Looking to lose weight or just eat healthier in the New Year? Let us help you weigh the many options out there with our Diets 101 series.
We explain the most popular diets-including Atkins, South Beach, Skinny b---- , Flat Abs, the Perricone Weight-Loss Diet, and the Mediterranean Diet-and show you how to choose one that fits your culinary style, health goals, and dieting personality.
We've divided the big "brand name" diets into five categories by concept and explained what you can and cannot eat with each regimen. We've also given each diet a major flavor upgrade, with chef-tested, nutritionist-approved recipes, selected according to each diet's principles.
First up is the Fat-Burning "Flat Ab" Diet. Check back each day for the rest of the diets.
Fat-Burning "Flat Ab" Diets
Diets promising a "flat belly" or " L.A. shape" are popular, but can their approach help you torch calories? Find out below.
- The right combination of foods and exercise burns off stubborn body fat.
- You drink many of your meals (and we're not talking about the three-martini lunch)
- A big emphasis on lean protein (egg whites, chicken breasts, skim milk, protein powder)
- Vegetables fill the plate (and, hopefully, your stomach)
- Grains and starches are few and far between
This Is Your Diet If...
- You're looking for a low-fat diet
- You think of food as fuel, not fun
- You're very disciplined about your exercise routine
- You've got a beach trip planned
Probably Not for You If...
- You like meals that you can chew
- You're a snacker
- You have an allergy to sit-ups
- You're looking for something you can sustain long-term
There's really no magic here. A low-calorie, low-fat diet coupled with a rigorous exercise routine will help you reduce body fat and reveal those washboard abs. Pumping up the protein (to about twice the standard amount) helps you recover from your workouts and also helps quell hunger pangs.
Replacing one or two meals a day with high-protein smoothies simplifies meal planning and preparation. For dinner, it's old-school diet fare: a serving of steamed fish or grilled chicken, salad with low-fat salad dressing, and steamed vegetables. Alcohol is off the menu.
Hey, we didn't say it would be fun. It's all about getting that bikini bod.
A Day on the Fat-Burning Diet
Lunch:Spicy Pumpkin and Split Pea Soup
with a salad with low-fat dressing and grapes
More Great Fat-Burning Diet Recipes
- Baked Trout with Shiitake Mushrooms, Tomatoes, and Ginger
- Asian Chicken and Water Chestnut Patties
- Curried Lentil and Spinach Soup
- Squash Salad
- Steamed Fish with Scallions and Ginger
- Tuna Steak Au Poivre
Books on the Fat-Burning Diet
The Flat Belly Diet
by Liz Vaccariello and Cynthia Sass
The secret to shedding belly flab without crunches or cardio is simply to add a bit of monounsaturated fat (MUFA) to every meal, according to the authors. Accordingly, almonds, olive oil, or avocados accompany almost every meal. However, we suspect the results will have less to do with MUFA magic and more to do with the very low 1,200-calorie diet you'll be following.
L.A. Shape Diet
by David Heber
This 14-day program includes a "personalized protein prescription" based on your body type. Then, dust off that blender and get to work. Most of the variety on this diet will come from what kind of fruit you put in the smoothies that you'll be drinking for breakfast and lunch every day. Good news for coffee fiends: Heber advocates caffeine as a fat-burning nutrient.
From Belly Fat to Belly Flat
by C.W. Randolph, M.D., and Genie James
The controversial idea here is that stubborn belly fat (in both men and women) is the result of hormonal imbalance caused by overexposure to estrogenic substances in your diet and environment. Emphasizing foods that reduce estrogen dominance (cruciferous veggies, citrus fruit, wheat bran, and flaxseeds) restores balance and flattens your belly. Foods to avoid include saturated fats, simple carbs, caffeine, alcohol, and soy.
The Abs Diet
by David Zinczenko
Although billed as a "diet," the exercise program is the centerpiece here. While the exercise program details 245 "body-reshaping exercises," the limited diet plan consists of "12 best foods to burn fat." No surprises here: fat-free dairy, lean meats, green vegetables, whole grains, almonds, eggs, and...of course...protein powder and berries for your smoothie. Green tea and water replace alcohol and soda.
By Monica Reinagel
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