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What is it?
The Flat Belly Diet is modeled on the traditional Mediterranean diet, a style of eating based on the Southern Mediterranean region. The diet was first proposed by two editors from the Prevention magazine, Liz Vaccariello and Cynthia Sass, in their book.
It promises you a flattened belly and it ensures a weight loss of up to 15 pounds in just 32 days.
The nutritional secret consists of monounsaturated fats, also called MUFA (Monounsaturated Fatty Acids). The diet has replaced saturated fatty foods with wholesome MUFA’s. Every meal contains a MUFA component that replaces the saturated fat content of normal diets. The flat belly meal plans are set at 1600 calories per day.
MUFA foods fall into five major categories: oils, nuts and seeds, avocado, olives, and chocolates.
MUFA oils include olive oil, canola oil, walnuts, walnut oil, sesame oil, flaxseed oil, safflower oil, pesto sauce, sunflower oil, peanut oil, and soybean oil. Safflower, soybean and sunflower oil can be used for cooking. Peanut, canola, and sesame oil can be used for stir-frying. You can also pan-fry in walnut or olive oil. You can spread pesto sauce on a sandwich or drizzle it over grilled foods or soups. Flaxseed oil can be used in salad dressings. (Flaxseed oil, however, is not recommended for cooking as it has a low flash point or a lower temperature in which it burns.)
2. Nuts and seeds
Nuts and seeds containing monounsaturated fats include pine nuts, hazelnuts, Brazil nuts, macadamia nuts, pistachios, dry-roasted sunflower seeds, dry-roasted cashews, dry-roasted peanuts, roasted pumpkin seeds, tahini (sesame seed paste), sunflower seeds, and pecans. You can eat them as a snack or they can be sprinkled on a salad. Many of these nuts can be crushed and used as a crunchy topping for fish and chicken. You can also spread nut butters on bread, and crackers. Nut butters can be stirred into soups and sauces to add flavor.
Avocados such as Florida avocado and Hass avocado are recommended as part of the Flat Belly Diet. You can slice and serve them with any salad or entrée. Avocados can be mashed with lime juice and served with any kind of chips.
MUFA olives include green olive tapenade, black olive tapenade, and green olives. Olives can be served as a snack. You can also use sliced olives to sprinkle on pizzas, salads, or pastas.
Dark or semisweet chocolate chips or shavings are also good sources of monounsaturated fats.
Monounsaturated Fat Sources
Monounsaturated fats are also found in almonds, almond butter, chunky natural peanut butter, cashew butter, and natural peanut butter. The Flat Belly Diet also recommends fruits, vegetables, whole grains and limited red meat intake as in the Mediterranean diet. The Flat Belly Diet does not allow the use of:
- excess carbs
- gassy foods
- chewing gum
- raw bulky foods
- fried foods
- spicy foods
- sugar alcohols
- carbonated drinks
- acidic fruit juices
Sample Meal Plan
The Flat Belly Diet begins with a 4 day startup program called the Four-Day Anti-Bloat Jumpstart. It aims to eliminate gas and excess fluids from your body. This four-day anti-bloat jumpstart phase is designed to reduce bloating. It sets the mind of the dieters to a healthier eating plan. During the jumpstart, you are required to drink 2 liters of daily watery mixes of citrus, herbs, and cucumber.
The main part of this diet runs into 28 days after the initial four-day diet. You are required to consume 400 calories per meal during this phase of the diet. Care should be taken not to go without foods for more than four hours. It also advises you to make good use of the health benefits of drinking water. It is advisable that you drink 8 glasses of water a day, all through the diet program.
Their is a fitness component to this diet, though advertisements marketing the diet claim that no exercise is required. It goes without saying that the diet has to be accompanied by adequate amounts of exercise to bring about the desired results they are claiming it can. The diet program suggests a number of cardio workouts, walking plans, and a series of body resistance training exercises.
The Flat Belly Diet is a normal approach to dieting with the excpetion of adding more than normal amounts of ‘good fats’. The flat belly diet uses diet and exercise to reduce weight but 12 pounds in 32 days is a little too much weight to maintain (a safe weight to lose is 2 pounds per week). Also, eating 1600 calories will be under most peoples BMR (Basal Metabolic Rate) for the day and will most likely cause binge eating during or after the diet which will cause the yo-yo effect. If you do try this diet make sure to exercise often and workout hard to increase your muscle mass.