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The 4-Hour Body by Timothy Ferriss (2010): What to eat and foods to avoid

4 Hour Body - book by Timothy FerrissThe 4-Hour Body (2010) is a bestselling tome by the author of The 4-Hour Workweek. It covers many aspects of improving your body, and one of them is diet, to lose weight and gain strength

  • Main diet suggested – slow-carb diet
    • Avoid carb, processed foods
    • Avoid variety
    • One binge day a week
    • Other diets are suggested in a lot less detail
        • – Caloric restriction is said to be an aid to longevity, and intermittent fasting may be another way to extend your life; two methods are suggested
        • – Protein-cycling may mimic caloric restriction
        • – One of the appendices suggests trying a plant-based diet for two weeks.

Below is a description of the food recommendations in the diet.  Slow-carb diet  |  Intermittent fasting (IF)  |  Protein cycling  |  Primarily plant-based diet (PPbD). There’s a lot more in the book.

Use this page as a cheat sheet alongside the book. Send this page to friends, family, and anyone else you’re eating with so they can understand what you’re eating.

Get a copy of The 4-Hour Body for detailed food suggestions, as well as many non-food suggestions

The reasoning behind The 4-Hour Body

According to this book it’s not what you put in your mouth that matters, it’s what makes it to your bloodstream. If it passes through, it doesn’t count. The recommendations here mainly circle around glucose levels, insulin release / hormones, and metabolic rate.

  • It’s argued that white carbs make you get fatter.
  • Chlorine dioxide, one of the chemicals used to bleach flour, combines with residual protein in most of these foods to form alloxan. Researchers use alloxan in lab rats to induce diabetes.
  • Humans from temperate climates would only eat fruit seasonally, so fruit consumption should be rationed.
  • Dramatically spiking caloric intake one day a week increases fat-loss by ensuring that your metabolic rate doesn’t downshift from extended caloric restriction.
  • Removing even a little dairy can dramatically accelerate fat-loss, as dairy products have a high insuliemic response on the insulinemic index (II or InIn) scale. Also, lactose intolerance and milk protein allergy are more common than people think. And store-bought milk and dairy offerings contain hormone and antibiotic residues, which are now being shown to negatively impact human health.
  • Most artificial and natural sugar substitutes provoke increased insulin release. They may also have a negative effect on gut bacteria.

The 4-Hour Body diet plan – food list

The book offers a number of alternative diet plans that the author has tried:

Slow-carb diet food plan

Slow-Carb Diet – what to eat – 6 days a week + breakfast on “cheat day”

  • Eat the same few meals over and over again. Pick three or four meals and repeat them. Water, unsweetened tea / coffee with no more than two tablespoons of cream is acceptable.
  • Proteins – as much as you like – egg whites with 1-2 whole eggs for flavor (or whole organic eggs), chicken breast or thigh, beef (preferably grass fed), fish, pork. Eat at least 20 grams of protein per meal.
  • Legumes – as much as you like – lentils, black beans, pinto beans, red beans, soy beans
  • Vegetables – as much as you like –  spinach, broccoli, cauliflower, other cruciferous vegetables, sauerkraut, kimchee, asparagus, peas, green beans. There’s no need to limit yourself to these vegetables, although the more variety you attempt the more likely you are to quit as this makes the diet more complicated.
  • Tomatoes and avocadoes are allowed. Eggplant is also mentioned as ok. There’s no discussion of other fruits used as vegetables, e.g. bell peppers and olives, but presumably they’re acceptable as well.
  • Up to 2 glasses of red wine a day are allowed.
  • Butter is fine. Cottage cheese is also acceptable. (Yes, this appears to contradict the “no dairy” rule below).
  • Oils aren’t discussed in detail, although “good fats” are mentioned. Olive oil, grapeseed oil and macadamia oil, as well as nuts as a source of fat, are preferred.
  • Canned foods are fine.
  • Drink plenty of water.
  • Use cinnamon to reduce the glycemic index of a meal by up to 29%.
  • Timing: Make sure you have your first meal within an hour of waking (preferably within ½ hour), and have meals approximately 4 hours apart.

Slow-Carb Diet – foods to avoid – 6 days a week + breakfast on “cheat day”

  • Avoid “white” carbohydrates. No bread, rice (including brown), whole grains, cereal including steel-cut oats, potatoes, pasta, tortillas, and fried food with breading. Cauliflower is ok.
  • Don’t drink calories. Do not drink milk (including soy milk), normal soft drinks, or fruit juice.  Limit soft drinks to no more than 16 ounces per day, as the aspartame can stimulate weight gain. No beer or white wine (another part of the book says any dry wine is acceptable except Riesling, White Zinfandel, and Champagne). There’s nothing saying you shouldn’t drink spirits, but it’s implied that you shouldn’t.
  • Don’t eat fruit or fructose.
  • No dairy because of its high insulinemic response on the insulinemic index (II or InIn) scale. Milk is better avoided, although a cup a day may be ok if you’re not intolerant (this contradicts the suggestion not to have any milk). Up to 2 tablespoons of cream in your coffee is ok.
  • Avoid refined soy products, if possible, including soy milk.
  • Don’t deep fry foods – stir fry is okay.
  • Be careful with “domino foods” – nuts, chickpeas (garbanzo beans), hummus, peanuts, macadamias. They are very easy to overeat and prone to portion abuse. A few almonds (5-10) are fine.
  • Limit consumption of artificial and natural sugar substitutes, even agave nectar – they can stall weight loss.
  • Suggests avoiding curries, which can cause intestinal upset without rice.

