"The 7 Minute Diet" does not appear to be available for purchase at this time (July, 2015).
The accompanying tagline for “The 7 Minute Diet” is…
“The no diet no exercise way to burn thousands of calories every week in 7 minutes a day!”
I’ll admit that when I read this, I was immediately suspicious that something wasn’t quite right—despite the fact that I know Jon Benson is a good guy who both knows his stuff, and publishes great material. After all, how can you burn zillions of calories without exercise and diet?
Sounds a bit far fetched, doesn’t it?
I should take a minute to clarify one point before I continue: The 7 Minute Diet is a collaborative effort between three people; Jon Benson, Registered Dietician Kelli Jennings and fitness author Nathan Hopkins.
At first, sure. But your doubts are quickly dispelled as you read the introduction…
“This is not a diet in the traditional sense of the term at all. Nor is it an exercise plan. Rather, “The 7 Minute Diet” focuses on 21 fat burning “tricks” that we call “The Fat Burning Switches. Flip these switches and you can burn more calories per day than most people burn in over an hour of exercise.”
Let’s talk about the “switches” for a minute or two. What are they exactly?
They are simple things you can do throughout the day to reduce your caloric intake and / or boost your metabolism. Each “switch” gets its own chapter, and is discussed in detail. You’re also given the amount of time it takes to implement each switch, as well as how many calories you can expect to “burn” by implementing it.
The authors go to great lengths to explain how they justify the numbers provided for each of the fat burning switches—they use clinical studies, all included in the publication’s reference section. They also demonstrate how they differentiate between switches that cause either direct or indirect changes to the metabolism. (Direct changes act via an increased metabolism or the thermal effect of food. Indirect changes are a little more difficult to measure, as they may result from differences in calories consumed, or changes in insulin function).
In another credibility-boosting move, the authors clearly state that there is no clinical data to show that you’ll get cumulative effects from using multiple fat burning switches. In other words, if you “flip” a switch that burns 150 calories and another that burns 225 calories, there’s no guarantee that you’ll burn 375 calories in total.
For example, Fat Burning Switch #9 is called “Preload: Fuel Up Before You Fill Up.”
This one is simple; consume 16 oz of water and 1 serving of a fiber supplement (like Metamucil) 10-20 minutes before your meals. This fills your stomach up, so you will eat less and will stay satiated longer.
This is an example of an “indirect change” (see the sidebar above). You won’t actually burn calories with this one, but according to the authors, you’ll save between 171-188 daily—and it takes a mere 30 seconds of time to do so.
How about an example of some fat burning switches that cause “direct” changes to metabolism?
Fat Burning Switch #1 is called “Fish Oil : Fighting Fat With Fat” and its inclusion is based largely on this clinical study, which clearly demonstrates supplementing with a hearty dose of fish oil can “significantly increase lean mass and decrease fat mass.”
Other studies also validate this conclusion so it’s not an unreasonable conclusion. The authors claim that taking the 10 seconds necessary to implement this “switch” can burn between 275-488 calories per day.
Fat Burning Switch #19 is simple; “Green tea”. You shouldn’t be surprised to see this here; there’s a ton of scientific evidence validating green tea’s effects on weight loss, and its ability to boost the metabolism. Consuming plenty of green tea daily can see you burn an extra 78-110 calories per day.
Occasionally though, I feel the authors are on shaky ground. For instance, Fat Burning Switch #2 advocates the consumption of a minimum of 1000 IU of vitamin D to burn off 277 calories per day.
From what I can tell, this seems to be almost entirely extrapolated from this study (it’s the only relevant reference included), which is very preliminary. Even the head researcher invoked caution, and advocated more studies to validate the results…
“Our findings need to be followed up by the right kind of controlled clinical trial to determine if there is a role for vitamin D supplementation in helping people lose weight when they attempt to cut back on what they eat.”
For the most part though, the “switches” are easy to implement and are backed by some science.
What about the claims? Can you really burn off “thousands” of calories per week using these strategies?
Well, “thousands” really means “more than one thousand.” Can you conceivably burn off a minimum of 300 calories per day utilizing the strategies outlined in “The 7 Minute Diet?” Yes, probably. It’s certainly possible.
What about the second claim; can you really burn more calories per day than most people do in an hour of exercise?
Well, that depends on the size of individual exercising, what they are doing, and with how much intensity they are performing the specific exercise (you can use a calorie counter to determine the rough amount of calories burned in a 60 minute period). But since the authors qualify this with “most”, I’d say the answer to that question is probably in the affirmative as well.
Ultimately, The 7 Minute Diet is about implementing small, relatively painless and very quick changes to your life that will improve your overall health, elevate your metabolism to burn calories and reduce your caloric intake and shrink your waistline.
Overall, I really liked this publication—it’s not a traditional diet (which is a nice change), plus it offers good value, lots of great information and provides a simple, concrete list of Action Steps most people will have no problem implementing. As such, I have absolutely no problems recommending The 7 Minute Diet…