The Slow Carb diet has entered the scene among many other low carb diets. Diets such as Atkins, South Beach, and the current popular one Keto have risen in popularity due to people having great success on them.
The Slow Carb diet doesn’t reinvent the wheel, but it does establish simple rules and boundaries to help people live healthier lives. It helps redefine what people eat, how they eat and allows for a certain freedom to stave off dieting fatigue. So how does it work?
Basics of the Slow Carb Diet
The Slow Carb diet was created by Tim Ferris who is well-known for his self-help book The 4-Hour Workweek and can be found in his book The 4-Hour Body. In The 4-Hour Body, Ferris breaks down a variety of methods he insists are great to lose weight, become stronger and fitter, and improve sexual health.
The Slow Carb diet is the dieting portion, as in what Ferriss suggests what to eat and how to eat. It can be described as a diet that focuses on slow-burning carbohydrates, protein, good fats, and vegetables. It does contain strict rules like no fruit, no refined carbohydrates, and no calorie-dense drinks. However, it does a cheat day once a week where the person can eat anything they wish.
Like many low-carb diets, the Slow Carb diet focuses on slow-digesting carbohydrates, protein, and good fats that help people feel more satisfied with their meals.
Instead of refined carbohydrates and fruit, the diet focuses on vegetables and legumes that lower insulin response in the body as these carbohydrates are digested slower.
The diet ensures overall health by focusing on essential nutrients such as protein, essential fatty acids, and nutrient-dense vegetables.
The rules can be easy to follow and can be less restrictive versus other diets like Keto, while also allowing a cheat day to settle cravings and subside mental fatigue.
Slow Carb Diet Rules
Rule 1: Avoid white carbohydrates
All traditional diets in the world use some sort of processed carbohydrate such as bread, pasta, rice, cereal grains, and baked goods to add more calories to the meal. The Slow Carb diet removes these carbohydrates to reduce high calorie, low nutrient foods.
Instead, Ferris insists on focusing on protein, good fats, nutrient-dense vegetables, and a selection of spices. He outlines a selection of foods that can help promote low insulin response, high fiber, higher satiety from protein and fat, and foods that are generally considered lower calorie.
- Legumes. These act as a slow-carb replacement for refined carbs can be lentils and a variety of beans such as black beans and soybeans.
- Vegetables. These can vary but are generally green and leafy. Spinach, and cruciferous veggies as broccoli, kale, brussels sprouts. Also included are asparagus, peas, and green beans.
Compliant Protein and Fats:
- Animal proteins. These would be chicken, eggs, grass-fed beef, fish, pork, and whey protein powder.
- Fats. Butter or ghee, olive or grapeseed oil, almonds, and dairy-free creamer.
- Spices are a little less restrictive, more based on meal and the dieter’s taste. Salt, garlic salt, sea salt, and herbs are recommended.
- Dairy. Ferriss states that the natural sugar in dairy, lactose, constitutes the same insulin response in the body as refined carbs. However, some dairy products like cottage cheese are allowed due to their low lactose amount.
- Fried foods. This might be a given once you understand the basics of the diet. Fried foods are often battered in a flour mixture and breaded in breadcrumbs--both processed carbohydrates.
The one caveat to Rule 1: If someone is strength training, they can eat a small number of refined carbohydrates 30 minutes following a workout.
Rule 2 - Eat the same meals over and over
While this might sound restrictive, eating the same meals makes eating predictable and regulates how the body responds to them. Someone would find the foods and meals they enjoy and continue eating them to ensure consistency.
This can help simplify a shopping list to make weekly groceries easier to buy. It also redefines what is kept in the kitchen as someone won’t keep certain non-compliant foods around that can induce cravings.
Rule 3 - Don’t drink calories
This means drink liquids that have zero calories as water, unsweetened coffee, tea, and other calorie-free drinks. Most drinks that contain calories are packed with sugar, a white carbohydrate with almost no nutrients aside from calories. Many people have discovered sodas and juices contain a large amount of calories and sugar, and simply dropping these for water has caused them to lose weight.
Rule 4 - Don’t eat fruit
This might startle some people who consider fruit a part of a balanced diet. Fruit contains high amounts of fructose, the natural sugar that can create a strong insulin response leading to quick fat creation and lower satiety. The Slow Carb diet focuses on vegetables that are more nutrient-dense and far lower in natural sugars to slow insulin response and keep cravings low.
A caveat to this rule: Avocados and tomatoes are allowed as they have a low insulin response.
Rule 5 - Take one day off per week
The dieter is allowed to eat anything in any amount one day out of the week. This can help someone concentrate on restricting their diet on the first six days as their cravings can be scheduled later. When the cheat day comes around, they can vent their pent up cravings in that one day without restrictions.
It’s suggested to set a hard plan for this cheat day, often Saturdays or a non-work day so the person can relax during this day. This can help them shrug off the stress of the six days and their normal life and breathe easier.
The Overall View
The Slow Carb diet is both restrictive to benefit overall health, and liberating as it allows for a scheduled cheat day to vent dieting fatigue. For many people, the reduction in refined carbohydrates can be a great way to cut calories without counting, and the focus on protein, good fats, and slow-burning carbohydrates can promote better overall health.
Tim Ferriss has a large slow carb diet community with helpful tips, success stories, and other valuable info here.