Slow-Carb Diet – what to eat – 1 “cheat day” a week

  • Take one day off a week, preferably Saturday as you’re not working and can recover the next day. The first meal of the day is not a binge meal. After that you eat until you’re a little sick, no restrictions. Start the diet at least 5 days before your designated sick day. The “cheat days” have guidelines to ensure that as much of the food ingested either goes into muscle tissue or out of the body unabsorbed.
  • Drink plenty of water.
  • Consume a small quantity of fructose (fruit sugar) in grapefruit juice before the second meal, to encourage defecation.
  • Consume citric juices.
  • Increase the speed of gastric emptying (passage of food through your stomach) to limit absorption; he suggests caffeine and yerba mate tea
  • Note that most men can get away with one cheat meal (as opposed to a cheat day) a week; some women can’t.

Intermittent fasting food plan

Intermitted fasting (IF) – what to eat

  • Fast-5: After fasting for 19 hours beginning at bedtime, for the next five hours eat as much as necessary to satisfy hunger.
  • ADCR: Alternate Day Caloric Restriction. Cut calories 50-80% every other day.

Intermitted fasting (IF) – foods to avoid

  • Fast-5: Fast for 19 hours beginning at bedtime.
  • ADCR: Alternate Day Caloric Restriction. Cut calories 50-80% every other day.

Protein cycling food plan

Protein cycling – what to eat

Six days a week, eat a regular amount of protein.

Protein cycling – foods to avoid

One day a week, eat less than 5% protein.

Primarily plant-based diet food plan

Primarily plant-based diet (PPbD) – what to eat

  • Eat at least 70% plant-based foods by volume.
  • Add legumes. Dense products, like black bean burgers without buns, are encouraged.
  • Source foods locally where possible.
  • Raw food: Certain foods may be better cooked – legumes (kidney beans, mung beans, etc.), carrots, cruciferous vegetables (cauliflower, cabbage, brussels sprouts, kale, etc.), tomatoes, amaranth, bread. Cut the crust off bread to avoid acrylamide exposure.
  • Eggs are acceptable. Some form of animal product may be necessary for proper hormone production.
  • When breaking into the diet, eat meat only after 6:00pm. Make sure it’s pasture-raised, grass-fed, or sourced within 50 miles of your home.
  • Binge on cheat foods once per week.
  • Remove starches (rice, bread, grains) – especially wheat
  • Don’t eat meat, poultry, fish, etc. before 6:00 pm… or at all when you’re fully on the diet
  • No milk products
  • No soy, as it leads to estrogen overdosing. Soy milk, edamame, tofu, tempeh, etc.

Primarily plant-based diet (PPbD) – foods to avoid

Health benefits claimed in The 4-Hour Body

Reduce weight – overweight and obesity.

As always, this is not intended to be a replacement for professional medical diagnosis or treatment for a medical condition. Consult your doctor before starting a new diet. This page describes what the authors of the diet recommend – Chewfo is describing the diet only, and does not endorse it.

Get a copy of The 4-Hour Body for detailed food suggestions, as well as many non-food suggestions

Buy now from Amazon
The author’s website is http://fourhourbody.com; Facebook page is https://www.facebook.com/fourhourbody.

How have these diets helped you?

{ 91 comments… add one }

  • Malikah August 9, 2013, 1:14 pm

    I would like to take the 30 day, 20lbs. challenge. However, I’m fasting twice a week (Mon. & Thurs.) I eat breakfast before just before sunrise bout 4-4:30am, then nothing to eat or drink till sunset about 7-7:45pm. Do you have any recommendations on how how could incorporate the 4 hour challenge?

    • Penny Hammond August 9, 2013, 4:59 pm

      What kind of fast are you doing – are you doing a full intermittent fasting / 5:2 diet and only having 1/4 of the calories for the day (about 600 calories for men), or a version of alternate day caloric restriction, or Fast-5, or loading up in the morning and evening?
      For most types of fasting, it’s recommended to have unprocessed foods and minimize carbs, so you don’t get hungry. The slow carb recommendation in this book mostly ties in with that, although maybe you shouldn’t have beans/legumes in the morning as they are pretty carby.

      Not sure how you can follow the supplementation recommendations if you’re supposed to have the supplements with meals, though.

      It may be worth having the binge day each week if you’re fasting.

  • JoAnne January 3, 2014, 6:24 pm

    I have been on the 4 hr body diet for 3 mouths and I ‘ve lost 16 pounds. My goal is to reach 2 more bls ,, which will put me at 133lbs. The diet works and will be easy for you to adjust to because you see the results in your first weight if you follow diet plan. Good Luck!!!

    • ann March 21, 2015, 8:52 pm

      joanne.. how is it going today.. have you kept the weight off.. so 3 months you lost 20 lbs?? that is great.. did you do a cheat day every week?

    • Sandy June 2, 2015, 6:12 pm

      I’m glad you all lost a lot of weight. After 3months I only lost 11 pounds and then three weeks later had gained three pounds. I stuck to the diet religiously. I don’t know how others can lose so much.

  • chelsea January 4, 2014, 11:25 pm

    I did the 4hr body diet 2 years ago when i was 16 and man did i lose weight and feel good about myself. I just bought the book and am starting back up but after reading all of this im getting lost on what to eat and what not to eat. Im not good at figuring out snack foods that aren’t dairy and or carb. usually i try to do like salami and cheese but i know those really arent that good. I guess im just gonna need to find somewhere to get support while doing this so i have answers and support to know im doin it right

    • Penny Hammond January 5, 2014, 3:15 pm

      Check out the book’s Facebook page – https://www.facebook.com/fourhourbody. Also, paleo and low carb books often have ideas for snacks that aren’t dairy or carb.

    • Rusty December 9, 2014, 2:24 pm

      Hi, I lost 15 lbs. on my first month on the 4 hour body diet but have failed to lose any more weight. If you have suggestions please send them my way!

