Tim Ferriss Slow Carb Diet: Simple Condensed Patient Handouts & Guides

by Stephen

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A while back I had published a slow-carb diet cheat sheet that I have been using as a patient handout for my Spanish speaking patients.  About 2 months ago I finally made an English version to use as well.  Prior to this we had been using excerpts that I had copied and pasted from original content in the 4-Hour Body. It was effective but was five pages long and too detailed.

I am sure that this is not yet streamlined enough but it fits on 2 pages and is a good way to get my patients engaged in a conversation about a slow carbohydrate approach to their lifestyle change.  As I have mentioned before this diet seems to work best in those with some degree of insulin resistance. I will give you my 365 day update as we roll into the new year and let you know how my patients have been doing in the long term. I think this is really the best indicator of success of any dietary protocol.

Please feel free to download, distribute, update and propagate this material as you see fit. I am always looking for suggestions on how to make this better for my patients. Any comments or recommendations on how this could be made better is always appreciated.

Download: (WORD) (PDF)

The Four Hour Body Slow Carb Diet ENGLISH

The Tim Ferriss On-Pager (new 2013)

Here is the Spanish Version as well. I have been told that the translation isn’t perfect, but it is good for getting the point across.

Download: (WORD) (PDF)

4 Hour Body Slow Carb Diet Spanish

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{ 23 comments… read them below or add one }

George October 25, 2011 at 11:51 pm

Thanks Stephen for you work on these, I have been using them to help explain the diet to a couple of friends of mine who are not familiar with the book. I agree, they make a good reference point, I think the Spanish resources are a god idea. We need more of them!


Stephen October 26, 2011 at 11:36 pm

Thank you George


Jean Mclelan October 26, 2011 at 11:35 pm

Great work!


Stephen August 26, 2012 at 11:51 am

Thank you Jean!


dee November 24, 2012 at 6:16 pm

what about sweet potatoes? can i eat them?


Stephen November 24, 2012 at 9:32 pm

Yes, absolutely dee… I am a big fan of sweet potatoes and they are great while on the slow carb diet!

Here is a more comprehensive version of the diet, it has some paleo principles mixed in to make it a bit more comprehensive…



Catalina January 15, 2013 at 7:31 am

Hello, I started the slow carb diet 2 days ago. I am vegan and eat majority of these foods on a daily basis so this hasn’t posed to be challenging yet, except for my coffee. Do you have any suggestions? I normally have a cup of coffee with peppermint and a little bit of steamed soy from Starbucks everyday. What are acceptable ways to sweeten my coffee and is it OK to have a little bit of soy milk if it’s only once/day? Thanks, Catalina


Stephen January 16, 2013 at 11:49 pm

Hi Catalina,

I personally don’t think a bit of soy milk in your coffee each morning is of much concern. I use a small amount of creamer, and Stevia extract as a sweetener. There are many different brands of Stevia, some with fillers and others that are pure extract often sold in liquid form. It is a natural extract and in my opinion superior in every way to NutraSweet, saccharine or Splenda. You could also use Xylitol, and cinnamon is quite good… it even has a beneficial effect on insulin sensitivity, as does your above mentioned peppermint!
And don’t even get me started on all the wonderful health benefits of coffee…. But I am a bit biased :-)



Melissa January 24, 2013 at 12:16 pm

I’m feeling a bit confused. Is butter okay? Sweet potatoes and Stevia are okay, even though none of these is on the very short list of acceptable foods? I keep wondering how people can lose all that weight without adding adequate fat. Thanks for your time.


Stephen January 24, 2013 at 12:38 pm

Yes Melissa butter is okay.

The list is short only for added simplicity, and even then there are grey zones. The main goal is to eliminated those “simple” carbs, and effectively blunt the insulin response that causes the cascade of calories being converted to fat. It is important to get adequate fat as you mentioned and I don’t think this should be a problem on the slow carb diet. The amount of weight people lose seems to be directly proportionate to their level of insulin resistance at the start as well as their baseline food consumption prior to starting the diet.

And again, fast weight loss certainly doesn’t mean the kind of long lasting weight loss and health you desire. Low carb diets tend to be notoriously poor at proving long term results… But then again so do most “diets”.

