What foods are allowed on the 4 Hour Body Diet?

In the past weeks, we’ve had several questions regarding what foods are allowed on the diet. Some examples:


Tortillas/tortilla chips:  no

Butter: yes

Chickpeas: short answer, yes

Cheese: no


Do you have questions about what is allowed on the diet? Are you eating certain “cheat” foods and still losing weight? We would love to hear about it.  In order to facilitate a more centralized discussion on the topic of allowed foods, we’ve created a sister site. Visit 4hourdiet.com and let us know what you think.



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54 Responses to What foods are allowed on the 4 Hour Body Diet?

  1. Jessica says:

    I have been trying the slow carb diet for a few days as per 4HB and it appears to be working, I haven’t tried any cheat foods yet but i think the scope for excellent meals is there even with the limitations of foods you can use.

  2. Astacee says:

    I would like ot know if ground flax seed is allowed. Also, there are some noodles from Japan called Konyaku, are they allowed?

    • 4hourrecipes says:

      Tim doesn’t address ground flaxseed in the book that I can recall. What is the intended use? He does suggest 1-2 tablespoons flaxseed oil in combination with celery&almond butter to increase cell repair during sleep.

      Konyaku is made from a Japanese potato that has very small amounts of carbohydrates. It is often used in low-carb diets, but if you follow the 4-Hour Diet strictly, you are not allowed to eat these carbs.

  3. Sherry says:

    Totally confused. Just began 4hourbody. Some of the recipes include ingredients I didn’t believe I could have i.e. cottage cheese, large amounts of tomatoes (in soups), and mayo. I other low carb/no carb dairy is ok. Anyone know what and how much of these ingredients?

  4. kerri says:

    can you eat sausages on this diet?

  5. Ezekiel says:

    Cottage cheese is ok in small quantities, tomatoes have very low fructose,so they are ok, and mayo is vinegar and eggs mixed together, and they are both allowed.

  6. Morticia says:

    What about papdum, those Indian crisps made from lentil flour?

  7. Kevin says:

    How about plain old simple broths like chicken broth, nothing added? I realize the need to bulk on the legumes for the full feeling but nothing is ever mentioned about a cup of soup.

    • 4hourrecipes says:

      Chicken broth is fine. If you aren’t eating meat though, make sure you get enough protein in every meal.

  8. MEGAMIND says:

    Nice Blog

    pls more :-)

  9. Hannah says:

    What about tofu and soy sauce or even soy bean??

    • 4hourrecipes says:

      Soy sauce is fine, as you don’t use much of it, but Tim points out in “The Meatless Machine” chapter that eating just 30g of soy per day for 90 days can disrupt thyroid function. If you are vegan or vegetarian, I highly encourage you to read this chapter of the 4-Hour Body.

  10. Mari says:

    This site is so helpful! I can wait to try all of the recipes and track my progress.

    I do have a question:

    I know that dairy is not allowed (except on a cheat day) but I was wondering about protein shakes like Boost that contain “dairy protein”. Are they allowed?


    • 4hourrecipes says:

      They are technically allowed, but if you return to the chapter “Occam’s Protocol I,” Tim clearly states that protein shakes are meant for the sole purpose of GAINING weight. So if you are trying to build muscle mass, you can use protein shakes. If your goal is losing weight, avoid them.

  11. Mari says:

    Do you know if pickles are allowed on this diet? (whole and relish)


  12. NicolaBee says:


    I am just about to start 4HB and was wondering if you can help me on the following:


    Can you also help clear up what types of sauces can be used?


    • 4hourrecipes says:

      “Butter is fine as long as the only ingredients are butter and salt.” -Tim
      Beansprouts – yes
      Mayonnaise – this has been debated, but we say yes, just don’t overdo it.
      As for sauces, just make sure there isn’t very much sugar in the sauce you want to use (or no sugar if you’re following the diet strictly).

  13. Michelle says:

    I need a DUMMY book for following this diet!! I love what I’m reading and have actually tried it , but I’m not sure if I can have this or that?????? I wish there was a 1-800 number that would be awesome!!!!!!!

    • 4hourrecipes says:

      Michelle, try to keep it simple. The more complicated your meal plan, the more discouraging it can be. Just remember, if you stick to only MEAT, BEANS, and VEGETABLES for every meal, you will succeed. However, if you do have specific questions, feel free to ask, either on the blog or at 4hourdiet.com.

  14. stacie says:

    I have been doing this diet for 3 days and I know i really shouldn’t be weighing myself so early, i Hear all these great results that seem immediate so I got a little ahead of myself… anyway, when I did, i weighed in 3lbs. heavier.. any thoughts on this?

