This just in:
I’ve been using your 15-minute blast strategy every morning and it’s the best exercise program I’ve ever found. It’s BETTER than Tim Ferriss’ strategies in the 4-Hour Body, and much, MUCH easier to implement! ~ Monica Heyden, CEO, Tailored Trademark.com
Hey thanks Monica, I’m so glad you likey my Burst Training guide. It’s the easy answer to the gotta-get-in-my-cardio-but-don’t-have-much-time problem. (Get your free copy HERE).
And thanks also for providing me with the perfect opportunity to pop in with response to Tim Ferriss’ newest work on the market, The 4 Hour Body, which was featured recently on Dr. Oz.
Did you see Tim Ferriss on the Dr. Oz show?
If you haven’t read Tim Ferriss’ 4 Hour Body (guilty!) or seen him on the Dr. Oz show (I caught the segment on a flight out of DC a few days ago), here’s what happened on the Dr. Oz piece.
Tim Ferriss’ new best seller, The 4 Hour Body, recently hit the body fat-loss magic bullet market. The Oz segment focused on 3 of Ferris’ strategies for fast weight loss, specifically fat loss.
My concern here is what many viewers are probably going to get out of this. Here are the 3 major recommendations for fat loss from Tim Ferriss’ 4 Hour Body and the problems I foresee for the public with them:
1) 4 Hour Body plan: Pound down 30 grams of protein for breakfast.
Supposedly, this is going to help you by to raising your metabolic rate. High protein foods recommended are the usual animal-based proteins: meat, eggs, and fish, which are a workload for the body to digest. So is the idea here that we want to create a stress load for the body from which to recover in our desperation to lose weight? Does the ends justify the means?
Response: Most Americans are eating too much concentrated protein as it is. And that’s not the only problem. I’m betting that those who employ the ’30 grams at breakfast’ tactic are going to simply add it to everything else they are eating, merely adding to the calorie overload and flooding the body with far more protein – and the fat that comes with it – than it needs.
The US RDA for protein is .8 grams per kg of body weight. If your body weight is 150 lbs, to convert that to kg you take 150 and divide it by 2.2 = 68kg. 68 x .8 = 54 grams of protein. Those 30 grams of protein out of 54 RDA comes out to 56% – over half of the protein – recommended for the day. As an alternate, the USDA recommends for AI (adequate intake) protein for healthy adult females is 46 g per day, and 56 g per day for adult males. The AI is 9 to 52 g for children, and 71 g for pregnant and lactating women.
With this kind of protein overload at breakfast – 30 grams – you would easily surpass your protein requirement for the day (30 out of 46 grams would be 65%), taxing the body system. As long as you are eating a variety of whole foods and eating sufficient calories of vegetables, starchy vegetables, whole grains, beans and legumes, and nuts and seeds, you easily fulfill your protein requirements.
2) Sit in a bathtub of ice water for 10 minutes 3 times a week.
An alternate method was demonstrated on the Oz show of placing ice packs on the back of your neck, forehead, and chest. This thermogenesis trick -generating body heat by ramping up metabolic rate – is nothing new. Bodybuilders have been keeping their thermostat at 50 degrees and taking ice baths for years to stimulate the thermogenic response in the body as it struggles to maintain our normal body temperature of 98.6. Brown fat is stimulated more than anything to keep us warm. The idea here is to be burning calories at a higher rate and inspiring fat loss.
Response: I’m betting that those who employ the ‘sit in an ice bath’ tactic are going to bear up to this stressor for one week, 2 weeks max. And I’m betting they aren’t going to make lasting dietary changes for their health. And over a year’s time, how would this really play out in fat weight lost and health gained? Brown fat diminishes as we get older anyway, as we are born with stores for survival as infants. I just don’t see ice tubs becoming as popular as hot tubs. But that’s just me.