      • Penny Hammond December 10, 2014, 9:05 am

        The 4 Hour Body book contains dietary suggestions, but it’s mostly a book about exercise/fitness. If you’re following the dietary suggestions, make sure you’re following the fitness suggestions as well. Tim often gives a few alternatives, so you could also try other alternative suggestions that he gives.

        • dorothy stainbrook January 27, 2015, 2:15 pm

          Penny, I followed only the dietary suggestions in the book without dealing with his exercise program or cold water treatments. I lost 30 pounds through his diet and have kept it off for two years. I don’t really think it is mostly a book about exercise/fitness, I think it is a book about habit and lifestyle change. You can pull either the diet or the exercise part out and have success.

      • Elle February 25, 2015, 6:26 am

        If you really want to slim down and lose weight, stop with the dead animal meat and breast milk from cows. There is so much saturated fat in animal products that it is a wonder anyone can lose any kind of long term weight by continuing to stuff animal flesh down the throat. Remember the slogan: “BEEF: It’s what’s rotting in your colon!”

  • Four Hour Body January 13, 2014, 6:30 am

    I’ve just completed week one on the Four Hour Diet and i’m not that impressed with the results to be honest with you!

    I lost 2.3kg, but I lost more than that when I was just on a calorie controlled diet, I didn’t lose any inches around my waist or hips. I am going to stick to it and see if I can lose a similar amount in week 2, if the weight loss carries on in the same rate then it will be pretty good, but I can see it steadying off now!

    • dylan March 20, 2015, 7:01 pm

      You are really worried about it after 1 week? There are so many things that go into whether you lose weight when you are starting something new for an eating plan, and external and environmental factors also play into it. I am a semiprofessional athlete that has don quite a bit of experimenting with meal plans, and even have a team nutritionist. The true test of whether a program is working for your body is whether there is consistent loss after 1 month.

      I can say that i did this 4HB for 2 months during my off season and it seemed to help me cut body fat with steady consistency. I dropped 6% in 1 month and I looked a lot better.

      My experience has shown me that people wanting quick fixes will always be looking for the next quick fix because they cannot sustain it. If you don’t get sick of beans, this appears to be a good long term solution as well as a good short term one.

  • Jason January 13, 2014, 3:16 pm

    I’ve never been impressed with Tim’s list of slow-carb food only because it makes a lot of people feel like the diet is too restrictive. I did a bunch of research using his blog, the book, 4-hour chef, the 4-hour body cookbook, and lists from Mark Sisson and Robb Wolf and I came up with a perfectly slow-carb list with about 150 items on it. I hope it’s helpful!



  • Jacey January 18, 2014, 12:44 am

    I’ve been on the 4 Hour Workout for almost 2 weeks now and still haven’t lost anything. Does it take time to start getting results as far as weight loss goes? I’ve definitely been feeling better overall and might have lost a tiny bit in inches… but the scale is being so hard on me after all my efforts. Any advice people?

    • Rebecca June 13, 2014, 9:00 am

      Jacey, are you still trying the program? I am curious, because I’m in day 5 and have zero weight loss, but I do feel better and it seems like my waist feels smaller.

      • Megan July 25, 2014, 6:28 am

        I started this diet a year and a half ago and have lost 40lbs but over 12% bodyfat since I started measuring (which was well into my weight loss endeavor). In the first week I think I lost MAYBE 1lbs, and not much more for the next month. I didn’t realize I was cheating a little and I think this diet does take some time to really work the kinks out if you are new to it, but in my second month of dieting I lost 10lbs (I was also doing kettlebell swings everyday too).

        Also, if you are working out your weight may not change much at all, but your bodyfat may be changing. Don’t be discouraged by the number on the scale. Measure your inches as well and try to take pictures every other week to see the changes. It really helps. Hope you guys are doing well and enjoy the diet as much as I do.

    • Lorynn July 19, 2015, 11:38 pm

      On a low-carb or slow carb diet, sometimes results are slow because when our body releases the fat, the fat cells are replaced with water temporarily. The water soon releases when it isn’t going to get more fat to fill them up and then you’ll see a sudden loss (like over night). It’s called “Swoosh” if you want to Google this.

  • Nadia January 23, 2014, 8:12 pm

    I started the four hour body this past week and have lost a pound but no inches. I am vegetarian and am finding it hard to simply eat eggs and cottage cheese for breakfast. For lunch I drink a bowl of dahl/lentil soup and eat a huge bowl of stir fried (with little oil) vegetables. In between if I am feeling hungry I have a 1/2 spoon of peanut butter and maybe a spoon of hummus and vegetables. I know we are supposed to not eat nuts, but I am having a few for protein. I am also drinking one cup of unsweetened no carb almond milk…I am guessing that I haven’t lost much weight due to hormones…Us women have a couple of weeks when we can actually see our realistic weight on the scale…lol! Its not a bad diet at all, as I can eat kidney beans whenever I am hungry or a salad with cottage cheese (acts as a dressing). IS anyone else a vegetarian on this diet?

    • Hannah March 5, 2014, 5:08 am

      Hi Nadia,

      Event from looking at the article I can see you are doing alot of things wrong.. you should not have much nuts or hummus – you are having these every day – they say no almond milk, you are having this every day. Also make sure you are eating lots of vegetables and drinking lots of water

    • Dana Luna May 11, 2017, 2:49 pm

      Hi There,
      I also amvegetarian and have been on the diet for almost 1 week now.
      I have lost 1.5 lbs and stick to the recommended foods. I drink ice water when I first wake up and have been able to eat either one egg within a half hour and then when I h get to work I fish the remainder of breakfast which is
      3 organic eggs in the morning and ad veges. followed by plenty of water or lemon water.
      I have added cinnamon to my coffee instead of a lot of cream and it works pretty well.
      I try to space my meals 4 hours apart. Lunch consists of leftovers from night before and maybe a half avacado if i’m still nut satisfied I am hungry in late afternoon I eat a chopped salad with a little cottage cheese on the side.( if I feel hunry before my dinner)
      I also have tried protein shake if I don’t feel like eating beans or vegs.
      I usually ad beans for most meals.

