Developed by the editors of Prevention magazine, the Flat Belly Diet is a weight loss plan that says users can lose up to 15 lbs in just 32 days. Liz Vaccariello, one of the diet's authors, stops by The Doctors today to discuss this diet plan. The cornerstone of the diet is the power of monounsaturated fatty acids (MUFA) which are 'good' fats known to have a positive effect on cholesterol numbers and some say has been shown to reduce dangerous belly fat.
Many women want to lose the fat from their midsection, and with good reason. Studies have shown that belly fat has a higher level of activity and sends more fat particles throughout the body than the fat that collects around the thighs and buttocks. It also releases more cytokines, which are indicated as a cause for the insulin resistance that leads to diabetes. Fat that collects around the lower body is not as active, and not only doesn't send fat particles throughout the body, but acts as 'good' fat, providing protection from heart attack and diabetes.
The Flat Belly Diet aims to get rid of this dangerous belly fat. At the beginning, there is a 4-day anti-bloat jumpstart period. For these 4 days, you consume 1200-1400 calories per day and drank 2 liters of a spiced water that the diet authors call Sassy Water. For the following 28 days, the diet works on three basic rules:
- Eat a MUFA at every meal.
According to Livestrong.com, Pennsylvania State University researchers discovered in 1999 that a diet high in MUFAs reduced cardiovascular risk by an average of over 20%. According to the developers of the Flat Belly Diet, "Research shows that MUFAs have health benefits and target belly fat. They also help control satiety, so by adding in one MUFA at meals and snacks it is easier to stick with the plan and lose belly fat."
- Keep each meal at or around 400 calories.
Calorie control is especially important with this diet because the MUFAs are not low in calories. They include foods like avocados, almonds and almond butter - basically nuts and healthy, natural oils. When you purchase the diet plan, there are several meal recipes and ideas included, all of which are right around 400 calories each. While you will be eating a lot of fruits, vegetables, beans, and nuts, there is very little red meat.
- Never go more than 4 hours without eating.
No diet works if you feel hungry, plus when you do feel hungry, you're more likely to go off the plan. Also, studies show that if you want to keep your metabolism up, you should eat more often. Eat your meals every 4 hours to keep hunger at bay and your metabolism working.
The natural question is, 'Does the diet really work?' The simple answer is yes. If you stick to this plan, you will lose weight. The same is true for most weight loss plans that decrease your calorie intake. Will the diet actually decrease your belly fat specifically? According to WebMD.com, Dr. Michael Jensen, a Mayo Clinic obesity researcher and endocrinology specialist says, "There are so many variables associated with weight loss that it is premature to associate belly fat with a specific food or diet plan."