What Is The Slow Carb Diet?

Healthy eating: for some, it’s an already ingrained habit. For others, it’s a journey. 

What Is The Slow Carb Diet?

If you’ve given other popular diet formats a try (with little success), you may be eager to broaden your horizons and try something new.

The slow-carb diet has been causing a bit of a stir, and while it’s not as straightforward as your standard keto or low-carb diet, some claim it’s just as (if not more) effective. 

Wondering if the slow carb diet is right for you? Stick with us to learn more about the slow-carb diet, how to pull it off, and inch closer to your weight loss goals. 

What Is The Slow Carb Diet? 

The slow carb diet was first created in 2010 by author, investor, lifestyle guru, and entrepreneur Timothy Ferriss.

According to Ferriss, the slow carb diet is an effective method for real, rapid weight loss.

Ultimately, he suggests that by optimizing our supplement use, exercise habits, and diet, we can drop inches off our waistlines in no time. 

The slow carb diet aims for maximum results with minimum work.

Essentially, the slow carb diet involves eating five of the primary food groups (vegetables, legumes, animal protein, spices, and fats).

You should be aiming to eat four meals a day for six days a week, and one day a week will be your designated ‘cheat day,’ where you can eat anything you want. Yes, really! 

During the six days a week where you’re following the rules, you should also avoid eating refined carbs and fruits and drinking beverages that are high in calories. 

Another big part of the slow carb diet is supplements, and the plan suggests that followers should incorporate these into their diets to speed up the weight loss process and get results fast.

However, taking supplements is not an essential part of the plan, so you can follow the slow carb diet effectively without taking them. 

In some ways, the slow carb diet and the keto diet are similar because there is one key philosophy at its core: eating meals that are high in protein while reducing carbohydrate intake can increase how much fat you breakdown for energy, which makes you feel fuller and reduce your fat stores. 

Rules Of The Slow Carb Diet 

What Is The Slow Carb Diet?

If you’re thinking of doing the slow carb diet, there are a few rules you’ll need to follow, including: 

No Fruit 

The slow carb diet is strictly no fruit. Ferriss suggests that fruit contains too much sugar for it to be a part of a healthy weight loss plan.

However, other experts and dieticians still recommend having fruit in your diet. 

Watching What You Drink 

On the slow carb diet, you should avoid drinks high in calories, such as alcohol, juice, and soda.

Only water and unsweetened tea or coffee should be consumed. 

Eating The Same Meals 

Your only meals should be those that incorporate the five desired food groups (veggies, animal protein, legumes, spices, and fats). 

Remember: food groups such as fruit, fried foods, alcohol, white-flour foods, and dairy (with the exception of cottage cheese) are not allowed. 

No White Carbs 

White carbs should be avoided on the slow carb diet. You can have them on your cheat day, but white carbs such as bread, pasta, and cereal should not be consumed for the rest of the week. 

One Cheat Day A Week 

You can have one cheat day a week where you can eat or drink whatever you want. 

The Slow Carb Diet: The Pros And Cons 

Like any diet, the slow carb diet doesn’t come without its pros and cons. Before you decide to commit to this diet, let’s take a closer look at its benefits, as well as its drawbacks. 


  • Eliminates ‘Bad’ Foods: The slow carb diet eliminates food groups that are the main offenders when it comes to weight gain, such as processed foods and sugary beverages. This can certainly yield weight loss results while also benefiting your health. 
  • Heavy on Vegetables and Protein: With this diet, vegetables and animal protein are the two primary food groups you’ll be eating. There are some inevitable health benefits here, as well as the potential for weight loss. 


  • May Not Be Sustainable: Although there’s real potential to lose weight with the slow carb diet, it may not be sustainable for all dieters. Once the diet is over and you start reintroducing some of the healthier groups, such as fruits and whole grains, people are likely to regain the weight. In some cases, people can end up gaining back more than they lost. 
  • Problematic ‘Cheat Day’: The slow carb cheat day is essentially a free for all. You can eat and drink whatever you want and whatever quantities you desire, which risks sabotaging your diet. Not only can this jeopardize your progress, but it also risks fostering an unhealthy relationship with food by ingraining the idea that there are good and bad foods. 

This is problematic because, on the slow carb diet, ‘bad’ foods are some that are high in vitamins, nutrients, and grains – essentially, there’s nothing bad about these foods at all. 

Is The Slow Carb Diet Worth It? 

Whether you choose to follow the slow carb diet is ultimately your decision. 

However, an important thing to note about the slow carb diet is that it’s overly restrictive.

Not every personality type is equipped to follow restrictive diets. So if you have a history of disordered eating, we’d advise against the slow carb diet.

Its rigidity can be dangerous, and you’ll probably be better off following a plan that incorporates more food groups. 

However, if you prefer to follow regimented plans with strict guidelines, the slow carb diet may be the right choice for you.

Although it’s restrictive, it definitely has the potential to yield real results, especially if you don’t go too crazy on your cheat day. 

The Bottom Line 

The slow carb diet focuses on five main food groups while restricting all of your usual nasties, such as processed foods and high-calorie beverages.

Although this diet may not be good for people with a history of disordered eating, it does have the potential to generate real weight-loss results.

Jenna Priestly