The Value of Self-Experimentation [Plus: Extreme Videos – Do Not Try This At Home]

The following is an excerpt from the appendices of The 4-Hour Body, which explores a common question: Can self-experimentation be valid at all, compared to placebo-controlled studies?

As we shall see, self-experimentation need not be extreme (I do the extremes so you don’t have to), and you can make significant discoveries with a sample size of one.

I’ll let a professional, Dr. Seth Roberts, explain how…

The Value of Self-Experimentation

“All life is an experiment. The more experiments you make the better.” —Ralph Waldo Emerson

“It doesn’t matter how beautiful your theory is, it doesn’t matter how smart you are. If it doesn’t agree with experiment, it’s wrong.” —Richard Feynman

This is an excerpt from The 4-Hour Body, written by Dr. Seth Roberts, professor emeritus of psychology at the University of California–Berkeley and professor of psychology at Tsinghua University. His work has appeared in the New York Times Magazine and The Scientist, and he is on the editorial board of the journal Nutrition.


I started self-experimentation when I was a grad student. I was studying experimental psychology; self-experimentation was a way to learn how to do experiments.

One of my first self-experiments was about acne. My dermatologist had prescribed tetracycline, an antibiotic. Just for practice, I did an experiment to measure its effect. I varied the dosage of tetracycline—the number of pills per day—and counted the number of pimples on my face each morning. First I compared six pills per day (a high dose) and four pills per day (the prescribed dose). Somewhat to my surprise, they produced the same number of pimples. I tried other dosages. Eventually I tried zero pills per day. To my shock, zero pills per day produced the same number of pimples as four or six pills per day. The conclusion was unavoidable: the drug had no effect. (Many years later, research articles about antibiotic-resistant acne began to appear.) Tetracycline is a prescription drug; it’s not completely safe. I’d been taking it for months.

My dermatologist had also prescribed benzoyl peroxide, which comes in a cream. When my self-experimentation started, I believed that tetracycline was powerful and benzoyl peroxide weak, so I rarely used the cream. One day I ran low on tetracycline. Better use the cream, I thought. For the first time, I used the cream regularly. Again I was shocked: it worked well. Two days after I started using it, the number of pimples clearly went down. When I stopped the cream, two days later the number of pimples rose. When I restarted the cream, the number of pimples went down again.

My data left no doubt that (a) tetracycline didn’t work and (b) benzoyl peroxide did work—the opposite of my original beliefs. My dermatologist thought both worked. He’d seen hundreds of acne patients and had probably read hundreds of articles about acne. Yet in a few months I’d learned something important he didn’t know.

This wasn’t the usual line about self-experimentation. Read any book about it, such as Lawrence Altman’s Who Goes First? The Story of Self-Experimentation in Medicine, and you will come away thinking that self-experimentation is done by selfless doctors to test new and dangerous treatments. My experience was different. I wasn’t a doctor. I wasn’t trying to help someone else. I didn’t test a dangerous new treatment. Unlike the better-known sort of self-experimentation, which usually confirms what the experimenter believes, my self-experiments had shown I was wrong.

From my acne research I learned that self-experimentation can be used by non-experts to (a) see if the experts are right and (b) learn something they don’t know. I hadn’t realized such things were possible. The next problem I tried to solve this way was early awakening. For years, starting in my twenties, I woke up early in the morning, such as 4 a.m., still tired but unable to go back to sleep. Only a few dreary hours later would I be able to fall back asleep. This happened about half of all mornings. It showed no sign of going away. I didn’t want to take a pill for the rest of my life—not that there are any good pills for this—so I didn’t bother seeing a doctor. The only hope for a good solution, as far as I could tell, was self-experimentation.

So I did two things:

  1. I recorded a few details about my sleep. The main one was whether I fell back asleep after getting up. How often this happened was my measure of the severity of the problem. In the beginning, I couldn’t fall back asleep about half of all mornings.
  2. I tested possible solutions.

The first thing I tried was aerobic exercise. It didn’t help. Early awakening was just as common after a day with exercise as after a day without exercise. I tried eating cheese in the evening. It didn’t help. I tried several more possible remedies.

None helped. After several years, I ran out of things to try. All my ideas about what might help had proved wrong.

Yet I managed to make progress. For unrelated reasons, I changed my breakfast from oatmeal to fruit. A few days later, I started waking up too early every morning instead of half the time. The problem was now much worse. This had never happened before. I recorded the breakfast change on the same piece of paper I used to keep track of my sleep, so the correlation was easy to see. To make sure the correlation reflected causality, I went back and forth between fruit and oatmeal. The results showed it was cause and effect. Fruit for breakfast caused more early awakening than oatmeal for breakfast. After ten years when nothing I’d done had made a difference, this was a big step forward. I eventually figured out that any breakfast made early awakening more likely. A long experiment confirmed this. The best breakfast was no breakfast.

I was less surprised than you might think. I knew that in a wide range of animals, including rats, a laboratory result called anticipatory activity is well established. If you feed a rat every day at the same time, it will become active about three hours earlier. If you feed it at noon, it will become active about 9 a.m. I had been eating breakfast at about 7 a.m. and waking up about 4 a.m. I had essentially found that humans were like other animals in this regard.

Not eating breakfast reduced early awakening but didn’t eliminate it. In the following years, self-experimentation taught me more about what caused it. By accident, I found that standing helped. If I stood more than eight hours in a day, I slept better that night. That wasn’t practical—after trying to stand that much for several years, I gave up—but the realization helped me make another accidental discovery 10 years later: standing on one leg to exhaustion helps. If I do this four times (left leg twice, right leg twice) during a day, even in the morning, I sleep much better that night. More recently, I’ve found that animal fat makes me sleep better.

Both effects are dose-dependent. I can get great sleep if I stand enough and great sleep if I eat enough animal fat.

How much animal fat is “enough”? I’ve just started trying to figure this out using pig fat, which I consume in a cut called pork belly (the part of the pig used for bacon). I found that 150 grams of pork belly had a little effect; 250 grams of pork belly had a much clearer effect. The effect seems to get larger with more pork belly (e.g., 350 grams). Because pork belly may be more than 90% fat by calories (there is great variation from one piece to the next), it’s a lot of calories of fat to get the maximum possible effect. I need to burn a lot of calories per day to make that many calories easy to eat, but it’s in some respects more convenient than standing on one foot.

Acne and sleep were my first self-experimental topics. Later I studied mood, weight control, and the effects of omega-3 on brain function. I learned that self-experimentation has three uses:

  1. To test ideas. I tested the idea that tetracycline helps acne. I tested ideas about how to sleep better. And I’ve tested ideas derived from surprises. A few years ago, while trying to put on my shoes standing up, I realized my balance was much better than usual. I’d been putting on my shoes standing up for more than a year; that morning it was much easier than usual. The previous evening I’d swallowed six flaxseed-oil capsules. I did self-experiments to test the idea that flaxseed oil improves balance. (It did.)
  2. To generate new ideas. By its nature, self-experimentation involves making sharp changes in your life: you don’t do X for several weeks, then you do X for several weeks. This, plus the fact that we monitor ourselves in a hundred ways, makes it easy for self-experimentation to reveal unexpected side effects. This has happened to me five times. Moreover, daily measurements—of acne, sleep, or anything else—supply a baseline that makes it even easier to see unexpected changes.
  3. To develop ideas. That is, to determine the best way to use a discovery and to learn about the underlying mechanism. After I found that flaxseed oil improved balance, I used self-experimentation to figure out the best dose (three to four tablespoons per day).

One complaint about self-experimentation is that you’re not “blind.” Maybe the treatment works because you expect it to work. A placebo effect. I have never seen a case where this appeared to have happened. When treatment 10 helps after treatments 1 through 9 have failed to help (my usual experience), it’s unlikely to be a placebo effect. Accidental discoveries cannot be placebo effects.

