Mastering the Art of the Warrior Diet
The Warrior Diet is a scheduled dietary program that allows individuals to eat during specific hours of the day and have no restrictions outside of those hours. The goal of this diet is to achieve high energy, explosive power, fitness, and muscle building.
This nutrition approach, known as intermittent fasting, has a long history and was even used by Hippocrates and Pythagoras, who promoted the benefits of fasting.
What is the Warrior Diet and what does it do?
The Warrior Diet is a fasting-based dietary program designed based on the principles of survival and nutrition. Its goal is to aid weight loss and fat burning by consuming the highest amount of calories within a 4-hour time window.
This diet takes inspiration from the eating patterns of ancient warriors who would consume small amounts of food during the day and indulge in feasting and celebration at night, where they would have their main meal.
The creator of this diet acknowledges that it is based on their personal habits and preferences and does not have a specific scientific foundation. Followers of this diet are required to fast for 20 hours, consuming small amounts of dairy products, eggs, broth, raw fruits and vegetables, and calorie-free fluids.
After this period, individuals can eat anything they like within a 4-hour window. However, this diet encourages the use of unprocessed, healthy, and organic foods.
The Warrior Diet consists of different phases(1), with the first phase lasting for three weeks, followed by changes in the individual’s dietary plan. Supporters of this diet claim that it increases energy levels and aids in cellular repair.
What is the philosophy behind the Warrior Diet and how does it work?
The philosophy behind the Warrior Diet is based on following the natural cycles of life to enhance human survival(2). This dietary cycle includes periods of fasting and feasting, exercise and rest, wakefulness and sleep.
According to the creators of this diet, disrupting this natural cycle due to stress or frequent meal consumption has a negative impact on human capabilities and reduces performance.
Supporters of this diet believe that the main reason for weight gain and obesity in most people is the disruption of this natural chain. However, no independent scientific research has been able to provide evidence to support this claim.
The Warrior Diet consists of three main phases, each with a specific duration and pursuing a separate goal:
Phase 1 (Detoxification)
This phase lasts for one week and aims to improve the body’s capacity to eliminate toxins. The liver will be able to purify more fat during this phase and enhance overall body health.
Phase 2 (Fat Burning)
This two-week phase focuses on improving the body’s ability to burn fat and provide energy.
Phase 3 (Adaptation and Carbohydrate Burning)
Lasting for three weeks, this phase aims to enhance the body’s ability to utilize carbohydrates. Each of these phases has separate periods of fasting and feasting, usually with feasting occurring after dinner.
What are the benefits of the Warrior Diet?
No specific scientific research has been conducted to examine the benefits of this diet, but generally, time-restricted and fasting-based diets have the following advantages:
1-It may aid in weight loss
Individuals who consume their meals in a regular and planned manner tend to experience greater weight loss compared to those who consume the same amount of calories without planning. Additionally, individuals who have one meal a day may lose body fat and muscle mass faster, indicating a higher rate of weight loss. Following this diet typically leads to a significant reduction in calorie intake, which is why many people adhere to it, although there is a risk of consuming excessive calories during the nighttime feasting period, which can lead to weight gain.
2-It enhances brain health
Intermittent fasting periods may contribute to improved brain function. This dietary approach can reduce inflammation and potentially have a positive impact on memory and learning. Some believe that the Warrior Diet may have a protective effect against Alzheimer’s disease.
3-It can reduce inflammation
Inflammation is a major contributor to heart disease, diabetes, and certain types of cancer. Studies have shown that intermittent fasting may be an effective way to reduce inflammation in various areas of the body.
4-Fasting makes blood sugar control easier
Some studies suggest that fasting can help control blood sugar levels in individuals with type 2 diabetes. Timed eating patterns can be beneficial in reducing fasting and post-meal blood sugar levels.
Disadvantages of the Warrior Diet
The Warrior Diet can be highly restrictive for most individuals and can drain their energy for daily activities. Additionally, it may lead to dangerous side effects such as excessive fatigue, irritability, and nutrient deficiencies.
When choosing a diet plan, individuals should seek solutions that meet their daily nutritional and vitamin needs while aligning with their lifestyle. Research has not shown whether intermittent fasting is safe for individuals with average weight, young people, and the elderly.
The Warrior Diet may not be suitable for individuals with physical ailments, breastfeeding women, underweight individuals, and those with eating disorders. Athletes and individuals regularly participating in physical activities may require a higher calorie intake for training, which may not be met by this diet.
Adhering to this diet plan can be challenging for social activities and gatherings. Some individuals have reported side effects such as disrupted eating patterns during this diet. It is always advisable to consult a nutrition specialist before starting a new diet plan to minimize potential risks.