    • 4hourrecipes says:

      Stacie, for the first couple of weeks on the diet, your body will be making a lot of changes. Be sure to measure yourself since weight is not the only indicator of progress. I know it’s hard to stay off the scale, but you should try to track your progress once a week. I always did it on Saturday before the binging began.

  15. Asha says:

    So i’m just about to start the slow carb diet, but i’m concerned that i may not be able to follow it too well.
    I stay in India and most of my meals are of Indian food, which is roti (indian bread) or rice with a side dish of lentils and vegetables. But the bread/rice is integral to the meal. Also to top this most of my meals are vegetarian so there isnt much meat to make a filling meal. Any suggestions on how i can stick to the diet given these circumstances?

    • 4hourrecipes says:

      Asha, I’m just not sure you’d be able to get enough protein. Tim suggests vegetarians consider eating eggs for the added protein. I love Indian food, and we’ve eaten it at least once a week on the diet. You would just have to eat a whole lot of beans and vegetables….

  16. Laura says:

    I am on day two of the diet. I am going to weigh again in a few days I miss my junk food BUT I read the book and I am excited to see the results friday when I weigh. :)

  17. KSteves says:

    My question is on the same line as Asha’s! I am about to start this diet- loved the book, but am a lacto-ovo vegetarian. I am really worried that with eating just the beans and no meat I will be hungry – or not getting enough protein. I know in the book he cautions about staying away from soy – which the majority of my ‘fake’ meat products are made from. He did use a guys example who used St Yves veggie hot dogs – which I love so I will use those – although they are a soy based product. Any suggestions?

    • 4hourrecipes says:

      As the book states, if you eat enough eggs and beans, it should work. Examples of alternative products (found on page 91): Yves veggie hot dogs, Instone high-protein pudding, brown rice protein, hemp protein, and pea protein. He definitely discourages the consumption of soy products. You shouldn’t be hungry from eating eggs, beans, and veggies. You’ll just have to eat a lot of them.

      • Cindy Kelly says:

        Could you respond to some of the current foods that people are asking about. Very curious to see if some of them are on or off limits. I know this could keep you busy for days, but it would be really helpful.


  18. Patty says:

    I’ve been on the diet for almost a month, and have lost 14 lbs. Lots of inches too. The first week of beans for breakfast nearly put me over the edge, but then I switched to Lentils, which I cooked in chicken broth & onions. That is the only way I could eat them for breakfast (with egg or sausage). Keeping it simple worked! I just had to find a flavor profile (sorry, that’s the foodie in me) that worked. After making it to the 4 week mark, I find it’s easier than I thought it would be. Even with the splurge day, I find that I don’t go crazy, because after eating “cleanly” for a whole week, eating too much fat/dairy/gluten makes me feel sick. Although I definitely eat fruit on my splurge day. The other upside….no headaches, my skin is clearer, and of course….clothes fit better. I’m just hoping the next month will have as good of results. For you newcomers, don’t give up….I struggled badly my second week, and actually gained weight! But, lost inches! Then the weight dropped again.

  19. Jennifer says:

    I have a few items that I am curious as to whether I can eat on this diet:

    Coconut flour
    Coconut Milk
    Tofu cheese and yogurt
    Almond/Soy Milk
    Agave Syrup
    Tahini/sesame seeds

    Sorry for making such a long list but I wanted to make sure I included all my concerns.
    I just started the diet, and I am actually find it easier than others because I feel fuller longer, and I love to cook so I am having a blast experimenting! I will be adding a recipe later today and I hope everyone enjoys it.

    Thanks for the site, it’s a life saver, and I visit it daily.

    • Futchiwa says:

      Coconut flour: No (high in carbs! : 65%)
      Coconut Milk: No (You don’t drink your calories)
      Cassava: No (It’s all starch and carbs!)
      Carrots: Yes but in moderation
      Tofu cheese and yogurt: No and no (soy products are definitely discouraged. Otherwise, dairy-wise you can only do cottage cheese and barely)
      Olives: Yes
      Almond/Soy Milk: No and No (you don’t drink your calories!)
      Agave Syrup: No. That’s all carbs and sugar despite its “low GI”
      Tahini/sesame seeds: Yes but in moderation (treat it like you would treat peanuts and peanut butter.. 1 to 2 tablespoons max)
      Bulgur: No. That’s white cracked wheat!
      Couscous: No! That’s wheat middlings i.e. semolina, i.e. all carbs.

