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Pros and Cons of Ferriss's Slow-Carb Diet

Does this diet make sense?

“The whole notion of avoiding white carbs that turn quickly into sugar is a good thing to do,” says James P. Nicolai, MD, medical director of the Andrew Weil, M.D. Integrative Wellness Program at Miraval Arizona Resort & Spa in Tucson, Ariz.

Also, “it can be helpful to eat the same meals each day because you don’t think about food, as opposed to ‘I am really hungry and don’t have food to eat,” Nicolai says. The latter can set you up for making unhealthy food choices.

But "rapid fat loss is not possible,” says Barry Sears, PhD, president of Zone Labs Inc. and the Inflammation Research Foundation in Marblehead, Mass. “You can lose a lot of water weight or muscle mass quickly, but fat loss is a slow process and hard work.”

Sears, who developed the Zone diet, says there is no such thing as a 4-hour body. “Skip the 4-hour body and opt for a 24-hour-365-day-a-year body, because you need a plan that makes sense that you can live with,” Sears says.

“It’s a spinoff of a low-carb diet with alcohol,” says Michael Aziz, MD, of New York's Lenox Hill Hospital and author of The Perfect 10 Diet.

The amount of vegetables is limited in Ferriss’s slow-carb diet. Ferriss offers a list of approved veggies -- including spinach, broccoli, cauliflower, asparagus, peas, and green beans. But “we need all kinds of vegetables in all kinds of colors and sizes,” Aziz says. "If you restrict vegetables, there can be long-term vitamin and mineral deficiencies."

Aziz also takes issue with weekly binge days. “This is not responsible and can be very dangerous,” he says.

Ferriss' fondness for cottage cheese for weight loss and ban on other dairy products is one of the many contradictions in his book. It has zero scientific proof, but he claims it worked for him.

Ferriss is a big fan of ice baths or very cold showers. He writes that cold triggers hormones that aid and speed fat loss. “Cooling can burn calories,” Aziz says. “A glass of cold water before a meal can do the same thing.”

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