      I want to try this for a month an d see what the results are – But its pretty easy to follow so far

  • sg March 17, 2014, 12:54 am

    Can i have berries in SCD i.e. strawberry, black berry, blue berry, rasberry, canberry and blend them together with water?

    • Penny Hammond March 17, 2014, 8:41 pm

      The author tested fructose in the form of orange juice, and found that it helped him maintain much lower glucose levels throughout the day – but his fat loss plateaued as soon as he introduced it. He says “In future tests, I would like to see if a much smaller amount of fructose in whole fruit form, probably berries, could be used to blunt glucose response without stalling fat loss or causing fat gain. I think this ideally would be limited to a 24-hour period like a binge day and consumed 30 minutes prior to the one or two highest-GL meals” (p.143).

      So it looks like the answer is that you could have berries on binge days, and preferably in small amounts only and whole (not blended).

  • Dondra March 17, 2014, 11:21 pm

    While doing the slow carb diet can you eat more carbs after a workout?

    • Penny Hammond March 19, 2014, 7:14 pm

      The author doesn’t mention any change in what you eat after exercise in either of the two main chapters on the Slow Carb Diet, and I can’t find any guidelines about whether it’s a problem to eat more carbs after a workout. As this is largely an exercise book, I think he’d have mentioned it pretty clearly if there were exceptions to the diet after exercise.
      He does suggest having “super monster protein (Odwalla)” post-workout shakes or another form of protein within 30 minutes after exercising.

      • Rebecca June 13, 2014, 8:56 am

        Carbs before workout, so you’ll have the energy to do the work. Protein after workout, to help the muscles recover.

        • Rob August 4, 2014, 1:43 pm

          This is incorrect, carbs release a hormone that put your body in to a relaxed state. Why would you want to go and have a workout in a relaxed state???

  • Hak March 18, 2014, 3:35 pm

    I would think that losing weight would be associated with a caloric deficit. I’m very interested in reading this book soon. Looking at the breakdown on this page, curious that calories aren’t addressed. One can consume the best and most “clean” of food selections but if the entire days calories are over what one maintenance level is, there would be no weight loss.

  • cynthia March 29, 2014, 9:41 am

    is it ok to eventually, like after a month of being on the diet, have oatmeal everyday with it being your only daily carb consumption?…. with the 4 hour diet I’m really afraid of my cholesterol going up with diet and I truly miss eating it!

    • Penny Hammond April 6, 2014, 11:33 am

      The author of the book experimented to find out what worked best for him, and that may be the best thing for you to do as well. When your weight has stabilized at a level you’re comfortable with, try adding in other foods and very carefully tracking their effect on your weight, mood, and other symptoms.

      Oats and other carbohydrates are comfort foods that may have habit-forming effects on some people. Yes, they contain fiber, but that doesn’t necessarily mean that they’re good for everybody. There’s a movement away from the idea that whole grains in abundance are good for you – and many specialists now say that carbs cause cholesterol and heart issues, not fats. For example see The Great Cholesterol Myth, written by a heart doctor.

  • cynthia April 8, 2014, 5:26 pm

    this diet appears very similar to Atkins… Can you eat cheese and mayonnaise in moderation?

    • Penny Hammond April 8, 2014, 8:32 pm

      In some ways, it’s close to the “newer” versions of Atkins, which advise you to eat limited amounts of lean proteins, add good fats, and always eat your greens. See The New Atkins Made Easy by Colette Heimowitz for details.

      The only dairy the author recommends is butter and cottage cheese, and a small amount of cream in your coffee.
      The only time he mentions eating mayonnaise is having “store-bought, mayonnaise-minimal coleslaw” (p.84) – so it could probably be eaten occasionally in moderation.

  • Micki April 17, 2014, 11:59 am

    My boyfriend and I started on the 4HB program on April 7th, 2014. I took all my body measurements that day and plan to take them once a week. I also weighed myself that day, but I’m not going to weigh myself again until one month has passed, May 5th, 2014. When I took all my measurements again on April 14th, I was amazed! In one week, I had lost a total of 12″ !!! Most of those inches came off my trunk: chest, waist, abdomen. Suddenly, I can SEE my feet when standing! After only ONE week! Since starting this program, neither one of us have had any issues with hunger or craving sweets. Our first “cheat” day actually landed on his birthday! We enjoyed the richest chocolate cake we could find. Having that one day off really helps stay on track during the rest of the week. I’m looking so forward to weighing myself after 4 weeks!

  • cynthia April 22, 2014, 7:31 am

    Help!… I’m really discouraged… I’ve been on the diet for a month ….at week 3 I lost 9 pounds and was feeling and looking great and definitely felt a difference in my clothes and went down 1 pants size!…The last week I put on 4 pounds despite my sticking closely to the diet???????….However, I don’t really feel the weight gain and my clothes still look great….Is this usual with the diet?….

    • Rebecca June 13, 2014, 8:59 am

      I was just reading about this yesterday, that for women, all bets are off on predicting stuff because of our hormones, and we all react differently. It suggested that you REALLY cheat on cheat day, after you have the good breakfast.

