The Flat belly diet came about as a collaboration between once Prevention editor Liz Vaccariello and dietician Cynthia Sass which led to the publication of the Flat Belly Diet book in 2008. On top of promising rapid weight loss (a 15-pound drop in 32 days) the Flat Belly diet plan is designed to specifically target belly fat which has been shown to increase the risk for a number of conditions such as heart disease, diabetes and cancer.
Even though many experts warn about some of the promises the diet makes, it is sound nutritionally and has remained popular as a fast weight reduction method.
The Process of The Flat Belly Diet
The keywords in the Flat Belly diet plan are monosaturated fats and bloating. Foods in the monosaturated category are encouraged on the Flat Belly menu and include olive oil, nuts and seeds, dark chocolate and some vegetables and fruits like avocadoes.
The diet regime is divided into two parts; the jumpstart which limits all meals to 1200 calories and focusses on reducing bloating and an eating plan which increases the calorie intake to 1600. The jumpstart lasts four days and excludes gassy food such as legumes, refined carbs, processed products and salty foods.
The Flat Belly menu advises four meals per day and recommends not going hungry for more than four hours. Exercise is not emphasized in the diet so following the recommended minimum is acceptable.
- The diet promises rapid weight loss results.
- It cuts animal fats and this reduces the chances of heart conditions.
- It is affordable as most food items are common.
- There are few resources and support available except books.
- It is quite restrictive and requires a lot of discipline to see through.
- The extent of rapid weight loss may be exaggerated.
- It is unsustainable in the long run.
Who Should do it
The diet is suitable for those seeking rapid weight loss, especially where other plans have failed. The ideal candidate is someone determined and self-disciplined as it is quite demanding. The around a month plan can be a good start to cut down the pounds before going for longer-term options.
Meal Plan Ideas
Breakfast: Pawpaw with lemon juice and mixed seeds (try sunflower, linseed and pumpkin seeds)
Mid-morning snack: Almonds (raw unsalted) and a handful of strawberries
Lunch: Veggie and protein green salad: As many raw or precooked vegetables as you like, think eggplant, peppers, onions, green beans, grilled chicken or fish and avocado.
Dinner: Grilled fish or organic free-range chicken with loads of green vegetables and a raw salad. You can dress your salad with some balsamic vinegar and olive oil.
Breakfast: Omelets made with egg whites and filled with chopped mixed peppers and a handful of spinach
Mid-morning snack: 100g chicken with red pepper, sliced
Lunch: Grilled chicken breast, mixed salad leaves, red peppers, green beans in olive oil
Dinner: Grilled chicken breast with steamed broccoli