The warrior diet is an intermittent fasting variant, cycling 20 hours of reduced calorie intake with 4 hours of overeating. Learning everything about it helps you decide whether to follow it for weight loss.

With the desire to lose weight stronger today than ever, people are doing everything within reach, including trying various forms of intermittent fasting. Warrior diet is a form of intermittent fasting which alternates a long period of undereating followed by a short burst of overeating. The program includes 20 hours of extremely reduced calorie intake followed by 4 hours when one can overeat. It was created to help people lose weight fast and effectively, although some professionals find it inappropriate. Here is everything you need to know about the warrior diet.

Understanding the warrior diet

The warrior diet was invented by a former Israeli Special Forces officer who later moved to health and fitness, Ori Hofmekler. In his creation, Ori claimed to imitate the ancient warriors who would eat little during the day and feast at night, challenging their way of ‘eating, thinking, feeling, looking, and performing.’ However, this was backed by his beliefs and not scientific studies. The diet is a form of intermittent fasting, special eating patterns that deprive the body of calories over a stipulated period.

The diet comprises 20 hours of reduced calorie intake, in which a person can take no-calorie drinks, raw veggies and fruits, and small portions of dairy products, followed by 4 hours during which he can take anything he desires. The creator encourages people to take healthy organic foods during the -hour eating window. Some of the diet’s claimed health benefits include boosted cellular repair and concentration.

Are there any benefits in following the warrior diet?

As mentioned previously, Ori backed his invention by beliefs and not science. Therefore, no studies have mentioned any health benefits of following the warrior diet. However, since it’s just a stricter version of intermittent fasting, there is a possibility that it is linked to the benefits of intermittent fasting, including

a.      May aid weight loss

One study investigated the effect of a diet that discouraged eating for 20 hours and encouraged eating over four hours of dinner and found that people on such a program lost more weight than those who ate the same amount in a distributed pattern throughout the day. Besides, their body and belly fat contents considerably reduced.

b.      It may promote brain function and cognitive abilities

Although no single study has stated that the warrior diet would boost brain functionality, intermittent fasting studies have proved that such eating patterns may boost cognition and brain functioning by controlling the brain’s regulatory inflammatory pathways. In fact, some animal studies associated intermittent fasting with reduced risks of Alzheimer’s disease, a common cognition disease.

c.       It may be beneficial for blood sugar control

People with diabetes type 2 have difficulty regulating their blood sugar and insulin levels, and intermittent fasting could help them do it. One study established that fasting for 18-20 hours/day reduced fasting and post-meal blood sugar and insulin spikes significantly. However, extreme fasting is associated with reduced sugar levels, otherwise called hypoglycemia. This is detrimental and can lead to fatality, necessitating that a diabetic consults a doctor before trying intermittent fasting.

d.     It may fight inflammation

Inflammation and oxidative stress, which result from free radical accumulation, are the two primary causes of most lifestyle conditions, including diabetes, obesity, heart disease, and cancer. However, studies have shown that some forms of intermittent fasting could fight the two, lowering the mentioned conditions’ risks. In fact, the studies showed that by restricting calorie intake consistently for the stipulated time, inflammatory markers reduced.

Challenges and downfalls of the warrior diet

Admittedly, the warrior diet might be effective for losing weight and boosting cognition. However, there are challenges in following it, including;

a.      Sticking to it is hard

Many people find it challenging to stick to the warrior diet since it reduces substantial eating to 4 hours a day. It becomes increasingly difficult when engaging in normal activities that include moving about and stepping out for lunch. Of course, some people may eat the recommended small calorie proportions, while others will find it almost impossible to stick to.

b.      The diet is not everyone’s piece of meat

While the warrior might be effective, it is not meant for everyone. For instance, children, underweight people, diabetics (type 1), expectant women, and individuals with some forms of cancers and eating disorders should not follow it. Besides, women might be more affected than men, experiencing extreme anxiety and insomnia, apart from missing out on menstruation.

c.       The diet may have negative side effects

Warrior diet may pose serious side effects, including lightheadedness, dizziness, insomnia, fatigue, irritability, lost concentration, weight gain, fainting, hormonal imbalance, and hypoglycemia. Although there is a fear of not meeting the nutritional needs while on the warrior diet, effective meal planning can help set things right.

d.     It may cause eating disorders

Eating disorders are abnormal eating patterns affecting millions worldwide. They include anorexia and bulimia nervosa and purging and binging practices. Some studies claim that the warrior diet could lead to the emergence of disordered eating, especially among those on the verge of developing such behaviors. This is especially the case since the diet encourages binge eating during the 4-hour eating window. These effects may be far-reaching and hard to resist. Besides, the body image and mental status that come with disordered eating are undesirable.


The warrior diet is an intermittent fasting variant invented by Ori Hofmekler in 2001. It comprises alternating periods of 20 and 4 hours of undereating and overeating, respectively, and imitates the ancient warriors who fasted over the day and feasted at night. Although it may help boost cognition and attain weight loss, it is not meant for everyone. Besides, people find it hard to stick to since it restricts substantial eating duration to 4 hours. Although some studies link it to nutrient deficiency, proper meal planning beats the challenge.

MS, Lund University, Sweden

Nutrition plays an important role in human life. Eating habits are one of the factors that affect our health. There is often a misconception among people that nutritionists force a very restrictive diet, but that is not true. In fact, I don't ban any products, but I point out dietary mistakes and help change them by giving tips and new recipes that I've tried myself. I advise my patients not to resist change and to be purposeful. Only with willpower and determination can a good result be achieved in any area of life, including changing eating habits. When I don't work, I love to go climbing. On a Friday evening, you are most likely to find me on my couch, cuddling with my dog and watching some Netflix.

Latest from Health