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

Answers from Jennifer K. Nelson, R.D., L.D.

The Flat Belly Diet is a weight-loss diet from the editors of Prevention magazine. They say that the Flat Belly Diet will help you shed belly fat and lose up to 15 pounds in just 32 days. The creators also say that you don't have to exercise to achieve these goals but that exercise can boost your results.

The Flat Belly Diet has two phases, a four-day "anti-bloat" phase with specific foods and drinks, and a four-week eating plan during which you eat 1,600 calories a day. The Flat Belly Diet emphasizes eating foods that are rich in monounsaturated fatty acids (MUFAs). According to the diet's creators, eating food with MUFAs specifically helps you lose belly fat, without exercise. Such foods include olive oil, nuts, seeds, soybeans and avocados. MUFAs are an essential part of every meal on the Flat Belly Diet. The diet also encourages you to eat plenty of fruits, vegetables and whole grains.

The Flat Belly Diet hasn't been shown in large clinical trials to work for weight loss better than any well-balanced, calorie-restricted diet does. You might lose weight on the Flat Belly Diet because it limits total calories and encourages a generally healthy way of eating.

Although a quick fix to your weight problem may sound appealing, the reality is that successful, long-term weight loss requires a lifelong commitment to healthy eating and exercise. Put your energies into eating a balanced, healthy diet instead of focusing on a single component such as MUFAs.

Dec. 21, 2011 See more Expert Answers