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:
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.
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.
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!
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.
5 bite not sustainable and you will put onn all the weight back once you start eating normal n it has to be a life style change bla bla bla etc etc.. really ?????? Kindly explain in that case ,, which diet is sustainable n which diet will guarantee you of no weight gain once u start your normal eating habits.. my point here is simple … gaining weight back, not sustainable and life style change applies to any diet in the world.. fad healthy good bad.. including the gastric bypass , once u go back to your old habits u will put on everything back,, so why critics only to 5 bite diet n not other diet?
Carly Fraser says
Try going on a whole foods, plant based (vegan) diet, low in processed foods. I guarantee you will not gain weight.
I really like the 5BD. I must say that I didn't follow it religiously but had I, I would have lost more weight. I was diagnosed with epilepsy and gained 50 lbs because of medication. I started doing this plan (only I would have a tad more than 5 bites and maybe some calorie dense drinks) and I lost 30 pounds. I was full and wouldn't eat a ton. That was a year ago. Now I'm cutting weight to enter the police academy and this will be the diet I do. Do I think it's lifelong? No not at all (and Carly one day my goal is actually raw vegan?) but I know it gets the weight off quick and you get used to it. I don't think this diet is for people who do not need to lose weight but what's wrong with getting the weight off then gradually working your way back up without gaining weight? I can personally say that as a person with epilepsy, i can't always control what happens to me, so I take what I can control and run with it. Love to all❤️
Carly Fraser says
That's great it has worked for you. I have my doubts about it, and still have them to this day. I feel like the 5BD could lead to an eating disorder. Also, I don't see how someone could do this diet as plant-based. I think you would need to eat really high-fat, high-protein foods (which aren't great for us, long-term). You could eat unlimited amounts of clean plant-based foods and lose tonnes of weight while infusing your body with unlimited amounts of nutrients. There are other ways to lose weight, and you don't just need to take 5 bites to do it. It just seems silly to me the whole concept – what other species on the planet limits themselves to 5 bites of food? They usually eat until they are content. But to each their own of course. 🙂
10 bites of even unhealthy food for a few months n lose the weight is way healthier then the complication of keeping that weight in your body ,? Not to forget it’s ONLY 10 bites which probably would be 200 to 600 calories max.. instead of recommended calories of 2000 a day of which I’m sure 800 to 1000 would still be unhealthy., and all this maths if u do decide to have all 10 bites of unhealthy stuff
I was raw vegan once. No nuts, oils, seeds, etc. My daily calories were well under 900. I gained weight RAPIDLY. And no, it wasn't healthy weight, despite the abundance of fruits and oil free salads. Cellulite was forming, stomach was swelling, and I felt awful.
I'm on 5BD now and am losing the weight I gained on raw vegan, despite calories being close to the same (my current bites are very fatty). The difference is VOLUME.
Carly Fraser says
Of course you'd be gaining weight with under 900 calories a day. Your body was in starvation mode and utilizing any calorie you ate as fat production to protect your organs. Try doing it again, but eat the normal recommended amount of 2,000-2,500 depending on your BMI.
Eimy (Amy) says
I am doing a modified version of the five bites diet. I have to say that I felt the same way you do when I first heard of it. I assumed that it might not be safe and healthy to do the actual five bite plan. My biggest worry was actually not about deficiencies since many diets cause them, but about gallbladder disease, which can happen with rapid weight loss. So I decided to have ten bites for each meal instead (breakfast, lunch, and dinner), as well as two 100 calorie protein shakes a day. I will also let myself eat non-starchy vegetables if I’m starving between meals. Ten bites is usually about one third to half of my average meal, sometimes less, and very rarely more (hot dog). I do not throw food away, but take any leftovers home to have for another meal or two. I am doing well on this diet, but I completely understand that I have modified it to make it less extreme.
I struggle to lose every single pound due to a medication I take. I am a mostly healthy eater and love veggies and salads, eat mostly whole grains, no sugary drinks, but am still 120 pounds overweight. Fried foods get me! My doctor is always trying to push diet pills and gastric bypass on me, saying that is the only way I will lose weight on my meds. I have tried some of the pills with no benefits and lots of negative side effects, so I say no more. I am completely uninterested in mutilating my body to lose weight, so weight loss surgery is out no matter how many times my doctor brings it up. However, regular calorie restricted diets of 1200-1800 calories do nothing for me. I might lose half a pound a month on them and am always craving unhealthy foods that are off limits. With this modified five bite diet, I am eating 800-1000 calories per day, can have some fried food, and am actually losing weight. It’s working for me and I’m not starving!
Your comment was very insightful. I would love an update from you as I am on the third day of 5BD and am surprised at how my cravings and appetite disappeared the second day.