      Good luck, hope this helps. :)

  20. Toni says:

    This is my second week. My husband and I are doing this together and that makes it a lot easier! I saw a recipe for jicama fries. Are sweet potato fries allowed too?

    Also, I have already lost 6 pounds and only want to lose another 5 or so. I haven’t see much about maintaining weight. Is this a plan for life or is maintenance a different plan?

  21. gasypete says:

    Does anyone have a tip for milk substitute in tea/coffee

  22. Sussan says:

    What about lemon or lime and fry stuff?

  23. Sussan says:

    what about lime and lemon … is this allowed?

  24. ladysugar says:

    its about time i eat healthy..:D
    can i eat nuts? like almonds sweet potatoes? boiled plantains?

  25. Christa says:

    Hi! I’ve been on the diet for 2 weeks now and I am seeing the results but I have a question about mung bean noodles….are they ok or not??

  26. Chad says:

    Tim talks about a couple glasses of dry wine being ok but can someone tell me if vodka is allowed (in moderation and without adding regular soda or anything to it?). What about other liquors?

  27. Jo Scott says:

    Is ham allowed on the Four Hour Body Diet? How about salami and other cold cuts? (These would give a little kick to the salads.)


  28. Martin says:

    I have been loving this flow carb diet for the last two weeks( seeing some real results).. However, all is a sudden the last two days I have been feeling so weak and dizzy . Is their some food I can eat to off set this? Is Quinoa allowed? I saw in an earlier post that protein was for gaining… But In 4HB Tim mentioned his father losing weight with a 30gr shake in the morning, so I ‘ve been doing this as well, Is this hindering my efforts?

  29. Lucia says:

    I understand that the only fruits allowed on the diet are an avocado a day and unlimited tomatoes. I had been thinking that a green or red bell pepper would make a nice snack or accompaniment to some of my meals, but just realized that I think it’s technically a fruit. So I’m assuming they’re off limits. Can anyone confirm Tim’s thoughts on this particular food?

  30. Jamie says:

    Are Kidney Beans allowed or just red beans? Baby Snap Peas allowed or just Regular Peas? Bacon Bits and Sunflower Seeds on a salad? Cucumbers? And lastly, are seasonings allowed such as salt/pepper,garlic salt/powder,chicken seasoning etc? Sorry so many things…Just ordered the book I will receieve it this Thursday so just trying to get a head start on the diet. Thanks.

  31. Charlie says:

    Can someone advise as to whether or not squash is allowed? Specifically spaghetti squash? I can see pumpkin on the list of foods allowed and spaghetti squash appears to be lower in carbs 10% as opposed to 12% for pumpkin, but I can see no mention of any kind of winter squash on the list.
    Also – someone had a question about poppadoms earlier in the posts – but I don’t think it was answered. Any ideas?

  32. Diane says:

    What about brown rice crackers? The book says no white rice but doesn’t mention brown.

  33. Hasan says:

    Hi all, is baked beans in can allowed? and how about eggplant ?

  34. Callie says:

    So confused. It says on here that Tim states protein shakes should be taken if you’re trying to gain weight, but he talked about how his father lost weight on them when he drank them in the morning. So which is it?

  35. Kamila says:

    What about soup? I really like commensal soups.. Especially the Indian lentil soup and chilli??

    • Arif says:

      I was wondering if preoitn shakes are allowed? I know tha milk is not however, muscle milk makes a low carb/sugar whey preoitn that can be mixed with water. I want to guess that yes it’s allowed but I want to be super strict and not mess anything up. Thanks!

  36. Nancy Hastings-Trew says:

    Wondering about grains like couscous and quinoa. Good or bad? Looking for a a substitute for rice…

  37. Danielle says:

    Hi… Curious after starting to read 4HB… Is Kombucha allowed to drink? Also how about sashimi with a light sauce? Finally how about juicing in the morning? Vegetable juice that is… thanks!

  38. Dana says:

    I’m a vegetarian. Can I do the 4HB and still lose weight in a healthy way? Thanks so much!

  39. Samer says:

    Hello was just wondering if the following foods were allowed :
    - Bulgur : Already mentioned that it is not allowed however would like to point out that although a whole grain wheat product, it is much less processed than other wheat foods, has 112 calories / cooked cup, unlike rice which is a bit over 200/ cooked cup. It is also higher in protein and has a lower GI.
    - Ketchup : Weird nothing has been mentioned about it, its that or it passed me
    - Fava beans , aka broadbeans, house beans, tic beans, field beans ..
    - Caesar dressing
    - Smoked Turkey Bacon
    - Italian Mortadella, all types


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