Four Hour Fiber – Lovely Legumes and the 4HB Red Headed Stepchild

by Stephen

4 hour red headed stepchildThere are three basic foods that constitute the entirety of the slow carb diet:

  1. Beans
  2. Vegetables
  3. Meat 

That’s it, I will mention nuts, eggs, water, tea and coffee just for good measure. Beyond this there is your cheat day which comprises everything else!

High Carb and High Fiber

When it comes to the topic of carbohydrates, the slow carb diet is not a “low” carb diet. Of the above 3 foods two are considered carbohydrates (beans and vegetables). One must simply change their thinking from carbs as bagels and rice to carbs as vegetables and beans.

Fruit, although not a component of the slow carb diet is a carbohydrate that can be successfully reintroduced later.  All fruits must be eliminated for at least the first 3-6 months if you are aiming for maximum fat loss.

The 4 Hour Body slow carb diet is a high fiber diet.  We have been programmed to think of fiber in the form of grains mostly but veggies, and especially beans, are packed full of fiber!

The Benefits of Fiber

There is a lot of evidence pumping up the benefits of fiber, and a lot of studies that demonstrate its efficacy in everything from cancer prevention to it’s role in improved weight regulation. A high-fiber diet:

  • Normalizes bowel movements. Dietary fiber increases the weight and size of your stool and softens it. A bulky stool is easier to pass, decreasing your chance of constipation. If you have loose, watery stools, fiber may also help to solidify the stool because it absorbs water and adds bulk to stool. For some, fiber may provide relief from irritable bowel syndrome.
  • Helps maintain bowel integrity and health. A high-fiber diet may lower your risk of developing hemorrhoids, and small pouches in your colon (diverticular disease). Some fiber is fermented in the colon. Researchers are looking at how this may play a role in preventing diseases of the colon.
  • Helps control blood sugar levels. Fiber, particularly soluble fiber, can slow the absorption of sugar, which for people with diabetes can help improve blood sugar levels. A diet that includes insoluble fiber has been associated with a reduced risk of developing type 2 diabetes.
  • Aids in weight loss. High-fiber foods generally require more chewing time, which gives your body time to register when you’re no longer hungry, so you’re less likely to overeat. Also, a high-fiber diet tends to make a meal feel larger and linger longer, so you stay full for a greater amount of time. And high-fiber diets also tend to be less “energy dense,” which means they have fewer calories for the same volume of food.

The recommended daily dose of fiber for most adults is in the range of 20-40 grams of fiber each day.

As it is now the average american consumes about 6 grams per day.

Beans – The 4HB Red Headed, Fiber-Filled Stepchild

Of the top 100 high fiber foods the first 50 or so are corn, wheat and cereals.

How do you maximize your fiber intake and still keep your intake of simple carbohydrates low?

Legumes, although still a legitimate carbohydrate, just happen to be the perfect candidate!

The Paleo “Leguminator”

In a standard paleo diet you are instructed to eliminate legumes. This is a big distinction between the  paleo diet and the 4 Hour Body slow carb diet and it is one reason I am such a strong supporter of the slow carb diet.

If you are following a paleo diet much of your fiber is going to come from vegetables, fruits and other fermented foods. But not legumes.

Legumes not only include beans and lentils, but also soy-based products.  Additionally, you will need to eliminate peanuts and peanut butter which also belong to the legume family.

Why is there no legume love in the paleosphere?

According to Dr. Loren Cordain, the author of “The Paleo Diet” Legumes, just like grains, contain lectins and other compounds that were developed by plants to fight off insects. These lectins increase intestinal permeability and may trigger your immune system to turn against your own body, leading to autoimmune diseases like rheumatoid arthritis, multiple sclerosis, lupus and vitiligo.

Robb wolff, author of “The Paleo Solution” dedicates a chapter to this in his book and further deduces that legumes contain substances called protease inhibitors as well as anti-nutrients, which can prevent you from getting enough nutrition from your foods.  He claims that these anti-nutrients, or phytates, prevent the proper absorption of B vitamins, iron, zinc, copper and calcium in the intestines.

I suspect there may be a portion of the population for whom this proves particularly true. But for the vast majority of others legumes are not only well tolerated, but part of the equation to establishing better health and/or weight loss.  I have several patients who have eliminated their inflammatory conditions while on the slow carb diet.

When you add legumes into your diet you add caloric density to meals without having a glycemic impact.

Beans are calorically dense which means they make you feel satiated without causing your blood sugars to skyrocket. This is just another reason I love legumes.

The Two Forms of Fiber: Food for Your Microbes

There are two types of fiber: soluable and insoluable (check out the Nutrition Diva’s amazing explanation). Soluble fiber absorbs water and insoluble fiber does not absorb water… It’s as simple as that.

Despite their namesake your body can absorb neither. Even though you cannot digest fiber the bacteria in your colon can, and they use this fiber as a  fuel source which is probably where the real fiber benefit comes from. It can go a long way in maintaining healthy gut flora as well as some of the more annoying side effect.

Can you guess the side effect of fiber that is digested by your guts bacteria?
What type of fiber do you get from the slow carb diet?

How to get 20-40 grams of fiber with ease on the slow carb diet. 

  • 3/4 cup fresh cooked Broccoli: 7 grams
  • 1 cup black cooked beans: 19.4 grams
  • 1 cup cooked, boild lentils: 18 grams
  • 1 cup raw spinach: 1 gram

Take a look at this list of the top 100 foods with the highest dietary fiber content. You will see how beans carve a niche: High in fiber and low in simple carbs! Good for weight loss and great for feeling satiated.

For Your Listening Pleasure

I have mentioned before that I am a big fan of Dr. Robert Maki and his his podcast. This post was inspired by a shout out he gave on his show to the slow carb diet. I have edited the original 1 hour program down to the most important 15 minutes that pertain to our topic at hand. If you have a moment give it a listen I think you will find it quite informative!


Useful Resources:

Just Finished: 

  • A Life Without Limits: A World Champion’s Journey: This is the wonderful story of Chrissie Wellington and her journey to four time World Ironman Champion.  “You gain strength, courage and confidence by every experience in which you really stop to look fear in the face. You must do the thing you think you cannot do.” It was a wonderful audiobook, about what it means to be a great athlete as well as a great person!


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{ 1 comment… read it below or add one }

Alexander (BLH) April 1, 2013 at 9:52 am

Great article, Stehpen!

I lost with the Slow Carb/ Rock Star Diet 21 pounds/ 9,8 kg in 2 months … Here are my results (unfortunately in German)

Keep rocking!


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