The flat belly diet

By on June 10, 2013


By: Dana McGlynn

Summer is just around the corner, and time is running out to get fit and trim for summer shorts, swimsuits and sun dresses.  If you are feeling a little less then trim and toned for the summer season, you are not alone.   Many people start to take a more realistic and intense look at their overall health and body shape just before summer, or when they are finally putting away their baggy sweaters and jeans, and pulling out their favourite summer outfits.  One of the big trends lately in dieting  is the flat belly diet.   For both men and women the belly is an area that could often use a little more refining, and it may seem hard to lose those last few inches that are keeping your washboard abs from looking more like abs with a load of wash still in them.  Not to mention that the fat around the abdominal area is said to be one of the unhealthiest places to store extra weight.

The Flat Belly Diet book by Liz Vaccariello and Cynthia Sass


Articles and information about the flat belly diet seem to be circulating and popping up all over the web and on television these days.  There was however an actual diet book published in 2008 by Liz Vaccariello and Cynthia Sass called “The Flat Belly Diet”.  Both authors of the book work for Prevention magazine.  Liz Vaccariello is the editor and chief of  Prevention magazine, while Cynthia Sass works as the Nutrition Director.   According to them the thirty two page diet plan could help you lose up to fifteen pounds of fat.  Or in ninety six hours you could lose 7 lbs and 5 inches.  The books diet principles begin with a four day jump start plan known as the “Ani-Bloat Jump Start”.  These first four days are the most restrictive part of the diet.  It also included consuming “Sassy Water” (named after one of the authors Cynthia Sass) which consisted of water containing natural ingredients such as ginger and cucumbers.   After the four day “anti-bloat jump start” the diet promotes eating M.U.F.A’s or mono-unsaturated fats (or the good fats) in each meal.  These fats include items such as avocados, olives, seeds, nuts, peanut butter, chocolate as well as seed and nut oils.  The authors believed that regular digestion of M.U.F.A.’s helped to target the belly fat and also make the dieter feel more full and satisfied.  It was also recommended to eat four meals a day(instead of three) with a total of 1,600 throughout the day (roughly 400 calories each meal).

Reactions to the Flat Belly Diet Book

Although the reaction to the book was mixed as to whether or not it really targeted the dieters belly fat, most people felt the diet did help them lose weight.  The book also spent twelve weeks on the New York Times best sellers list. Reviews of the  diet suggested that they liked it because it allowed certain foods on the diet that were often restricted or prohibited on most other diets, such as chocolate and peanut butter.   The other quality that was well liked on this diet was that it encouraged a lot of fresh, unprocessed, natural foods as opposed to the packaged foods found on some diet plans.  In 2009 a follow up book was written called “The Flat Belly Cookbook”.

The top 10 foods to include for a Flat Belly Diet

The following is a list of some of the most popular foods found on “Flat Belly Diet” lists.  It is recommended to add as many of these items as you can to your weekly grocery list and meals, if you are hoping to get a flat belly from the flat belly diet.

  1.  Monounsaturated Fats-Such as Olives, avocados, almonds and other nuts as well as almond and peanut butter, seed and nut oils.9c61ebb8d7f8dcf31775fec69c63e70e
  2. Vegetables– All vegetables are good, and you should include them often in your meals and snacks.   Make sure to include some greens such as Kale, Spinach, Swiss chard and collard greens, which are highly recommended.
  3. Fruits-Again, most fruits are great, while some are better than others.  Be sure to include some berries (strawberries, cranberries, blueberries and blackberries), as well as some melon (Watermelon and Cantaloupe), apples and pears as well as some citrus fruit (lemons, limes, and grapefruit).
  4. Low Fat Dairy ProductsPlain low fat Yogurt is often mentioned on almost all of the flat belly lists.  Low fat milk, cottage cheese and low fat mozzarella cheese are also okay.
  5. Eggs– Sometimes eggs are given a bad rap because the yolk is high in cholesterol. However, eggs are filling, high in protein and packed full of vitamins.  They are best when boiled or poached not fried with their usual partner bacon(bacon is a no no).  Eggs make a great snack or breakfast item.
  6. Beans and Legumes– These are also high in protein, filling and low in fat.  Include black beans, chick peas and lentils.
  7. Poultry: Chicken and turkey breast are excellent, again for protein and low in fat.
  8. Fish– The best types are wild salmon (not farmed), tuna, trout and haddock.
  9. Quinoa– The new ancient grain is a great replacement for the heavier and starchier pastas which are not recommended for the flat belly diet.
  10. Green Tea– Studies have shown that drinking four or more cups of green tea a day can help to reduce body fat.  Tea in general is good, both black tea and herbal tea.  But avoid adding cream or sugar to them.

Other guidelines to follow for the Flat Belly Diet

Flat belly yogurt dessert

As mentioned earlier it is good to drink a lot of fresh water perhaps with a little natural flavouring (i.e. a squeeze of lemon, some ginger, peppermint or cucumber slices).   Herbal teas and black teas are fine without the cream or sugar.   Avoid packaged or boxed fruit juices as these tend to be loaded with extra sugar and are often not as natural as they claim.  For fruit juice squeeze your own with lemons, oranges, limes or grapefruits.

Also mentioned above, try to eat as natural as possible.  Avoid pre-packaged, boxed and processed foods.

Sugar and starches are excluded from this diet.  This is why most desserts will be in the way of fruit, yogurt and nuts.  Pasta, bread and pastries should also be avoided while on the diet.   You can sweeten your food up a little with a dash of cinnamon or a squeeze of lemon but avoid all sugar.


My personal reaction to the Flat Belly Diet

This diet doesn’t feel too restrictive, but does require some work and preparation in order to keep the food natural and unprocessed.   I have been on it for just over a week and lost 3-4 pounds      (and have cheated a few times with some slices of whole grain bread).  It is a little work to get used to, but worth the end results. It also works better when regular exercise sessions are included with the diet.

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