The Flat Belly Diet is a book written by Liz Vaccariello, editor in chief of Prevention, along with Cynthia Sass, MPH, RD, nutrition director at Prevention.
This review of the Flat Belly Diet! will cover what this diet is all about, the pros and cons of it, why it is not suited for men at all, and whether it can really get you flat abs.
The Flat Belly Diet Book became a massive success a while back mainly because of what it promised:
- Lose up to 15 pounds in 32 days
- Never have to do any exercises whatsoever
- Flatten your belly by losing fat mainly from your midsection
- Eat practically whatever you like so you never experience deprivation
Basically, the promise was for fast and impressive results with next to no effort required. I have to admit that I don’t like such claims as I know for a fact that in order to lose belly fat you always need to make an effort. Always!
I will go into these claims and whether or not I believe them to be true further down this review…
Flat Belly Diet Basics
The Flat Belly Diet is an eating plan which focuses on an increased consumption of MUFA (Monounsaturated Fatty Acids). The authors claim that this kind of fat can help people to lose belly fat. They mention a reserch study that verifies this, although I found the nature of this research to be a little suspicious.
MUFAs need to be a main component of every meal. They can be found in olives, avocado, various nuts and almonds, dark chocolate, walnut oil. canola oil, sunflower oil, and other oils.
The idea is that the MUFA replacethe saturated fat which is harder to lose and may even be dangerous to your health.
Apart from the MUFA consumption of fruit, vegetables, and whole grains is recommended.
Despite the marketing statement that no exercise is required to lose belly fat with this diet, there is a section regarding exercising in the book. This is a bit strange: why write about something which isn’t necessary? Was the “no exercise required” claim a mere marketing ploy?
Flat Belly Diet! 2 Parts
The total length of the Flat Belly Diet is 32 days which are divided into 2 parts:
1. The first 4 days are very low in calories (about 1,200 a day). This initial phase is meant to help you reduce bloating and help you remain motivated for the rest of the diet by getting you quick results. The book claims that you can lose several pounds and inches in these 4 days (which is likely just water weight).
During these 4 days, you will need to avoid salt, gassy foods, coffee, tea, fried food, alcohol, and other items. You will also need to drink 2 litres of what is known as the Flat Belly Diet sassy water: a blend of cucumber, herbs, citrus, and spices.
2. The second part of the diet is made up of 1,600 calories each day and the rules are pretty simple:
- Eat no more than 400 calories each meal
- Never go hungry for over 4 hours
- Eat MUFAs at each and every meal
Again, no exercise is required and you’re supposed to lose weight fast. To help you eat right, there is also a cookbook you can purchase: Flat Belly Diet Cookbook.
As you can see the most you get to eat in a day is 1,600 calories which is very low for men (and not too high for women as well). In addition, the book is basically written for women. It may not be right for men.
How to Get a Flat Belly – 3 Part Process
I believe that the only way to really lose belly fat and get flat abs is to adpot a 3 part process which includes the following:
1. Cardiovascular workouts to help you burn fat and get lean.
2. Full body strength workouts to make sure you’re toned and have a high metabolism.
3. Eating a sensible diet which is healthy, balanced, nutritious and fun.
The Flat Belly Diet book simple doesn’t deliver on this 3 part process. It only deals with nutrition and even that is a bit shady. Saying that you can specifically lose belly fat by eating Monounsaturated fat or any other kind of nutrient is highly doubtful.
Turning MUFA into some sort of magical fat burning bullet simply isn’t the answer. The answer is to make real life changes, learn how to eat, how to workout and how to lead a healthy life to get flat abs (and it should work for men and women both). That’s why I recommend getting a comprehensive abs program which covers the 3 part process. I recommend the Truth About Abs program
Is the Flat Belly Diet a Scam?
The answer is no even though the marketing done for this book is on the brink of being outright misleading. There is merit to this diet: it teaches you to eat good fats instead of bad ones, and advocates eating fruit and vegetables. It is also very well written and does have good reviews.
However, there is no doubt that without exercising, no lifestyle change will be complete, at least the kind of transformation which is required to get really flat, firm abs, without a correct combination of diet and fitness.
This is a process which will take time. Promises of super fast fat loss, targeted at the midsection, can harm your motivation which is why you need to aspire to get results, but never measure them in days.
I believe that while the Flat Belly Diet does have merit that it also has 2 serious flaws:
1. It makes promises which are extremely hard to keep.
2. It doesn’t contain guidelines for exercise and fitness which are the cornerstone of any successful process to get flat abs.
I believe that unless you know how to eat right and how to workout right, that you will never meet your fitness goals and achieve truly flat abs.