  • Ronni Musumeci May 5, 2014, 4:18 pm

    Hi, Can you tell me how much of each food should I eat per meal. In other words, if I’m eating chicken and black beans with spinach for dinner, how many ounces of chicken should I eat and should I eat 1/4, 1/2, or 1 cup of beans? Thank you Ronni

    • Penny Hammond May 8, 2014, 7:20 pm

      See Slow Carb Diet – Foods to Eat for the portion sizes the author recommends. For proteins, legumes, and vegetables, he says to eat as much as you like. As you’ll be repeating the same meals over and over again, you’ll probably get to the point where your body tells you when to stop on any of the different foods.

  • cynthia May 6, 2014, 3:41 pm

    why am I sooooooooo constipated!….;(

    • Penny Hammond May 8, 2014, 7:23 pm

      Ooh, sorry to hear that.
      Try drinking lots of water, that often helps.
      Some people find that a couple of glasses of room-temperature water with half a lemon squeezed in (no sugar for this diet) helps them.
      Also make sure you’re eating lots of veggies – “as much as you like” doesn’t mean to avoid them if you don’t like them! For some people, eating salads or raw vegetables before having meat or other proteins can help everything get digested and through your system a bit more easily.

  • Janelle May 31, 2014, 9:12 pm

    I have had amazing results from the 4Hbody slow carb diet. One thing to remember is you should try to eat within a half hour of waking up and breakfast should be 30 grams of protein. That’s a lot so really make sure to eat those eggs;) also if you are starting to plateau than you need to up your water in take and make sure you are eating the same 4 meals over and over again. You can switch up the spices but don’t keep trying to find new recipes for this diet. For example I eat chicken for dinner every night and just change what spices and veggies I have with it. If you are t seeing results right away you are probably making ” little cheats” and trust me they do make a difference. My second and third week I lost the most inches. Put away the scale and just stick to measurements . There are plenty of weeks I lose inches but not weight. Always always measure yourself only on the morning of your cheat day BEFORE you have done anything else. And by no means should you ever step on the scale the day after your cheat day.. Never!! Stick to the rules exactly and it won’t fail you!! Eat huge portions of what you are allowed to eat and you shouldn’t be snacking much.. You should be full from your meals.

    • Diane Pauline Meadowcroft September 16, 2014, 5:56 pm

      Yes you are right Janell. The less variety you put into the diet the better off you are. I really don’t understand why, but it works. I don’t see this diet failing if everyone follows it exactly . I have lost 22.4 lbs. In my first month. It is very important to drink lots of water.

  • Booboo June 1, 2014, 12:02 pm

    i read this 4hb thing today and i’m totally psyched about it. but my problem is i live in an area where most of the vegetables suggested are difficult to find. can i have boiled cabbage? how many eggs can one have? can i substitute white rice with brown rice?? and if i want to add exercise how long should i do it for?? thanks

    • Penny Hammond June 1, 2014, 1:41 pm

      You can have whatever non-starchy vegetables you like on the slow-carb diet (no potatoes) – the author suggests you don’t have too much variety. Boiled cabbage should be fine, and a few other vegetables you can find (note he doesn’t say you shouldn’t eat frozen vegetables – if that’s all you can find, just check that nothing’s added to them).

      You can have as many egg whites as you like, plus 1-2 whole eggs for flavor.

      The author says you shouldn’t have rice on the slow-carb diet, neither white rice nor brown rice.

      Exercise is covered in detail in the book – there’s a lot more about exercise than diet there.

  • Eduardo Guerra July 2, 2014, 4:53 pm

    Hello 4hb..! This is really great ! I’m 73 years old an lost almost 9 kg in 9 months, easily…No suffering, no hunger. My poor diggestion improved 99% ! I lost 19 cm in my belt, and I feel much better ! Let me add that there are three more relatives following the diet with much success…! Thank you, Tim Ferris.

  • Poorbob July 3, 2014, 8:08 am

    On my cheat day (Saturdays) can I slob out on pizza and pastas?

    • Penny Hammond July 3, 2014, 12:18 pm

      Sure thing! Remember that the first meal of the day isn’t a binge meal (no pizza for breakfast). The book says that after your first meal you can eat what you want, no restrictions, until you’re a little sick. Follow the guidelines in the book about what else to do on cheat days.

  • Deborah July 8, 2014, 12:27 am

    I’m getting completely disillusioned with this diet. I’ve stuck to the diet religiously for the past 2 weeks, and instead have GAINED weight. I’ve gained 1.6 kilos.
    I seemed to have been better off in my old life eating whatever I wanted.
    Right now I’ve completely stopped eating sweets, sugar, sweetners, bread, rice, pasta… The lot.
    I’ve also upped my exercise, but no joy!
    I don’t think this diet is for women. Losing 20 lbs in 30 days seems like a bu!!sh!t claim.

    Trouble is my fridge is full of this stuff, so I’ll keep going till I finish my groceries.

  • sue July 28, 2014, 3:02 pm

    I have been doing the tf diet for 5 weeks and very disappointed, lost .5 kg and 7cm.

    i eat lots of carrots, 2 a day and chew about 3 sticks of gum a day – what am i doing wrong????

    here is my cheat day

    2-3 chocolate bars
    2 cakes
    cappachino 2
    3 slices pizza
    sausage roll

    • Penny Hammond August 4, 2014, 7:07 pm

      The food part of the diet is a much smaller factor in the book than exercise – it could be that you’re not following the exercise suggestions to the right extent. I cover food only, not exercise, and can’t help with that aspect of the 4-Hour Body – look at the book to find out the author’s recommendations.

    • Gabriel February 23, 2015, 4:56 pm

      You lost 5 kg= 11 ibs thats great! eat carrots in moderation, that means less then 2 a day, I would only eat 2 a week, carrots are full of sugar. The diet only works if you follow it to the letter. I lost 18 ibs my first month, now I was exercising 5 days a week and doing ice baths 3 days a week as well as the diet. Month 2 I list 14 ibs the month 3 I lost 9. Stick to the diet and consider doing the ice baths 3 days a week for 20 mins each

  • Lisa Flores August 2, 2014, 11:18 am

    I have been on the 4HB diet for 2 weeks and have lost 8lbs…the success of this diet is to stay faithful to what you eat and not cheat. The cookbooks and recipes have also helped to add variety into my diet and have encouraged me to be creative and try new foods!

