5 Reasons Why The 5 Bite Diet Doesn’t Work (and Will Make You Fat)

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Image via Getty Images
Image via Getty Images

Have you heard of the 5 Bite Diet developed by Dr. Alwyn Lewis (MD)? If you haven’t, then let me explain. This “genius” doctor devised a diet plan originating from the 5 bites per meal regimen of gastric bypass patients. That’s right. Gastric bypass patients.

When Dr. Lewis tried the diet on himself, and his obese and overweight patients, he found that he (and his patients) lost significant amounts of weight (well, no kidding. This diet, after all, does promote eating pretty much nothing).

What does the 5 Bite Diet Plan entail?

When Dr. Oz hosted Dr. Lewis on his show, Dr. Lewis showed viewers a sample of what a meal plan for the day would entail:

Breakfast: No breakfast allowed.

Dr. Lewis suggests drinking 1 cup of coffee and taking 1 multivitamin pill (probably because this diet is ridiculously nutrient-deprived). 

Lunch: 5 bites of whatever the hell you want

You can take 5 bites of ice cream, 5 bites of a donut, or 5 bites of a cucumber. Literally, whatever you want. Dr. Lewis suggests taking 3 bites of a hamburger, 1 bite of an apple and 1 bite of a carrot. I would personally be starving by now

Dinner: 5 more bites – THAT’S IT!

So by the time you are ravenous, you can only eat another 5 bites. Dr. Lewis suggests eating 3 bites of macaroni and cheese (LOL) with 2 bites of apple pie as being “acceptable” choices. Right. 

On this show, Dr. Oz didn’t seem too sold on the idea, and stated his concerns about how you can’t necessarily be healthy on this plan (due to the major lack of vitamins, minerals and calories). Dr. Lewis then goes on to say that he is “giving patients – or people – control” and that he is giving patients and people the ability to lose weight just as quickly as they can put it on. Why don’t they just take away his medical license already?

Here are some hilarious tweets on his Twitter account, which just made me shake my head:

5 Bite Diet

This diet plan is basically 100% backward. You will not only throw your vitamin and minerals out of balance, but you will temporarily screw with your metabolism, which in the end, will lead to weight gain.

[quote_center]This diet cannot be followed long term, and once you’ve reached your “goal weight,” you are supposed to go back to eating normally, upon which you will gain it all back. [/quote_center]

If you want to engage in a diet that is sustainable in the long run (because this diet is certainly not sustainable), then you need to change your entire lifestyle. Engage in healthy exercise, learn stress-reduction techniques like breathing and yoga, and most importantly, follow a way of eating that works for you, while keeping you healthy.

I will always (of course), recommend the raw vegan lifestyle, because of the incredible results and benefits I have received from living this way (as well as countless others). The best thing is, is that I can eat 2,000 (or more) calories of fruit and vegetables per day, eating things like raw vegan “nice cream,” smoothies that taste like cookies or even raw cabbage rolls, mac n’ cheese, spaghetti and pizzas. My favourite of course, is keeping it simple, and eating large fruit meals of mango or figs, and enjoying my massive salads at night. I have reached my ultimate state of bliss!

Remember, crash-diets like the 5 Bite Diet only work in the short-term, and not the long-term. Stick with something that makes you feel and look great in the long-run, and you will discover complete bliss!

Here are 5 Reasons Why The 5 Bite Diet Doesn’t Work!
1. It’s Not Sustainable In The Long Run

Any kind of “diet” out there, whether it is the 5 Bite Diet, Atkins Diet, Cabbage Soup Diet, the Grapefruit Diet, or others, simply will not work in the long run. These diets work to help you lose weight in a very quick period of time, whereas the rest of the year you are overweight and un-satisfied with your body.

If your goal is long-term weight loss, crash diets will not be effective. Crash diets give you the dreaded “yo-yo” effect, where your weight fluctuates dramatically throughout the year. Since you are restricting calorie intake so much, your body goes into survival mode and reduces the amount of calories it burns in normal daily activity.

