The latest diet frenzy has hit: The Flat Belly Diet – featured recently on Good Morning America.
The diet is written by Prevention magazine’s Editor in Chief Liz Vaccariello (along with Nutrition Editor Cynthia Sass).
What’s It About?
The central premise of the diet is that of Monounsaturated Fatty Acids – MUFA for short. The Flat Belly Diet calls for a MUFA food at every meal.
According to exciting new research, MUFAs can actually help you lose weight, specifically around your middle.
What foods contain MUFAs? Olive oil, sunflower oil, flax oil, avocado, nuts and seeds.
The diet also talks about eating whole grains, fruits, vegetables, legumes, and limiting meat intake. In fact it sounds very similar to a traditional Mediterranean diet. The suggested meal plans are set at 1600 Calories per day.
A Flat Belly Without Situps?
The program recommends “optional” exercise such as; 25 minutes brisk walking, or a strength training workout including Lunges, Squats, and Pushup Rows.
Just A Few Gripes
Sadly, there are many things about this diet that seem a little (or a lot) over-exuberant. All the material points to a direct loss of abdominal fat from the diet — this is a very bold claim and there is no apparent evidence to back it up. When body fat is lost it tends to disappear from all over the body.
There are also claims like:
- Lose up to to 15lbs in 32 days
- Trim up to 12 inches of fat
- Tighten, tone and flatten your tummy
- Look and feel sexier
These are the buzzwords that draw in the crowd. The book costs $31.95 and the online program appears to cost around $15 per month (although there is a 3 month ‘free’ trial available).
The Flat Belly Diet espouses a healthy diet – but it is hardly “Breakthrough Science”. Eating a certain kind of fat is no miracle weight loss cure. However – in all fairness – there is some research (such as this and this study in the British Journal of Nutrition) that demonstrate how replacing saturated fats in the diet with MUFA’s can result in favorable outcomes.