  • Ayesh August 18, 2014, 7:29 am

    I’ve been into 4HB slow carb for the past 5 weeks.
    I’m 5’4″ and 64kg at the beginning. I’ve lost 4kg so far though it does not show in my waist line measurements.
    My wake up times are erratic due to nature of my work. after the binge day my weight upto 2kg and 2-3 days to come down. weight does not seem to fall below 60kg!! i feel the chicken may not be so advisable; they may be oozing with antibiotics and hormones

    • Penny Hammond August 18, 2014, 8:42 am

      If you think the chicken may be an issue, look for chicken that isn’t fed with antibiotics (note that federal regulations prohibit the use of hormones in raising poultry), and/or look for alternative protein sources.
      The food part of the diet is only part of the total weight loss / health regime – see the book for details.

  • Felicitas August 19, 2014, 5:09 pm

    I´ve been on the diet for two weeks now, lost only 1 kg at 2 cms from my hip, that´s all. Never been so respectfull of a diet with so less results. Still don´t know what´s going wrong.

    • Penny Hammond August 20, 2014, 10:17 am

      The book gives a lot of ideas about improving your health/body, and the food recommendations are only a small part of the overall recommendations. Don’t just follow the food part of the diet without following the rest of the book, as the food recommendations don’t stand alone.

  • Diane Pauline Meadowcroft August 23, 2014, 1:01 pm

    I have been on this diet for 8 days. I am having my cheat day today because I started it on a Friday. Anyway I have lost 7 lbs. So far and haven’t been hungry at all. I almost feel guilty taming my cheat day but I think it is an important for the continuing weight lost. It will also give me something to look forward to during the week. I had never had lentils before, the soup that I make with them along with the dark red kidney beans and black eyed peas is absolutely delicious. This is certainly a diet that is easy to stick too and the best I have ever been on. Believe me in my 62 years I have been on many. ……Diane

  • Jessica September 1, 2014, 5:20 pm

    Curious to try this but have heard that the minute you stop/ start introducing carbs (even fruit and whole grain) that you gain the weight back. Can you shed some light on this? Thx!

    • Penny Hammond September 2, 2014, 12:13 pm

      There are a number of diets that encourage you to reintroduce carbs slowly – e.g. The New Atkins Diet Made Easy, phase 2. Cutting back on carbs can help you lose weight, but you may be able to have a certain amount of carbs once you reach your goal weight – this Atkins book may be helpful as you learn what levels of carbs you can deal with.

      • Jessica September 2, 2014, 1:19 pm

        Thanks, Penny!

        On an unrelated note, are hearts of palm and artichoke hearts allowed in the veggies portion?

        • Penny Hammond September 2, 2014, 3:48 pm

          Sure – Tim says you don’t have to limit yourself to the veggies he lists. He just suggests you limit the variety you eat so you’re less likely to quit the diet because of complixity.

  • Patty September 2, 2014, 1:44 pm

    My husband and I are starting today, on this new adventure after I saw this story of someone losing about 120lbs on the plan. But I have some food sensitivities that could inpeed my success. The main one I see that throws me off. I’ve been through a lot and need to keep the weight off my torso for specific medical reasons. My success on low carb has been great in the past, until I get off the strictest phase. So adding even 1 carb a day, in that phase trips me up! But now with finding I’m sensitive to almonds, pecans, Any Egg products…wheats and gluten, Mushrooms. I’m finding it tough. And yes, my doctor has even suggested the gastric bypass. I really didn’t know what to eat for breakfast, but I gave it a shot with sausage and chili beans topped with spicy Salsa, black coffee, and sparkling water,zero calorie juice drink. ( I’m very sensitive to aspartame, so no diet sodas for me.) Will this plan work? We both seem to not get results from exercise, so avoidance is the fare of the day. I’m a small business owner with lots of corporate style eating like in hotels, and seminars, where often the food is part of the fee I pay. How can this work in those settings? I often have gas in excess from any intolerances, so adding beans to every meal, could be combustible!

    • Penny Hammond September 2, 2014, 4:01 pm

      There are some great paleo cookbooks out there which have a number of recipes you could follow on this diet (and don’t have wheat or beans), if you look for recipes that take into account your intolerances – e.g. Practical Paleo, Against All Grain, Well Fed, and Paleo Comfort Foods. While many of the breakfast recipes contain eggs, there are some that don’t. And if you have control over your options you can have “dinner for breakfast” – e.g. leftovers of a food you know you’re okay to eat.

      In hotels and seminars, see if you can avoid the “white carb” part of dishes – stick to proteins and veggies.

      Hope that helps!

  • Patty September 3, 2014, 11:00 pm

    Thanks! So far I feel pretty great, until about three hours after I’ve eaten, then I’m ravaged. It’s so weird to eat so much and be ravenous in a few hours. Now as far as breakfast, I’m still having tribunal getting 30 grams of protein in within the 1st thirty minutes of waking up. I’m on a med that I must wait 30 minutes to eat or drink. So I’ve been eating right after that. I’m hoping for great success. Very emotional, but that’s probably part of the detox.

    • Penny Hammond September 4, 2014, 7:29 am

      Remember that Tim says to have your first meal within 1 hour of waking – sure, he says that 1/2 hour is preferable, but if you stuff yourself quickly to try to wait 1/2 hour for your meds plus eat within a 1/2 hour time frame you probably aren’t doing yourself any favors. Eat at a normal pace!

