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Warrior Diet

From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia


The Warrior Diet is a controversial diet created by former Penthouse (magazine) editor and former Israeli Special Forces soldier Ori Hofmekler and marketed by Dragon Door. He created it based upon his own personal experiences, expanded upon by his opinions of how warriors ate (namely the Romans, similar to Spartan Health, though others are referred to), why their methods were effective, how these methods can be adapted to the modern age, and reasons he thinks these methods are more effective than the more scientific and common methods of dieting.

The diet has a daily feeding cycle of "undereating" during the day and "overeating" at night. He has based this upon his perception of how warriors used to eat, grazing lightly throughout the day and gorging themselves at night. The "Undereating Phase" supposedly maximizes the sympathetic nervous system's (SNS) fight or flight reaction to stress, thereby promoting alertness resulting in energy generation and ultimately fat burning.

The emphasis on the evening meals and semi-fasting throughout the day, does not use calorie counting or any form of mathematics or calculations to the body at all. Hofmekler rejects science continually throughout the book, despite relying on it in other instances to back up certain theories of his. This is a rather controversial means, as one can't pick and choose science. He claims to have solid ideas about how his system works (ala, not just his genetics or training regime or luck) and plans to explain them scientifically in the future.

The Warrior diet is advertised as reducing fat, the eating practises stimulating the body to secrete hormones to burn energy, seemingly independent of calories, except for perhaps large-scale differences.

The periods of fasting, eating of whole foods, rich in antioxidants and enzymes are supposed to build the body healthier in general, which would aid in muscle synthesis and fat loss not hindered by an ineffective system.

The book also contains a section on exercise, since the diet is tailored around someone who will undergo this type of warrior training. The training principles share much in common with Pavel Tsatsouline of Dragon Door's collective theories. That being, using high weights with low reps, not training to failure, wanting strong but not bulky muscle (obtained through the high weight low rep low protein eating), a stated desire to focus on power rather than muscle size or appearance, and a focus on large full-body exercises rather than isolation exercises, to build muscle stabilizers and 'functional' strength which can be more readily applied in real situations through being more similar to real-life movements. The book contains brief explanations of the theory (with referrals to Pavel) about short, intense strength and aerobic exercises are also part of the "warrior training," along with pre-and post-workout meals tailored to the diet.

Muscle conservation

Ori explains that while athletes and bodybuilders can supplement protein throughout the day, it will not be necessary to consume large amounts, as his program supposedly promotes a higher protein recycling efficiency. In that, with reduced protein intake and hormonal changes, the body becomes more proficient at reusing the amino acids from destroyed proteins to create new proteins.

While not using the term specifically, he also promotes the idea that his diet induces protein sparing through the hormonal changes induced by the diet. There is similarly little evidence for this, as his list of sources are difficult to pinpoint or verify the accuracy of, and are controversial to most bodybuilding common knowledge. More likely, protein sparing would be encouraged through the constant intake of fruits which could supply energy to minimize amino acid catabolism, with an excess of protein during sleep so that the body is not without it during that time of anabolic regrowth.

Scientific support

Recent studies on mice show that fasting every other day while eating double the normal amount of food on non-fasting days led to better insulin control, neuronal resistance to injury, and health indicators similar to mice on calorie restricted diets. This has lead to growing support among researchers for the "hormesis theory" of calorie restriction. That is, calorie restriction places a mild stress on the individual resulting in a change of gene expression, activating some genes and surpressing others. Fasting every other day produces the same changes in gene expression as those believed to be responsible for the longevity and health benefits of calorie restriction. Every other day fasting does not result in the underweight condition observed in calorie restriced mice, rhesus monkeys and humans.

This may mean that alternate-day fasting is an alternative to caloric restriction for life extension. Calorie restriction is still under dispute as to whether or not it applies to human physiology, even supposing it does, such results may not apply to human physiologies and require independent proof. These studies are underway.

At the third conference on calorie restriction, CR-III (2004), in a presentation given by Mark Mattson, he stated that the Warrior Diet was consistent with the hormesis theory of calorie restriction and may produce the same benefits. The minimum fasting time needed to produce the same effect as every-other-day fasting is at present unknown. On the Warrior Diet, the fasting period is 18 hours as compared to 36 hours on the every-other-day fasting regiment.

The Warrior Diet takes the middle road, still consuming food daily, but largely at a single moment, whereas insulin response is minimized throughout the rest of the day, in hopes of mimicking similar results. As the Warrior Diet does not limit calories in any way, if it is in excess of a normal diet it may be out of line with any benefits associated with calorie restriction. However, anecdotal evidence from those overweight individuals (human) on the every-other-day fasting regimine for a period of six or more months suggests they do lose weight and do show improvement in insulin/glucose response and blood pressure, all important markers associated with calorie restriction. Similar anecdotal evidence exists for the Warrior Diet.

Tooth health

Infrequent feedings are also advantageous in that they allow the pH of the mouth to neutralize after the acidic state which causes cavities and demineralization. The alkaline state encountered roughly two hours after eating when the saliva neutralizes the acidic state allows the bones (teeth) to remineralize, which repairs damage caused by wear and tear and by the acid-creating bacteria that form plaque.

External links

  • Official web site
  • TC from Testosterone Nation interviews Hofmekler about the Warrior Diet
  • Mike Mahler interviews Hofmekler about the Warrior Diet
  • New York Daily News Study suggests a single meal may be beneficial
  • Going Vegan on the Warrior Diet (with sample day scheduled)

Thrifty genes

  • PubMed article on thrifty genes
  • PubMed article on paleolithic eating habit changes
  • PubMed article on period fasting stressing human cells
  • Chet Day discusses 'thrifty genes' relation to exercise
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