Editor-in-chief of Prevention magazine, Liz Vaccariello teamed up with Cynthia Sass RD, the former nutrition director at Prevention to write The Belly Fat Diet. The highlight of their diet program is Monounsaturated Fatty Acids or MUFAs for short. They claim that eating MUFAs at every meal will help you to lose that stubborn belly fat. MUFAs are considered healthy fats unlike its sister fat, saturated fat.
Vaccariello and Sass say you can lose up to 15 pounds in 32 days on their Mediterranean inspired diet plan.
Before you start the 28-day portion of the program, you must first complete a 4-day jumpstart to help rid your body of excess fluids and relieve any digestive problems you may have. You will be eating between 1,200 to 1,400 calories per day while drinking at least 2 liters of “Sassy” water which is a fusion of lemon, mint, ginger root, and cucumber in water (the recipe is provided for you in the book).
You will eat 4 smaller meals each day with one being a smoothie during the jumpstart.
Many foods are not allowed during this time, including: Sugar, salt, salt-based seasoning, highly processed foods, fried and spicy foods, and certain high-carbohydrate foods like pasta, bagels, pretzels and bananas, are not allowed.
You also need to avoid gassy foods such as: legumes, onions, peppers, broccoli, cauliflower, brussel sprouts, cabbage and citrus fruits. You are very limited in your beverage choices as well because you are banned from having alcohol, coffee, tea, hot chocolate, carbonated drinks and acidic fruit juices.
After you have completed the jumpstart you move onto the 28-day 1,600 calories per day portion of the Belly Fat diet. During this portion, your goal is to consume wholesome, unrefined foods such as fruits and veggies, whole grains, nuts, beans, seeds and lean protein. You are limited to eating red meat to only once a month.
The authors have only 3 rules during the diet:
- Eat MUFAs at every meal.
- Eat 400 calories at every meal.
- Never go more than 4 hour before eating again.
There is no need to count calories because you get to choose from 28 interchangeable preset meals. You can mix and match all your meals from breakfast to dinner.
Over 80 recipes are featured in the book such as:
- Fresh Pea Soup with Mint
- Lime-Marinated Chicken with Salsa
- Grilled Salmon Steak
- Scallop Ceviche
- Sweet & Sour Shrimp
- Grilled Portobello & Roasted Peppers Burgers
- Pumpkin Spiced Oatmeal
- Citrus Ricotta Cannoli
Exercise is encouraged but optional. The authors devote an entire chapter to exercise with diagrams of exercises to perform, along with walking plans and a 28-day workout plan.
- The authors provide a 4-week journal for you to record your daily food intake and any comments.
- Each quick & easy recipe comes with a nutritional breakdown so you can begin to see what healthy eating looks like.
- Success stories are interspersed throughout the book to help keep you motivated.
- There is additional online menu plans, shopping lists and support.
- Losing belly fat is not caused by consuming monounsaturated fats.
- Any kind of weight loss will cause you to lose inches in your belly, there are no belly fat targeting foods.
- There is no scientific backing for the jump-start portion of the program or for drinking the “sassy water.”
- Avoiding caffeine during the jumpstart can lead to headaches and other withdrawal symptoms.
- Exercise is optional on this plan but studies have shown the importance of regular exercise for a healthy body and mind.
Skip the jumpstart portion of the program and dive right into the 1,600 calorie plan. Eating healthy fats will help you to lose body fat all over, not just in the belly area.
You can purchase a copy of The Belly Fat Diet! along with the Pocket Guide and Cookbook on Amazon for the best deals. Although many have criticized this diet for only targeting women, there is also The Belly Fat Diet! For Men that you can purchase.