The Belly Fat Cure
The Belly Fat Cure: How It Works
The Belly Fat Cure is similar to the Atkins or South Beach diet with
the addition of a carb-swap system.
Each day, dieters take in no more than 15 grams of sugar from six servings
of "smart," fiber-rich carbs (one serving of carbs equals 5-20 grams of
carbohydrate). You calculate the sugar/carb value by comparing the grams of
sugar to the number of servings of carbs in the foods you're eating –
information that's easily found on food labels.
Cruise's theory is that by using the "carb swap" system, you get your
insulin levels under control. He says that diets high in sugar increase insulin
levels – which, in turn pushes fat into fat cells -- and cause a host of other
side effects like wrinkles, low energy levels, and cellular inflammation.
Because fat and protein don’t increase insulin levels, there's no need to
limit or track these nutrients, Cruise says. "They are the most satisfying
nutrients so it is unlikely you will overeat them," he says.
The book contends that exercise isn't necessary for weight loss, but has a
few pages on toning your abs after you lose the belly fat. Cruise encourages
doing an 8-minute daily abdominal strength workout and a 20-minute power walk
as often as possible for toning and strength – but this is optional.
The Belly Fat Cure also recommends finding a support buddy or
network. Studies show that you're more likely to succeed at weight loss when
you've got support.
The Belly Fat Cure: What the Experts Say
This diet "is just another gimmick, not the cure," says Zied, author of
Nutrition at Your Fingertips.
The book makes several references to scientific studies, yet the author’s
interpretation of the research is inaccurate, she says.
Indeed, Cruise’s recommendations are not supported by the wealth of
scientific evidence or national recommendations such as the U.S. government's
2005 Dietary Guidelines.
Experts say any diet that allows unlimited portions of meats, fats, and
sodium isn't heart-healthy – and heart disease is the leading cause of death in
the United States. And, they say, limiting fresh fruit and low-fat dairy isn't
a good idea because these foods provide essential nutrients, especially fiber,
calcium, and vitamin D.
Further, insulin’s role in the body is not quite as simple as portrayed in
The Belly Fat Cure, says Yale University researcher David Katz, MD,
Zied and Katz agree that most people eat too many processed foods and too
much sugar, and that everyone could benefit by reading food labels to learn
where sugar lurks. But they also recommend checking labels for other nutrients,
like fat, saturated fat, trans fats, sodium, calories, and fiber.
Katz says he supports the diet's basic approach, with limits.
"Focusing on sugar is an attempt to help people identify how they can
improve their diets," he says. "But in general, we need to get Americans to
focus on eating more whole foods, mostly plants and not too much."
Losing 4-9 pounds per week and achieving a flatter stomach in just one week
is an unrealistic goal, Zied says.
"Depending on how much you have to lose, you may experience a one-time loss
of several pounds -- but not every week," she says.