3) Binge once a week. On the Oz show, a huge buffet of junk food was rolled out to demonstrate this tactic and as you can imagine this inspired all kinds of enthusiasm. The idea of calorie overload to help ‘shake up’ your metabolism is nothing new. When we eat, or metabolic rate is driven up, just by the very act of eating. Thermogenesis is created. When we eat less, the metabolic stimulus drops commensurately.
Response: When we eat piles of food, metabolic rate is driven up. Of course. However, not enough to offset the caloric load damage from the endless junk food. You can’t out train a bad diet, and in my experience you can’t out-diet a junk food binge day.
There are so many things wrong with this recommendation I don’t know where to start. With the binge:
- you can easily cancel out the calorie deficit – and weight loss – you may have created over the rest of the week.
- you keep your taste for junk food alive.
- you flood the body with enough fat to possibly cause a coronary event on the spot.
There is so much potential for damage with this as a practice, that in no way can it be seen as a positive recommendation if you are aspiring for health in any way, shape or form. Feast days may happen in your overall plan, but to plan a junk binge one day a week? Hogwash hook.
The point is, there are far simpler solutions to the weight problem that actually build health and don’t depend on stress to the body or take all of your concentration to cling to. And is this something you want to – and can – maintain as a lifestyle? Possibly. Good luck.
Why this kind of weight loss nonsense produces best-sellers is beyond me. The solution to the weight problem we have in wealthy societies is simple. Get back to simple fare and move your body. A whole foods, plant-based diet that has lots of fiber and is spare on fats has proven to make the fat slim and keep the slim slim. I can’t think of a quicker ticket to the stuff-starve, binge-purge pattern than the recommendations as featured on Dr. Oz’ show.
You may argue that I haven’t read The 4 Hour Body book in its entirety, a fair observation. At first I thought this might be problematic for my response, yet now I see it as an advantage to making my point. Most of the people watching that Dr. Oz segment probably had it as their first or only exposure to the book as well, and the point being made is what the viewer might come away with and try to implement from that single broadcast.
And as for Dr. Oz, he seems to have taken on the qualities of a chameleon. How can he promote the Engine 2 Diet one week and then be all smiles and support the next with the likes of The Four Hour Body? Viewers take note.
What’s the wildest fat loss and weight loss advice you’ve heard – or tried? Please share in comments below!
It is probably a good idea to read the book before commenting on it — it assumes Dr. Oz actually presented the ideas in the book correctly instead of in a way to increase audience share. By analogy, it reminds me of those who criticize The China Study but have never read it cover to cover. Or it is like critiquing a novel based on the movie. So I would like you to read the book and then do a follow-up. That would be helpful — of course, I do agree with your conclusions anyway, but still think taking short-cuts is a bad idea even when it comes to reviewing the ideas in a book one has not read.
Hey Hadley, yes, as I noted in the article I have not read the whole book and am guilty as charged. At the same time, note that I am writing from the perspective of someone who ONLY saw the Dr. Oz clip, so it underscores my point of damage that can be done by limited information. I agree, I’d like to next read the book and then follow up – perfect next step! Thanks so much for stopping in to comment.
It’s not about promoting health on Dr. Oz – it’s about the number of viewers!
Connie, sadly, it seems that you are right. I see that he may perceive is role as a funnel for giving out various perspectives and information on health, but it seems that the effect is just confusing!
Agreed. Commercialism. Not truth, necessarily. To give Oz the benefit of the doubt, he probably has to allow some things on the show in order to be able to provide others that he believes in. That’s why people have to be informed, and not just via TV segments.
Anita. yes, and my concern is that this may be the only avenue some people ARE getting info. Yikes!
Great: Two charlatans on one show. (Well, I guess that’s really not unusual for Dr Oz’s show.)
