Friday, April 18

The Slow Carb Diet: Part I

This series of posts are dedicated to the Slow Carb Diet made popular by Tim Ferriss’s The 4-Hour Body. I’ve broken it out into four parts:

Preface:         Brief introduction to level-set
Part I:            An outline of what the Slow Carb Diet entails, Paleo vs. Slow Carb
Part II:           Experience and results
Part III:          Lessons learned and applying them going forward

What is the Slow Carb Diet?

When people ask me what "Slow Carb” is, I usually rattle off a slew of answers. But instead of doing that first, let’s have you take a look at the basic rules for yourself.

1.       Avoid all "white" carbohydrates (e.g. bread, rice, cereal, potatoes, etc.)
2.       Eat the same few meals over and over again
a)       Breakfast must be within an hour of waking (aim for 30g of protein within 30min)
3.       Don't drink calories
a)       No milk, soft drinks, fruit juices
b)       Unlimited coffee and unsweetened tea
c)       Up to two glasses of red wine allowed per night
4.       Don't eat fruit
a)       Avocado/tomato are allowed
5.       Take one day off per week (also known as “Binge/Cheat Day”)

What do you think at first glance? Does it look hard? Boring? Not sustainable? We'll discuss in Part II.

In a nutshell, I tell people that the Slow Carb Diet (SCD) is Paleo with a few tweaks (more on this below). Beans/legumes are allowed, while fruit is not. One cheat day per week is required. And it's strongly recommended, if not mandated, to consume a high-protein breakfast.

Methods of the Madness 

Paleo vs. Slow Carb

I don't want to spend a ton of time on this, but I do think it deserves to be addressed in some fashion. As most of our readers know, Jessie and I typically follow a Paleo Diet template. We stick to the fundamentals for the majority of the time, but allow ourselves to indulge on occasion.

As I mentioned before, the SCD is similar to Paleo in most aspects, but instead of fruit, you can eat beans & legumes, which is a Paleo no-no. This legume issue is getting more and more attention as of late (if you're curious, here's one take, and here's another). The name “Slow Carb” plays off of it being low in carbohydrates by nature, but also, the types of carbohydrates allowed have a lower glycemic index. In other words, the carbs are slower to digest than others, like fruit. 

Another Paleo no-no would be the binge day that's allowed in the SCD. Most Paleo templates would likely be OK with some dark chocolate or the very special occasion indulgence, but in the SCD, it's a requirement.

Last note here, that I think is very important to point out, is that there are multiple variations of "Paleo." Mark Sisson has his "Primal Blueprint" way of eating, Chris Kresser has a "Personal Paleo Code", Paul Jaminet has a "Perfect Health Diet" and Robb Wolf and Loren Cordain subscribe to a more traditional "Paleo Diet."

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