What Is the 4 Hour Body Diet?

4 Hour Body Diet
4 Hour Body Diet

The 4 hour body diet program, laid call at the bestselling book The 4 Hour Body, relies on lean protein, legumes, and non-starchy vegetables to spark what it claims are often dramatic weight loss. It’s simple to follow—the diet urges you to eat an equivalent foods a day , which makes meal planning easy.

Overall, the diet likely will assist you lose some weight. However, it doesn’t teach you anything about the way to keep weight off long-term. It also omits several critical food groups, which could lead on to nutritional deficiencies.

What Experts Say

“This low-carb diet makes outlandish claims, like “lose 20 pounds of fat in 30 days.” Experts agree that eliminating grains, fruit, most dairy, and certain vegetables—along with encouraging binge days—can cause nutrient imbalances and unhealthy eating patterns.”

—Chrissy Carroll, RD, MPH


The 4 hour body program was created by Timothy Ferriss, an investor and ny Times bestselling author who also wrote The 4 Hour Workweek (four hours seems to be a theme). The book claims to contain “the collective wisdom” of elite athletes and prestigious physicians, plus many hours of experimentation.

The book, originally published in 2010, is peppered with weight loss and general health and wellbeing anecdotes that are fun to read but hard to believe many cases. additionally to the diet program, The 4 Hour Body also includes recommendations on reducing your needed hours of sleep, stepping up your muscle gain, and improving your sex life.

Still, fans of the program (and there are many; it’s a loyal following) maintain the load loss diet part works. (Some of the opposite , more outlandish claims within the book aren’t getting good reviews.)

The weight loss program detailed within the 4 Hour Body includes five “rules” that the book claims will enable you to lose 20 pounds of body fat in 30 days. The program, alternatively called the slow-carb diet, supposedly can allow people following it to scale back their overall body fat percentage to but 10%. consistent with author Ferriss, “The Slow-Carb Diet… is that the only diet besides the rather extreme Cyclical Ketogenic Diet that has produced veins across my abdomen, which is that the last place I lose fat.”

How It Works

When following the 4 hour body diet program, you’ll eat mainly protein, legumes, and non-starchy vegetables—often an equivalent meals over and once again . You’ll also get one “cheat” day per week when you’re encouraged to eat whatever you would like in whatever quantities you desire.

Ferriss details five rules that he says are the key to the program. They include:

  • Avoid “white” carbohydrates. This includes all bread, rice (including brown rice), cereal, potatoes, pasta, tortillas, and fried food with breading.
  • Eat an equivalent few meals over and once again . to try to to this, you’ll mix and match from a limited list of ingredients: lean chicken, beef, fish, or pork; eggs; various sorts of legumes; and vegetables that are limited to spinach, mixed cruciferous vegetables, asparagus, peas, broccoli, and green beans. You’re allowed to eat the maximum amount of these food items as you wish , but the program urges you to settle on three or four meals and repeat them. Legumes are an important a part of the program since they’re calorically dense.
  • Don’t drink calories. The program involves drinking “massive quantities of water,” plus the maximum amount unsweetened tea, coffee, and low- or no-calorie beverages as you would like . You’re allowed two tablespoons of cream in your coffee. Milk, normal soft drinks, and fruit crush are banned. The diet allows up to 2 glasses of wine per night.
  • Don’t eat fruit. “Humans don’t need fruit six days every week , and that they certainly don’t need it year-round,” The 4 Hour Body Diet states, noting that folks living 500 years ago in Europe didn’t eat fresh fruit within the winter. Tomatoes and avocados (which technically are fruit, albeit some might consider them as vegetables) are allowed under the diet, but no other fruit is allowed unless it’s on a cheat day.
  • Take at some point off per week. Ferriss recommends Saturdays as what he calls your “Dieters Gone Wild” day: “I am allowed to eat whatever i would like on Saturdays, and that i leave of my thanks to eat frozen dessert , Snickers, Take 5, and every one of my other vices in excess.” By making himself a touch sick on food at some point per week, he says he doesn’t want to consume any on the opposite six days. He also claims that dramatically increasing caloric intake during this way once per week increases fat loss by ensuring that your rate doesn’t drop. However, there is no real medical evidence for his assertion.

Recommended Timing

The diet plan recommends consuming four meals per day, all made from the sole allowed foods and spaced around four hours apart. Eat your first meal within an hour of awakening. Following that meal, you ought to have lunch during the first afternoon, a smaller second lunch in early evening, then dinner within the late evening.

You should start the diet plan a minimum of five days before your designated cheat day. for instance , if you select Saturday to cheat, then you ought to start the diet on a Monday. which will offer you many time to acclimate to the diet before you go wild.

Resources and Tips

There’s absolutely no calorie relying on the diet—in fact, you’re allowed (and encouraged) to eat the maximum amount protein and legumes at mealtimes as you would like . The program discourages snacking, saying that if you’re hungry, you ought to add protein and legumes during your regular meals. However, if you are doing need a snack, you’re allowed to possess a couple of nuts or a couple of carrot sticks.