When you start eating normally again, your body is burning less calories than it used to (prior to the crash diet), and this effect can take years to help recover (been there, done that – in fact, my body is *still* recovering from severe calorie restriction that I wasn’t even aware of when I began the raw food diet – I simply wasn’t eating enough, and my body wasn’t getting enough calories, hence a damaged metabolism).

2. You Are Depriving Your Body of Crucial Nutrients

Depriving your body of so many calories, vitamins, minerals and crucial phytonutrients puts a lot of stress on your body. With just 10 bites of food per day, it is nearly impossible for your body to get in the required nutrients it needs every day.

Low-calorie diets like the 5 Bite Diet can actually lead to nutritional deficiencies if followed for extended periods of time. Things like anemia, cognitive disfunction, bone loss, severe fatigue and many other conditions. Taking a multivitamin in the morning, as this diet suggests, simply is not enough to meet your daily nutrient needs.

3. It’s A Starvation Diet, and You Will Be Chronically Hungry

Lets face it – 10 bites a day is basically a recipe for developing an eating disorder. You are starving yourself, and there is no easy answer to get around this. This is a major reason why crash diets fail. Also, the “5 bites” you are allowed at each meal will trigger signals from your stomach to your brain to keep eating until full. When you eat food, you eat until your body is satisfied. Once the body is nutritionally satisfied with the proper vitamins and minerals, the signals in your brain for hunger shut off. With just 5 bites per meal, this is not possible, and you will constantly feel hungry.

There also isn’t really any defined foods you should and shouldn’t eat. For example, a raw vegan could never do this diet, without getting extremely skinny (I don’t think a raw vegan would even attempt this, anyway). For example, you could eat 5 bites of steak for one meal, and then 5 bites of an ice cream cone the next. And that’s it, your done. Steak and ice cream for the day (can you see why this diet seriously doesn’t work?).

4. You Mostly Just Lose Water Weight

We all carry water weight. For women, our water weight retention varies throughout the month, correlating with our ovulation cycles. This is one reason why we can step on the scale on day, and then the next it is up 5 pounds. You cannot gain 5 pounds of fat over night – this is simply impossible. If you find that your scale is showing you more than half a pound gain since last night, it’s water weight.

When we first follow a crash diet, like the 5 Bite Diet, the first thing we lose is water weight, and then protein (aka. our muscle). Water weight is quickly gained back once we resume eating normally again. During the first week or two of a crash diet, our bodies desperately hold onto fat as its last reserve. So, instead, our bodies release water weight and it starts catabolizing our muscle tissue. This is also a main reason why people feel so horrible when they start said diets.

5. Lead To Poor Eating Habits, and Will Tempt You To Eat Unhealthy Foods

Eating this way, again, is a recipe for brewing up one good eating disorder. If you follow this diet your body and brain will go into starvation mode. You won’t be able to think clearly since your body will be deprived of glucose, and your metabolism will slow. Because you are only allotted 10 bites max per day, you will be more prone to take bites from unhealthy food, rather than a hundred bites from a large healthy salad.

Smash your scale actually wrote a great article about how the 5 Bite Diet is an Eating Disorder Diet. I suggest you go check it out!

Any kind of crash diet like the 5 Bite Diet will simply lead to bad eating habits, and will make us feel guilty for eating more than we think we should. There should never be any pressure to eat. Just eat healthy and clean (focus on lots of plant-based food for optimal digestion, energy and heightened state of awareness), exercise, and do some yoga. You’ll be fine, I promise!

     
Carly Fraser has her BSc (Hons.) Degree in Neuroscience, and is the owner and founder at Live Love Fruit. She currently lives in Winnipeg, Manitoba, with a determined life mission to help inspire and motivate individuals to critically think about what they put in their bodies and to find balance through nutrition and lifestyle. She has helped hundreds of thousands of individuals to re-connect with their bodies and learn self-love through proper eating habits and natural living. She loves to do yoga, dance, and immerse herself in nature.