So the goal is a lifestyle change, one that can be sustained. Fruit should be added back in later (in my opinion), cheat days should not be binge days but part of a healthy life (like enjoying a meal out with friends) and you shouldn’t have to over-think.

Find good high quality protein, eat a ton of fresh vegetables, enjoy butter as you would have before, decide if and how you want to approach your cheat days, find a particular type of bean you like, discover recipes that are easy and fast to make, and then test your assumptions. The diet is one of whole foods, minimal sugar, and is a good step in the right direction. Not the whole solution, but a good start.

Make sure you are where you need to be mentally as you head into the diet, nurture your relationships, and get plenty of rest.

I hope that helps, let me know if you have anymore questions.



Melissa January 24, 2013 at 1:57 pm

Thanks for your quick response, Stephen. Very kind of you. This sounds akin to “Life Without Bread”, so I’m feeling like I’ve got it now. I’ll happily be referring to your wonderful blog, with its vast amounts of info. All my best to you!


nick January 29, 2013 at 12:12 pm

The quick guide says no bread, but what about sprouted grain bread?


Mollie Reidland March 17, 2013 at 2:52 pm

This is awesome. Thank you so much for sharing.

In pharmacy I see people over and over holding up a bottle pills and asking, “Will this work?”

This is the diet I have been recommending for a year, but have not had something so simple and easy to turn to as a handout.

Gold star, you.


Stephen March 17, 2013 at 3:09 pm

Thank Mollie! More often than not simplicity is the best medicine!



Mike Quintana July 15, 2013 at 1:14 am

I am interested in A diet that I may work into my schedule


Stephen July 18, 2013 at 8:29 am

I think the slow carb diet fits really well into most schedules. And it is not about cutting calories, simply adding in better calories and eliminating the rest. Well, besides the cheat day.

Best, Stephen


Al February 2, 2014 at 9:31 am

Hi Stephen.
You mentioned your Do you encourage a full cheat day for your diabetic patients? What results are they having long term with weight loss and A1C levels?


Stephen February 3, 2014 at 12:15 am

I would say my diabetic patients have the same results as my non diabetic patients.

The ones that truly commit to the diet and are able to make a sustainable life change do very well. The cheat day will often evolve and is definitely specific to each person. Those with an A1C of 10 when starting Slow Carb and very poor pancreatic function with significant long-standing insulin resistance will not be able to handle a glucose challenge nearly as well as someone who is near perfect control and wants to take it to the next level. So it really depends.

All in all, I would say after 2 years and literally 100’s (maybe 1000’s) of patients using slow carb in their arsenal The Slow Carb Diet follows the same laws of economics that Tim and Pareto postulate: 80 percent do quite poorly, and 20% make real, life-long amazing change… Often off all medications with complete reversal of their type 2 and significant weight loss for the long run!


Matt September 16, 2014 at 7:44 am

Hello Stephen,

I’ve just started the slow carb diet and have 2 foods I’m just not sure about. One is sweet potatoes (they’re not white) and black rice (a slow-digesting carb filled with antioxidants and vitamins). I’ve been looking all over the internet trying to find out about the black rice. Is it allowed because it’s not a white carbohydrate?


Stephen September 20, 2014 at 11:20 pm

Hi Matt, I give sweet potatoes the green light but would say no on the black rice if you want to be religious about the diet. It is true that black rice is not white but as Tim says they “could be white”. From a long term health standpoint though, I think black rice with chicken or fish and veggies (just as an example) can be a great meal and is something you can add back in after 3-6 months.

– Stephen


Linda October 5, 2015 at 11:54 am

Hi there!

I am a type 1 diabetic! I would have a fruit and a juice when my sugar acts up (hypo). What can I do to raise my sugar up quickly if any kind of fructose is forbidden in this diet?


Stephen October 7, 2015 at 4:35 pm

Glucose tabs are what we use in the clinic, you can keep them in your purse/car/bag etc.

– Stephen


Linda October 8, 2015 at 5:34 am

Thank you Stephen!

One more question. I am jogger, I used to eat a ton of fruits to boost up my sugar level before going to out for a run (60-80 minutes) and muched on dried fruits to prevent hypos half way through. What can I do now to substitute?


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