United-States flag


Slow Carb Diet FAQs

Here is a list of frequently asked questions about the slow carb diet. Before you even think about posting a question related to SCD, please read the book, available here.

Is Food X ok to eat on SCD?

Website with invaluable information: Self magazine nutritional data, contains very detailed nutritional data on a very wide array of specific foods. There is also this thread containing a long list of foods to eat, not eat, and eat in moderation. If all these still don't answer your question, there is a search box at the top of these forums; search there to check if someone asked the same question before. If, for any reason, you are still have a shadow of doubt regarding Food X, you can always create a new post, and the wonderful members here will be happy to share their knowledge and experience.

No dairy or bread? Really?

Really. Cottage cheese, butter, and margarine are ok in moderation. Ghee contains no lactose (which is a sugar), and is therefore ok.

Food X is described as "in moderation." How much can I have each day?

Everyone has different tolerances of these foods, so the only way to know for sure is to experiment (self-experimentation with the techniques in the book is encouraged in the book).

Five eggs in the morning is so much food. Do I really need to eat so much?

Eating 30 grams of protein within 30 minutes of waking is an essential cornerstone of SCD. If you find that to be too much food all at once, you can remove the yolks from the eggs, or try subbing out some eggs for chicken breast or steak, which are very protein-dense. Also don't forget to count any protein in vegetables you have with breakfast.

Tim says that successful dieters have limited variety in their diet. Does that mean I should eat the same thing every day?

Absolutely not. Doing so for extended periods of time can cause the body to develop allergies to the foods consumed every day. A cheat day is not a long enough break to prevent such allergies from developing. More information can be found in this thread.

Which protein powders are ok on Slow Carb Diet?

One of Tim's rules regarding SCD is that you do not drink calories! If you are in an inescapable bind, there are powders out there that have a sufficiently low carbohydrate content (like Isopure Zero Carb), but they still may hinder or prevent weight loss on this diet due to artificial sweeteners or other ingredients; use them at your own risk.

I am short on time a lot. Are protein bars, energy bars, or protein powders ok on SCD?

Mostly no, because these kinds of products are designed to contain simple carbs (sugars, wheat, etc.), and eliminating simple carbs is the purpose of SCD. These kinds of products are ok after a resistance training workout if you're trying to build muscle (refer to the chapter on Occam's Protocol).

Can I be vegetarian or vegan on Slow Carb Diet?

Absolutely. Lacto-ovo vegetarians will find it much easier than will vegans, since eggs are much more protein-dense than soy or beans. Refer to the chapter "The Meatless Machine" in the book.

Do I really have to do a cheat day?

Yes. It is necessary to spike your caloric intake periodically (recommended weekly) to prevent your body from entering into starvation mode, in which it will hang on to every last calorie it can, slowing your metabolism to a crawl. Unless you're very close to starting The Last Mile (if you're around 12% body fat), you need multiple high-calorie meals on Cheat Day.

Help! I've gained a ton of weight after Cheat Day!

Don't panic. Most of the weight gained from Cheat Day is fluid-retention, and nearly all of the rest is the weight of the food in your digestive tract. Some people do not lose all of this weight until the day before their next cheat day, so be patient, and don't let the scale be in charge of how you how to feel! Also, if you're worried you actually did gain fat from Cheat Day, remember to use the techniques described in the Damage Control section of the book for next week.

I've been on SCD for X weeks, and I don't weigh any less or have gained weight!

Again, do not let the scale tell you how to feel! It is common to gain muscle mass on this diet since it is so high in protein (especially the first few weeks). Remember that Tim states in the book that the scale is a blunt instrument to measure fat loss. Instead, measure your total inches again and see what it comes out to be; it will most likely have decreased since you began the diet.

Why did fat loss stall, slow, or plateau?

Remember that fat loss and weight loss are not the same thing. Ensure that your level of fat has not changed, and not just your weight by measuring your body fat percentage directly (#calipers, DEXA, BodPod, etc.), or by measuring total inches. If all of these have remained the same or slowed for the past 2 or 3 weeks, re-evaluate your diet. Here are some guidelines.

____Eat 30 grams of protein within 30 minutes of waking up. 30in30

____Drink at least 3-4 liters of water per day.

____Eat at least 20 grams of protein in every meal after breakfast.

____Eat fewer than 1 to 1.5 cups of legumes per day.

____Eat at least as many vegetables per meal as protein and legumes combined.

____Cut back on foods that are supposed to be consumed in moderation.

____Make sure your meals are not overly-complicated.

____Ensure you are not eating too little or too much relative to your RMR (resting metabolic rate, which can be calculated here.

If you are doing everything in the above list correctly, post your diet, and include everything, including sauces, spices, and approximate quantities.

Are artificial sweeteners ok on SCD?

The bottom line on this one is that you have to experiment with them yourself. Some people have no trouble with them, others can only handle one or two, and some can't handle any at all. Sweeteners, even though they contain 0 sugar, 0 carbs, and 0 calories, can still produce an insulinemic response, which tells the body to store fat. Some studies show that people who use artificial sweeteners actually have bigger waistlines than those who avoid the stuff.