My experience has shown that improve-your-life self-experimentation is remarkably powerful. I wasn’t an expert in anything I studied—I’m not a sleep expert, for example—but I repeatedly found useful cause-and-effect relationships (breakfast causes early awakening, flaxseed oil improves balance, etc.) that the experts had missed. This isn’t supposed to happen, of course, but it made a lot of sense. My self-experimentation had three big advantages over conventional research done by experts:

  1. More power. Self-experiments are far better at determining causality (does X cause Y?) than conventional experiments. Obviously they’re much faster and cheaper. If I have an idea about how to sleep better, I can test it on myself in a few weeks for free. Conventional sleep experiments take a year or more (getting funding takes time) and cost thousands of dollars. A less obvious advantage of self-experimentation is that more wisdom is acquired. We learn from our mistakes. Fast self-experimentation means you make more mistakes. One lesson I learned stands out: Always do the minimum—the simplest, easiest experiment that will make progress. Few professional scientists seem to know this. Finally, as I mentioned earlier, self-experimentation is much more sensitive to unexpected side effects.
  2. Stone Age–like treatments are easy to test. I repeatedly found that simple environmental changes, such as avoiding breakfast and standing more, had big and surprising benefits. In each case, the change I’d made resembled a return to Stone Age life, when no one ate breakfast and everyone stood a lot. There are plenty of reasons to think that many common health problems, such as diabetes, high blood pressure, and cancer, are caused by differences between modern life and Stone Age life. Modern life and Stone Age life differ in many ways, of course; the fraction of differences that influence our health is probably low. If so, to find aspects of Stone Age life that matter, you have to do many tests. Self-experiments, fast and cheap, can do this; conventional experiments, slow and expensive, cannot. In addition, conventional research is slanted toward treatments that can make money for someone. Because conventional research is expensive, funding is needed. Drug companies will fund research about drugs, so lots of conventional research involves drugs. Elements of Stone Age life (such as no breakfast) are cheap and widely available. No company will fund research about their effectiveness.
  3. Better motivation. I studied my sleep for 10 years before making clear progress. That sort of persistence never happens in conventional health research. The reason is a difference in motivation. Part of the difference is how much the researcher cares about finding solutions. When you study your own problem (e.g., acne), you care more about finding a solution than others are likely to care. Acne researchers rarely have acne. And part of the motivation difference is the importance of goals other than solving the problem. When I studied my sleep, my only goal was to sleep better. Professional scientists have other goals, which are enormously constraining.

One set of prison bars involves employment and research funding. To keep their jobs (e.g., get tenure, get promoted, get jobs for their students, and get grants), professional scientists must publish several research papers per year. Research that can’t provide this is undoable. Another set of prison bars involves status. Professional scientists derive most of their status from their job. When they have a choice, they try to enhance or protect their status. Some sorts of research have more status than others. Large grants have more status than small grants, so professional scientists prefer expensive research to cheap research. High-tech has more status than low-tech, so they prefer high-tech. As Thorstein Veblen emphasized in The Theory of the Leisure Class (1899), useless research has higher status than useful research. Doing useless work, Veblen said, shows that you are higher-status than those who must do useful work. So researchers prefer useless research, thus the term “ivory tower.” Fear of loss of job, grant, or status also makes it hard for professional scientists to propose radical new ideas. Self-experimenters, trying to solve their own problem on their own time, are not trapped like this.

Acne illustrates the problem. The dermatological party line is that diet doesn’t cause acne. According to a website of the American Academy of Dermatology, “extensive scientific studies” show it’s a “myth” that “acne is caused by diet.” According to “guidelines for care” for dermatologists published in 2007, “dietary restriction (either specific foods or food classes) has not been demonstrated to be of benefit in the treatment of acne.” In fact, there is overwhelming evidence linking diet and acne. Starting in the 1970s, a Connecticut doctor named William Danby collected evidence connecting dairy consumption and acne; it is telling that Danby wasn’t a professional scientist. When his patients gave up dairy, it often helped. In 2002, six scientists (none a dermatologist) published a paper with the Weston Price–like conclusion that two isolated groups of people (Kitava Islanders and Ache hunter-gatherers) had no acne at all. They had examined more than 1,000 subjects over the age of 10 and found no acne. When people in these groups left their communities and ate differently, they did get acne. These observations suggest that a lot of acne—maybe all of it—can be cured and prevented by diet.

Why is the official line so wrong? Because the painstaking research needed to show the many ways diet causes acne is the sort of research that professional researchers can’t do and don’t want to do. They can’t do it because the research would be hard to fund (no one makes money when patients avoid dairy) and because the trial and error required would take too long per publication. They don’t want to do it because it would be low-tech, low-cost, and very useful—and therefore low-status. While research doctors in other specialties study high-tech expensive treatments, they would be doing low-cost studies of what happens when you avoid certain foods. Humiliating. Colleagues in other specialties might make fun of them. To justify their avoidance of embarrassment, the whole profession tells the rest of us, based on “extensive scientific studies,” that black is white. Self-experimentation allows acne sufferers to ignore the strange claims of dermatologists, not to mention their dangerous drugs (such as Accutane). Persons with acne can simply change their diets until they figure out what foods cause the problem.

Gregor Mendel was a monk. He was under no pressure to publish; he could say whatever he wanted about horticulture without fear for his job. Charles Darwin was wealthy. He had no job to lose. He could write On the Origin of Species very slowly. Alfred Wegener, who proposed continental drift, was a meteorologist. Geology was a hobby of his. Because they had total freedom and plenty of time, and professional biologists and geologists did not (just as now), Mendel, Darwin, and Wegener were able to use the accumulated knowledge of their time better than the professionals. The accumulated knowledge of our time is more accessible than ever before. Self-experimenters, with total freedom, plenty of time, and easy access to empirical tests, are in a great position to take advantage of it.

The above is an excerpt from the new book The 4-Hour Body


Tools and Tricks

Seth Roberts, “Self-Experimentation as a Source of New Ideas: Ten Examples Involving Sleep, Mood, Health, and Weight,” Behavioral and Brain Science 27 (2004): 227–88 ( This 61-page document about self-experimentation provides an overview of some of Seth’s findings, including actionable sleep examples.

The Quantified Self ( Curated by Wired cofounding editor Kevin Kelly and Gary Wolf, a managing editor of Wired, this is the perfect home for all self-experimenters. The resources section alone is worth a trip to this site, which provides the most comprehensive list of data-tracking tools and services on the web (

Alexandra Carmichael, “How to Run a Successful Self-Experiment” ( Most people have never systematically done a self-experiment. And yet, it’s one of the easiest methods for discovering what variables are affecting your well-being. This article shows you the five principles that will help you get started in running successful self-experiments. Bonus: an 11-minute video from Seth Roberts, discussing experiment design.

CureTogether ( CureTogether, which won the Mayo Clinic iSpot Competition for Ideas That Will Transform Healthcare (2009), helps people anonymously track and compare health data to better understand their bodies and make more informed treatment decisions. Think you’re alone with a condition? Chances are you’ll find dozens of others with the same problem on CureTogether.

Daytum ( Conceived by Ryan Case and Nicholas Felton, Daytum is an elegant and intuitive service for examining and visualizing your everyday habits and routines.

Data Logger ( Data Logger for iPhone enables you to store and graph any data of your choosing along with a time-stamp and location. It can be used for anything, whether food-related, animal sightings, or temperature sensor readings around your neighborhood. If you can think of it, it can be recorded and tracked.


  1. [How Seth Roberts’ self-experimentation began]. Roberts, Seth.  Surprises from self-experimentation: Sleep, mood, and weight. Chance.  2001; 4(2):7-18. UC Berkeley: Available from:
  2. [The first of many papers to show antibiotic-resistant acne was a significant problem]. Eady EA, Cove JH, Blake J, Holland KT, Cunliffe WJ. Recalcitrant acne vulgaris. Clinical, biochemical and microbiological investigation of patients not responding to antibiotic treatment.  Br J Dermatol. 1988; 118:415-23.
  3. Roberts, Seth. Self-experimentation as a source of new ideas: Ten examples about sleep, mood, health, and weight. Behavioral and Brain Sciences.  2004; 27(2), 227-288. UC Berkeley: Available from
  4. Boulos Z, Rosenwasser AM, Terman M. Feeding schedules and the circadian organization of behavior in the rat. Behav Brain Res. 1980; 1:39–65.
  5. Seth Roberts’ blog:
  6. Acne myths: on 2009-09-13.
  7. Guidelines of care: on 2009-09-17.
  8. Danby: on 2009-09-17.
  9. No acne among two isolated groups: Cordain L, Lindeberg S, Hurtado M, Hill K, Eaton SB, Brand-Miller J. Acne vulgaris: a disease of Western civilization. Arch Dermatol. 2002; 138:1584-90.
  10. Dangers of Accutane: on 2009-09-13.
  11. Wegener: on 2009-09-17.

The Tim Ferriss Show is one of the most popular podcasts in the world with more than 900 million downloads. It has been selected for "Best of Apple Podcasts" three times, it is often the #1 interview podcast across all of Apple Podcasts, and it's been ranked #1 out of 400,000+ podcasts on many occasions. To listen to any of the past episodes for free, check out this page.

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470 Replies to “The Value of Self-Experimentation [Plus: Extreme Videos – Do Not Try This At Home]”

  1. Hey Tim!

    I read your book and loved it. I’ll soon be applying some of the principles, but I’m first building the habit of tracking. The most important thing that your book taught me is that tracking data is essential. The chapter on body composition is great, but I’m curious how you other track stuff, and was hoping you could elaborate:

    1. what is your system for tracking everything that you do?

