5-Bite Diet

Erin Coleman, R.D., L.D.
Bananas

The 5-bite diet was created by Dr. Alwin Lewis in 2007 in his book Why Weight Around. In this book, Dr. Lewis describes what it takes to follow the diet and shed pounds quickly, suggesting you can lose 15 pounds in just one week. The idea behind this type of diet is that eating like a gastric bypass patient is a way to shed pounds without having surgery. It's a very low-calorie diet that provides fewer than 800 calories per day.

What Is the 5-Bite Diet?

The 5-bite diet consists of the following:

  • Skip breakfast or drink black coffee and take a multivitamin supplement.
  • Take 5 bites of food during lunch (can be any type of food).
  • Take 5 bites of food for dinner (again, this can be any food).
  • Take 1 bite of something between meals (2 bites of snacking daily is allowed) if you desire.
  • Include protein in your diet daily (take at least 1 bite of protein at each meal, and at least 2 bites of protein daily).
  • Drink unlimited calorie-free drinks.
  • Take a multivitamin supplement plus an omega-3 fish oil supplement daily.
  • Once you reach your goal weight, resume a normal (your regular) eating pattern.

Which Foods to Choose

In his book, Dr. Lewis suggests eating at least 2 bites of protein foods daily (such as fish, chicken, nuts, seeds, dairy foods, eggs, soy foods, legumes, etc.). However, there aren't any restrictions on which foods you can eat for the other 8 to 10 bites. Because you're only allotted 10 to 12 bites of food daily, it makes sense to pick higher-calorie options like avocados, nuts, seeds, and nut butters for the majority of your bites but at the end of the day, you get to choose which foods you're going to eat. Some people pick all candy bars, while others try to choose more nutrient-dense options.

Sample Daily Menu

Dr. Lewis gives the following sample menu as an example, when following one day of the 5-bite diet:

Breakfast: Coffee and a multivitamin supplement

Snack (optional): 1 bite of any food

Lunch: 5 bites of a hamburger on a bun

Snack (optional): 1 bite of any food

Dinner: 5 bites total (3 bites of macaroni and cheese and 2 bites of apple pie)

Pros

Because the diet is so restrictive, there aren't many pros that come with following it. When choosing the 5-bite diet, you'll lose weight quickly as you'll likely be eating fewer than 800 calories per day. Plus the diet is very easy to follow, as there are no restrictions as to which foods you get to eat (as long as you're eating just 10 to 12 bites of food daily). Taking a multivitamin and omega-3 fish oil supplement daily is always a good idea to help avoid nutrients deficiencies, regardless of which type of diet you're following.

Cons

There are more cons than pros when it comes to eating this way. Because this type of diet is extremely low in calories, it puts you hungry and fatigued, it could slow your metabolism, it likely has nutrient deficiencies, and weight regain is likely after you go back to your usual eating routine. Following very low-calorie diets can also cause diarrhea, nausea, constipation, and gallstones, says the National Institute of Diabetes and Digestive and Kidney Diseases.

Likewise, taking a multivitamin supplement in the morning on an empty stomach is an almost surefire way to become nauseated and feel sick. To top it off, the diet isn't sustainable (or safe) to follow long term, and you shouldn't try it unless supervised by a doctor.

Who Should Follow This Diet?

Never follow the diet without talking with your doctor first and only do it under medical supervision. This diet has more cons than potential pros, and you can lose the same amount of weight long term following a low-calorie diet (1,000 to 1,200 calories per day for women, and 1,200 to 1,600 calories daily for men) as you can following very low-calorie diets, says the National Institute of Diabetes and Digestive and Kidney Diseases. A better bet is to choose a well-balanced, low-calorie meal plan.

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5-Bite Diet