20 COMMENTS

  1. I had not heard of the five bite diet before but that is awful! It could really mess up a persons body. Plus if they only ate 5 bites of junk it could let candida take over and all kinds of disease. One of the stupidest diets I have heard of!

  2. I feel that I have to stick up for this diet, because only the ones who have experienced the benefits for themselves, will understand that it's not some crazy starvation diet. I too am a vegan, but even vegans can get fat…and I sure did! The problem was that my portions had become out of control.
    I tried this plan for a month, indulged in my favourite vegan junk food , healthy food also and drank a ton of lemon water. I lost 30lbs in the month and kept it off for a year. I'm fine with my current weight of 125lbs, being 5'2". I had my bloodwork done after the diet too, everything was totally normal. During the diet, I wasn't that hungry and amazingly my appetite decreased and has stayed that way. I still eat only two small, well balanced meals a day, because there's plenty of good evidence to support intermittent fasting being benificial in many ways.

    • Thanks for the input Amy! This diet can severely mess with your metabolism, but every body (physically and metaphorically) is different, and I'm glad you managed to keep the weight off. I, too, believe in intermittent fasting. I eat between 10am and 6pm daily, and the benefits are amazing! 🙂

      • I think if used briefly this can really help reset your appetite …not for long term but for getting it under control

  3. "Will make me fat"? I will show you. I will show all of you. Actually, 5 bites doesn't even feel like enough. Though, I'm changing a couple things. Instead of "whatever I want," I'm choosing healthy food. xD Vegetables and a little fruit. And a little nuts.

  4. Sorry I meant five bites seems like too much, not "doesn't seem like enough" or whatever I said. I just took some strong painkillers and I'm so dizzy and out of it.

  5. I love all the people bashing the diet and saying take Dr Lewis's license. Yet, none of the people or physicians against this diet have any problems with gastric bypass. You know why, gastric bypass beginning to end earns a physician or medical group $25k (there is more than just the cost of the surgery). But this diet give people the ability to eat the same way as a gastric bypass patient without the surgery, surgery risk, etc,,,without the cost. I worked in healthcare for almost 20 years. I know what the bill, what insurance pay, the average patient cost…. its all about the money.

    • thanks I totally agree with you. Why are people bashing this diet when Gastric bypass patients follow the same diet.

  6. This is what makes me shake my head:

    I will always (of course), recommend the raw vegan lifestyle, because of the incredible results and benefits I have received from living this way (as well as countless others). The best thing is, is that I can eat 2,000 (or more) calories of fruit and vegetables per day, eating things like raw vegan “nice cream,” smoothies that taste like cookies or even raw cabbage rolls, mac n’ cheese, spaghetti and pizzas. My favourite of course, is keeping it simple, and eating large fruit meals of mango or figs, and enjoying my massive salads at night. I have reached my ultimate state of bliss!

    Do you really think that other people are going to be like OH YEAH ! and jump right in? I've just now started eating vegetables but I have no idea how anyone could ever call a salad something they enjoy eating. Like no way.

    So welcome to the other side, you are now Dr. Alwin Lewis and having your head shaked at.

  7. Make it simple!!!!! after major surgery like a gastric bypass this is the ONLY way patients that want to keep it off can eat!!! It works….. We gorge ourselves at every stop….Look at portion size in any restaurant! 5 Bites makes it able to eat out with friends, enjoy all foods and maintain a lovely shape while exhibiting self control!!! Read :The Absolute last weightloss diet book you ever have to read" by A Apolinario MD…He proves that it works… and why

  8. I am 5'5 and have always maintained a size 2 with diet and exercise. But this last year, I've gone up to a 5/6 due to a baby, graduate school and maybe even age (I just turned 30). These last three months I have followed a 6 bite diet. For the most part, I eat healthy foods and as a result I am now down to a size 2 again. I do however, find this diet incredibly challenging a week before my period. In fact, I've been known to cheat one of those days! Nevertheless, this diet has been a great success.