Is grass-fed beef really necessary on this diet? It's so expensive!

No, it is not necessary to consume grass-fed beef. Tim recommends it because of all the hormones and antibiotics that linger in the fat of the cow, that we then consume. Regarding fat loss, grass-fed beef can assist since it contains much higher levels of CLA (conjugated linoleic acid), which is known to reduce body fat and increase lean muscle mass, so grass-fed is a definite plus.

The book said something about avoiding soy. Does that mean soy is non-SCD?

No; soy is SCD-approved. Tim recommends avoiding soy products because they produce phytoestrogens (plant-based chemicals that mimic estrogen) in the body, and can lead to a whole host of health problems, including fat gain. There is a post regarding soy products that can be found here. There is currently no solid scientific evidence that proves that soy has harmful effects in the human body, so you will have to form your own opinion on the issue.

Last Updated 10 Jul 2012


The Best Answer

United-States flag

Awesome post!!! Love the links, too!

One question: Can I eat spit-roasted bats? Oh, never mind...I guess that would be protein....


  • 42Wired commented Sep 29th 2011:

    Bats are fine, as long as their insect-fed bats, and not fruit bats.


  • Gretchen Linden commented Sep 29th 2011:

    LOL!!! Good one!

  • Phil Michalak commented Oct 10th 2011:

    Wish I had read this before eating that fruit bat... damn...

  • TeaLove commented Oct 11th 2011:

    Just do some damage control after you eat the fruit bat....should be fine ;)

  • Alan Honig commented Jun 29th 2013:

    Great post. I lost five pounds total in three weeks but virtually nothing the last two weeks. I've lost fat though and now fit in clothes that I haven't worn for many months; therefore, I have not lost any faith in the diet. The one mistake that I've been making is eating WAY too many legumes and not eating enough vegetables. I'm going to change that after cheat day. Thanks again.

  • Andrew Markovich commented Sep 8th 2014:
    So does he mean less than a cup to 1.5 cups of legumes a day, cooked or raw? Because about 1/4 cup raw boils to about a cup... that's where I'm a little confused?
  • Dayna King commented Feb 19th 2015:
    Cooked, as he doesn't even buy the dried ones he buys canned so I would assume the 1.5 cup rule applies to fully cooked and ready to eat legumes.

All Answers


United-States flag

We love you!!!!

  • 4hBod commented Dec 19th 2011:

    Love you too!!! Thank you so mmuch or ALL the support! Cannot wait to post my before and after pics on here soon! xoxo


Canada flag

You, my friend, are AWESOME!


United-States flag

thank you for that slow carb and diet facts that answered all my questions! you rock


Botswana flag



United-States flag

Wow, this is truly awesome. YOU ROCK!

I love the first point.. "READ THE BOOK"

I feel like some people still haven't =/


United-States flag

this is great

thanks for taking the time to put this together for us


United-States flag

This tip has given my SCD new life. Thank you so much. You put my diet chaos back into perspective completely.

  • gracefulklutz commented Feb 22nd 2012:

    This is a HUGE help! The links were especially helpful. Thank you so much!


United-States flag

This covers all the bases! It also helps me figure out how to use some of the features here on this forum. This is ALL new to me I appreciate all the help that I can get! I appreciate that you took the time to help others. Very cool! :)


United-States flag

wow... thanks so much... scale and total inches stuck for last 8 days....sniff sniff. according to this I'm eating way too many beans... I hope that does the trick


Ireland flag

The more time goes on, the more i think this should be attached to the forum homepage!

Wait...... NO BREAD?!



Australia flag

I think margarine should be avoided since it is a trans-fat :(

  • Cathieely Enter last name commented Nov 17th 2011:

    jim says in his book to try ghee butter youll thank him. i dont use it like i was i cut down alot.

  • 42Wired commented Nov 17th 2011:

    You can make ghee really easily. I posted a thread about it.

  • Sam Green commented Nov 17th 2011:

    I would never touch margarine anyway, nasty stuff! It's a shame that people think it's better for them , they avoid butter because they think the saturated fat gives them heart disease when actually it's the margarine that will :/

  • Cathieely Enter last name commented Dec 15th 2011:

    i only use it for cooking veggies and onions and maybe on a piece of toast for my boy friend i love it!!!!!!!!!!!! cut out beans to only once a day can see a big difference:)

  • Sam Green commented Dec 27th 2011:

    Goes great with scrambled eggs too ;)

  • Dmayoff Mayoff commented Oct 29th 2012:

    who is Jim?


United-States flag

Everyone joining this forum should read this first! great info.

  • Juan Pinillos commented Nov 15th 2012:

    I agree, this should be part of the welcome package

  • G G commented Jun 28th 2013:

    They need to PIN this to the top forever.


Canada flag

We are just starting the Slow carb diet and this was extremely helpful - thank you!


United-States flag

Wow Thanks! This was an amazing breakdown for a brand new member of the SCD community like myself. Thank you so much!!

Like this post? Share it!

Join the 4 Hour Body Superhumans!

Join our community and be a part of the superhuman revolution!