Ferris also claims in the book that he added 34 pounds of muscle–MUSCLE alone–to his body in 28 days. (Of course, he equivocates on this–while in some places he says it was muscle, in others he says “fat-free mass.” In reality, what he was doing was sharply dropping weight, then adding on to it with, in large part, water–which, as far as scales and BMI calculation go, is “fat-free mass” when calculated immediately after adding it. You can add 8 pounds yourself, in about half an hour. Just get yourself a gallon jug of water and drink it over half an hour. You’ll have added what will measure as fat-free mass, which Ferriss misrepresents as added muscle. (He may indeed have added some muscle–but not 34 pounds in 28 days.)
David, 34 lbs? I know he’ made some wild claims but I hadn’t heard that number. And you’re right, ‘fat free mass’ can be very misleading and we all read into it what we want. Does he say he did any kind of testing, like hydrostatic testing, to verify his claims? You just can’t pack on muscle that fast from any of the research studies I’ve read or been involved in. It sounds like you’ve read the book? Thanks for your post!
Oz scares me!!! I agree with the comment about him being so supportive of the engine2 diet and then he’s off flogging the next”big” thing! I stopped watching his show as he uses a lot of shock and awe tactics and presents a lot of scewed facts!
It bothers me that so many people use him as the “font” of medical knowledge. Many of his “experts” are so rushed they can’t give enough information about their area of expertise. Knowledge is power but this stuff is garbage. Paging Dr. Oz … get back to the cardiac OR where you can really bring about positive change!
Wow Allison, absolutely poetic in your delivery. Thanks for your post !
it’s unfortunate that his popularity has once again, like for so many others, changed the person he once was. I agree that he seems to take on “whatever” is the current in thing, and it’s too bad that he is confusing….esp after supporting the E2 book, and he even sends his sickest patients to Dr Esselstyne, but then supports some crazy ideas too…. It was rather disappointing when he had Dr Mercola on not once but twice, and then had that faith healer on.
oh well…..our local TV station changed his time slot, so I don’t get to see him now anyway.
Jessica, really? He’s said that he sends his patients to Dr. Esselstyn? And I didn’t know he had Mercola on. What was the show about? Dr. Mercola is not a good source of reliable health information so I can only imagine!
I really dislike the Dr. Oz show and everything about it. It is the biggest bunch of garbage. Including this crackpot you have written about here. Everything he proposes is ridiculous and dangerous. Thanks again Dr. Oz.
Hey Wendy, I know – he’s really gone for the sensational and his only saving grace of late is that he had Julieanna Hever on for her Plant-Based Nutrition book. Did you see it? Even that they mangled with a sensationalize zoo story. Jules handled it with class and came across as a winner. Thanks so much for coming by!
I watched the segment online as I missed it on television but was intrigued by the 30 grams of protein concept. While not being a fan of Dr. 0z one way or the other I think this forum has really given him a bad rap. As you so gracefully pointed out most of Tim’s concepts are not new to dieters trying to find that quick fix. #1 We have heard that eating 6 small meals a day increases our metabolism so that we burn more calories a day. If I may, be as assumptious as you by assuming that most people will only add to those 30g of protein, I also bet that by consuming those 6 small meals that just that much more protein will be consumed as well. We all know that muscle will burn fat therefore his concept here is not complelely without merit. #2 By your own admission bodybuilders have known for years that by lowering your body temperature and have it struggle back to its normal of 98.6 will inspire the burning of calories, which Dr. Oz demostrated in truth on his show. An extreme means of buring calories I admit, but again Dr. Oz only showed how that works in truth. and #3 A spike in caloric intake does indeed inspire more calories to be burned. I doubt the pizza, doughnuts, cupcakes, etc that Dr. Oz rolled out on that buffet are the spike most dieticians are talking about but no less a caloric spike. Your forum is probably a source of good information and one that I may have followed from time to time however you seem to be a bunch of Dr. Oz haters to me and he (Dr. Oz) has certainly been more a source of health conscious information than he has commercialism. I agree with the Alvarez woman not quite the truth (no one adds 34 lbs of muscle in 28 days, without the help of anabolic steroids and I would almost go on record saying that, and I dated a bodybuilder for years). But give Dr. Oz a break he proved the theorys he agreed with. He didn’t deliver a bunch of “garbage” when he tried to warn the public about arsenic in fruit juices now did he?, and most of his critics were calling for his head then too….like I said not a fan either way but wow what a bunch of haters!!
