is a strategy for reducing the negative impact of carbs on weight loss, without restricting calories.
Worst Foods on the Slow Carb Diet
The concept of this diet is to reduce blood sugar spikes by eating foods that are not absorbed quickly through the digestive tract. Timothy Ferriss has popularized this diet in his book, ‘The 4-Hour Body’. It has attracted a lot of attention because it is such an easy diet to follow and because it provides very exciting weight loss results within the first 30 days.
Indeed, the most common results show a typical loss of 20 pounds in the first month if you follow these five rules for 30 days, according to Tim:
1) Avoid ‘white’ carbohydrates
2) Eat the same few meals over and over again
3) Don’t drink calories
4) Don’t eat fruit
5) Take one day off per week
(See my overview of how these rules work and what you can expect, in this earlier post: Easy Slow Carb Diet – How To Lose 20 Pounds In 30 Days.)
Notice that 3 out of the 5 rules entail what NOT to do.
Rule 1, Avoid ‘white’ foods, is the simplest one to understand. It almost goes without saying that breads, pastas, sugary foods, potatoes, and other ‘white’ foods provide a huge carbohydrate hit. In fact, these foods are the ones that are best known to the public for spiking blood sugar.
What some folks argue about is the inclusion or exclusion of whole grains. All grains are sources of fast carbs – i.e., those that spike blood sugar. All grains should therefore be avoided on the slow carb diet, especially during the initial 30-day incentive phase. I call it the ‘incentive phase’ because, when you do it right, your weight loss results are great incentive for continuing the diet.
Rule 3, Don’t drink calories, is perhaps a bit redundant. However, it is crucial to follow this rule. Sodas, sweetened beverages, fruit juices, sports drinks, energy drinks, and many other kinds of beverages are loaded with sugars. It is a toss-up as to whether sodas are worse than fruit juices. They are both to be avoided. Anything with sugar or some other synonym for it (glucose, dextrose, fructose, high fructose corn syrup, corn syrup, agave syrup) will stop your weight progress completely.
Rule 4, Don’t eat fruit, is a semi-temporary rule. It applies most rigorously to the first 30 days, what I call the ‘incentive phase’. Fruits are loaded with sugar. Sweeter fruits are loaded with even more fructose. Fructose is particularly disastrous for stopping or reversing weight loss.
Fruits can be added back into your diet after you get the slow carb diet going in the initial 30-day phase. However, you still must be careful with them. They simply provide too much sugar! Even the fiber and other nutrition that you can get from whole fruits is insufficient to counteract the fast carb hit that you get from them. You really have to be careful not to overdo your fruit intake on every day of the slow carb diet. Otherwise it wouldn’t be slow carb, would it?
Other Foods to Avoid
This sensible answer came from a comment by ‘4HourBod’ at 4HourPeople.com. It expands on Tim’s rules above, with additional foods that should be avoided on the slow carb diet.
- Milk products including cheese (except cottage cheese)
- Refined soy products (soy milk, tofu, tempeh, soy protein shake)
- Potatoes (sweet potatoes, yams, yucca, any starchy vegetable)
- Bread, rice, grains, oatmeal, tortillas, quinoa
- Creamy dressings and dressings with sugar
- Sugar, honey, corn syrup, maple syrup, fructose
- Deep-fried breaded food
- Corn, popcorn
The surprise in this list, for many people, is dairy. It turns out that dairy products cause a spike in insulin, which is a negative corollary to blood sugar spikes. Although dairy is not necessarily highly glycemic (except for milk and Lactaid milk, due to milk sugar [lactose] content), it is highly insulinemic.
Foods Allowed in Moderation
Certain foods provide a tolerable carb hit on blood sugar if you consume them in moderation. What ‘moderation’ means is different for different people. It depends on how much of each of the following you can consume without disrupting your weight management progress. It takes individual experimentation to determine what you can ‘get away with’.
- Avocado (1 cup/day max)
- Peanut butter/ almond, and other nut butter (1 TB/day)
- Nuts (5-10 per meal)
- Hummus, chickpeas/garbanzo beans
- Coffee (w/up to 2 TB cream)
- Unsweetened almond milk
Note that ‘4HourBod’ also included beverages containing aspartame (Nutrasweet) on this list. However, there is NEVER a good consumable that contains this sweetener. It is a metabolic poison that should always be avoided, regardless of whether you are dieting.
All the best with your slow carb diet,
Why does it have to be so difficult to lose weight but so easy to gain it? Why do we have to limit ourselves to no white foods, no sweetened anything and not even any fruit. I can’t believe that one, no fruit, just seems crazy. Thank you for posting this information I appreciate it and I will be watching for more posts from you in the near future.
After reading your other article I thought it seemed pretty simple what you should get rid of on the slow carb diet but then I read the article and realized it was actually more than what I was thinking it would be. You have a great article here and the rest of them have been just as good if not better than this one. Thank you for your hard work.
Women on Atkins-style diets are putting themselves at risk of heart disease and strokes. Those who regularly eat a low-carbohydrate, high-protein diet are at greater risk of cardiovascular disease than those who do not participate in such diets. I learnedthis on several news reports about recent findings from several studies on nutrition and I thought it is important for others to know, too.
This slow carb diet really makes a lot of sense to me. I learned many years ago from the famous author of the diet and workout book series, “Ripped, that you should eat nothing but whole wheat grains and other protein rich foods like legumes, nuts, chicken, fish and so on. It has worked well for me over the years and I have managed to remain athletic even in my middle age.
This is great it basically verifies what I have been doing, I stay away from white foods unless it’s cauliflower and I stay away from sugars, I do use artificial sweetener in my coffee and anything else that I want that is for a sweet craving but that’s about it. I did real good on it for three years and now I have fallen off and I am having the worst time getting back on.
I see that big red circle forbidding chocolate chip cookies at the top of this article, but I am a believer that if you have the discipline and sacrifice to show up to your workouts and eat healthy, you should allow yourself a splurging day once a week or once every other week (for the more dedicated). Otherwise, without that freedom, you may burn out.
I like the rule that indicates you should eat the same things each day, not because I like eating the same things again and again (unless it is lamb chops or steak). I am like anybody else; I like variety, but there are usually certain things that each person likes enough that they can eat every day. Things like eggs for breakfast come to mind. It’s easier to track calories if you’re eating the same things.
I was very surprised to read that people who fall within a normal weight range but who carry excess belly fat — also known as a muffin top’ — are at a higher risk of developing heart disease than people who are obese, says a new study. The results are surprising and debunk the conventional notion that cardiovascular disease targets mostly those who are overweight and obese.
I was talking to a friend of mine the other day and he has started a new diet, he told me it didn’t really have a name so I said well what do you do and he described for me the slow carb diet to a tee. Thank you for posting this I’m going to take it to him so he can see what exactly they call this new diet he is on.