    2. Do you always carry a notebook with you?

    3. Do you also track everything in an excel or something?

    4. And in your book noticed you also track some qualitative things, such as your libido, do you track these on a daily basis or just try to be very self aware?

    Would love it if you could answer these questions!

  2. Hi Tim!

    Quick Question: How important is the PAGG stack for getting a six pack if I follow everything else you recommend?

    e.g. low-carb diet, sauerkraut, cinnamon and lemon juice, six min. abs…

    Because I just checked the prices on Ebay and Amazon and it would cost me a small fortune!

    btw I’m loving the book!

  3. Hey Tim,

    just got your book here back in Paris, France. Amazon made it and finally I didn’t had to pay all the post from the US.

    I have to say, I’m impressed, it’s quite massive this one! It’s a lifetime work !!! Keep up the great work 🙂

    Joyeuses Fêtes



  4. Hey Tim,

    I am still trying to finish the 4HWW before the 4HourBody. WOW! I can’t believe how thick that book is….WOW!

    I am going to buy a book or two more to give away at Christmas, but y’now if you give it away they don’t appreciate it as much.

    *Can I still get the bonuses? Please keep us posted if you beat Guinness Book!

  5. I bought this book on the recommendation of a blog that was pounding it for being BS. Having read the 4 hour work week and subscribed to 80% of it 😉 I think that the 4 hour body was a natural fit into my growing library.

    The thing is that this book appears easy to follow. If a book on diet/nutrition or anything exercise, you have to be able to have the conversation where people ARE. If you cannot do that then you ain’t got sh*t IMO.

    Tim you have done that here (not the sh*t part). I felt like you were talking to me where I am. So that is why I will implement the strategies in this book even though I am 41 and will be 42 soon. I want to live longer than my father (died at age 47) and his father (died at age 43). So the genes would yell that I am due pretty soon. I call BS and part of this is because of what you say in this book.

  6. Followed the original blog post and lost weight using this diet over a year ago, and am back on it now to trim down again. Love the book so far! Just finished the Glucose Switch and have a question: if blood glucose levels aren’t affected until hours after eating, why is eating a meal quickly still a problem? Isn’t it all in the same place after 2 hours? (This orca isn’t so good at that either!)

  7. I just got done listening to your interview with Shoemoney. Great! Great! interview. I’ve never heard about you until that interview. I’m definitely buying your book! Sounds like this will definitely help me.

  8. Been listening to the audio book back to back. I also love the fact that you are recommending organics. Both your books are so inspiring and truly change the way people think. Thanks Tim! My co-founder and I aspire to meet you!

  9. I’ll buy the book if you stop shoving huge needles into your leg. I give blood on a regular basis and even those needles creep me out.

  10. …I weighed in at Weight Watchers yesterday. Yes!! Still on Lifetime!

    Thinking of Tim’s ‘cheat day’ concept, I decide to ‘cheat’!

    …not easy, the house has been pretty much cleared out of junk food 😛 Sugar free chocolates, Kashi chewy TLC bars, Fiber One bars have to do. Yay! Haven’t had them in a while because of low-carbing. (had lots of water, too.)

    next morning, I kid you not. I’ve lost 1 lb.

    I still don’t know what I did! (and I swore heartily, trying to figure it out.) Was it the boiled eggs? Was it the cayenne pepper I had with them because I didn’t have salt? Was it the air squats, or the pseudo-ballet exercises because I was thinking of “Black Swan”? Was it the extra trips I made around my building, making deliveries? Was it laying on my ice-cold bathroom floor for as long as I could stand it? or, or–??

    I’m laughing out loud writing this, because I find it hilarious that *something* seems to have worked, and trying to figure out how to replicate it.

  11. If I can’t afford the Blue Ice and want to use cod liver and butter seperately how much of each do I take. I assume 2 cod liver capsules. How much butter do I need daily and when?


  12. I’ve read the book and LOVE IT. Just started on the workout and geek to freak diet/workout yesterday. (also tried the ice bath for 10 minutes)

    One question how often per week to perform the cat vomit and myotatic crunch?!

    Love the book!!!

  13. Tim, thanks so much for the 4HB. Lots of great information. I’m taking notes on my progress and will write an Amazon review once I can attest to results.

    Quick question. I am way out of shape, and am focusing on slow carb and KB swings for now. Rehab later, and weight lifting not for a while. But, as I said, I’m way out shape. On my third KB workout I could only handle 3 sets of 10 swings each.

    What would you recommend for a weekly schedule at this stage? I’d like to get up to the 2/week, 75 rep workouts you recommend as quickly as I can (in good health). And if I’m tired after doing by 3 by 10, should I do another 10-20 once I’m rested or just call it a night? Thanks.

    1. Hey Brock..doing KB’s for the first time can be confusing…Tim got a certification, actually 2…He is RKC2 through Pavel’s Cert program..the mad russian…anyway, he wrote a really good book called “Enter the Kettlebell” and one of his other instructors wrote Kettlebells for Dummies…both really good books and you can pick them up anywhere especially at Hope that helps..

  14. Man Tim…I know you said to read the book as a buffet..but I ended up reading the whole thing in 2 days! It was really awesome and the science was on point! Right now I am trying to figure out the slow carb diet while trainig for a marathon and doing KB’s I have to tell you that all of it was so awesome…and when I told my wife that I wanted to try something out on her that I read in the book…Let’s just is worth a 1,000 chapters 😀 thanks again…also, I am still trying to figure out my muse! LOL Now you added some other fuel to think about

  15. Hello Tim,

    I have been enjoying your new book and have started to try a few things out.

    In regards to the Slow Carb Diet, were there any trials on less time between cheat days?

    For instance ‘maybe’ 4 days would work as well as 6 or even better? ..or perhaps 108 hours or maybe the binge should last 10 hours 4 minutes hours…anyways; hopefully, you get the point. I am curious because a 7 day cycle seems either suspicious, convenient, or elegant depending on the actual answer.

    In an attempt to sandwich a potential criticism (it is not meant to be) I will close this saying how much I am enjoying not only this book but I still look at your last book for inspiration.

    Take care,

    John S

  16. Tim, read the Fat Loss chapter and jumped into action, quick question:

    (Week 1) First 6 days on slow-carb: 196.2 to 190.2 lbs and 22.2 to 20.5 BF %

    (Week 2) Then after the 7th day (binge day), the next 6 days: 193 to 188.4 lbs and 21.3 to 23 BF %.

    It seems on Week 2, my BF % is going up and weight is going down, even my measurements (waist, arms, hips, thighs) haven’t altered by more than 1cm, which I contribute to my inconsistent use of the measuring tape.

    Any idea what’s going on here? At first glance it may seem that I’m losing muscle, and gaining fat (!)

  17. Tim,

    I just fished the first hour workweek and am super inspired to create a muse and start generating income.

    Here’s the problem: I’m 17, almost 18 years old.

    Do you have any tips on increasing credibility, or using my age to my advantage?

    I loved your book. Thanks so much.


  18. Tim,

    I’ve been devouring sections of The 4-Hour Body (awesome read so thanks you!) and I decided to Google “Effortless Superhuman”. Your book received most of the top search results but I also found this guy Garin Bader. I don’t know anything about him or his credibility. Have you heard of him and do you know anything about the guy?

  19. Looks like you hit #1 in the NYT bestsellers… congratulations!! I’m looking forward to reading my copy. I’m having my parents ship mine from Texas to Oz b/c I don’t have the patience to wait till it’s released here. Launch party planned here in Sydney by any chance? If so, can I impose to be on that list? 😉



  20. Tim, you’ve helped distil so many things that I’ve never put into words. Self Experimentation, the act of having an intention and recording your trial and errors until you get it right is fundamentally how we all learn to walk for example. It’s amazing what you’ve started, a coordinated, colaborated effort of syndicated shared best practices that will allow us to get rapid results in any area of our lives. Just brilliant. What a concept. I love it.

    Keep up the great work Tim, let us know if there are other great ways to share knowledge about your book and encourage others to buy. Maybe make a wordpress widget that gives a little random content/exerpt from the book with a link to buy or something 😀

    To your continued success!

    and Merry Christmas!


  21. Hey Tim

    I stayed up reading all night! Biggest question to the diet part is can I have corn tortillas if they are 100% Corn?

    Second, I think Im in love you with you and all your insanity!

    You are crazy and clear and its so carefree and alluring!

    Come meet me for dinner in LA on a binging Saturday!

