How Effective Is the 4 Day Diet for Weight Loss?

Ian Smith invented the 4 day diet as a motivational tool to aid dieters who have trouble sticking to long term, complicated diet programs. The 4 day diet changes around its menu every 4 days, with the argument that anyone can get through a 4 day phase in the program. However, you may be wondering if it is truly effective for weight loss.

How Does It Work?

The 4 day diet is broken up into 7 phases of 4 days a piece. Each phase offers a different menu of foods that you can eat during those 4 days. After the phase is done, you can move onto the next one. The first 2 phases must be done in order and after that, you can complete the remaining phases in any order you choose.

The goal of the 4 day diet is to help you start over by eating only fresh fruits and vegetables and gradually learning how to control portions and eat better. And unlike many fad diets, it does actually contain an exercise program—one that allows you to tailor it to your own fitness level.

Is It Effective?

Undoubtedly, you will lose weight while on this program. The calorie counts for most days are around 1000 to 1800. However, eating less than 1300 or so calories a day can be dangerous for your body. It can cause your metabolism to slow down and your body to store more fat. The body will also often burn muscle mass when consuming a calorie count that’s too low. In addition, with so few calories in your diet, you aren’t likely to have enough energy to exercise. Diet and exercise both are important if you want to be able to maintain long term weight loss.

Furthermore, while the 4 day diet does teach you to eat healthy foods, it doesn’t teach you to eat them in a balanced way. During one phase, for instance, you will be eating only fruits and vegetables. While in another, you can eat anything you want (in moderation).

The 4 day diet is not without its good points. Motivation is always a helpful tool for weight loss, and the idea of keeping a journal to keep track of your food is always recommended. Its emphasis on healthy foods and controlled portions is good advice, as well as its emphasis on exercise. However, its implementation is not the way you should structure your diet, which should consist of a balanced diet rather than a mismatch. The best advice would be to take the best elements of the 4 day diet and combine them with better elements from other diet plans, to make a diet that works best for you.


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