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Nutrition » Diets » The Warrior diet: Benefits, Side Effects, and Weight Loss

The Warrior diet: Benefits, Side Effects, and Weight Loss

Today, more and more people start changing their lives. Stressful lifestyle, unhealthy eating habits, lack of sleep and physical activity – all these factors may lead to dangerous diseases. To improve their health, many people start with improving their nutrition. In the modern world, there are hundreds of potentially effective dietary plans, such as the paleo diet or the keto diet, and it may be quite difficult to choose the best one from such a great variety of them. You could try following the Warrior Diet, which is claimed to help with not only weight loss, but also health maintenance.

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What is the warrior diet?

Nowadays, intermittent fasting is gaining popularity among the dieters all over the world because of its weight loss and health benefits (3).

The warrior diet is a nutrition plan which involves fasting for quite a long period of time. This type of intermittent fasting is a stricter one. The dieters eat in the manner of ancient warriors: they fast for 20 hours and eat high amounts of food for 4 hours in the evening.

Ori Hofmekler, an outstanding author in the world of fitness and health, designed the warrior diet. He claims that when it comes to the warrior diet, it is more about the lifestyle. However, this nutrition plan was created without scientific background. It is based on the author’s personal experience and observations.

How does the warrior diet work?

This diet involves only a four-hour “overeating period” during the day. The rest of the time, dieters should fast. The author claims that the modern problems of obesity, diabetes and other widespread health conditions are caused by eating too many meals per day. That’s why eating for a short four-hour window could help you get a slim and healthy body.

A vegetable salad with berries and chickpeas

How to start the warrior diet and what to eat?

As it has been mentioned, this diet consists of two parts: fasting and overeating. However, the dieters are also allowed to eat certain foods during the day to satisfy the hunger. Keep in mind, that during the phase of “overeating”, you should consume only nutrient-rich, unprocessed and healthy meals. There are three main phases of the diet which will make it easier for you to follow.

The first phase 

This phase takes one week. Your task is to detox your body, which is why during the 20-hour fasting period, you are allowed to eat and drink only foods with minimal calories, such as the following:

  • Clear soup broth
  • Water, tea, coffee (unsweetened)
  • Vegetable juice
  • Raw fruits
  • Vegetables
  • Eggs
  • Plain yogurt
  • Olive oil and vinegar as a salad dressing
During the four-hour window you can eat such meals as:
  • Vegetable salad
  • Steamed vegetables
  • Beans and legumes
  • Brown rice, wild rice, quinoa, barley (no wheat products)

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The second phase

This phase of the diet includes high-fat foods and lasts for one week. You can to eat salads and steamed veggies from the list above. However, your meal plan for the four-hour period may include 4-6 ounces of lean cuts of meat and poultry, as well as low-fat dairy. You can also eat a handful of your favorite nuts. No starches and grains during this phase.

The third phase

The third week alternates between high-carbohydrate and high-protein days. During this phase, 1-2 high-protein days should be followed by 1-2 high-carb days. During the four-hour overeating period you are allowed to eat the same foods as in the previous phase with one difference: your main sources of carbohydrates on the high-carb days should include:

  • Rice, barley, oats, quinoa, corn, peas
  • Potato, sweet potato,
  • Butternut squash, pumpkin
  • Pasta, bread

When the circle is over, you should repeat it, starting from the first phase. The author of the diet also suggests taking multivitamins. This way, the dieters can avoid nutrient deficiencies.

Sources of carbs

Pros and cons

Pros:

  • The diet may help to lose weight
  • Fasting in general may decrease cholesterol levels (1)
  • The diet may promote improved cardiovascular health (1)
  • Fasting may improve blood sugar levels

Cons:

  • The diet may lead to binge eating
  • Possible nutrient deficiency
  • This eating plan may cause numerous side effects (for example, fatigue, stress, anxiety, hormonal disruption, moods swings and more)
  • The diet is quite difficult to follow
  • It may be dangerous for certain groups of people (for instance, people with type 2 diabetes (2), pregnant women and more)
  • You might choose unhealthy foods during the four-hour phase.

FAQs

What foods should I avoid?

You should avoid fried foods, highly processed foods and chemical additives. It is also important to avoid alcoholic drinks, but you can have a glass of wine during the dinner.

Can I exercise while sticking to this diet?

It is essential to be careful when it comes to working out. For some people, it is easy to exercise on an empty stomach, but it can be troublesome for others. A 20-hour fasting period can cause dizziness, fatigue and even dehydration, which in combination with physical exercises can be dangerous for your health.

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Conclusion

To sum up, this nutrition plan is gaining popularity among the dieters, however, there is no scientific background for you to understand whether it is really effective or not. Moreover, there are a number of side effects, which could lead to serious health issues. Just because this meal plan works for others, it doesn’t mean that you’ll get the same results. For that reason, before you start following the warrior diet, it is highly important to consult a health professional. Remember: to get a strong and slim body it is essential to follow a healthy and balanced diet (4).

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DISCLAIMER:

This article is intended for general informational purposes only and does not address individual circumstances. It is not a substitute for professional advice or help and should not be relied on to make decisions of any kind. Any action you take upon the information presented in this article is strictly at your own risk and responsibility!

SOURCES:

  1. Fasting diet: Can it improve my heart health? (2019, mayoclinic.org)
  2. Intermittent fasting in Type 2 diabetes mellitus and the risk of hypoglycaemia: a randomized controlled trial (2018, ncbi.nlm.nih.gov)
  3. Intermittent Fasting: The Choice for a Healthier Lifestyle (2018, ncbi.nlm.nih.gov)
  4. Nutrition and healthy eating (2019, mayoclinic.org)
Lana Woods

Lana Woods

Lana is an excellent writer driven largely by questions of health and mental well-being. She specializes in writing articles on both nutrition and exercise. Nothing brings her as much pleasure as helping others get their health back on track. In her works, she provides informative tips on how you can change your lifestyle for the better, develop healthy eating habits, and improve your well-being with the help of workouts. Besides, in recent years she became more interested in studying weight management, gearing her focus towards healthy weight loss approaches.

Kristen Fleming

Kristen Fleming

I am a U.S. educated and trained Registered Dietitian (MS, RD, CNSC) with clinical and international development experience. I have experience conducting systematic reviews and evaluating the scientific literature both as a graduate student and later to inform my own evidence-based practice as an RD. I am currently based in Lusaka, Zambia after my Peace Corps service was cut short due to the COVID-19 pandemic and looking for some meaningful work to do as I figure out next steps. This would be my first freelance project, but I am a diligent worker and quite used to independent and self-motivated work.

Kristen Fleming, MS, RD, CNSC

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