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Customer Review

294 of 329 people found the following review helpful
2.0 out of 5 stars Consult a doctor before doing anything in this book, December 17, 2010
This review is from: The 4-Hour Body: An Uncommon Guide to Rapid Fat-Loss, Incredible Sex, and Becoming Superhuman (Kindle Edition)
Tim Ferris starts his book: "Please don't be stupid and kill yourself. It would make both of us unhappy. Consult a doctor before doing anything in this book."
The first rule of medicine is do no harm. I'm an M.D. Take him at his word.
In his chapter on "reversing permanent injuries," Tim explains how he went to a doctor in Arizona who injected him with "everything but the kitchen sink." The final cocktail included platelet-rich plasma, stem cell factor, bone morphogenic protein 7, and insulin growth factor 1. The result was emergency surgery at UCSF following a staph infection in his elbow. He still thinks the medication was right, but "I didn't find the right person to administer it."
Does he have any idea what all that stuff could do to his immune system?
The reason for his attempt at regenerative medicine - many injuries. His "pushing the envelope" had produced 20 fractures, 20 dislocations, two joint surgeries and innumerable tears and sprains. His orthopedist told him (p.297) that he was "a 30 year old in a 60 year old body."
Before you buy his book, consider Tim's own history.
There is excellent advice here on motivation, an excellent chapter by Ben Goldacre on what really happens in drug research, many provocative ideas. But a diet suggesting mandatory bingeing? Sleeping effectively two hours a day? For those attracted by his video which promises "you can do the impossible," I would ask this - consider what the impossible might do to you.
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Showing 1-4 of 4 posts in this discussion
Initial post: Dec 23, 2010 2:09:00 PM PST
Last edited by the author on Dec 23, 2010 2:09:52 PM PST
D. Dunkley says:
Finally a two star review that is helpful, and where the reviewer clearly read the same book! You make some salient remarks in your review, especially about the importance of checking with a doctor first.

I just had one question - you said objected to the "mandatory bingeing" of the Slow Carb diet. But I had heard of this long before Ferriss via Body for Life: 12 Weeks to Mental and Physical Strength. I have done BFL and had great results; and the major effects of the Free/Cheat Day were psychological. Plus dissonance of eating like a pig after a week of hard and consistent work in the gym actually worked to limit the total calories I ended up eating.

So anyway, my question is given the psychological benefits, is there something about a pre-planned free/cheat day that is medically wrong/dangerous?

In reply to an earlier post on Dec 24, 2010 5:16:39 AM PST
Dear Dunkley,
To get a fuller understanding of what I was trying to say, please look at a much longer review I wrote for, also at I can certainly see such a kind of diet working for individuals, but the public health effects could be very different.
About half of university undergraduate women are said to binge and purge. Declaring such binges as mandatory, as Ferriss said in an interview in the Globe and Mail, is to invite potential disaster for some bingers.
What this type of diet will do in individuals long term I do not know, and I expect the variation there to be enormous. For many it may work well; for others, the effects of cyclic variation in lipids and glucose may not bode well for long term cardiovascular health. The long term studies on Atkins may point a little towards what will happen here.
The trick is to use the body the way it's built. Just don't treat it as a machine.

In reply to an earlier post on Dec 24, 2010 7:17:54 PM PST
D. Dunkley says:
Thanks for the answer, I think you're right. As a non-anorexic/non-bulimic man who doesn't binge I never thought of the effect that the free day could have on a bulimic/anorexic teenage girl. I don't even call it a "binge" day - I think of it as a free day or social eating day when I can have what everyone else is. From past experience with BFL I find that the chocolate cheesecake and apple pie a la mode never taste as good as I've made them out to be in the cravings/fantasy phase. And ultimately they always feel like they're pulling me away from the desired end result; so I never really "binge" even though I eat in a less disciplined.

The cool thing is I think Slow Carb/Paleo can work without the free day if the dieter simply increases exercise and eats some of the bad foods in moderation (and continues to not have it available at home/work). Though I would expect this concession to result in slower weight-loss; but sometimes losing weight slowly is not such a bad thing. The primary problem with anorexia seems to me to be the underlying bad body image and unrealistic expectations anorexics and bulimics have. In the same way that advice to drink a glass of wine to avoid heart problems doesn't apply to alcoholics, maybe the BFL diet and Slow Carb w/ free day doesn't apply to anorexics/bulimics.

Posted on Jun 18, 2012 8:46:34 AM PDT
thanks for the clear-headed review.
J. Alexander, editor Get Fit in Bed: Tone Your Body & Calm Your Mind from the Comfort of Your Bed (written by a chiropractor and trainer, especially helpful for anyone recovering from an injury or stuck in bed due to sickness)
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