The Flat Belly Diet promises a flatter stomach in just weeks but is it too good to be true? When Prevention was looking for volunteers to go on the Flat Belly Diet and write about it on their blog, I jumped at the chance because I – like many women – have a serious problem with bloat. What I didn’t know was that they wanted me to start the diet as soon as I was accepted – in December. Imagine trying to be on a diet over the holidays? The worst part for me was trying to stay on the diet while vacationing in the Texas Hill Country, so if you plan on going on the Flat Belly Diet, I suggest you do it during a month when there are no vacations planned and no holiday food to temp you.
The Flat Belly Diet Rules and Principles
Eat four 400 calorie meals a day
You never want to go more than four hours without eating, and in order to satiate you long enough to last those four hours, you should eat a meal around 400 calories four times per day.
Eat a MUFA at Every Meal
What is a MUFA? It is a monounsaturated fatty acid and it is very good for your heart not to mention it helps make you feel full longer.
Examples of a MUFA include:
- Olive Oil
- Dark Chocolate
Note: The calories in the MUFA count as part of the 400 calories per meal.
Avoid Bloat-Inducing Ingredients
Certain ingredients are just begging your belly to bloat up so on the Flat Belly Diet you should avoid the following:
- Sugar-Free Products and Substitutes (E.g. Splenda)
- Soy Sauce
- Table Salt
- Black Tea
- Acidic Fruit Juice
- Deep Fried Food
- Gas Inducing Vegetables (Cauliflower, Brussels Sprouts, Cabbage, Onions, etc)
The Pros of the Flat Belly Diet
- You get to eat chocolate – does it get any better than that?
- By avoiding gas-inducing foods, you will naturally lose a bit of water weight so that, alone, will make one’s belly feel flatter.
- The Flat Belly Diet is a good way to try new foods that you would not otherwise have known about.
- The Flat Belly Diet has recipes available via the web site and in the book so you do not have to wrack your brain trying to figure out what to eat all day.
- The Flat Belly Diet lists prepared food items you can buy at the supermarket, as well as food items from popular restaurants and fast food places.
- The Flat Belly Diet encourages people to keep a food diary so you can have a better understanding of what you crave, why, how you are feeling during different times of day, and see your progress.
The Cons of the Flat Belly Diet
- The Flat Belly Diet has a four day jump start that is very low in calories and not very healthy or nutritious in my opinion.
- The diet is not realistic for more than a few weeks.
- The Flat Belly Diet is limiting when it comes to the food pyramid which can lead to a lack of essential vitamins and minerals.
- The prepared food items (from the frozen or refrigerated section of your grocery store), contains a lot of sodium so it seems hypocritical and in direct contrast to what the diet is all about.
- Some of the calorie counts listed in the book are incorrect. Be sure to read the labels and do your own calculations.
- Drinking only herbal tea and water can get boring.
- Most of the recipes include pork, turkey, chicken, and soy so if you’re a beef lover, the Flat Belly Diet could be difficult for you.
- The diet lists very specific brands which might be difficult for some people to find.
- The calories in the MUFA can be high so dieters are not left with many calories in which to consume for the remainder of their meal.
So How Did I Do on the Flat Belly Diet?
I actually gained a half a pound; however, I lost inches on my thighs, lower abdomen, and arms so I’m pretty sure I gained muscle which was an added bonus. And yes, my belly was flatter and I felt better about that since I was so tortured with bloat before. But like I said, the Flat Belly Diet is hard to keep up so my belly is once again bloated. I guess it’s time to go back on the Flat Belly Diet.