The Four Hour Body – X Factor

Tim Ferriss has taken us inside his inner “body” version of “Project Mayhem” testing all manner of supplements, additives, condiments & chemicals to crack the code that will promote weight loss. He has given us the diet & the exercise regime but now we come to the “4HB”‘s “x” factor which accentuates the impact of the other two components. Before showcasing his discoveries I strongly advise you consider the intended affects & side effects that could result from utilising the “x” items with reference to any medications you are taking & your own personal body chemistry. Simply consult with your family doctor to find out what is suitable for you before experimenting.

PAGG Theory

PAGG is an acronym encompassing the following components, Policosanol, Alpha Lipoic Acids, green tea flavonols & garlic extract. Ferris’s exhaustive research has seen him nominate this awesome foursome as the daily supplement that provides the most powerful impetus to chemically alter the way the body processes food. Policosanol is often derived from sugar cane & is a plant wax extract that promotes fat loss. It can also be used in conjunction with chromium polynicotinate & slow release niacin to mitigate cholesterol.

Alpha Lipoic Acids are a robust anti oxidant that facilitates carbohydrates being stored in muscles & the liver but not in fat tissues. It also helps regenerate the body’s intracellular glutathione levels which is a crucial anti oxidant (found in small amounts in broccoli & spinach) & ALA’s also promote increases in the body’s vitamin C & E stores. Epigallocatechin Gallate (ECGG) is a complex name for a soluble compound present in green teas that has a two pronged diet effect. It kills off mature fat cells & diverts excess carbs to muscle cells as opposed to storing them as body fat. In addition this very valuable compound is said to promote anti aging & inhibit the development of cancer cells. Decaffeinated green tea extract pills are the recommended method of ingesting this additive. Garlic contains excessive amounts of an element called allicin which is an excellent agent for preventing the body regaining fat.

You can use garlic in the food or tablet form & it also will be a worthy ally in managing cholesterol. So these are the big 4 “x” items of the “Four Hour Body” regime, there are many others but used in a concentrated combination six days a week (one week off every two months) these “chemical agents” will “hack” the body (reduce insulin production) & augment all your other initiatives to achieve the desired results. The book gives you a full outline of how much and when to consume them but essentially it is AGG prior to ever meal (No Policosanol) & PAG prior to bed (No green tea supplements).

A Spoonful Of Vinegar (Or Cinnamon) Makes The Sugar Go Down

The two most prominent action agents amongst simple food stuffs are freshly squeezed lemon juice & cinnamon. Both these condiments have been proven to blunt the GI jump when consuming foods & slow the rate of food processing. Lemon juice does this by up to 10% & cinnamon by as much as 29%. The net result of this is crucial & obvious, less insulin in your system means less carbs stored as fat. The suggested dosage is 3.5 teaspoons of lemon juice or 1.5 teaspoons of cinnamon before consuming a meal. It has been said that all types of vinegar have a similar impact but Ferris found no evidence of this in his experiments.

Tummy Flora

The quality of our stomach bacteria has a very strong effect on how our body processes food which in turn impacts insulin production & weight gain. Fermented foods are a necessity to maintain the growth of our “gut flora” so generous consumption of sauerkraut, fermented fish, kefir (goat or cow’s milk with good bacteria added) kimchi (a fermented Korean pickle made of cabbage, horseradish etc) & Asian Kombucha tea (a hybrid of yeast & bacteria) are essential.

Prebiotics are substances such as Inulin (a natural plant based carbohydrate) that promote the health growth of tummy bacteria.

Probiotics are the actual live bacteria themselves which are contained in certain yogurts or supplements. Consumption of both “biotics” will go a long way towards healthy digestion.

Prospecting For Minerals

The “4HB” recommends that you supplement your diet with liberal doses of Potassium, Calcium & Magnesium which all perform crucial roles in maintaining the body’s optimum health. Given they are electrolytes they are critical in ensuring the body’s cells can transport material or messages from cell to cell so the body can function so these are the sort of mineral capsules that are on your shopping list.

Tasty Morsels

• If you are really craving food have a teaspoon of almond butter or pure peanut butter & this will suppress your hunger & promote sleep.

• Use vanilla or cinnamon as coffee / tea sweetener never sugar.

Eating slowly minimizes GI spikes, take 30 minutes to consume each meal.

• Eating lots of fat with each meal also minimizes GI spikes.

Chinese Pu-erh tea is a fermented tea that claims it can metabolise what you eat if consumed an hour after every meal.

Naringenin is a chemical in grapefruit that is said to promote weight loss by sending metabolism into overdrive. Research suggests you need up to 8 glasses to get the impact so I’d be searching for an equivalent supplement. And be very careful of the impact of grapefruit on any other medications you are taking.

Quinoa is a South American grain that has properties of a vegetable. It measures low on the GI, is high in protein, fibre & vitamins so it “fills you up” but is low in calorie content.

• On your “binge day” you can reduce the calorie carnage by consuming espresso coffee or yerba tea which will ensure the food passes through your system quickly so as not to absorb the maximum nutrients.

• After the “binge day” you may use the equivalent to the “morning after” pill namely Cissus Quadrangularis which is an ancient native Indian plant (related to grape) that has been used for centuries to stop unwanted fat gain. You can get it in a capsule form.

Ice baths & cold showers are also a very effective weight lose tool. When confronted with severe cold your body burns fat & glucose to generate heat through shivering. Regular “arctic” torture might not be appealing but the evidence is overwhelming. Daily icy exposure of up to 30 minutes will help you lose weight.

DANGEROUS but effective. The ECA regime is the cocktail of ephedrine hydrochloride (traditionally an asthma treatment), caffeine & aspirin taken daily that is a proven weight loss method (appetite supressent) used by weight lifters but it can result in very bad headaches along with other serious side effects. I’d give this one a wide berth & leave it to the “heavy metal” gym crew.

Better Living Through Chemistry

The extensive research that is an intrinsic & valuable part of the “4HB” is a crucial jigsaw piece in the weight loss puzzle. But I reiterate that you should scrutinise what is best for YOUR body because losing a few kilograms is not worth risking your health for. Notwithstanding this Ferriss has “hacked” the chemistry of the human body to perfection and has come up with some invaluable discoveries that may well form the bedrock of weight loss programmes in future generations. These revelations demand your consideration.

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