    I sent one earlier and just read to use my name and it auto fills the other way, so im signing here!

    Jackie B

  22. I purchased the hard cover on 12/14/10, now when I go to get the PDF’s. the form is not accesssable for me to fill out. I still have my receipt. Am I missing something?


  23. Tim,

    I just finished the book. I had pre-ordered an electronic copy from, and then bought one hardcover copy for each of my three adult children. I’ve recommended it to everyone I know and have tweeted about it several times already. I’m convinced this book will change all our lives, and I am very grateful. Thank you!

    I have a few questions:

    1. You mention passwords in the book to read extra articles. Where are these located in both the ebooks and printed versions?

    2. I have severe esophageal strictures that make meat and certain fibrous veggies (kale, etc) very difficult to eat. Liquids are highly prized. Any advice on modifying Slow-Carb to accommodate?

    3. If that isn’t bad enough, due to an injury in adolescence it is virtually impossible for me to get blood drawn (injury causing #2 is also responsible for this). A cut-down or central line are the only ways left. Are there any other methods for gaining the frequent test results you recommend?

    I studied to be a midwife for 3 years and iron levels are a constant problem for pregnant women. Nothing a doctor recommends works well. I wanted to share a miracle-worker for increasing hemoglobin levels. Taking yellow-dock root tincture before consuming iron-rich whole foods (spinach, meat, etc) raised my levels from anemic to mid-range normal in 2 weeks. This can literally be a life-saver in late pregnancy.

    When you get ready to write your book on pregnancy and childbirth, please let me know – I have a lot of ideas for you. I predict that this area will be another fertile area for you to “buck the system”.

    Thank you again, and congratulations on your success.

    Kelly Bell

    1. Thanks so much for the comment, Kelly! To answer:

      1. Bonuses coming soon.

      2. I would recommend a blender/smoothie of greens and unflavored whey protein, to start. If possible, I’d add some fat to this, like smooth almond butter. As always, speak with your doctor.

      3. There are decent saliva-based alternatives to many of these tests, which you should be able to find through a good “holistic” health center (though I dislike that word) that also hires MDs.

      Good luck!





  25. I’ve watched with amazement at some of your self experimentation videos. Kudos to you for having the courage to do this. Hope there are no long term effects.

  26. Came home to a wonderful greeting, two copies laying on my front step! One is for a friend who’s a professional track and field athlete. I promptly ordered a 3rd copy to give to another friend for his b-day. Wish you the best of luck on your record setting efforts!

    I do have one quick question though. I’ve been interested in purchasing one of those little home cholesterol testers. I play around with a lot of tweaks to my diet and would like to publish results / performance of each on in terms of cholesterol. What’s a good approach / equipment?

    I’m also looking into setting up a sleep study any recommended equipment there would be greatly appreciated… Perhaps all this is in your book? I’ve not got terribly far in the reading yet. if so I apologize in advance.

  27. This should appeal to you, Tim: A no-nonsense approach to strenght training that allowed me to gain 40lbs in 12 weeks of training, whilst reducing my BF from 12 to 9%. Just the basics, 3days/week. Squats/deadlifts/presses/awesomeness.

    Worth taking a look!

  28. Really cannot say enough about your book. I just finished the Pre-hab section and this is a key chapter for everyone and I hope people don’t overlook it. It will be extremely helpful yet challenging for me. This is the section where I will do so much work and self experimentation.

  29. I’m considering experimenting with d-aspartic acid… what are your thoughts? Have you supplemented with it previously?

  30. My fiancee and I just started doing the PAGG system and trying the best amount of low carb I can do (I don’t eat meat or soy) and even the decaffinated green tea pills are making me crazy jittery and unable to sleep at night. Can you cut down to just:





    or is it not worth taking the mix if you don’t take the whole mix?

    1. Sooz, this is fine. Don’t use anything that produces an adverse reaction, and please be sure to consult your doctor as needed.

  31. Tim, I understand you’ve already received questions about the PAGG protocol, especially about how much mg of Allicin to take. I’m in the UK, so I don’t have access to the brand of garlic supplements you mentioned in the book, but I’ve found Allicin supplements of 12mg per tablet. Can you specify how much Allicin to take a day or with meals?

    I’m sure you’ll continue to get questions on this due to the nature of the book: how small targeted changes can produce enormous results e.g. MED. When you have specific instructions about how much mg of a specific supplement to take, e.g ALA, but leave the mg of Garlic/Allicin supplement hazy, you’ll undoubtedly get questions to clarify the amount.

    When you get the chance, could you address this in a blog post or twitter or even here to clarify this?

    P.S. I am SO looking forward to the MED approach to penis extension… will it ever be coming? =)

    1. It’s not too hazy… I just made it confusing! The 725mg for green tea (I think that’s right) only includes around 325mg of EGCG, which is what we are looking for, but some assumed the 725mg was for the EGCG, which it is not. If you use the supplements linked to in the resources, or something close, it should have the desired effect.

      Good luck!


    2. I guess Tim doesn’t need ‘self-experimentation’ on penis extension! Nonetheless, it’s a topic worth writing about (others can experiment!)

      I.e. Alot of us would like to know the MED for this!

  32. Tim,

    Congrats on creating another #1 best-seller, you deserve it.

    On a different note, I saw your presentation on this website about learning how to efficiently swim and speak Japanese a while back. At the end, you mentioned something about being interested in reforming the educational system and starting various schools using your method.

    I am currently in graduate school to become a school counselor and am extremely interested in this subject of education reform as well. I was wondering where I could find some of the information you used to develop your methods?

    Thanks a lot and keep doing what you do. Great job.


    1. I take it at least three days a week, especially when trying to avoid colds and flu, as is true now in the winter.


  33. Pretty sure you won’t see this but just wanted to say “Thanks!” I was on the free book(s) list and just received my books today. Haven’t had a chance to read beyond the Intro yet but my 4 weeks are up and I’m due to switch my program up. Can’t wait to get started.

    Maybe see you at MC.

    Thanks again!

  34. Tim,

    I bought the audio version of the 4 hour body and the reader kept referring to items that were in the book but not on the audio. I have downloaded the PDF file but that only covers the workout info.



    1. Hi Bruce,

      That SUCKS. I’ll help to get it fixed. Can you please specify what he was referring to that wasn’t included? That’s really lame. I’m sorry.



  35. The book seems great! Just a quick question.

    I have some minor stretch marks already (nothing too bad), and I am not that muscular. Would something like Occam’s protocol possibly lead to significant stretch marks (I know everyone is different). Do you have any tips to minimize/eliminate/avoid these?

  36. Hi Tim,

    Love the book! I’m recommending it to everyone I think can benefit from “out-of-the-box” thinking.

    One question: How do I determine if a food is slow-carb? I am assuming it is based on Glycemic Index/Glycemic Load, but what is your cutoff point?


  37. I can personally vouch for diet being a factor in acne. I won’t say it’s the only factor, but for me it was the most obvious one. I had a terrible acne problem all through my teen years. I think back and I also happened to drink a gallon of milk about every two days. I have been relatively acne-free for the last 5 years or so due to the following diet changes: eating less dairy, taking a high-quality multi-vitamin/mineral/phytonutrient supplement, and eating more all natural foods. A good skin care system helps, but it won’t fix the problem. I notice today if I eat an increase in dairy or added sugar/junk foods I will get break-outs. It’s cause and effect for me. As a matter of fact I have a mini-breakout right now because I binged on sodas and sweets over the holidays! Therefore, I would encourage you, if you have trouble with acne, try some diet self-experimentation and stop wasting hundreds of dollars on proactiv or prescription medication. Think for yourself and question everything.

  38. Tim, early on in your book you cite 4,082 calories per pound of fat. I go through serious calorie counting about 1 month every 6 just to maintain a good feel. My BMR is around 2100 last I checked. I’ve always heard the number 3,500… Just do a quick google search for “how many calories in a pound of fat” and you’ll see what I mean. For many people the 582 calories can be a whole meal! At 6’7″ and 215lbs, thats not the case for me. I’m planning on using your book to guide a bulk up to about 225, and then focusing on strength and more importantly, endurance.

    Any thoughts as to why the seemingly more common 3,500 is lower than yours?? Is it due to a difference in pure calorimetery and the biochemical process perhaps? Would be cool, since this is in a GA section, to differentiate the numbers.

    1. I can explain. My math is based on 100% pure fat calories, a pure lb. of fat grams. In reality, a pound of fat TISSUE will have water and other stuff that lowers it to the more common 3,500 calorie count.

      Hope that helps!


