Warrior Diet: Everything You Should Know About Intermittent Fasting 20/4
It has been rightly said that the root cause of every health issue is the choice of what you put into your mouth. An unhealthy lifestyle characterized by overeating with little to no physical activity has never failed to make individuals prone to many health conditions. Thankfully, due to the increasing awareness of healthy eating among people, a general trend has been observed recently towards the adoption of a healthier and more holistic lifestyle. One of the major concerns when it comes to fitness and health is maintaining good practices like that of healthy eating and exercising over a period of time. Between diet and exercise, it is the former that commands a greater significance in a person’s overall well-being.
Over recent years, there has been a lot of buzz in the fitness industry regarding various kinds of diet. Every other year, we are bombarded with a range of exotics diets that promise huge things. Whether it’s the Mediterranean diet, keto diet, vegan diet, or slow-carb diet, each one of them have a massive following. There are many loyal followers of these diets. One of the diets which have been around for quite but is now seeing a surge in its popularity is the warrior diet. In case you are unfamiliar, then the name might confuse you. Let us explore this peculiar way of eating in a greater detail.
Where Did the Warrior Diet Come from?
A warrior, Credit: Canva
So what is this new fad? Why has it recently been advocated by so many health gurus and fitness fanatics out there? Warrior diet is also known as 20/4 intermittent fasting. Again, you might wonder, what is the 20 4 diet? This way of eating was developed a few decades back by Ori Hofmekler. He wrote about his own experiences with this kind of eating in a book titled ‘ The Warrior Diet: Switch on Your Biological Powerhouse For High Energy, Explosive Strength, and a Leaner, Harder Body’.
Ori served in the Israili special forces. During his long tenure in the army, he was quite inspired by the eating styles of the archaic warrior tribes who lived in Rome and Sparta. Thus, if you follow this diet, it will mean that you will observe an eating lifestyle of the ancient warriors, hunters, and gatherers of primitive societies.
So how did warriors of these ancient tribes actually ate and fuelled themselves for the whole life of grueling training for the battlefield? One of the defining characteristics of the warrior diet is that a person consumes most of the calories from his or her meals in the later part of the day, that is, during dinner. It is how the warriors of the past sustained themselves. They trained and fought all day long and ate a massive feast as evening rose.
Now you must be dying to know the answer to the question, What do you eat on the Warrior Diet? Those looking to lose weight might be eager to learn are warrior diet results real? Let us address all your burning queries now.
The Warrior Diet – General Guidelines
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No one is unfamiliar to the term Intermittent Fasting or IF. It is a kind of eating plan in which you consume your meals at certain hours during the day and maintain a fasting during all the other hours. The most typical example of intermittent fasting is the 16/8 IF method. Here, you fast for 16 hours a day and eat for 8 hours. Other variants of intermittent fasting include the 14/8 method, where you are allowed to eat only between 10 a.m and 8 a.m.
Warrior diet is quite a severe form of intermittent fasting in which you are allowed to eat for only four hours in the evening and spend 20 hours of the rest of the day in a fasting mode. These four hours are called your ‘eating window.’ During the fasting period, you can only eat very small meals comprising eggs, vegetables, fruits, and dairy. During your feeding window, you can eat the largest meal of your day.
No one can straight away begin the warrior diet . Your body needs some time to adjust and adapt to its requirements. Start slowly by fasting for 5-6 hours or eating very low-calorie meals in those hours, and then gradually extend the fasting window until you can live without food for twenty hours straight. Once your body gets adjusted to this kind of eating, it will be very easy for you to follow it. Let us look at the various kinds of food that you can eat in the warrior diet.
What Is Warrior Diet Plan?
Diet plan illustration, Credit: Canva
One of the foremost rules of warrior diet is that you should consume only nutrition dense and unprocessed food items. The diet does not prescribe any set calorie limit. It just outlines the foods that you should eat, the foods that you should not eat, and the eating and fasting window. Here are all the kinds of food that you can consume during your undereating or fasting phase. They include:
Protein rich food items like hard boiled or poached eggs
Dairy products like milk, cheese, and yogurt
Chicken or beef broth
Raw and fresh vegetables like green vegetables, carrots, onions, mushrooms, pepper, and the like
Different types of fruits like mango, kiwi, apples, bananas, pineapples, peach
different types of vegetable juices like that of carrot and beetroot juice
Very small quantities of oil like olive oil
Water, and beverages like tea, coffee
Keep in mind that these food items should be eaten in very small quantities during your under eating window. Some of the food items that can be consumed during the overeating or feeding window are:
Protein rich food items like chicken, steak, turkey, eggs, and fish
Starches and root vegetables like potatoes and sweet potatoes, beans, corn, turnip, and the like
Grains like bread, pasta, oats, quinoa, barley, ragi, among others
Dairy products like milk, cheese, and yogurt
You can cook vegetables like cauliflower, brussel sprouts, broccoli, cabbage, and the like
Healthy fats like nuts, seeds, avocado, and olive oil
When you are on a warrior diet, you cannot eat processed or store bought food items. The ancient warriors of primitive societies did not have the luxury to indulge themselves in store bought, high sugar products that are available in the market. Following this principle, make it a point to stay away from nutritionally deficient, high-fat foods like fast and fried foods, refined carbohydrates rich food items like pastries, cookies, and cakes, and high-fat foods like chips and crackers.
