What is the Flat Belly Diet
The Flat Belly Diet (or Belly Fat Diet) is a 32 day eating plan that promises dieters that they will not only lose pounds, but they will lose inches from their belly region without doing any exercise or cutting out any favorite foods. The Flat Belly Diet was developed by Liz Vaccariello and Cynthia Sass of Prevention Magazine and David L. Katz. It was published in 2008.
How the Flat Belly Diet Works
The Belly Fat Diet is a 32 day dieting system that claims a dieter will lose about 15 pounds and several inches off their waist via the use of a combination of low calorie eating and ingesting MUFAs (monounsaturated fats) which have been shown to assist in belly fat (centrally distributed fat) loss.
The Belly Fat Diet begins with a 4 day period that is designed to encourage less bloat and to jump start the fat loss process. This portion of the diet has a very rigid 4 day menu and the inclusion of a drink that is called "Sassy Water" after one of the authors. Following this phase is 28 days of eating where the dieter will eat four 400 calorie meals per day.
The dieter will not be required to count any calories as the Flat Belly Diet book provides a list of 28 different meals that equal around 400 calories each. The meals are arranged in sections for breakfast, lunch, dinner, and snacks. Each meal is eaten four hours apart and the dieter can include exercise if they wish. While it is not necessary to exercise while following the Belly Fat Diet, it is certainly encouraged, and the book has a chapter devoted to exercises that "promote belly fat loss".
What Experts Say about the Flat Belly Diet
There have been notable studies done on the usage of monounsaturated fats (MUFAs) in weight loss and centrally distributed fat (belly fat). One set of studies supports the idea that monounsaturated fat can, in fact, help reduce belly fat while dieting in patients with insulin resistance (usually found in type 2 diabetes patients). The key here is that it helps people with insulin resistance lose belly fat.
The other notable study was published in 2004, after it was discovered that MUFAs appear to help reduce centrally distributed fat in diabetes patients was done, to see if the same principle could be applied to women who do not have diabetes or insulin resistance. This study concluded that MUFAs did not affect centrally distributed fat in non-diabetic or insulin resistant women.
This means, essentially, that the Belly Fat Diet would likely work fairly well, from the claims made by the diet’s authors, as long as the dieter is diabetic or insulin resistant. This doesn’t mean that the diet is necessarily a bad one, just that the claims that it targets belly fat are only applicable and true when it comes to a certain subset of the population.
The foods and eating plan of the Belly Fat Diet are in keeping with a low calorie (about 1600 calories per day) diet and will cause most people, especially those who are overweight, to lose weight without exercise. In addition to this, the menu choices of the Belly Fat Diet are very similar to the Mediterranean Diet eating plans which, studies have shown, can be very beneficial to those with heart related medical issues, and that it can also help stave off such illnesses as cancer, Parkinson’s disease, and Alzheimer’s disease.
Sample Belly Fat Diet Meal Plan
The first four days of the Belly Fat Diet are quite restrictive and is called the "Anti-Bloat" period. During this phase, the dieter will follow several rules set down by the diet. These are:
- Don’t deviate from your meal plans.
- Eat 4 meals each day.
- Take a 5 minute walk after each meal.
- Eat your meals slowly.
- Use a mind trick at every meal.
- Prepare a recipe of Sassy Water the night before the current day and consume it all.
The Sassy Water Recipe consists of the following ingredients that must all be placed in the water and chilled overnight:
- 2 liters of water
- 1 tsp. of freshly grated ginger
- 1 peeled and thinly sliced medium size cucumber
- 1 thinly sliced lemon
- 12 small spearmint leaves
Sample Anti-Bloat Menu
- 2 liters of Sassy Water (drunk over the period of the day)
- 1 cup Crisped Rice Cereal (eg. Special K, Rice Krispies)
- 1 cup Skim Milk
- 1/4 cup Sunflower Seeds
- 1/4 cup Pineapple
- 3 oz. Chunk Light Tuna (packed in water, not oil or sauce)
- 1 cup Carrots
- 1 Light String Cheese
- 3 oz. Chicken Breast (boneless and skinless)
- 1/2 cup Brown Rice (cooked amount)
- 1 cup Mushrooms (sautéed in 1 teaspoon olive oil)
- 1 Pineapple Smoothie (made with 1 cup skim milk, 1 tablespoon flax seed, and 4 oz. pineapple)
Main Belly Fat Diet Phase
During this phase of the Belly Fat Diet, the dieter will continue to choose four 400 calorie meals and snack at four hour intervals throughout the day. Sassy Water is not required during this period, but the dieter should drink at least 2 liters (eight 8 oz. glasses) of regular water. There are three rules to follow during this phase:
- Include a monounsaturated fat (MUFA) with each meal.
- Do not exceed 400 calories per meal.
- Eat once every four hours.
Sample Belly Fat Diet Menu
- 2 liters of regular water or Sassy Water (drunk over the period of the day)
- Oatmeal (spice up with apples, almonds, pineapple, or other acceptable additions)
- Sandwich (turkey, cheese, lettuce, and tomato on an English muffin)
- 1 cup Cherry tomatoes
- 3 oz. Salmon steak (grilled, garnished with 2 tablespoons almonds)
- 1 1/2 cup Green string beans
- 1/4 cup Hummus (made with 2 tablespoons pine nuts)
- 1 cup Green pepper strips (one small green pepper sliced into strips is about 1 cup)