It should be noted right up front that the co-authors of “The Eight-Hour Diet” are not nutrition professionals. Instead, they’re guys who decided to share a weight loss plan they say has worked for them.
“The Eight-Hour Diet” is a structured, regimented way of eating that’s designed to limit your intake of food to certain times of the day and week.
There’s a little common-sense advice about limiting “fake foods” and fast foods, but the premise remains – you can “eat whatever you want, as much as you want” as long as you limit the time that you eat it.
And that time is a daily 8-hour window.
You may be thinking what I first thought: gee, how many hours a day do I usually eat? And, do I really want to starve myself for two-thirds of every day?
I usually rise about 6:30 a.m. and take a walk or go on a bike ride. I then do some stretches and resistance work with my exercise band. About 8 a.m. I enjoy a light breakfast of cereal, nonfat milk, fruit and coffee. I may have a small snack at about 10:30 a.m. and a light lunch at 1 p.m. I follow that up with a snack at 3 or 4 p.m. and eat dinner at 7 or 8 p.m.
That’s about 12 hours of eating – and it seems just about right to me, someone who lost a significant amount of weight many years ago and has managed to keep it off.
I enjoy smaller meals more frequently. This pattern means I don’t get too hungry or distracted – and it helps me maintain energy and stable blood glucose. I drink as much water as I like and mix in the occasional cup of tea. There’s some research that shows that both green and black tea are full of antioxidants.
The premise of eating “whatever you like for 8 hours” sounds like a recipe for failure to me. Some could interpret this missive as the sky is the limit calorically… unless “what you like” means choosing foods that “like you” back! If you’re eating foods that give you more “bang for your buck” and are packed with nutrition but are lower in fat and calories, you can eat a larger volume of food.
But, if “what you like” is a Big Mac, large fries and a chocolate shake, then the meal’s 1,330 calories, 57 grams of fat and 1,370mg of sodium won’t reduce your risk for heart disease.
Sorry friends, but you can’t always have your cake and eat it, too. Not if you want to get healthier or lose a few pounds.
You may be able to lose weight with this eating plan, but you can do the same thing simply by reducing calories and replacing higher-fat foods and processed foods.
And you won’t have to go without food for 16 hours.
The timing of meals is especially important for people who take medication to control their blood glucose. They absolutely need to eat on a regular basis, according to their physicians’ and diabetes educator’s recommendations.
By the way, the authors – David Zinczenko, Peter Moore and Matt Goulding – also promote what they call healthier “powerfoods” and give suggestions about how to eat these foods to promote weight loss.
You should skip the book and choose to lose by eating foods that promote wellness. If you want to eat smaller meals more frequently throughout the day, it’s not necessary to fast for 16 hours. You’ll maintain your energy and vitality 24 hours a day, 365 days a year.
Susan Burke March is a registered dietitian and certified diabetes educator, who as chief nutritionist for eDiets promotes the dietary health and wellbeing of consumers worldwide.