Ferriss notes that breakfast is that the hardest meal for many to switch since many of us calculate cereal and toast to urge them occupation the morning. “Moving to slow carbs and protein requires a more lunch-like meal for breakfast,” he says, adding that his most frequent breakfast consists of eggs, lentils, and spinach. A more typical breakfast on the diet might include eggs with turkey bacon and sliced tomatoes. Lunches and dinners generally are either stir-fries or salads with a hearty dose of legumes and protein.

On the 4 hour body diet program, you’re encouraged to eat an equivalent foods again and again. This helps you stick with the diet, in theory, since it simplifies shopping and preparation. consistent with Ferriss, “I’ve found that the more variety you attempt, the more likely you’re to quit, as everything from shopping to cleanup becomes more complicated.”

Wherever possible, Ferriss urges eating out for your cheat meals, and regardless of what, throwing out all “bad’ food before subsequent morning: “If there’s bad food in your house, you’ll eventually eat it before your ‘off’ day, also called ‘reverse Lent’ by some followers.”


Vegetable Substitutions

The diet allows you to substitute any vegetable for those listed. Ferriss notes that cauliflower often gets put aside mistakenly because it’s white, and therefore the diet doesn’t allow white foods. However, cauliflower is allowed, since it is a vegetable.

Lacto-Ovo Vegetarian

It’s possible to follow the 4 hour body diet program as a lacto-ovo vegetarian (a vegetarian who eats eggs and dairy products). However, you continue to should avoid milk products, with the exception of pot cheese . Ferriss also advises against refined soy products, including all soy milk and isolated soy protein supplements.

Gluten-Free and Dairy-Free

The diet and/or a dairy-free diet wouldn’t be a drag on the 4 hour body program since the program already bans all grain products and most dairy products.

Pros and Cons


  • Diet is heavy on vegetables
  • Includes plenty of fiber
  • Avoids highly-refined flour and sugar
  • Skips candy, chips, and soda


  • Food choices are limited
  • May contain too much protein
  • Could lead to nutritional deficiencies
  • May not be healthy for those with certain medical conditions


Diet Is Heavy on Vegetables

Few people eat enough vegetables. The 4-hour body diet encourages you to consume as many as you would like , especially nutritional powerhouses like broccoli, asparagus, and spinach.

Includes many Fiber

Fiber is another important nutrient, and lots of folks aren’t getting enough. that will not be the case if you follow the 4-hour body plan, since virtually every meal will include legumes and vegetables. Although recipes for the diet vary, you ought to punch in at around 30 grams of fiber per day or more.

Avoids Highly-Refined Flour and Sugar

“White” foods, like highly-refined grain products and sugar, aren’t good for you. Therefore, the 4-hour body diet’s decide to eliminate these may be a good one. However, it is a bad idea to eliminate all grains, including healthy whole grains, because the diet involves you to try to to .

Skips Candy, Chips, and Soda

As with highly-refined grain products and sugar, most candy, chips and sugary soda has no place during a healthy diet. additionally , the 4-hour body program’s specialise in drinking many water, plus unsweetened beverages, is healthy.


Food Choices Are Limited

The 4-hour body program views the limited food choices as a plus , and actually urges followers to eat an equivalent foods over and once again . most of the people likely will find that limiting and boring, which could make the diet tough to stay with long-term.

May Contain an excessive amount of Protein

Although the 4-hour body program states that it includes “slow carbs,” not “no carbs,” it also features tons of protein… unlimited amounts, if that is what it takes to stay hunger cornered . it is a bad idea to eat an excessive amount of of any nutrient, including protein—nutritional guidelines involve consuming between 10% and 35% of your daily calories in protein.

Could Lead to Nutritional Deficiencies

The 4-hour body diet eliminates foods that are nutritional powerhouses, including virtually all fruit and dairy. this might cause deficiencies especially vitamins and other nutrients, including: vitamin D and calcium (found in dairy), and B vitamins like vitamin Bc (found in grains and fruit).

May Not Be Healthy If you’ve got Certain Medical Conditions

If you’ve got renal disorder , you likely should steer beyond the 4 hour body diet program, since it relies on such a lot protein—people with renal disorder should limit their protein. you furthermore may should watch out for the diet if you’ve got osteoporosis, since it is so low in calcium and vitamin D . albeit you do not have pre-existing health conditions, you ought to talk together with your doctor before starting any diet program, including this one.

How It Compares

The 4 hour body diet program doesn’t fit neatly into a diet category since it isn’t low-calorie, low-fat, or low-carb. It does bear some similarities to certain low-carb programs.

USDA Recommendations

The U.S. Department of Agriculture’s MyPlate tool, which provides recommendations for a healthy diet, involves getting quite one-quarter of daily calories from whole grains, plus nearly one-quarter of calories from fruit. It also urges consumption of low-fat and non-fat dairy, since they’re great sources of calcium and other nutrients.

Clearly, the 4 hour body diet falls short altogether three of these areas: it contains virtually no fruit, no grains, and practically no dairy (cottage cheese is allowed). The diet program does contain ample fiber and enough (potentially too much) lean protein.

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