Want to lose that extra belly fat? You’re going to have to do a lot more than crunches to get rid of that jiggly belly.
Belly fat is considered to be the most dangerous types of fat in the body. An excess spare tire or pot belly raises your risk of heart disease, diabetes and other chronic illnesses more than fat found on other parts of your body.
And if you’ve tried in vain to lose the large muffin top by doing countless crunches, restricting calories and decreasing the fat in your diet, you’ll be happy to learn that the secret of a flat belly is a diet featuring fat – and not necessarily hundreds of crunches every week.
In their book Flat Belly Diet!, Vaccariello and Sass explain that new research reveals that monounsaturated fatty acids (MUFAs), like those found in olives, olive oil, nuts and seeds, avocados and dark chocolate (yes!), not only make weight loss easier, but may also target belly fat specifically.
A MUFA at every meal
What makes MUFAs healthy as compared to other fats, like saturated and trans, which are maligned in the media? MUFAs are unsaturated fats, which have been shown to lower bad cholesterol, prevent hardening of the arteries, and reduce the risk of heart disease. Additionally, research has linked MUFAs to reduced rates of Type 2 diabetes, metabolic syndrome, breast cancer, lower blood pressure, brain health, lung function, anti-inflammation, lower body weight and reduced belly fat.
Vaccariello and Sass recommend a MUFA at every meal. What does that mean? Ditching your fat-fearing approach to losing weight and sinking your teeth into satisfying, delicious foods that are rich in monounsaturated fats, such as nuts, nut butters and nut oils; seeds and seed butter; canola and olive oils; olives and tapenade; avocados; edamame (soybeans); and even dark chocolate.
However, this doesn’t mean the sky is the limit on fat intake. One of the Flat Belly Diet! principles is to stick to 400 calories per meal and to include a serving of MUFA-rich foods (the book has a handy MUFA serving chart). And don’t worry if you think 400 calories isn’t enough to satisfy you. According to the authors, eating a MUFA-rich diet will keep the hunger pangs at bay; plus they also recommend that you eat every four hours.
Flat belly recipes
In addition to a 4-Day Anti-Bloat Jumpstart, guidelines on living a MUFA-rich lifestyle, making healthy snacks and eating out without straying from your MUFA a meal plan, the Flat Belly Diet! has a delicious selection of MUFA-rich recipes that make it easy to reach your flat belly fitness goals. Here are four of the many mouthwatering recipes (each at around 400 calories) the Flat Belly Diet! has to offer.
Pumpkin Spiced Oatmeal
To make this a flat belly meal, serve with 1 cup skim milk.
1 cup water
Pinch of salt
1/3 cup quick oats
1/4 cup canned pure pumpkin
2 tablespoons pecans, toasted and chopped (MUFA)
1/4 teaspoon ground cinnamon
2 teaspoons brown sugar
Pinch of freshly grated nutmeg
Pinch of ground cloves
1. In a saucepan over high heat, bring the water to a boil. Add the salt and oats. Cook, stirring, for 90 seconds.
2. Combine remaining ingredients in a small bowl. Reduce heat to low and stir in the pumpkin mixture.