  39. Hey Tim,

    Great book…started the diet 3 days ago and i’m down 4 lbs already. Could you comment quickly on a couple things:

    1) on antibiotics right now…is yogurt a show stopper and if not, any recommendations ? greek, low sugar etc

    2) the beans are killing me….i feel like the overflow burner on an oil-derrick…any suggestions other than buy stock in beano ? ( i use all canned beans)

  40. Tim,

    Regarding butter oil/cod liver oil combo from the book…

    So my options are $50/month for the Blue Ice pills you suggest… or else individually taking cod liver and irish butter at the same time? How much Irish butter and how should I take it?

    On another note, I’ve seen dozens of questions regarding 4HB on this blog, and although I see the value in keeping everything in one place, it really seems like the comment section of blog postings has some serious shortcomings…. especially considering 4HB is starting a whole new community of health discussion that is a bit more focused than general “Lifestyle Design.”

    Just something to consider. Your book mentions a general goal of producing self-experimenters, and it would be great to have some community tools to facilitate that.

    1. Hi Jon,

      Working on the community tools as we speak. Totally agreed. If you can afford the Blue Ice, I’d suggest going that route. I’m not sure on exact dosing of the butter.



  41. Tim,

    Thanks for the best lifehacking book I’ve ever read! In fact, it’s the ONLY lifehacking book I would recommend to others. It’s the perfect book for geeks. Simple step-by-step guide backed by real data from experiments! Love it!

    My wife and I are about to get started on our 4 weeks Slow-Carb diet plan. We went grocery shopping today to prepare for our week #1. And it was so fun to come up with creative ways to enjoy our meals while staying within slow-carb food list.

    Few questions now. We are Koreans and would like to know if we can still continue enjoying Korean dishes. Currently, we are not sure if we are allowed to consume following stuff. If so, then we can pretty much continue eating same great food we’ve been enjoying (sans steamed rice, of course). Are these ok?

    – Tofu

    – Sesame Oil (mostly for stir frying)

    – Sweat Potato

    – Pork Belly

    – Red Pepper Paste/Korean Chilli Paste (

    – Fermented Soybean Paste/Miso

    – Sour Cream

    – Almonds, Walnut

    For now, we are going to keep it simple and just pick from the list you provided in the book.

    Again, thanks for great book! Can’t wait to start feeling great!

  42. Love this book!! Got it for Christmas from my wife. I wanted it for the mass gain and strength gain chapters but got soooo much more from it.

    Could you use different polyphasic sleep cycles for different days of the week?

    Could the Sex Machine I chapter be applied to strength/muscle building as well? As it applies to increasing testosterone.

    Thank you for writing this book and being a guinea pig for all of us.

    Kevin F.

  43. Tim,

    I have really enjoyed both of your books now and put much of it into practice. I have a question about the diet for someone doing the “Effortless Superhuman” work out. I noticed in the mass gaining sections you mention the addition of dairy and carbs at certiain times for optimal results.

    The question is: can someone doing strength/speed training work outs successfully use the slow-carb diet?

  44. Quick question Tim. I am very interested in learning what you do about breaking things down or deconstructing them so they are easier to accomplish or at least doable. Do you have any book recommendations to push me in the this direction?

    On a side note, I think I read on your blog somewhere that you had a “decompression time” right before bed of a book of favorite fiction. Do you have a list of your favorite books for this? I am guessing it really does not matter, but I am curious to see if perhaps some of these might not have lessons in and of themselves. Kind of an education while being entertained to feed the subconscious mind during sleep.

    Thanks man.

  45. Hi Tim, same as you say in the video, I also have had problems swallowing pills since I was a kid. embarrasingly, I still have to take pills with a banana, and im now in my twenties!

    how did you learn to take pills, and so many at a time?


  46. Hey Tim, if you are in “experiment” mode, you should try (on binge day) drinking mate after the water has cooled off and it is more lukewarm – temperature room. I have experienced that I “go to the bathroom for number two” much more quicker than when the mate is hot. You know how mate in Argentina is drunk with almost boiling water. If you let the water sit for a while until it reaches room temperature ( about 65 F), you will probably experience that the food will get out of your system quickly, to put it in a diplomatic way. So far I have followed the slow carb I chapter, and that is all I need for the time being. I have lost considerable weight, I now fit into clothes I had “outgrown” (or out-eaten). thanks!


  47. Anyone have ideas on how to treat a diabetic low glucose while staying on the slo-carb diet? Only been doimg it for a day or two and I have been using honey, but it is inconvienient to make beans everytime you go low to be sure you have a complex carb. Sorry if I’m not being too creative, but I could really use y’alls help in figuring out how to tackle this issue.

    I’ll post anything I think of in the meantime.

  48. Tim,

    After I got your book, I started combining the section increasing testosterone, originally intended for the sex chapter and used it for building muscle and have had great results. The increased testosterone make my workouts more effective and I see better results in a shorter amount of time. If you are interested, I can send you some quantitative data to back it up. Thanks for a great book.

  49. I read the book in two days. I admire your outstanding research. You really committed yourself 100% to the project and it shows.

    So, here’s the thing. I don’t eat eggs. Maybe you could work on breakfast menus for people like me who think “cat vomit” when they see eggs.

    You advise what most other diets advise…cut out simple carbs and exercise. The only thing you advised that I have never heard before is to cut out fruit. I am going to do that. I have started a spreadsheet so I can chart my weight. I have a goal of 35lbs. in 5 months. I also took pics of myself and measurements. Wish me luck.

  50. Tim,

    No idea what I was looking for on amazon and I came across your book-bought it-LOVED IT. thank you for explaining to me how the six months training for my first half ironman (Savageman) I ran less than 30 times, and ran with ease finishing the 13.1 at 2:15. oh yea-and I was drinking scotch the night before


    eliminating the unnecessary


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    2.5-10mm??? 0.8—3.5mm(?)

    ?????100~160????????180~250??????? ???????????????

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  52. Amazing book!!! im one week into the lowcarb diet, lost 5lbs, have more energy, and not addicted to coffee as before!!


    Quick question: Can I still take a Coq10 and antioxidant pills in the low carb diet?



  53. I’m just curious – Why would anyone want or need to swallow 25 pills at once?

    Seems like more of a circus stunt than a valuable contribution to public health knowledge.

  54. Hey Tim,

    Just have a few things for you:

    1. I almost vomited my slow carb meal up when I watched both the pills video and the biopsy tube video. Glad you chose to be a human science experiment so we don’t have to!

    2. I’m pretty sure I’m in love with you.

    3. I am on day 3 of slow carb and feeling great. I’m a female, and I didn’t read the female orgasm chapter but I made my man-friend read it and I will be succinct on this subject, but: thank you!

    4. (Serious question) regarding PAGG: I have been taking a 1000mg Flax Seed Oil supplement instead of pure ALA. It contains 550mg of ALA which is more than your recommended 100-300mg. Is this okay or will the additional fatty acids in the Flax Seed hurt me (LA, OA, and Palmitic Acid)? Also, my garlic is 500mg (you recommend 250mg) and my green tea only has 200mg of EGCC (you recommend 325mg). Am I better off just buying new supplements with the exact requirements in your book, or can I continue with these varieties?

    Thanks, Tim! Congratulations on your phenomenal success.


    1. Hi Hailey,

      Thanks for the comment! The supplements and amounts you mentioned are fine and should help the cause.

      Good luck!


  55. Tim, huge fan, Congrats on # 1.

    Been self experimenting for 20 years (insert joke), and wanted to share my addendum to the slow carb diet. 90% of the overweight public should follow your plan exactly as is.

    However if you are looking to lose the last 5-10 and you are ALREADY STRICT in your diet (already low carb, Intermittent Fasting, etc) this is what worked for me. It’s basically the slow carb with a few minor tweaks.

    I call it the LA Protocol:

    I’m not selling anything here, just wanted to add my 2 cents and share my appreciation for what I believe to be the Bible of health and fitness.

    Cheers and Thank You,


  56. Hi Tim,

    Just got my copy of 4HB – already engrossed 🙂 I love everything health/fitness related and your work inspires me to do greater levels of research and self-experimentation which I will pass on to family, friends and clients alike. I have been a muscle biopsy guinea pig during my sport science student days – before and after a cycling time trial to look at the effects of interval cycling training and on muscular fuel usage/adaptation – so I feel your pain 🙂

    Thanks for the incredible resource and cheers to a fantastic super human 2011.

  57. Hi,

    I’m about to start using PAGG and I’m confused about how much to use it, because in the main PAGG section it says to use it 3x a day, 6 days a week, with a week off every two months, however on the “binge day” example, it’s only used twice, said because the eating was minimal. So should how many times I take it depend on how much I eat? I would love clarification with this.

    Also I got the Super Cx to take with it, and I want to be 100% clear as to how often to take this. Do I only take it on binge days?

