The 4 Day Diet is actually not a diet at all, according to its creator Dr. Ian Smith. According to Smith, the average weight loss is 10 to 12 lbs per month on the diet. Most experts agree losing about 2 lbs per week are steady and healthy weight loss goals. The 4-Day Diet is broken into seven modules, each lasting four days, reports the Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics. Except for the first two modules, the seven modules do not have to be followed in order. Before starting any dietary plan, discuss your weight loss goals with a medical doctor and determine if the 4-Day Diet is right for you.
Induction Module Diet
According to Smith's book, "The 4-Day Diet," the induction module's purpose is to cleanse and detoxify the body. The diet must be followed for a minimum of four days, but can last longer. During this period, fruits, leafy greens, non-starchy vegetables, beans, brown rice and low-fat or nonfat yogurt are the only foods allowed, reports the Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics. Meat, poultry and fish are discouraged during this time. The book recommends meals for each specific day.
Transition Module Foods
According to Smith, all four days' menus during the transition module are identical. You choose foods off of a major food list. You may eat less, but never more than the indicated foods. Two cups of coffee with one pack of sugar and creamer per cup are allowed. Vegetables included on the menu include 1 c of raw carrots, 1 c of cucumbers, 1 c of cooked beans, chickpeas, lentil or other legumes. Bakes beans are not included. A medium size salad with only vegetables is allowed with 3 tbsp. of low-fat or fat-free dressing. Fruit includes 1 apple, 1 pear, 1 c of berries. Protein sources include a 4-oz serving of fish, chicken or turkey with the skin removed. Meat should be grilled or baked and not fried. Smith advises at least six cups of water or more per day. Two snack are allowed. A list of snacks is listed in the "4-Day Diet" book ranging from 1/2 an avocado to 1 fat-free chocolate pudding cup.
Each additional module must be followed for four days, but in any order. The protein stretch allows for scrambled eggs, turkey bacon, protein shakes and a sandwich including lunch meat. The smooth module allows you to consume a few extras you may have been missing, without overindulging. Extras include 2 medium slices of vegetarian pizza, pasta with tomato sauce, 4-oz hamburger or veggie burger or 1 medium-size hot dog as well as other traditional foods most of adults indulge on. According to Smith, this module is about enjoying what you eat, while counting every bite. The push module reverts slightly back to a stricter diet, after the indulgences of the smooth module. Finally, the pace mode allows for dieters to relax somewhat with their diet and adjust to newly formed eating habits. The final mode mentioned in the book is the vigorous module, where Smith states the final pounds are dropped.
According to the Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics, the foods suggested in the 4-Day Diet are nutritious but you may not receive enough calories, vitamin D or calcium each day. The Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics suggests the diet plan does not meet guidelines set forth by the Food and Drug Administration's 2005 Dietary Guidelines for Americans. Meet with a registered dietitian to determine your nutritional needs and what part of the 4-Day Diet works for you.
- Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics:The 4 Day Diet, by Ian K. Smith, MD
- "Washington Post"; Fighting Off The Pounds; Dr. Ian Smith; April 2009
- The Four-Day Diet; Ian Smith; 2008