  • Lois Bockbrader September 30, 2014, 11:31 am

    I am drinking a 11 ounce of V8 original 100 percent veg juice for lunch with some cottage cheese. Is the juice
    A good thing?

    • Penny Hammond October 5, 2014, 2:07 pm

      The book says that you shouldn’t drink calories. V8 original has 50 calories per 8 ounces, so that’s about 70 calories for 11 ounces. As it has calories, the book advises against drinking it.
      Can you have water and some (unjuiced) veggies instead?

  • Jill October 10, 2014, 6:17 pm

    Am about 8 weeks into this and have lost 12 lbs., 5 of which were the first week, so that’s less than a pound a week.
    Very frustrated. Read in book or online that can be harder for women over 40, but this is getting depressing. Any advice. I do eat small packet of nuts in afternoon and a couple of tablespoons of peanut butter at night. Don’t think this is enough to throw things out of whack. Consuming about 70 oz of water a day. Anyone in similar situation or has advice. Thanks.

    • Penny Hammond October 12, 2014, 7:04 pm

      This book concentrates mostly on exercise, and not much on foods. The author tried a few different ways of eating as he was experimenting ways to improve his health. If you’re relying on the food recommendations here, that might not be enough.
      The author calls nuts and peanut butter “domino foods” – even if you’re not eating much of them, could they be making your body think it should be eating more?

      Also, the book is written by a young guy who can spend a lot of time exercising. It might not work for everyone.

      Good luck finding something that works for you.

  • Diane michaud meadowcroft October 28, 2014, 9:41 am

    Been on this diet since August 15th and have lost 30 lbs. It takes a lot of dedication, but if you follow it and only cheat on your cheat days you will have success. Some people I’m sure don’t loose weight as quickly as others, but this to me has been the best diet, because I’m am never hungery.

  • Ana November 1, 2014, 11:30 pm

    Does anyone has a 30g protein shake recipe? Thanks in advance..

    • Penny Hammond November 3, 2014, 1:42 pm

      Tim says about this shake in the book, Sex Machine I chapter – “If you know your local sources and can avoid salmonella and raw milk issues, I’ve found the following shake to produce incredible effects when mixed with a hand blender and consumed at both 4: 00 P.M. and before bed. It also helped me achieve the 100 +-pound strength gains as detailed in “Effortless Superhuman”.”
      Total calories = 966. Calories from fat = 627. Fat grams = 73 g (113%). Saturated fat grams = 15 g (76%). Cholesterol = 456 g (152%). Protein = 34 g (69%). Carbohydrate grams = 55 g (18%). Dietary fiber = 20 g (81%). Sugars = 19 g.Calcium = 93%. Glycemic load = 15 (out of maximum 250). “Know your food sources, and the statistics on salmonella poisoning, etc., before consuming this. If raw milk scares you, and I wouldn’t blame you, use organic whole milk instead.”
      There aren’t any other shake recipes in the book that I can find with 30g protein. This shake may not work for everyone.

  • Jason December 6, 2014, 5:51 pm

    I like the 4hr diet it is a easy way to stay lean with out much thought or effort. My only issue is I enjoy long bike rides on the weekend. My reseed or cheat day as some call it is fine bc I can eat whatever I want during the ride to stay fueled. The issue is the other day when on the diet. Has anyone introduced regular carbs like rice cakes or bonk bars/ cliff bars during long endurance activities on non cheat days and still continued getting results on the diet? Thanks in advance.

  • Leslley February 26, 2015, 11:12 am

    Please tell me, what is the reason behind, the first meal, not being a binged meal on a Cheat Day? I want to have buffet breakfast with a friend. Should I wake up even earlier to have a healthy meal?

    • Penny Hammond March 4, 2015, 5:36 pm

      Here’s what Tim says:
      “Ensure that your first meal of the day is not a binge meal. Make it high in protein (at least 30 grams) and insoluble fiber (legumes will handle this). The protein will decrease your appetite for the remainder of the binge and prevent total self-destruction. The fiber will be important later to prevent diarrhea. In total, this can be a smallish meal of 300–500 calories.” (Damage Control chapter)

  • N Bila April 21, 2015, 7:26 am

    I’ve been on the 4-hour body diet for a week and have only lost 2 lbs. I’m following the diet to a tee and although I am not hungry between meals, I don’t understand how I can only lose 2 lbs. Any advice?

    • Penny Hammond April 21, 2015, 10:09 am

      The diet suggestions are only a small part of the overall recommendations – exercise plays a much bigger part in the book.

  • Lorynn July 19, 2015, 11:43 pm

    I only did the diet for two weeks, but lost 7 lbs and noticed my tummy as flatter, I lost my bloat there for the most part. I only quit due to going on vacation and didn’t start back on it. I love this diet because it’s most of my favorite foods. I did feel deprived though throughout the day just because I’m used to eating pretty bad foods, but what kept me motivated is, I told myself if I didn’t cheat AT ALL that I could have the one or two glasses of red wine at night. It is what kept me on track. I soooo looked forward to that wine, I really enjoyed it so I drank it super slowly, savoring every drop. Going back on this diet tomorrow and going to blog on it.

  • Francisco Israel August 3, 2015, 5:34 pm

    Hi There!. Not sure if my question / comment goes exactlly on this section…but anyway.
    After have read 4HB, Im not clear what to do if I do sports, when doing the slow carb diet.
    Specifficaly in these 2 cases:
    1) I will do sports / soccer at 9pm. Should I still not consume any carbs? Wouldn’t this be harmfull for my muscles, and mayble lose them or injure them (due to absence of carbs, when doing exercise the body gets energy from muscle therefore “wasting” them in form of energy)

    2) If I will do sports / jogging / yoga / spinning very early in the morning…should I take any carbs at all? Should I take them (and / or the whole breakfast) before or after the exercice? some literature suggests I take breakfast 1-2 hour before the meal, but this is nearly un-doable…you would have to get up at 5am? Thanks a lot! big fan.

