Flat Belly Diet

by Liz Vaccariello and Cynthia Sass

Flat Belly Diet targets the millions of Americans who want to take a few inches off of their waistline. The writers, Liz Vaccariello and Cynthia Sass, both work for Prevention magazine; with Vaccariello (editor-in-chief) being the primary voice of the book and Sass (nutrition director) providing additional knowledge and insight.

In essence, the book promises a flatter belly and weight loss of up to 15 pounds in 32 days by following the diet plan. The diet itself is fashioned after the traditional diet of the Mediterranean – more specifically, the southern regions. It allows for 1600 calories per day, with an emphasis on wholesome, unrefined foods; including nuts, fruits, vegetables, whole grains, beans, seeds, and lean protein. Red meat is restricted – only being allowed about once a month.

Before beginning the diet, dieters go on a four-day, anti-bloat, jump-start diet. The idea is to get dieters in the mindset for healthier eating while making them feel better by relieving bloating, constipation, and the general sluggishness that usually accompanies unhealthy eating. After the four-day period, dieters then start the 28-day program, with a focus on having a monounsaturated fat (MUFA) at every meal. This, according to the authors, is the secret to the Flat Belly Diet and what makes it different and more-successful. Exercise is optional, but encouraged.

All in all, Flat Belly Diet provides a fairly normal approach to dieting, with the addition of increased good fats (MUFA). There is no calorie-counting, which is a boon for many dieters. Instead, dieters choose from a list of 28 mix-and-match meal and snack plans. The book also includes 80 recipes, complete with nutritional analysis for each one. The drawbacks of Flat Belly Diet include 1) difficulty maintaining the weight loss rate after the initial 32 days, and 2) 1600 calories is too low for most people, which could result in binge eating and the yo-yo dieting effect.

If you decide to try Flat Belly Diet, we would recommend adjusting the calorie intake to meet or exceed your BMR and adding a fitness regime to start building muscle mass. Diet alone may help you lose weight, but exercise is essential for maintaining a healthy lifestyle.

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