The 5 Bite Diet is an eating plan that was designed by Dr. Alwin Lewis and featured on the hit television show, Dr. Oz. It’s simply a modified version of intermittent fasting meant to work much like a gastric bypass — without the need for an operation.
Focusing on the number of bites you take relieves the pressures of having to count calories and micromanage the different types of foods in your diet. It also helps to reset the mind when it comes to eating. Essentially, the fewer calories you eat, the more weight you will lose.
Sounds pretty straightforward, right? Here’s the skinny on this trending weight loss regimen.
The rules: no breakfast, 5 bites for lunch and dinner
The 5 Bite Diet has five easy rules:
- You can drink as much as you want, as often as you want throughout the day — as long as you are drinking non-calorie beverages.
- For lunch, take five normal sized bites of any food of your choosing.
- Repeat this process for dinner.
- Take a multivitamin every day.
- Be sure to include some daily protein in at least one of your meals.
What about breakfast? With the 5 Bite Diet, there is no food eaten for breakfast. As with many intermittent fasting diets, breakfast is skipped in order to prolong the fasting your body naturally goes through each night. Extending this fast increases weight loss. Coffee, water and other beverages are allowed as long as they contain zero calories.
At lunch and dinner, take only five bites of food. The best way to go about this is to vary the five bites between each meal component. For example, instead of just taking five bites of spaghetti, enjoy three bites and add in two bites of garlic bread.
Bite sizes will be different for each person, so a good rule to follow is one bite equals one swallow. If it takes you two or more swallows to get that spaghetti down, your bite is too big.
If you need a snack to get through between meals, the 5 Bite Diet does allow for two one-bite snacks daily. Just be mindful that you don’t exceed the 2-bite daily allowance. Indulge and chew slowly to savor the flavors. Include water with your snack to help trick your stomach into feeling full.
Define being able to eat “anything”
One of the best parts of the 5 Bite Diet is that there are absolutely no restrictions on the types of food you eat. If you choose to use your ten daily bites to scarf down a candy bar, you can do so without straying from the rules. If you choose to take one bite of hors d’oeuvres, entrée, two sides and dessert, by all means go for it.
The 5 Bite Diet is a very low-calorie diet. Even if you only eat high-calorie foods, chances are you will only take in 800 calories or less throughout the day.
However, as you probably know, the quality of the foods you eat can make a huge difference in how you feel overall. When cutting calories, it’s important to still maintain the nutrients your body needs to function. This diet plan will work best with nutritious, vitamin-dense foods.
A note on zero calorie drinks
Your body will not function well if it’s not hydrated. This is why the 5 Bite Diet allows for unlimited fluid intake. A constant intake of fluids will also help you feel full and make the times between bites easier to handle.
Remember, the only limitation with beverages is that they must be calorie-free. Most drinks on the market are full of empty calories. It’s too easy to replace the calories you have cut from foods with those found in beverages.
Black coffee is a great drink to include, especially for breakfast. Water is essential, but everything else zero-calorie, including diet soda, is an acceptable choice.
The best way to go about your five bite regimen
The 5 Bite Diet strives to change the way you interact with your food. Too often in today’s hustle and bustle life, meals are bought and eaten in a hurry with no regard to nutritional makeup or taste.
This diet plan is intentionally restrictive — you should make your bites count without obsessing over them. Take your bites, chew slow to pull out all the delicious flavors, and then move on with your day.
In the beginning, you will probably find it difficult to change your approach to eating. This is when you need to find activities to take your mind off your stomach. Go for a walk, hit the gym, dive into a novel… anything to get you through your hunger pangs. Eventually, your body will adjust to this new regimen.
While there is no set food list for the 5 Bite Diet, there are recommendations.
Dr. Lewis suggests that participants eat a minimum of two bites of protein each day. This can come from foods such as chicken, fish, eggs, legumes, nuts and seeds. While you can choose any food you want for the other bites, high-calorie, nutrient-dense options like fruits, peanut butter and trail mix may help you fare better than pizza and nachos.
A healthy diet is comprised of foods that are rich in vitamins and minerals and low in fat. These include fruits, vegetables, whole grains, lean protein and low-fat dairy. To maintain a balanced diet with the 5 Bite Diet, these foods should also be incorporated.
Everyone is different and whatever you decide is completely up to you, but remember that it’s very important to take a daily multivitamin to help get any nutrients you may have missed with your meal choices.
Five bites of candy vs. five bites of veggies?
With the 5 Bite Diet, you are in complete control of the foods you eat. Nothing is off limits. If you want to spend your five bites on the sweet taste of a donut, you can do just that. If you choose to enjoy five bites of fresh vegetables, you can do that too.
In short, the choice is completely up to you. But the reality is that those five bites of healthy vegetables will do your body a lot more good than the calorie-packed candy bar.
Limiting your caloric intake won’t change that fact. Choose what you want, but when it comes to your health, you still need to choose wisely.
Purported benefits: what does it actually do?
Dr. Lewis developed the 5 Bite Diet as a way to lose weight. The diet plan is intended to mimic the effect of gastric bypass surgery without the need for the actual operation.
As such, it takes away the pressure of counting calories. It also helps to reset the mind. The super small portions and simple approach to meals eliminates obsessing over food.
The 5 Bite Diet will also put money back into your wallet and free up the time you would normally use to shop, prepare and cook a large meal.
Risks, side effects… and rewards
The 5 Bite Diet works by drastically cutting your daily calorie intake. Most people will typically take in 800 calories or less each day. With such a drastic reduction, there will be physical and mental side effects that you need to be prepared to deal with. The 5 Bite Diet can help you to lose weight quickly and reset your eating habits, but…
There are always side effects with any diet plan, and that includes the 5 Bite Diet. Perhaps the biggest has to do with the extreme calorie restriction. Taking in so few calories can lead to hunger pangs, fatigue, heart palpitations, and a decrease in your metabolic rate. As such, isn’t meant to be a long-term diet plan and should only be used intermittently.
When you do start to eat normally again you will most likely see a weight gain. Exercise can help to combat this.
Low-calorie diets may also cause constipation, nausea, diarrhea, and gallstones. The multivitamin itself can cause stomach issues like nausea when taken on an empty stomach.
As with any diet plan, you should not start the 5 Bite Diet plan without first talking to your doctor. If you are currently suffering from a medical condition or disease, you may want to rethink participating in this diet plan. If you decide to proceed, only do so under the supervision of your doctor to ensure that your dietary needs are met.
The bottom line: should you try it?
The biggest benefit of the 5 Bite Diet is weight loss. It is an easy diet plan to follow and makes adhering to portion control a no-brainer. With just 10-12 bites a day, you will maintain a caloric intake of 800 or fewer calories. This enables you to lose weight quickly while still enjoying all your favorite foods.
The 5 Bite Diet is only meant as an intermittent diet plan. Once you’ve reached your goal weight, it’s time to reintroduce normal eating patterns. While the higher calorie intake will add back some of the pounds, exercise can help offset this.