    • Penny Hammond August 9, 2015, 3:44 pm

      For the slow carb diet, it’s not a no-carb diet… you’re supposed to avoid white carbohydrates and fruits (except one day off a week), but you can have other carbs such as legumes and non-white starchy vegetables (no potatoes).
      In the chapter “The Slow-Carb Diet I” the author followed this schedule:
      10: 00 A.M.— Breakfast (e.g. egg whites, whole egg, black bean, mixed vegetables)
      2: 00 P.M.— Lunch (e.g. grass-fed organic beef, pinto beans, mixed vegetables, extra guacamole)
      6: 30 P.M.— Smaller second lunch
      8: 00– 9: 00 P.M.— Recreation or sports training, if scheduled
      10: 00 P.M.— Dinner (e.g. grass-fed organic beef, lentils, mixed vegetables)
      12: 00 A.M.— Glass of red wine and Discovery Channel before bed

      If you want to exercise earlier in the day – in the chapter “The Slow-Carb Diet II” the author says you should eat within 1 hour of waking up, preferably within 30 minutes.
      Again, you’re not supposed to be avoiding carbs. Try including some lentils or beans.
      I don’t see anything in the book saying you have to eat breakfast 1-2 hours before exercising.

  • Arilina November 9, 2015, 12:58 pm

    I would like to know if I can eat soup that are made with broth and not creams? EI: oxo chicken powder with water

    • Penny Hammond November 18, 2015, 7:28 pm

      That would probably be okay – it’s not something listed as a food to avoid. However some broth powders contain soy products and sweeteners – watch out for ingredients that you’re encouraged to avoid.

  • Lynn Kendall May 29, 2016, 12:44 pm

    I’m just beginning this diet as I listen to the audio book bought through audible.
    I have 2 questions:

    1- I know it says: if i can be white, don’t eat it, but isn’t there some form of whole grain bread I can eat?
    2- It says at the beginning that at a later point, We’ll be informed how how to find aome additional information. Will I, as an Audible buyer be able to access that info when the time comes? I’ve had other Audible books where it wasn’t available.

    • Penny Hammond May 30, 2016, 3:07 pm

      The author actually lists bread (any type, including whole grain) as a “white” food that you shouldn’t eat). You also aren’t supposed to have steel cut oats, according to the book. It seems that all grains are considered “white” foods that you should avoid on the diet.

      I don’t know about the additional information on the Audible – it says on Amazon that the Audible is only available as an abridged version, so perhaps that means not everything is included. Perhaps if you contact https://audible.custhelp.com/ you might get some more information there.

  • Anne May 30, 2016, 11:44 am

    Has anyone had low blood sugar issues on this diet? Towards the end of the first week, I was experiencing weakness, shakiness, sweating and rapid heart rate at times? It is a little better now but still there at times. I’m going to start getting that fourth meal in around 9:30 pm, which I hadn’t been doing to see if that makes a difference. Any other suggestions. I did lose about a 1.2 pounds a day the first five days, so I think it is working well so far. However, not sure I can keep it up if I continue to feel like this.

  • Alice July 25, 2016, 1:43 pm

    I exercise daily, 2 hours of Spin 5 days a week, Kickboxing classes 2 days a week, weights daily as well as daily walks. I try to eat healthy and do 80% of the time. I know quantities must be an issue. I do eat tons of fruit, though, but also a wide variety of vegetables. I got really frustrated at not being able to lose weight on Weight Watchers, South Beach and other diets, so I went on a “bender” for about a month. I’m starting 4HB today and I’m determined to give it at least a couple of months. I plan to follow it to a tee. I will miss fruit, especially the wonderful summer fruit, but will save it for cheat days. I have at least 60 lbs to lose. but more importantly for me is I want to get rid of my belly.

    • Penny Hammond August 4, 2016, 7:02 pm

      Good luck!

  • Tim September 18, 2016, 11:12 pm

    I’m a 48-year old male and I’ve used the diet twice with near identical results: 25-30lbs per month. This is without exercise. I am extremely strict on the plan when I do it. And I enjoy the heck out of my cheat day each week! 15lbs is a pants size for me on this program. So about 2 pants sizes in 40 days is realistic since the body is still reacting to what you did the week before. I’m about to start on it again. Keep in mind that this is a fat loss diet. It is not a maintenance program or a lifestyle. You will need to have a sensible diet after using this program to cut fat. If you do not, it will come back. Although I did not exercise while using the diet, I would suggest it as part of a healthy/sensible lifestyle. I simply wanted to see the results of the diet alone.

    • Penny Hammond September 29, 2016, 8:00 pm

      Thanks for letting us know how it worked for you!

  • Hailey November 30, 2016, 12:59 pm

    I am new to the diet but have a few questions… I understand fruit is a no, but am I allowed to put lemon in my hot water? Is tea out of the question? I enjoy drinking hot tea and lemon water it helps me actually drink more water. I am NEVER thirsty but if it’s warm and has a little flavor I’ll drink it.

    • Penny Hammond December 6, 2016, 4:30 pm

      Lemon isn’t a sugary fruit, and you’re only having small amounts, so should be ok.
      Unsweetened tea is encouraged. “Drink massive quantities of water and as much unsweetened tea, coffee (with no more than two tablespoons of cream; I suggest using cinnamon instead), or other no-calorie/ low-calorie beverages as you like.”

  • Derek Slim January 3, 2017, 1:19 pm

    Why in small amounts? Binge days are for eating big, anytime anywhere. You missed that lesson.

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