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Simple List of Food Allowed Foods on Slow Carb Diets (aka 4-hour body)

Simple List of Food Allowed Foods on Slow Carb Diets (aka 4-hour body)
Home » Low Carb Lifestyle » Simple List of Food Allowed Foods on Slow Carb Diets (aka 4-hour body)

The following list is a general compilation of allowed food on Slow Carb Diets, followed by foods to avoid and some ideas for meals.  Most of the information also applies to Low Carb and Keto lifestyles.

Low carb Mexican baked eggs in chile verde sauce, still in skillet
Low carb Mexican baked eggs in chile verde sauce,


  • Eggs
  • Fish
  • Salmon
  • Beef
  • Chicken
  • Canadian Bacon
  • Turkey
  • Protein powder
  • Soybean meats
  • Tofu
  • Smoked Oysters


Pot of slow carb posole stew with navy beans
Pot of slow carb posole stew with navy beans
  • Lentils
  • Pinto beans
  • Red beans
  • Soybeans
  • Black beans


Broccoli cauliflower and brussels medley of vegetables in blue bowl.
Broccoli Cauliflower Brussels Medley
  • Sauerkraut, kimchee, pickles, olives, fermented foods
  • Asparagus
  • Peas
  • Broccoli
  • Green beans
  • Tomatoes
  • Peppers
  • Frozen spinach
  • Broccoli
  • Cauliflower
  • Brussel  Sprouts
  • Spaghetti  squash (no other winter squash)
  • Avocados
  • Bok choy or any greens
  • eggplant
  • mushrooms
  • okra
  • zucchini
  • turnips
  • sprouts (alfalfa, bean, etc.)
  • cucumber
  • lettuce
  • radishes

Domino Foods (eat in moderation)

Full fat cottage cheese for a slow carb diet
Full fat cottage cheese for a slow carb diet
  • hummus
  • nuts
  • cottage cheese
  • olives
  • red wine
  • diet pop (one per day)
  • guacamole
  • peanut butter
  • almond butter

Forbidden Foods on Slow Carb Diet (until cheat day)

Puttanesca with smoked tomato sauce over penne pasta.
Puttanesca with smoked tomato sauce over penne pasta.
  • Alcohol (1-2 glasses wine allowed per night)
  • Sugary sweets
  • popcorn
  • bread
  • rice and any other grain
  • potatoes & winter squash & carrots & corn
  • noodles
  • chips, crackers or cereal
  • ice cream
  • more than one diet pop
  • cheese and dairy
  • fruit (eat only on cheat day)

Some breakfast ideas for Slow Carb Diets:

Slow carb breakfast of bacon, eggs, and spinach
Slow carb breakfast of bacon, eggs, and spinach

An ideal breakfast of allowed foods on a slow carb diet consists of 20-30g of protein at your first meal of the day. Eggs and bacon are the classic way to do this (and boost success rate by 10%).  Here are some alternatives:

  • Protein shake with 30g of protein powder and 1 tsp cinnamon
  • 3 eggs (16g) with 3 slices of Canadian bacon (13g)
  • 2 eggs (12g) with 1/2 cup black beans (20g), salsa and guacamole
  • 3 servings of spinach or broccoli frittata (30g or 5-6 eggs plus some protein from the veggies)
  • Caffeine is fine.  You can have up to 2 Tbsp heavy cream in your coffee per day

Lunch and Dinner Ideas for Allowed Foods on Slow Carb Diets:

Low carb Moroccan stew with chicken thighs
Low carb Moroccan stew with chicken thighs

Most of your meals will be a combination of protein + vegetables and/or legumes from the list above. Here’s a tip: Cook in bulk so that you have leftovers for a couple of days (or freeze individual serving sizes for much later). Here are some dinner ideas:

  • Roasted chicken with mixed vegetables
  • Salad bowl at Chipotle: hold the corn salsa, sour cream and cheese — add guacamole
  • Mustard-crusted pork loin with spinach and mushrooms
  • Steak and asparagus or green beans
  • Tuna with mustard and/or salsa with a fresh spinach salad
  • Homemade burrito bowl: leftover chicken breast, black beans, salsa and guacamole
  • Lentil stew
  • Beef and bean chili
  • Meat and vegetable curry

Beverages for Slow Carb Diets

Blueberry protein low carb smoothies
Blueberry protein low carb smoothies

Drink lots of water and drinks with zero calories. Make these substitutions for beverages with calories that you’d normally drink:

  • Flavor water with lemon
  • Unsweetened beverages like tea are okay. Limit diet soda to one per day
  • Coffee with cinnamon or up to 2 Tbsp heavy cream (not half and half or milk)
  •  tea with lemon
  • Red wine (max 1-2 glasses per day)

 Tips for Succeeding on Slow Carb Diet

1. When eating out:

Your default strategy should be to replace any carbs with vegetables and beans. Here are some ideas:

  • Burrito salad bowl or any dish with vegetables swapped out for rice/wheat
  • Thai curry or soups without rice
  • Salad without cheese, croutons
  • Indian food: lentils, dairy-free vegetable or bean dishes
  • Grass-fed beef burger without the bun or ketchup
  • Roasted, baked or grilled protein with vegetables
  • Keep a list of Slow-Carb Diet friendly restaurants nearby. Find meals you like and repeat them. Alternate days if it’s too boring. This makes meal planning into a breeze.

