According to a recent scientific study(1) published by the Institute for Health Metrics and Evaluation (IHME), a poor diet is responsible for more deaths globally than high blood pressure, tobacco or any other health risks. In 2017 alone, poor diet leading to obesity and nutrition-related diseases was responsible for 10.9 million deaths.
Obesity is one of today’s most blatantly obvious health problems. It is no surprise then that millions of people today are more than eager to spend ridiculous amounts of money on diet programs, books, and expensive specialty foods to achieve a healthy weight.
A healthy diet plan can, no doubt, aid in healthy weight loss and prevent disease progression. And the warrior diet promises just that! Developed by a member of the Israeli Special Forces, Ori Hofmekler in 2002, this unconventional diet plan utilizes the ancient dietary principles followed by Roman soldiers to boost their stamina and endurance.
The diet is a variation of the intermittent fasting practice, and while it does not specifically dictate what you can eat and what you cannot eat, it puts you on a rigorous fasting regimen to shed those extra pounds.
What Is the Warrior Diet and How Does It Work?
The Warrior Diet essentially advocates incorporating fasting as a part of your daily lifestyle. Dieters would, therefore, have to stick to a narrow ‘eating window’ of just four hours and fast for the remaining 20 hours of a day.
The basic premise behind this diet plan is that fasting will initiate a natural metabolic process called ‘ketosis’, wherein the body begins to burn fat instead of carbohydrates(2) for energy as the food intake is low. This will aid in rapid weight loss and stimulate vital cellular repair.
The key difference between the warrior diet vs. the OMAD diet (One Meal a Day), however, is that the former is not as extreme. Both diets are grounded on the principle of having only one meal a day, usually dinner. But the warrior diet allows for small amounts of raw fruits and vegetables, broth, dairy products, hard-boiled eggs and non-caloric fluids and beverages to be consumed even during the 20-hour fasting phase.
|Eating less during the day improves metabolism and speeds up fat loss.|
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Benefits of the Warrior Diet
The warrior diet has been highly touted for its wide-ranging health benefits.
- Apart from apparent benefits such as rapid weight loss and improved metabolic function, it is said to help in stimulating gene and cell repair, which can prevent the progression of various diseases.
- It is also believed that the warrior diet can stabilize blood sugar levels and reduce insulin resistance. What’s more, there is a lot of promising research that suggests that the diet can lower your risk of coronary heart disease and neurodegenerative disorders and keep your blood pressure, cholesterol and triglyceride levels in check!
Foods to Include in the Warrior Diet:
The biggest advantage of the warrior diet plan is that you do not have to pick and weigh everything you eat. The diet does not endorse cutting out or eliminating any food groups entirely from your diet.
Instead, it simply spells out a few general guidelines for healthy eating that you can personalize and tailor to fit your food preferences. The following are some of the foods that you are encouraged to eat during the “undereating” and “overeating” phase of warrior fasting:
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1. Warrior Diet Foods to Eat During the “Undereating” phase:
- Living foods such as raw vegetables and fruits
- Raw nuts
- Fresh Juices
- Whey, yogurt, kefir, and dairy products from grass-fed animals
2. Warrior Diet Foods to Eat During the “Overeating” phase
- Chemical-free vegetables and fruits especially onions, garlic, cruciferous vegetables, and citrus fruits
- Sprouted legumes and roots
- Nuts and seeds
- Fertile eggs
- Omega-3 oils
- Dairy from grass-fed animals
In addition to this, Hofmekler also underlines the importance of taking additional dietary supplements that can help the body continuously burn fat, eliminate toxins and naturally regulate hormonal imbalances.
Exercise is also an important element of the warrior diet bodybuilding process. Hofmekler recommends that workouts should be intense and short (20 to 45 minutes) and should be performed during the “undereating” phase of the cycle.
Foods to Avoid
The warrior diet doesn’t specifically exclude any food. Hofmekler, however, recommends that the following foods should be avoided or restricted during the 20/4 intermittent fasting cycle:
- Estrogenic foods such as clover, soy, licorice and omega-6 vegetable oils like safflower, corn, soy, and canola
- Foods that smell like plastic and foods which are stored in plastic containers;
- Non-organic foods that may contain traces of petroleum-based or estrogenic pesticides;
- Alcohol, as it can impair the liver’s ability to filter and remove estrogenic compounds; and
- High-carb foods. If eating carbohydrates, Hofmekler recommends that it should be eaten last during the evening meal as this will help to promote stable insulin and blood sugar levels.
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A Day of the Warrior Diet:
So what can you eat during a typical day when you are on the warrior diet? Here’s what an ordinary day may look like:
- Early Morning (Between 6 am and 8 am)-A cup of black coffee/tea and saltine crackers
- Mid-morning-1 hard-boiled egg
- Early-afternoon-A handful of raw nuts or a cup of cottage cheese
- Late-Afternoon-Clear broth or veggie juice
- Night-time meal (to be eaten after 20 hours of fasting)-A large serving of white fish or beef steak, stir-fried beans or salad and a banana.
Drawbacks of the Warrior Diet:
The warrior diet involves fasting for a long 20-hour period, and while this may aid in drastic weight loss, it can compromise with a person’s ability to concentrate or perform any physical activity. The diet can also be quite challenging to follow for prolonged periods and might be particularly inappropriate for older people, people with specific health conditions and pregnant or nursing women.
Potential side effects can include fatigue, brain fog, nutritional deficiencies, anxiety(2), mood swings, hormonal imbalances, and dizziness, among others.
If you want to begin the warrior diet, it is always advisable that you consult your physician or a nutritionist before you do so. If you are pregnant, nursing or suffer from any specific illnesses, it is especially important that you talk to a health care professional first. The warrior diet regimen takes immense commitment, and while you are focused on reaching your health goals, it is best not to forgo nutrient-dense foods.
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1. Is the warrior diet intermittent fasting?
The warrior diet is different from other forms of intermittent fasting as it allows for small portions of food to be consumed even during the fasting cycle.
2. Do I have to exercise to lose weight while on the warrior diet?
You may lose weight even without doing any exercise. However, exercise is an integral part of the warrior diet plan as it can boost your weight loss efforts and improve your overall health.
3. How much can I eat on the warrior diet?
During your four-hour eating window, you can consume as much food as you like. During the 20-hour fasting phase, however, you are advised to consume only small portions of foods such as raw fruits and vegetables, raw nuts, etc.