    If you or any of the readers can help me out with this I’d be most appreciative –

    Thank you! And Thank you for writing the 4-hour Body!

  58. hi Tim,

    Have you ever gained a lot of body fat to see how fast you could lose it?


    PS great job with the book.

  59. Hi Tim,

    I’m on week 2 of the slow-carb diet, and while last week I felt satisfied after meals, this week, after each meal, while I’ll have a very high amount of veggies, protein an beans or lentils, (like for breakfast today I had three whole eggs, broccoli, cauliflower, and a half can of beans with some salsa). I’ll eat until I’m stuffed with that, but then I’m still hungry for sugar/carbs. I’ll wait, but then I get almost starving feeling within 30 minutes for sugar/carbs. Is this something that will hopefully pass? Maybe I’m just breaking an addiction to sugar/carbs? Please tell me this will go away.

    thank you!!

  60. Hello Tim-

    It would be interesting and maybe time saving to use my non-invasive brief body age test for your work and for those wanting individual feedback on how their changes impact physical age. Some day soon I would like to market the units but for now access is free from the manual in my book: “Growing Younger: How to Measure and Change Body Age”. I would guess you have added many years to your life at this point. Best, Robert Morgan

  61. What you did is very interesting. me too I like to work on my body but not in so drastic way.I like to think of my body as a tool to accomplish my wills. The problem is that the body is much more flexible than the mind, so what blocks us are our thoughts.

  62. Hi all,

    Immediately purchased this book and am LOVING IT! The wife and I started it to the T last Saturday (the 1st). In 6 days she has lost 5lbs. Me? Nothing. That’s what I’m wondering. What the hell am I doing wrong?

    Me: 6’2


    Active before this with running and weight-lifting.

    I went back through the common mistakes last night and can’t seem to pinpoint why I haven’t lost a pound. I definitely feel thinner and my belly has gone down some but I’ve got know hard data to show for it. I’m drinking water like crazy, eating black beans like crazy, and about 130-135g of protein daily.

    Any tips?

    1. Did you determine bodyfat % beforehand? Do you have any measuring tape measurements? Remember to read “Elusive Bodyfat”!

      Keep it up — it works!


  63. Hello Tim!

    Just want to say thanks for both books. You pretty much ruined my life with the first one, but now things are better than ever. 2 questions about the 4 hour body diet.

    1. I am an alcoholic and cannot drink only wine during my 6 non binge days. Is it ok if I drink vodka soda on non-binge days?

    2. Is cheese considered one of the banned foods? It is white, and it is made with milk so I have been avoiding it. I did not see any reference in the book to eating/ not eating cheese.

  64. Hi Tim

    Not sure if this is anything you haven’t done yourself, but i have a pretty tasty pancake recipe, keeps for a couple days after prep ion fridge.

    2x whole eggs+ 3-4 egg whites

    1 cup lentils

    2 small carrots

    Blend these ingredients, thoroughly, add some herbs and spices that you like, then cook like pancakes. I top with lots of vegetables that i like and some cottage cheese. Perfect Breakfast without!!! 😉

    1. These are excellent! Thanks for the sharing the recipe. (I used cooked lentils and thawed frozen carrot for easy blending.)

  65. Hi Tim. Make me the 601st comment, I suppose 😀 Hope you have time to read this, though…it could be useful for a certain demographic you may not have considered.

    First of all, I think you’re onto something very clever in both of your books, relating to the possibility of maximizing efficiency of social systems. The MED applied to the human body, human labour, and potentially human mentality (have you explored neurofeedback? your next book?). Very contentious, but totally worthwhile. Even the concept of reading your book efficiently points to the fact that you’ve got this idea pat down. Way to go, thanks for sharing the knowledge!

    3 brief questions:

    1) For total foodies and epicures like myself, who love to cook and love all of the sensory and social delight of great food, what do you suggest? How do I be really creative and add a lot of variety to this diet?

    2) I see an apparent contradiction between what you say in Slow Carb Diet and Damage control. You tell readers not to worry about massive spikes in weight after the weekend off-days, but then in “Damage Control” say that you do things to minimize fat gain during these periods…are we gaining fat or not?

    3) Have you looked into the wonderful world of buckwheat? Any insight here on its usability for the 4HB?



    1. Thanks, Aaron. Here you go:

      1. Just pick up any good cookbook and then make your favorite recipes slow-carb. It’s surprisingly easy. Even with pasta, you can use things like squash to convert delicious dishes.

      2. No contradiction. There will be massive water weight gain in some people. My point is to expect that and not freak out.

      3. I’m not very familiar with buckwheat, except for the hull pillows 🙂



      1. Thanks, Tim. Love your humor, your research, your book. I am a 78 year old psychotherapist who loves to cook. I have for years made up recipes based on fat, fiber, calories. Now on Protein too. I started on Slow Carb today. Did not like my breakfast! I would love to collaborate with you on a Slow Carb Cookbook.

        There is a bread made from sprouts that contains no flour and is used by my daughter who follows the Overeaters Anonymous Diet. They believe all starches and most white foods are part of the Sugar Addiction. She lost 72 lbs and added a lot of muscle abour 7 years ago. She is still at the size and still in the program. I think that bread would work on the Slow Carb Diet What do you think?. They had it at Trader Joe’s, probably still do.

        I am 4’10” weigh 143 and have 45.80 % body fat. You can see I need your plan. I have committed to following your plan, going to Curves three times a week, I’ve been 6 times in the last two weeks and doing an hour and half yoga class twice a week. I’ve been twice in the last week. (Thought I would die!) Please let me know what you think about the bread and the cookbook.

        Peggy Morgan

  66. Hi Tim,

    Very awesome book! I have been excited about this book since I saw a post on your site about what you eat back last summer.

    I pre bought your book on Amazon and I just finally started the 4HB last week and I think I’m doing something wrong because I don’t think I lost or gained any weight or fat. Currently, I was only able to afford a tape measure (and I already have a scale). But haven’t been able to afford a doctor visit to get BMI etc. especially with no insurance.

    However, I think what happened and where I went wrong is that I don’t think I ate enough calories the first week on the diet. Could this cause me to actually gain weight or have adverse affects with this plan?

    Not that I ate less on purpose but sometimes I only got 2 meals in per day, either because I wasn’t hungry or I ran out of time.

    Anyway, thanks again, I love the book and keep up the awesomeness 🙂


    1. Hi Jeremy,

      You mentioned that you don´t think that you lost or gained weight and/or fat…does that mean your scale weight and tape circumference measurements stayed exactly the same as your initial measurement? As Tim emphasizes in the book, it is really important to differentiate between absolute weight, fat weight and lean weight using the best method you have available (” in body redesign, our ´destination´ is a better ratio of body composition, not weight “). If the scale and tape measure is what you have available that is still fine, but you need to very clear and consistant with your measurements so you can notice subtle changes, whether reduction or increase i.e. exact same site for each circumference measure mentioned in the book and the same conditions for when you measure scale weight such as time of day – I would suggest in the morning upon getting out of bed one day a week such as Sunday before you have your ´cheat day´. If you don´t have other health concerns/questions that you want checked with a doctor, you don´t need to go to one if your sole purpose is to get body composition measurement (unless of course they do skinfolds or offer a well-priced BodPod assessment for example). BMI is redundant measurement that won´t provide the information you need, plus you can find that out yourself at home if you want to know it (here is a free calculator to put your height and weight into Check out the Elusive Body Fat chapter again to evaluate the best tool you can use for your current financial situation – it may be that a BodPod visit, calipers or bio-electrical impedence scale for example can be affordable, especially if you look at it from the perspective of data driven-results, relative to hourly income or a nifty accountability tool…For example, if a BodPod visit in your area costs $50 (it ranges from $25-$50 according to Tim´s book) that would be $100 for a before-after measurement let´s say over a 4 week period (you can continue to use tape measure and scale weight in between measurements). Assuming you work a 40 hour week, that would require 62 cents to be taken from your hourly income to fund your self-experiment measurement. Perhaps you could get family sponsorship or bet with friends (see From Photos to Fear chapter) so you get the double win of accountability as well as funding. I know it can be tough financially however I also know that we often miss opportunities and solutions by accepting current limitations.

      Before you think about calories (see pg 32 for Tim´s take on that) look at the Slow-Carb Diet II chapter, namely pg 95 onwards to evaluate any potential mistakes or errors you might have made if indeed your body composition hasn´t made a shift. In the appendices and extras section of the book Tim shows the data for the 194 people who tested the Slow Carb diet…there were a couple of people who did just have 2 meals per day and got results; however, as Tim mentions, there are a lot of unknown variables to this and the majority of participants ate 3-4 meals a day so unless the less meal approach is working for you, I would aim for the recommended 3-4 meals per day frequency.