Not haters, just frustrated viewers.
I have a serious issue with your thoughts on protein intake. Saying “most Americans get too much concentrated protein as it is” is absolutely false. Most Americans don’t get enough protein. The math is simple, if you are following a 1500 calorie per day diet, and you’re only consuming 75 grams of protein per day (I’m shooting high by your standards), then 20% of your caloric intake is protein…the other 80% is some mix of carbs and fats. That’s the problem with this country. From a biological standpoint, amino acids are very difficult to turn into fatty acids. Only two of the ketogenic amino acids possess a structure capable of forming a fat (leucine and lysine), but as you might imagine from their name, they’re more likely to be converted into ketones, which the body clears almost completely through irreversible pathways, i.e. once ketones become metabolized, the chemical products cannot be converted back into energy substrates. Wake up, it’s too many carbs and too many fats that get people in trouble, not too much protein. That USDA RDA is way too low and one reason why this country is getting fatter by the minute.
My point above was that it is very difficult for our bodies to store protein as fat (almost impossible), but guess what’s easily stored as fat? You guessed it, carbs. Remember, fat cells don’t just suck up fatty acids and hold onto them. They need to be bound together into triaglycerol molecules, which are the body’s predominant form of stored energy (fat). This requires three fatty acid molecules and one glycerol. Glucose (and definitely fructose) can easily be converted into glycerol for the storage of more fat.
That’s why when cells are bathed in insulin, both lipoprotein lipase (which pulls fatty acids into cells) and GLUT4 (which pulls glucose into cells) increase on the fat cell’s surface. To store all those fatty acids, the fat cells need glucose to bind the entire complex into triaglycerol molecules. That’s why studies have found that carbs can contribute between 40-70 percent of the stored material in fat cells. And insulin—released in heavy doses when you eat most carbs—partitions more fat into storage than when you eat pure fat.
So all those whole grains, beans, and legumes make it much more difficult to burn fat. Sure, the insulin release is lower and slower (with some carbs), but it’s still there, and without adequate protein to slow down the release even more, it’s an uphill battle. I can promise you anyone not eating enough protein, but still losing weight by cutting calories is slowly, but surely losing muscle mass. Then that sends a whole cascade of other problems which I won’t touch on. Okay, I’m done.
I suppose when you are pushing your own agenda and it doesn’t fit in with someone else, it’s only natural that you would bash what they have to say. My only issue with your article and the comments supporting it are that you openly admit you have never even cracked open the book to see what it says but still, here you are tearing it apart.
I have been on the 4 hour body diet for one month and I have lost 24 lbs. I’m a 45 year old woman who has struggled with weight issues for years. Every diet I have ever tried has been an exercise in frustration and failure, except this one. I never feel hungry, I never snack or even have the desire to snack, there is nothing unhealthy about this diet (and you would see that if you actually took the time to read the book) and I can honestly say I think it’s saved my life.
Might I suggest that you actually take the time to read the book and test it out for yourself BEFORE you get on the internet and run your mouth because otherwise you end up sounding like all the other “Parking Lot Science” lemurs touting the same old dogma which just doesn’t work.
By the way, my 67 year old mother is on the diet as well and she has never felt better. Her doctor just did a physical on her and was amazed at her blood levels and the weight lost. His exact words to her “I don’t know what you are doing, but keep doing it! You are in perfect health!”
I think I’ll stick with a diet where I don’t feel hungry or feel like I’m suffering all the time and you all can go count your calories and buy your “cellulite” cream or do your supposed 15 minute magical morning blasts. While you’re wasting time, I’ll actually get something accomplished.
Since this article was posted almost two years ago, I have had an opportunity to read this book and stand by my previous review, looking at the whole picture of a healthy diet and healthy practices.
