Everything you need to know about the 4:3 diet

If you haven't heard of the 5:2 diet then, frankly, you must have been living under a rock. But did you know that the 4:3 is being touted as the new eating plan du jour? Here's your comprehensive guide

We’ve spoken to nutritional therapist Katy Mason, from The Nutri Centre, to get the 411 on the 4:3…

How does the 4 3 diet work?

Unlike the 5:2 diet, where you fast for two non-consecutive days a week (women stick to 500 calories and men to 600) and eat normally for the other 5, the 4:3 plan involves eating what you want one day and fasting the next. Just keep repeating this pattern, and that’s pretty much it!

Don’t fancy the 4:3? Here’s what you need to know about the 5:2 diet

How do I do the 4 3 diet?

In their book, The Every Other Day Diet, Dr Krista Vardy and Bill Gottlieb give some important tips on how to follow the diet safely and effectively.

On your fast days, it’s suggested that you:

1. Eat a 400 calorie meal and a 100 calorie snack
2. Drink lots of water
3. Drink tea and coffee
4. Chew sugar-free gum
5. Eat pre-packaged meals with extra vegetables if you are too busy to cook

On your normal days it’s suggested that you:

1. Eat as much as you want
2. Don’t feel deprived

They also advise you to eat high protein and high fat foods, and to avoid sweeteners.

Is the 4 3 diet good for you? 

Research would suggest that it is healthy. An American study found that people lost an average of 12lb and that users lost fat not muscle. The diet also lowered blood pressure.It would also seem that fasting resets the metabolism somehow, encouraging the body to burn more fat as energy, although this process is not fully understood at present.

What are the pros of the 4:3 diet?

1. There are proven health benefits.
2. The fast days may help you to identify “true” hunger, meaning that you learn to only eat when hungry.
3. Your stomach may shrink, helping you to avoid over-eating on your non-fast days.
4. Knowing that you can eat what you want the next day helps you stick to only 500 calories per day.
5. Eating high-protein foods is good for your health and balances your blood sugar levels.
6. Eating high-fat foods (particularly olive oil, nuts, seeds and oily fish) is also good for your health and balances your blood sugar levels.
7. Avoiding sweeteners is great because they may actually hinder weight loss.

What are the cons of the 4:3 diet?

1. There is no guidance about avoiding trans or hydrogenated fats, which are uncommon in nature and may cause health problems such as unwanted weight gain and insulin resistance.
2. There is no guidance about reducing sugar, which is bad for your teeth and may cause health problems.
3. The diet does not identify or eliminate any foods that you may be intolerant to, which could be causing inflammation in your body.
4. You could choose to eat lots of “empty” calories (foods that are high in calories but low in vitamins and minerals), and this could lead to deficiencies in the body.
5. The diet advocates using ready meals, which are often high in sugar, salt and trans fats.

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