      I hope this helps, good luck with things and keep going strong !

      1. Hey Simon,

        Thank you for your response it’s much appreciated 🙂

        When I said I don’t think that I lost or gained weight and/or fat… the tape measurements stayed the same but I actually gained a little weight before I ate on cheat day (Saturday, aka yesterday).

        I guess I’ll have to make sure to reproduce the exact same steps every time. I feel it’s a little hard to measure your success if you can’t measure and reproduce with accuracy and the same every time.

        Thanks for the link and the extra umph and the thought you put into this comment. I will keep my nose to the grind stone and just trust Tim and his book and know that it’ll work. I will also take your suggestions as well as start doing things more precisely and make sure to eat 3-4 meals per day and just calm down about it, lol.

        And wow, Mistake #1 (page 95 Thank you!!)

        I probably made that mistake every single day last week and was not eating within 30 minutes of waking up. I would venture to say that I probably didn’t eat for 1-2 hrs after waking up.

        I know absolutely and without a doubt I’m getting enough protein.

        I drink 6-8 pints of water a day. (I say pints because I’m drinking it out of a 1 pint beer glass lol).

        All the other “mistakes” I’ve confirmed I don’t do.

        So it could very well possibly be that I’m just not eating soon enough when I wake up.

        Also, I’m probably just getting impatient expecting to see kick ass results. Especially when I keep hearing amazing stories about how people are dropping weight and slimming and then a week goes by I don’t see or notice any changes so it’s hard to keep plugging away at this when that happens.

        I will step up my game for sure getting to the 2.5% 🙂

        Thanks for the encouragement!

  67. Tim,

    Loving the book – a couple of questions!

    1) You mention no juice and gave the surprising result of drinking orange juice, but then you say that you do a lot of coffee with grapefruit juice. So grapefruit juice is cool in the morning with coffee then? 😉

    2) I know you aren’t a doctor, but any concerns with PAGG and people who take antacids like Prilosec regularly?

    3) Are there any slow-carb cookbooks you recommend? I wanna see what spices do and don’t work.

  68. Here is a very quick soup, bachelor approved.

    Boxed chicken broth

    1 small can cooked lentils, drained

    1.5 cups pre-cooked, bite size chicken breast (store-bought, frozen okay)

    1 small can diced tomatoes, don’t drain

    handful of diced frozen carrots (or cut your own) *Optional

    1/2 onion, diced

    Oil or ghee

    pepper and spices to taste

    1. Fry the onion and the carrots in the oil for a few minutes on med/high, (in the pot you will cook your soup), until the onion is clear and softened.

    2. Dump the lentils, cut up chicken, can of tomatoes (don’t drain) and as much chicken broth to taste (some like a very watery soup, some like it thicker). Add pepper and spices (suggestions include pepper flakes, dill, parsley, garlic). (Note: I never add salt as the broth already has salt.)

    3. Heat throughout. (Soft boil 5-10 mins)

    4. Serve. (This should make 1.5 – 2 servings.)

    Total time: 15 minutes

    (Note: If you like a thicker, heartier soup in the winter, using a hand-held blender, while the soup is in the pot, whiz it a few times to thicken it up. Just a few times being the optimum; you don’t want to mash the whole thing together because it will look like newborn baby poop.)

  69. Hey Tim,

    On the diet for two week and have dropped 10 lbs. Looking much better then before. I normally take a multi vitamin and krill oil. I decided to start PAGG. It has had some intense adverse affects on my system. Makes my eye balls feel like they’re going to pop out of my skull and then when that settles down my heart races for about an hour. So I’m going to try to narrow down which of the 4 is the culprit.

    Anyway sticking to the diet and looking forward to the next 10lbs.


  70. Hi Tim, looking forward to starting low carb diet on Tue as well as have purchased a keetle bell for work outs, just with one concern. As I cannot eat eggs at all, have you any good breakfast plans. Seems to me the only things I need to get through.

    Appreciate any help

  71. Hi Tim,

    Love the book, bought two and gave one away to a friend. Fascinating read and am giving the Slow carb a go after using the techniques outlined in G2F (the blog post) to gain 13kg of muscle in 45 days, and I did this with only three 30 minute gym sessions (often less) per week, AND I did this despite being born without my lower forearm on my right side. So I just wanted to say thanks so much for helping me change my body. It’s made the world of difference to me.

    I have one question though:

    1. Ketchup! Heinz specifically. Is it ok to eat on the Slow carb? I Literally love the stuff and have it on almost everything, I’m sure lots of others do so I wanted to check with you?

    Thanks again and congratulations on the book.

    1. Hi Jink,

      Congratulations on your G2F success! Extremely well done. I’d love to hear how you modified any exercises (or which you used) to accommodate your right arm.

      Ketchup is, sadly, a no-go. It is, however, a short adjustment to use unsweetened salsa on many of your favorite foods. Ketchup is full of banned stuff like high-fructose corn syrup (HFCS).

      Keep up posted on your progress!


  72. Question about eating first thing in the morning…I take a power yoga class everyday at 6am which means I have to eat breakfast at 5:30am in order to eat within the hour wake-up timeframe. This feels like torture to eat so early, then workout, and I am hungry at like 10am. I am not sure how to get this right and still see results. Do you have any suggestions???

    1. Worst-case: have a cup of coffee and 500 ml of ice-cold water to increase fat loss. I wouldn’t go more than 90 min without eating, though, if at all possible.

      1. You may also be able to eat a little bit, but less than the 30g. How about a single hard boiled egg? Maybe Tim could comment on suitability of Casein protein before bed and in your case preworkout?

      2. Thanks so much for responding! I was wondering the same thing. If I could have half of a protein shake or something like that but not the full 20-30g and then have the rest after my class. I’ll have to experiment. I had coffee before class this morning and felt like I was flying!

    2. Hi Courtney,

      To add to Tim´s suggestion, I would have a 1/4 of my morning meal as a pre-yoga snack and the remaining 3/4 afterwards – that way you won´t feel like you are force-feeding yourself, feel like a weight is in your stomach during the yoga session and you will have kick-started the morning as planned.

  73. Funny, my parents have the same Norman Rockwell glass set at home. I think they came from Wendy’s or some place like that.

  74. Tim,

    Loving the 4HB. Quick question:

    Lowfat cottage cheese with salsa. Quick tasty high protein low carb snack.

    You’re anti-Milk. What do you think of cottage cheese?


  75. Tim, I have been following the 4hb fora week solid and doing great. Haven’t weighed myself since I don’t have a scale at home and haven’t been to the gym. Should I be weighing myself everyday? Or once a week?

    Also. You say cream in coffee is ok and to not drink milk. What kind of cream are we talking about? Creamer, half and half, whipping cream? And if I absolutly need to add sweetness what suger-like product do u reccommend?

    Thanx for you time!

  76. Tim, what’s your opinion on multivitamins, especially ones with extended nutrition profile, such as Animal Pak? You only mentioned in your book separate supplements, such as calcium, potassium, etc. So, I wonder about Animal Pak + VItamin D separately (not enough).

  77. Tim: I’ve stopped using cream in my coffee and substituted cinnamon for about 3 weeks now. One thing I’ve noticed is that cinnamon doesn’t dissolve, even in hot coffee, the way sugar would. As such, no matter how often or vigorously I stir my coffee, the cinnamon seems to settle at the bottom. By the time I’m done with my cup, there’s a goopy, wet sand-like mixture at the bottom that makes me gag.

    My main question would be, is this happening to everyone else? If so, are the benefits of cinnamon consumption negated?

    What slow-carb foods taste good topped with cinnamon? I started putting it in a morning unflavored whey shake but would like to mix things up.

    1. Hey Rory – I share your cinnamon challenge. I’m finding the kind I have is water-phobic.. seems to stick to the sides of the cup, and the bottom, same as you.

      Anyone have any great tips to get that cinnamon to suspend in the coffee/tea? Any Chem students care to pitch in?

      1. Here you go! Get fresh cinnamon and bring it with you, then put in the cup when 1/2 full. Stir for 20-30 sec, then fill the rest of the way. That should help!


  78. Tim, It occurs to me that you should organize a web cast or podcast to capture your reactions and responses to the blog comments and e-mail you receive. That would be a good show. It would be informative, funny and might get you the $1 million/session your looking for (re: personal training). I’ve seen some of your stuff on YouTube and with Mr. Rose, your a natural. Give it some thought, it looks like your in a position to help a lot of people.

