What's the Flat Belly Diet, and can it help you lose weight?

Answer From Katherine Zeratsky, R.D., L.D.

The Flat Belly Diet is a weight-loss plan developed at Prevention magazine and featured in print and online versions of the magazine. The diet promises quick weight loss — especially around the middle — in about a month. The creators of the diet encourage exercise to improve results but claim exercise isn't essential.

The Flat Belly Diet has two phases. The first is a four-day, 1,600-calorie daily diet with food intended to limit gas or bloating. Beverages are limited to water infused with natural ingredients. The second phase is a four-week meal plan with 1,600 daily calories for women and 2,000 for men.

Each meal or snack in the Flat Belly Diet has a plant-based food high in monounsaturated fatty acids (MUFAs). Sources of MUFAs in the diet include olives, nuts, seeds, avocados, dark chocolate and oils, such as olive, canola, safflower, flaxseed and others.

Numerous studies have shown that plant-based foods rich in MUFAs, as well as polyunsaturated fats and other nutrients, are beneficial for weight management and cardiovascular health. The Flat Belly Diet itself has not been investigated in large or long-term clinical studies.

You might lose weight on the Flat Belly Diet because it limits total calories and encourages generally healthy eating. The menus are similar to the heart-healthy Mediterranean diet, which includes generous servings of nonstarchy vegetables, fruit and whole grains; cooking with healthy plant-based oils; and modest portions of fish, lean meats, poultry and dairy.

Although quick weight loss may sound appealing, the reality is that successful, long-term weight management requires a lifelong commitment to healthy eating and exercise.

Dec. 10, 2019 See more Expert Answers