Today, intermittent fasting is a common phrase, but back in 2002 when The Warrior Diet was published, the idea of only eating during specific times was pretty new. Like the paleo diet and other similar diets, this eating plan is based on mimicking the supposed eating patterns of our ancestors.
In the case of the Warrior Diet, however, the focus is not only on what our ancestors ate, but also when they ate it. Like any intermittent fasting plan, the Warrior Diet limits the times of day you are allowed to eat, advocating only one meal per day. But is this way of eating effective for weight loss and, above all, is it safe and sustainable over the long term? This guide will tell you everything you need to know.
What is the Warrior Diet?
The Warrior Diet is based on a book of the same name written by Ori Hofmekler, and it claims to “ignite your biological powerhouse for high energy, explosive strength, and a leaner, harder body.”
The diet is a version of intermittent fasting that alternates a period of fasting with a small window of time in which you can eat all the calories for the day. The warrior diet encourages exercise and food deprivation during the day, when our nomadic and hunter-gatherer ancestors were likely busy finding food rather than eating it. As for exercise, the plan encourages short workouts that focus on strength training, especially for the joints and back, and high-speed exercises such as jumps, kicks foot and sprints.
During the day, raw vegetables and fruits, small amounts of protein, and beverages like water, natural juices, coffee, and tea are allowed. The book says this period should be no longer than 16 to 18 hours, but many newer variations of the diet encourage no eating or no eating at all for 20 hours. Then, in the evening, you have a hearty meal. There are no restrictions on the amount or type of food you eat, so you can include all the protein, fat, and carbs you want.
How does the warrior diet work?
The diet claims that fasting produces fat-burning hormones, allows your body to use protein more efficiently, stabilizes your blood sugar levels, increases testosterone and growth hormone levels, and allows acids amino to act favorably on the brain. Therefore, at the end of the food deprivation phase, your body is able to eat a lot of food without gaining body fat.
Diets that focus on intermittent fasting, like the warrior diet, can also put your body into ketosis, according to research published in October 2017 in Aging Research Reviews. Ketosis, the basis of the keto diet, is a metabolic state in which your body gets its fuel from fat rather than sugar.
What are the potential health benefits of the Warrior Diet?
No research has specifically studied the Warrior Diet. But scientists have identified some potential health benefits of intermittent fasting:
– Better blood pressure and better cholesterol levels A review published in October 2021 in the Annual Review of Nutrition found that intermittent fasting can reduce blood pressure and cholesterol levels.
– Better insulin resistance The same study also reported a link between intermittent fasting and lower insulin resistance.
– Reduced Inflammation A study published in Nutrition Research looked at people who fasted during Ramadan and found that fasting reduced levels of inflammation.
– Better brain health A study published in December 2018 in Aging and Disease found that intermittent fasting could delay age-related brain impairments and improve recovery after stroke.
– Protection against Alzheimer’s disease A study published in November 2017 in Frontiers in Molecular Neuroscience found that intermittent fasting may help protect against Alzheimer’s disease in mice. However, it is unknown if humans will have similar results.
– Decrease the risk of cancer A study published in November 2018 in Nature Reviews: Cancer found that fasting could reduce your risk of developing cancer.
What are the potential effects of the Warrior diet on weight loss?
It is possible to lose weight on the Warrior Diet since you may be taking in fewer calories. Intermittent fasting can lead to weight loss, according to a review and meta-analysis of six studies, however, it was no more effective than cutting calories without timing your meals. It can be difficult to eat a day’s worth of calories or more in a short period of time. Of course, it’s not impossible to do so, and you can also gain weight if you eat an excessive amount during your daily window, points out Taub-Dix.
Foods to Eat and Avoid on a Warrior Diet
In general, the diet does not restrict foods or food groups, although it favors whole, unprocessed foods whenever possible. During the fasting phase of the day, if you feel the need to eat something, you can:
Fresh and raw fruits and vegetables
Up to 200g of protein, such as eggs, chicken or turkey breast, fish, shellfish, plain or low-fat yoghurt, kefir, cottage cheese, whey protein, nuts or protein in powder.
Freshly squeezed fruit and vegetable juices.
Coffee (a small amount of milk is enough, but without sugar)
During the eating period of the diet, it is recommended to start the meal with raw vegetables, then add proteins and cooked vegetables, and finally complete carbohydrates. Be sure to vary the tastes, textures, aromas, colors and temperatures. You can eat :
Milk, cheese and other dairy products, preferably low-fat or fat-free.
Lean meat and poultry
Nuts and seeds
Oils, except hydrogenated and partially hydrogenated oils and margarine
Whole carbohydrates, such as carrots, beets, pumpkin and squash.
Grains such as rice, oats, quinoa, barley and millet.
A glass of wine
Refined sugar and refined, processed pastries are not allowed on the warrior diet.
Sample 7-Day Warrior Diet Menu
On the Warrior Diet, you can eat raw fruits and vegetables and some protein during the day, then a green salad and one of those larger meals in the evening.
Chicken curry in a tomato broth, steamed vegetables and low carb cheesecake.
Baked snapper, zucchini fries and crepe blinis.
Peppercorn beef and broccoli, raspberries and yogurt
Egg white omelet with black beans and berries and red wine
Angel hair rice noodles with tomato sauce, eggs and papaya
Turkey Stuffed Peppers and Citrus Green Smoothie
Chicken with cooked vegetables and low carb pecan pie.
Pros and Cons of the Warrior Diet
The Warrior Diet is not expensive. It doesn’t require you to buy specific products, so it shouldn’t strain your grocery budget. And it’s not terribly complicated: you don’t need to count calories or macros, or track your diet. However, it is not suitable for everyone. It is particularly risky for people with eating disorders, diabetics, children, pregnant or breastfeeding women and the elderly.
If you decide to try the warrior diet, you may need to think about how you will handle social situations and family activities that include eating outside of your meal times. When a diet prevents you from socializing or eating meals with friends and family, that’s a red flag and you won’t be able to follow it properly for long.
Another difficulty is that the small time window for eating can make it difficult to get the nutrients you need. Protein, which you ideally want to eat throughout the day to help rebuild your muscle tissue. This type of calorie restriction can also trigger stress, make you preoccupied with food, make you hungry and irritable, and promote headaches.
Also, it can be difficult to time your exercise to coincide with your meals. If you exercise in the morning, you risk fainting, dizziness, nausea, headache, or injury. And if you have to restrict your meal times, it’s best to eat earlier in the day because that’s when your metabolism is most efficient, according to a study published in March 2021 in Biomolecules.
The warrior diet is a type of intermittent fasting that mimics the eating habits of our warrior ancestors, who ate little or nothing during the day and filled up at night. It is characterized by a daily cycle of undereating and overeating. If you want to try intermittent fasting, dietitians prefer less strict versions.
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