How to follow the Warrior Diet
Here, we will provide a simple guideline followed by its proponents to familiarize you with this dietary plan.
The allowable foods from waking up until before dinner are very limited and include the following items. Consumption of animal protein such as red meat, chicken, and fish is prohibited during this phase of the diet. Instead, individuals should consume small portions of fruits, raw vegetables, and salads. Consuming small servings of dairy products like plain yogurt or milk is also allowed.
Boiled or steamed eggs are also a good choice throughout the day. In this stage, individuals can have their tea and coffee with milk and without sugar. Consumption of fresh fruit juices is also permitted.
Sample suitable lunch
Vegetable soup and meat broth, mixed salad with minimal olive oil and vinegar dressing, and a boiled egg.
- celery juice,
An interesting point is that after dinner, individuals have freedom and can rest for 20 minutes after each meal and then continue eating. If an individual still feels hungry after receiving food, they can continue eating until they feel satisfied. The breaks between evening meals give individuals the opportunity to receive satiety signals from their bodies before consuming more food.
Acceptable afternoon snacks:
- Salad with minimal olive oil and vinegar dressing,
- Steamed vegetables such as broccoli, zucchini, carrots, and spinach,
- Grains such as brown rice, oats, and quinoa,
- Goat cheese, yogurt, cottage cheese, boiled eggs, and kefir.
In addition, during the first week, individuals should avoid all sugars and desserts, as well as wheat consumption.
In this phase, individuals should consume a handful of nuts with their meals in the evenings. Fatty foods such as nuts and seeds help regulate satiety hormones.
The foods and portion control guidelines are similar to week 1. Individuals can continue the eating plan from week 1, but the consumption of animal proteins such as red meat, fish, and beans is allowed in this phase.
The consumption of nuts takes priority in this phase of the diet. Therefore, individuals who feel satiated after consuming meat and animal protein and cannot eat nuts are better off eliminating animal proteins. The use of almonds and walnuts is highly recommended in this stage. Consumption of starchy foods and sweets is prohibited during week 2.
In this phase, high-carbohydrate and high-protein foods are alternated, and the nutrition should follow the following cycle:
- 1 to 2 days of high-carbohydrate intake
- 1 to 2 days of low-carbohydrate and high-protein intake
- 1 to 2 days of high-carbohydrate intake
- 1 to 2 days of low-carbohydrate and high-protein intake
The low-consumption foods are similar to weeks 1 and 2.
In this phase, Warrior Diet enthusiasts can add high-carbohydrate foods according to the defined cycle during the feasting period.
The main carbohydrates allowed in each meal on the Warrior Diet are:
- Sweet potatoes
- Butternut squash
- Acorn squash
Carbohydrates should be consumed in limited amounts in this diet, and there should still be a 20-minute gap between feasting meals.
After Week 3:
After the initial 3 weeks, individuals can use the two-week meal plan based on their personal needs and preferences. When completing the initial phase, individuals can also enjoy their preferred beverages alongside high-protein meals.
The Warrior Diet also recommends its enthusiasts to use dietary supplements such as multivitamins, minerals, and amino acids.
What is essential to know about the Warrior Diet?
During the 20-hour fasting period, individuals should consume the minimum possible calories. If someone needs to host an event during this diet, the best time for it would be during the evening and night.
Feasting meals in the Warrior Diet are best sourced from healthy fats and protein provided by dairy sources. The key aspect of this diet is the timing, which contributes to body composition and muscle building.
This diet plan is appealing to night owls as it allows them to eat whatever they desire during that period. However, in countries where breakfast and lunch commitments are prevalent, this diet may not be as popular. Additionally, adhering to this diet can be risky for individuals with type 1 diabetes.
Working individuals may encounter difficulties during the daily fasting period when engaging in daily activities. This is not just a dietary approach but a lifestyle that may not be suitable for contemporary humans.
Although no specific scientific research has confirmed the effectiveness of the Warrior Diet, intermittent fasting recommended in this diet plan may have health benefits and contribute to weight reduction.
This diet plan may not be suitable and safe for everyone, as some individuals have experienced eating disorders after following this diet. The complexity and limitations of this diet mean that adhering to it outside of the home environment may not be straightforward and may pose challenges in social situations.
Maintaining health and weight reduction can be achieved through adopting a healthy lifestyle without the necessity of restrictive programs like the Warrior Diet.
Individuals seeking an appropriate weight loss plan should consult with a nutrition specialist to develop a customized program based on their needs. If you still insist on following the Warrior Diet, it is essential to consult with your physician before any action.