The Warrior Diet Benefits You Need to Know
Promotes effective weight loss
Helps to stabilise blood sugar levels
Protects brain health
Combats inflammatory diseases
1. Promotes Effective Weight Loss
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Weight loss and consequent better health is something which is the main forte of every diet that is formulated for people. After all, people want to see quick results and by following a diet they can achieve all their weight loss goals. Considering the extreme protocols of this diet, you might be intrigued to know, How much weight can you lose on the Warrior Diet? Depending upon where you are at your fitness journey, you can lose a significant amount of weight with it. The 20 hour fasting window is long enough for the fat burning process to begin in the body.
Following the diet everyday will push your body to burn a lot of fat. However, bear in mind that there is no set calorie limit in this diet. You need to first identify how much calories you should consume in order to lose weight and then organize your meals as per the time frame mentioned in this diet to see warrior diet results.
2. Helps to Stabilize Blood Sugar Levels
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The modern generation faces the looming threat of many chronic health conditions.. More and more people are being diagnosed with this disease as a fast-paced lifestyle becomes the standard in today’s society. Not only adults, even kids are getting prone to developing obesity and consequent high blood sugar issues. One of the foremost ways of experiencing improved blood sugar levels is to fast every day. Studies have time and again linked fasting with high insulin sensitivity and better blood sugar levels. Hence, warrior diet can be quite effective for those people who want to keep their blood sugar levels in check. But you have to keep in mind that during your eating window, you should abstain from consuming sugary and high carbohydrates foods.
3. Protects Brain Health
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Brain is one of our vital organs and it is essential for us to take full care of its health. As we age, the health of our brain, much like the other organs of our body starts to deteriorate. It can lead to a host of other health conditions that can even turn out to be fatal. According to the researches conducted by scientists on the efficiency of the warrior diet, it has been found out that this diet has a significant potential for minimizing the occurrence of brain related disorders like Alzheimers.
It restores Aquaporin-4 Polarity and lipoproteins to the brain. Hence, the diet is beneficial in safeguarding the brain from developing potentially dangerous diseases. The warrior diet makes all of it possible through the extended period of fasting that it recommends. Fasting is an efficient method to keep not only the brain health but the whole body’s health at its peak.
4. Combats Inflammatory Diseases
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Did you know that human beings fall prey to most of the life-threatening diseases of the heart, brain, and cancer due to inflammation in their bodies? Yes, inflammation due to consuming processed and unhealthy food items over a period of time can make people seriously ill. Studies done by experts have repeatedly shown a positive connection between extended periods of fasting and reduction in inflammation of the body. Fasting done by following the warrior diet can help boost your lifespan, and eliminate the threat of developing chronic disorders. Not only this, as your body’s inflammation recedes, your immunity levels become high and you are able to efficiently fight-off a wide range of infections and diseases.
Are There Any Downsides to the Warrior Diet?
Woman binging on food, Credit: Canva
There is no doubt that warrior diet is an extremely severe form of intermittent fasting that a majority of the people may find difficult to stick to. It is a well known fact that diets only work when they are followed over an extended period of time. Moreover, not everyone can stay without food for more than half of the day. Remaining without food for such a long time does the opposite of what is promised, it leads to more cravings, hunger pangs, and other such things which leads one to reach out for unhealthy food items rather than stay away from them.
Another front on which this diet is yet to score a point is the high risk of binge eating tendencies that may develop due to strictly adhering to it. Binge eating happens when people become extremely hungry and they cannot control their hunger anymore. On a 20 hour fasting window, you can become prone to hunger and during your eating window, eat massive amounts of food that derail all your weight loss efforts. Moreover, continuously binging and fasting can give rise to eating disorders like bulimia and slowly you find yourself powerless over your cravings in front of the food in general.
The warrior diet should not be followed by certain people like pregnant or nursing women, and those who have existing health conditions and are dependent on various medications. Often, a medicine is consumed after or before a meal and people who are fasting cannot consume medicines without food. Also, staying without food for such long periods of time can make you feel dizzy, anxious, and stressful. You might feel exhausted from time to time. If you are unable to deal with these aspects of the diet, then it’s best to stay away from it.
On the whole, we can say that not everyone can follow such hard protocols of fasting. You can reap all the benefits of it by following other styles of warrior diet that are less severe. If you are looking to go ahead with this diet, then it’s best to ease into it gradually, rather than all of a sudden.