As an active participant at http://www.4hbtalk.com and an ex participant at 4hourpeople (not sure why I got kicked off still), I see many people complaining that the Slow Carb diet doesn’t work for them, or they expected 20lbs in 30 days like Tim said but aren’t seeing it. As a person that had success with the Slow Carb diet and used it to evolve into intermittent fasting and Paleo I have made suggestions many times and would like to sum them all up for everyone.
You don’t need the beans
As I have learned from Robb Wolf via his book and podcast, beans are not an idea form of carbohydrates although they do have a low glycemic index (GI) and quite a few nutrients. I can not count how many times I have linked to the blog by J.D. Moyer and his post about beans, it is a very thorough discussion on the pros and cons of beans. Another good breakdown of beans is on the whole9life blog The Legume Manifesto. I won’t repeat what he says and it is worth the read for anyone doing the SCD. One thing that he didn’t seem to compare was bean to root and tubers like yams and sweet potatoes. This is what Robb Wolf pushes as his choice of carb, mainly for post workout. Yams and sweet potatoes have a GI similar to lentils and kidney beans, and are lower in anti nutrient like lectin and phytic acid. I prefer them and highly recommend them (and other roots and tubers like taro, squash etc) in place of legumes to everyone.
For those really want to lose the weight fast, are more sedentary and don’t need the carbs as much I would recommend cutting out carb sources completely unless needed. This would be more of a ketogenic diet but will work very well.
Sleep, Over Training and Cortisol
For those of you that listen to Robb Wolf’s podcast know how important cortisol is to fat loss. If you don’t get enough sleep, have any stress, or are over training then you probably have a cortisol issue. There are many things you can do to fix this walk, relax, mediate, acupuncture, socialize, go to bed early, etc. This is easier said then done for a lot of people, me included.
To some people this may seem a bit extreme, but after you do it you realize how easy and effective it is. I would only recommend this to people that are not having success or would like to lose weight a bit faster, and do not like eating breakfast. I realize that this goes against Tim’s dogma of “30 grams of protein within 30 minutes of waking up” but I have not been able to find any science that backs up that theory, and personally had really good success with skipping breakfast. I did this everyday for 3 months, not that I am not trying to lose weight I have stopped and eat a small breakfast with lots of fat and protein. If you are interested in intermittent fasting look at http://www.leangains.com/
Increase Veggies and Eat them first
This one goes hand in hand with cutting out legumes. Eating fiberour veggies can be very filling, I found a trick on a blog to eat the fiberous veggies first and eat lots, have a big glass of room tempurature water, then wait 10-15 mins to eat the rest of your meal. This works well because you get full off the veggies but it usually takes 20 minutes or so for you leptin response and your brain to realize you are full. This is why we are told to eat slow, why people that eat fast tend to over eat, and why liquid meals are not good for fat loss.
Increase Your H20
I have not been able to find any good science to back this up, but I have good personal experience and so has most people that I have talked to when they increase their water intake to 3-4 liters (~1 Gallon) or more a day. I found this was necessary when intermittent fasting to deal with some hunger pangs, which got less and less as time went on.
Eat Lots of Fat but Make Sure it is Balanced
Fat is good, this is a common misconception and if you need some science to back that up read anything by Gary Taubes. The thing with fat is that Omega 3 fat and Omega 6 fat need to have between a 1:1 or a 1:2 ratio. Modern North American diets are more like 1:10 and this causes inflammation. This is why Omega3 supplements are being heavily marketed now but instead of compensating with Omega3 why not lower your Omega6 fats? The SCD is pretty good for that, Paleo even better. Most people recommend at least 3 servings of fish per week and some Omega3 supplementation. I don’t recall this being talked about in the 4 Hour Body much but it an important part of fat loss.
Insulin Response From Protein Shakes
I became addicted to protein shakes. I did not realize this until I tried quitting them for a week and do veggies only. Shakes are highly marketed and a lot of false info and half truths are in the media about them because of this. Most shakes are loaded with artificial sweeteners and other junk that may be good for gaining weight and muscle but terrible for losing fat. If you are trying to lose fat I highly recommend avoiding them, if you really need it find an unsweetened one or a Paleo friendly one like Primal Fuel. If I recall, I think Tim mentions the negative affects of shakes when he discusses liquid calories.
No Grains on Cheat Day and Only Cheat If Needed
I believe cheat days are good when you are starting to transition your eating habits, they were for me. I had one epic cheat day about a month into the SCD where I went to two birthday parties in one day. I felt like shit for the next 2-3 days. From then on my cheat days were very small and turned into cheat meals, then cheat snacks. I recently listened to an old podcast of Robb Wolf’s where Matt Lalonde was a guest, he took exception to Tim’s idea of a cheat day and that there no physiologically value to it. My recommendations if you need to cheat is:
- Have as much fruit as you want
- Have some full fat high quality dairy
- Avoid grains ie flour, baked goods etc
- Have lots of high quailty extra dark (85%) chocolate
- Have some alcohol gluten free beer, wine or hard liquor
- Try to slowly transition your sugar intake down to a very small amount
Got any other tips that worked for you? Leave a comment and let me know.