  9. Don't bash it until you try it. I'm another successful user of the 5 bite diet and started off at 220 lbs. I now weigh 180 lbs and have stayed at this weight for the past year. I eat normally and even have days where I stuff my face and the worst that happens is my weight would fluctuate between 180-185 and that happens normally for everyone. I lost the weight in two months and wasn't even strict, had a few cheat days here and there. Then when I got to 180 i slowly stated eating normally. I'm now doing a 30 day challenge to get rid of my last 30 lbs as my goal weight is 150. I'm 5'3". I recommend not doing this diet more than 2 months at a time. Take a few months off like I did then jump back in and you won't have to worry about regaining weight. Also there's a Facebook group called why weight around warriors, they really helped me throughout.

  10. I am also a 5-bite dieter. I love how the whole premise of Dr. Lewis book is not brought up here. A very strong fact is that gastric bypass patients use the same method. They are “forced” to eat this way – and look at their results. So what is wrong with getting our bodies the way we want it, by going the gastric bypass route…done manually. There is a lot of strength in those who do this diet. A lot of determination. It’s not easy, but it’s also not easy seeing your past eating decisions stay with you in the form of 30 extra pounds!

    Dr. Lewis doesn’t go and promote a new diet, or a version of his own diet, all over the planet. The industry is so confused, you don’t even know what you can, and can’t eat anymore. So Dr. Lewis keeps it simple, 5 bites, of whatever you want, twice a day – and you will lose weight. When you hit your goal, now you start to raise that bite count, and gauge from there. If you gain, you know that’s too many bites, if you lose, you know that’s too little.

    There has to be more applause for Dr. Lewis approach. It’s obviously working. I recommend trying it before you really want to write a whole article about it. Theory is theory until it’s proven, and 1000’s have proven Dr. Lewis’ theory is correct.

    • Amen! Please follow me on intagram! fivebitedietchick. We might be a small community but we are strong. Am here for you! Please share your story with me. 🙂

  11. I can tell you for certain that it works. I have almost lost 30 pounds in four months. I have not always been on it 100 percent but I still managed to go from 177 to 148. It really works if you stick with what the Dr says. Many think he is telling people to eat like this for good but that is not correct. It is a short safe and effective way to lose fat. Plant based diets can make you fat too if you don’t reduce your bites. Over eating is what we are trying to combat and why people are obese. It’s not what they eat its how much. Come check out my channel on YouTube. Jaimie Vanderhouck I been progressing my journey there. I still am looking to lose another 38 pounds by Febuary of next year hopefully sooner. This is the fastest way to lose weight and keep it off. The book why weight around was very helpful. So if your tired of the being fat try this it really works!

    • Thanks to those who gave us input on the diet. Do you actually buy “regular” portions of food or fix regular portions of food and then throw out what you don’t eat? Can you give us examples of what to eat? Dr. Lewis said on the YouTube video (can’t remember the interviewer’s name) that you can eat 2 Snickers bars a day, which would be about 10 bites per day. Any sample menus or foods you like? It not only sounds really effective, it sounds easy and inexpensive. Just eat 5 bites and get on with your day. 🙂

  12. I actually love the five bites strategy. I've been eating 5 bites for lunch and dinner for 3 weeks and have lost 21 pounds. My boyfriends dad is a patient of Dr. Lewis and made him go on "The Five Bites Diet", he lost around 60 pounds in five months. I decided to give it shot, to test my energy and body (I eat very healthy for the most part, I practice the 24 hour diet). Absolutely love it; the only thing I've changed is cardio. I used to run 4 miles a day 5 days a week…right now I'm running 2 miles a day 3 days a week; however I still go to Pilates in the morning and do two separate work out videos (1 hour for both aprox.)…I absolutely love this diet because growing up I knew nothing about portion control; I know understand it. I don't have to eat my entire Rosemary Chicken (6oz) and Cauliflower rice (1/2 cup); I have five bites and save the rest for the next day and guess what I'm full. I love this "Diet" I don't like to call it a diet because it shouldn't be restriction but a life style.

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