    Kind of like diggnation before Digg committed seppuku. Sans alcohol

  79. Tim – Question – Almond Milk (Unsweetened) in Coffee in the morning? I used to do major cream – BUt looking for a reasonable alternative.. Thanks

    Loving it – I’ve lost 6bs in 8 days – Feel better already..

  80. Ok. Finished teh first week on the Slow Carb diet. I was never an early morning breakfast eater so I had to do baby steps on that. First it was a 1/4 C egg whites and one whole egg scrambled with spinach and black beans.

    Couldn’t keep it down. Switched to 1/4 C egg whites and whole egg fried. Better. Next day two whole eggs and 2 small pieces regular bacon. (2 small slices of regular bacon is exactly the same 1 slice of Turkey bacon.) snack: was 1/4 C cottage cheese lunch: Salad with fresh spinach, grilled chicken and homemade black bean salsa with a whole avacado and a bit of sour cream. Dinner: is 1/2 grilled chicken breast, 1 C stringbeans and 1/2 can stewed tomoatos.

    I lost 5 pounds the first week and a bit off the measurements.

    Cheat day was AWESOME! although I didn’t eat as much as I thought I would. I put back on 4 of the 5 pounds lost. 🙁 Must have been all the bread and butter. Oh how I miss bread.

    I never ate a lot prior to starting the diet. But I ate very poorly. Mostly all carbs and sugar. I do have more energy and know that I need to eat more, but force feeding has never been my strong point. I eat until I am full and then stop. I hope that I keep losing the fat, because if I lose 5 then put 4 back on every week I feel like I am defeating the whole purpose. I only have 19 to lose. Mostly belly fat. (4 kids and a carbaholic).

    Thanks for the support and any more recipes posted would be greatly beneficial!

  81. Hi Tim! Thanks for replying to so many blog comments. I just started the slow carb diet last week and am introducing PAGG to my system slowly. I have learned previously that my body reacts horribly to too many new supplements at once. My doctor and I decided that I need to do just one at a time, letting my body get used to it for a week, and then introduce the next one. Do you have a recommended order to do this in? I have already been taking Green Tea Extract.

    Secondly, and more importantly for me, I have a problem I need advice on how to overcome. I work the lunch shift in a restaurant. I do not get a break and so I work through the time when I should be eating my lunch. I previously solved this problem by quickly drinking a metabolic reset shake or eating a Clif or Lara bar. But on the slow carb plan, I can’t eat either of those things. I’ve tried to bring some chicken and beans to eat, but it often goes to waste. Is there anything you can suggest to help me get in that lunch meal without killing the diet? I eat breakfast at 8 am and then the next time I have a chance to eat is 3:30 pm. Help!


  82. Hi Tim, I just ordered your new book and I’ve been reading the reviews on amazon and here. I truly cant wait to start reading your book.

    What your thoughts on CLA and L-Carnitine? I took both for a short time and felt like it was a great motivator and gave me a boost.

    I’m not sure if you talk about this on your book but, have you tried any colon cleansing products? i’m considering colonix from Dr.Natura.

    Thank you for your input.

  83. Any chance you can have a separate blog for sharing recipes on the Slow Carb diet? I am sure there would be a lot of readers that would beneift. It would also be beneficial on your Facebook page.



  84. Hi Tim,

    I pre-ordered your book the moment you announced it could be done, great read. I know you don’t have time to answer all these ‘what am I doing wrong’ questions but I will try nevertheless 🙂 I’ve been following slow-carb for 2 weeks now and lost only like 1kg, 0,5% bodyfat. I’m over 104 kg 185 cm male.

    Two simple questions:

    1. How much of water is ‘plenty’? Is 2 l fine for person my size? Does coffee and tea count into that?

    2. Can omitting vegetables (i always remember to eat meat and beans, but often forget veggies) stop weight loss process?

    3. I’ve lost almost 20 kgs over a year ago, been eating like a pig for last 6 months, gained 10 kgs back. Does it affect the diet?

    Also I couldn’t help but notice that your science mentioned in “GA” box on p. 23 is broken. It seems your calculations don’t take into account horizontal movement on stairs and effect of gravitation.

    Also, 107 calories during 1 hour Stairmaster training? Either all gym equipment i’ve been using lied to me, or my output is superhuman at 10 times that.

  85. Tim, lost 6lbs in first two weeks with less exercise than previously. Loving this!

    My wife however has also been strictly been following diet (reread chapters to make sure)… and after 2 weeks is nowhere. Same tape measurements, electronic-bmi, water%, weight. Same diet as me and 100% no cheating.

    Any ideas?

    1. My guess: she’s within 10 days of menstruation? The Tanita bf scales aren’t terribly accurate, and that’s my guess. If she’s losing fat but retaining more water, even arterial, this could account. Not 100% sure, but I’d stay the course. Some women don’t lose fat noticeably until 4-5 weeks in, and I have no explanation!

      1. This is good to know, Tim. I am on the 2nd week of slow carb (without doing PAGG. I will incorporate it later). I am hoping to lose 15 pounds.

        I lost 4 pounds the first week, then went up 7 lbs after “binge” day. I am back to one pound below my starting weight (day 3 post binge day), but I did lose one inch off of my waist measurement. I was horrified when I went up 7 lbs, but got back on the diet and am seeing results. I am within 10 days of my period, so this tells me a lot.

  86. Hello !

    I’m french and a good way I found to make the best of a Slow-carb breakfast is doing a spinach omelette.

    Just cook the fresh spinach leaves on a pan, then add the eggs already mixed and adjust with salt and pepper.

    This is one of our best omelette recipe and it’s Slow-Carb 🙂

  87. Tim- I am a huge fan. I am a rocket scientist and a lean six sigma black belt and I love that D.O.E. style reseach is making my obliques come in for the first time in history after years of not eating enough and murdering myself in the gym. I have never felt better.

    Anyway, two quick things. A response from you would make my day.

    1. All dairy is a no-no except cottage cheese correct? Would the diet be better if I cut cottage cheese or no impact?

    2. I saw a tweet from you to Kevin Rose about Hangovers. A blog post on the subject would be great and I am sure would drive alot of traffic and first time readers your way.

    Thanks for cutting through the crap.

    Keith Charles

  88. I’ve been on the slow carb diet for over 2 weeks and i haven’t experienced any results. It’s frustrating. Is there something I’m doing wrong?

    I take AGG but not P everyday, before each meal and before bed. Though I’ve been eating the same meal for lunch and dinner everyday. That’s not bad is it?

    And do you think it’s because of my age? I’m younger than most other readers, so maybe age plays a part in this diet? Anyways, I’m quite stressed out about this, please help!

    ps. Are yams allowed on this diet?

  89. Another thing! before starting the SCD, I was doing something similar. I did not eat dairy, no processed foods, no juices just water. Though I let myself have fruit and berries. Do you think its because my body has been used to eating food allowed on the SCD that its not causing too much effect on my body? Should i let my body have a break from the SCD and let it get back to processed foods, and other junk for about a week and then restart the SCD? I have been following the SCD religiously, and to see no results is starting to stress me out. In the book it says 48 hours to get back to precheat weight. That doesn’t happen to me! The weight gained from cheat day stays! Help please!

  90. As a Chiropractor, I have seen hundreds of x rays and every so often, I’ll come across a patient’s x rays that show undigested tablets which are clearly visible. I may have overlooked the answer to my question in the above responses, so please forgive me if this is the case. My question is this: have you done any radiographic studies, either static or motion x rays, that show that the tables you ingest are fully digested before exiting your body?

    I don’t ask to discredit your work. That is to say even if you do pass some partially undigested tablets, bulking up on dosage may be the only way to achieve the total intake (digested, metabolized) amount you are seeking.

  91. Hey Ferris – I purchased the book on Kindle so I don’t have access to page numbers for logging into the forum! Help please.


  92. Tim, I read your book and started the slow carb diet 2 weeks ago. The first week (even though it was a few days before menstruation) I lost 3 pounds. After menstruation it was cheat day (Saturday) which put 2 pounds back on; and at the end of week 2 I’ve only lost a pound and my measurements are the same. I have stuck closely to the diet with the exception of powder cream in my 2 cups of coffee each morning with a packet of splenda. Can the small amount of powder cream and splenda prohibit weight loss altogether? Am I doing something else wrong? Also, I’m starting to get scared that maybe the way I am eating pinto beans is bad. I have cooked them with vegetable broth, shallots, water, butter, salt, and pepper, and I also order borracho beans at restaurants sometimes. Would either of these cause me not to lose weight? Also, I always eat breakfast within an hour of waking up, but never within 30 minutes…will this also prohibit weight loss/results? Thanks for your help. If anyone else has any insight PLEASE share. Thanks.