2. Don’t stress (too much) on the calories

Don’t worry too much about calories. Listen to your body and eat until you are full. It turns out that your body digests calories from different macronutrients (fats, proteins, and carbohydrates) differently.  Once you ditch the sugar and refined carbs calories will decrease and your body will be much more in tune with hunger signals after it adjusts.

Get enough protein.  You should be getting around 20 – 30 g of protein at each meal.  This will keep you full longer and help you burn fat as fuel rather than glucose.

Protein powder and blender bottle
Protein powder and blender bottle

The problem with Atkins and some of the Low carb diets is that vegetables and protein are high in nutrient density, but very low in calories.  Hence the beans on slow carb diets.  The beans and legumes make up for the caloric deficit and you don’t get fatigued and tired (and then quit).  If you hate beans, add some of the good fats (eggs, fish, avocados, nuts, olive oil, etc.)

3. Be Careful of Portion Size with “Domino Foods”

Some foods like nuts, chickpeas, hummus, and nut butters are allowed foods on Slow Carb Diets but can stall your weight-loss if you consume too many calories from them. If you’re trying to lose weight, the easiest solution is to limit them or avoid them if you can’t control it.  Although not considered a domino food, I have also witnessed clients that stall out on weight loss with too many beans.  A cup a day is a good limit to beans and that is the only food that the five regions of the Blue Zones had in common.

Eat lots of veggies

Low carb French nicoise salad
Low carb French nicoise salad

Not eating vegetables on the diet correlates with less weight loss! You can eat as many of these vegetables as you want: spinach, mixed vegetables (including broccoli, cauliflower, or any other cruciferous vegetables), sauerkraut, kimchee, asparagus, peas, broccoli, green beans.  Avoid starchy vegetables (hint: the ones that grow underground).

4. Eat whatever you want on your cheat day

Indulge in whatever you want on your scheduled cheat day.  Ideally, your first meal should still consist of 20-30g of protein, but eat whatever you want after that.  Over time you will probably want to decrease cheat days to a cheat meal, particularly if you stall out on your weight loss goal.

5. Drink more water than usual on your cheat day

6. Have grapefruit (not grapefruit juice) shortly before your first cheat meal.

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Tuesday 31st of January 2023

Dorothy Hi, I appreciate your great information.

My question is about Tequila and Whiskey which are allowed in limited quantities on Keto, but aren't allowed in Ferris's Slow Carb. Do you know the reasoning? Appreciate clarification.


Wednesday 14th of December 2022

Hello Dorothy, Thank you for this great information. I have the 4 hour body book where this comes from but I wonder if there are some additional foods we can include now that simply weren't available when the text was published. For example, I have protein chips and Keto bread which are high in fiber and protein but have zero net carbs. Also, the author says that he allows cottage cheese as an exception to the no dairy rule because of it's high levels of casein. Well, the same is true for greek yogurt which became more popular after this book was published. I have been looking for the responses to this and can't seem to find them anywhere. If you or anyone has any answers for me, I would love to know! Thank you!


Tuesday 18th of April 2023

@Heidi, my guess on tequila/whiskey vs red wine is due to the carbs in the latter.

Most spirits (without mixers) have all their calories from ethanol.


Thursday 15th of December 2022

@dorothy stainbrook, thank you so much for your reply! I appreciate it. I will take your advice and see the results as I try out different things. Patience is a virtue! :)

dorothy stainbrook

Thursday 15th of December 2022

Well, I have opinions on this based on previous research, but I’m sure some people will disagree. Along the lines of cottage cheese, I do think unflavored greek yogurt is fine (go for the highest fat one, not the low fat). I also believe parmesan cheese and some of the hard cheeses work fine on slow carb. The keto bread is something I long recommended to people who needed some sort of bread in their diet to sustain the lifestyle over time.

In the end, Ferriss keeps repeating that you have to test some of these things on your own body. I am more concerned with people finding a healthy slow carb lifestyle that they can maintain over time, as it really doesn’t do much good to lose weight and then gain it back because the diet is too onerous to sustain.

Low Carb Mexican Cookies - Farm to Jar Food

Friday 14th of June 2019

[…] For a list of allowed foods and tips for low carb and keto diets, click here.  […]


Friday 25th of August 2017

Hi Dorothy, is it possible to use the Keto meal list (eating cheese) with the slow carb protocol (have an all out cheat day) can you still achieve your weight lost goal this way along with intermittent fasting?

dorothy stainbrook

Tuesday 29th of August 2017

Yes, it is possible to cheat occasionally with a keto diet once you are fat-adapted. And yes, intermittent fasting can work with a slow carb diet or a keto diet. Whether you achieve your weight loss goal or not is dependent on a huge range of factors that I can't answer in a post.


Monday 31st of July 2017

Thank you so much for all the great insight. Do you have any suggestions to help with plateauing on the slow carb

dorothy stainbrook

Wednesday 2nd of August 2017

There are many ways to get off the plateau. First of all realize that every diet has a plateau. Your body is adjusting to a new way of eating and being and it goes through starts and stops. The first thing is to wait it out a bit. Sometimes people think they have plateaued and they just haven't really been compliant long enough to call it a plateau. If it is truly a plateau, there are a number of ways to jump start again incluing intermittent fasting, more rigorous resistance exercise routines, decreasing calories some, extending cheat day to once every other week, etc.

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