I hope that you continue to enjoy healthy success!
I have followed Tims advice and read the book cover to cover. I have went from 225 pounds at about 5’7 to 145 pounds and ripped and a freak in the gym. That is really not me trying to brag but it’s me trying to explain how much of a bad ass Tim Ferris is. His program works exactly as advertised. Do not hate on something with no knowledge! Everyone wants to believe in the same normal diet rules that have got this country to be so damn over weight as it is. Reading this book and understanding and applying this book are two very different things. Did you really try it? If you did you would be singing it’s praises as I do constantly. I’m leaner faster and stronger then ever. I have tried a lot of different dieting advice and this is truly the only thing that worked.
Hi ,I Understand That This Article Was Written About 3.5 Years Ago,
But Since It’s Still One Of Top Google Hits On Keywords ” Tim Ferriss Thermogenic” I Felt Some Kind Of Duty To Share My Experience Here.
I’m A 17 Guy & Have Been Self-Experimenting With Various Diets & Exercise Plans ( P90X , P90X3 , 100 Push-Ups Challenge, Etc.) In Hopes Of Developing Personally Ideal Routines To Reach My Goals.
Before I Read 4HB I Had Amazing Success In My Studies Using Some Of T.Ferriss’s 4HW Advice.So I Decided To Stick With The Slow-Carb Diet For Two Test Weeks.
The Results Were Both Perfect & Bad : Pros : I Lost 12 Pounds!& Observed My Never Seen Before Four Pack! Cons : I Had Low Energy & The Cheat Day Was A Very Bad Experience & I Felt A Bit Sick After Having Eggs For Breakfast.
What I’m Trying To Say Is That There’s No Doubt Slow-Carb Works.BUT I’m Not Doing It Anymore Not Because The Slow-Carb Diet Is Bad,Because In My Current Conditions I Cant Stick To It Completely ( Conditions Like High Prices For Meat & Chicken & Turkey In Iran,Living With My Family Etc.) . What I Can Say Is I’ve Learned Lots Of Things From 4HB Which I’ve Applied To My Ever Developing Personal Diet/Exercise Plan.Things Like Mytotic Crunch + Cat Vomit Exercises For Abs Were Pure Gold. I Had Been Using P90X Series ‘s Ab Rippers For A Long Time & I Had Never Achieved The Results I Got From Doing These Two Simple Exercises During The Last Three Weeks. Or The Omit White Carbs Part Of The Slow Carb Diet Which I’ve Applied To My Lunch & Dinner & Lots Of Other Things.
Last But Not Least : In My Opinion Neither 4HB Is A Bad Uneducational Un-Realistic Book Nor Tim Ferriss Is A Fraud. On The Contrary In Comparison To All Other Advice I Have Ever Followed T.Ferriss’s Advices Seemed To Be Much More Helpful & Effective. Somehow As Effective As WebMD’s Habit Development Program.
Thanks For Reading
So, I see you finally read the book and still, no comment whatsoever on the book’s primary advice — to eliminate fast carbohydrates such as sugar and bleached white flour from the diet. This is a particularly glaring disservice since that is why Americans are so fat. It is too many fast carbohydrates in the diet, not too much protein. If one has actually read the book and is following the plan, it is virtually impossible to “just add the 30g of protein to everything else,” because the primary source of calories in the American diet, has been eliminated! So the “everything else” is precisely what the plan in the 4HB addresses.
There is however, some validity in your criticism of the binge days. My experience was that after binging several Saturdays in a row, far from acquiring a taste for junk food, I began to associate junk food with feeling ill. For the first time in my life, I lost my desire for junk food and gained more control of what I ate and when I ate it. I still have a taste of fast carbohydrate foods on cheat days, however I no longer feel the need for an all day binge.
I am 57 and have lost 23 pounds primarily by eliminating fast carbohydrates from the diet, for six out of the seven days of the week. Nothing else worked for me. This did.