Although I researched several diets that are out there I wanted to write about the diet that I have been currently been on for the last 6 ½ years. Even though the name is called “The Abs Diet,” in my opinion this is really not a diet but adopting a new way of eating that makes sense. I am a big believer in this “diet” and since being on it I have been in the best shape of my life and also have more energy. This diet became famous by the editors of Women’s Health Magazine. This is also where I first heard of it and then picked up the book that is based on this diet. The premise of this diet is to not only get a flat stomach but also gain muscle and lose fat by never feeling deprived of foods. The first part of the book explains the “power foods” that you should eat and explains the benefits of each one. The second part is devoted to all sorts of recipes in order to consume the “power foods” and stay full. The last part focuses on exercise, some cardio, but mostly strength training. Like any fad diet, they promise something that may or may not be realistic. The claim is that the first 2 weeks you will be able to lose up to 12 pound of stomach fat. I am not sure if this is the case with everyone but I definitely saw a huge difference and have had visible abs in the last 6.5 years that I have been following their eating plan.
The basics in the eating plan for this diet is that it is important to incorporate the 12 “power foods” everyday. The 12 foods are: almonds and nuts, spinach and green vegetables, beans and legumes, dairy that is low in fat, unsweetened oatmeal, natural or organic peanut butter, Lean meats like turkey, eggs, whole-grains, whey powder, olive oil, and raspberries and other berries. It says to also eat 6 times a day with 3 solid meals and 3 healthy snacks in between. The amount of calories you are consuming is not a huge focus on this diet but recommends around 1500 calories a day. The foods and meal chosen in this diet are emphasized as high protein, satisfying, and foods with healthy fats.
This diet really represents foods like baked sugary goods, high fructose corn syrup, refined carbs, saturated and trans fat, and white rice and pasta in a negative light. It claims that these foods have no nutritional value and eating 500 calories of one of these foods is not the same as eating 500 calories of one of the “power foods.” It does not shy away from carbs but focuses on whole grain and whole wheat breads and pastas and the high fiber content in these foods are essential. It also expresses the importance of not only following their eating plan but working out, which is something I think is a positive aspect of this diet.
It also is not asking you to forget about foods you might love such as peanut butter and jelly sandwiches, but to try having it with natural peanut butter, real strawberries, and on whole wheat bread. The 6 small meals a day is said to keep your metabolism up so that your body does not store the foods you eat as fat because you are depriving yourself. For breakfast you can have an all egg white omelet made with several vegetables and spinach and even an ounce of low fat cheese, a handful of almonds for a snack, a protein shake made with whey power frozen berries and some skim milk, an apple with natural peanut butter for another snack, whole wheat pasta with olive oil for dinner, and some dark chocolate for a desert. It also allows for one cheat meal a week to have whatever it is you have been craving whether it be pizza or a cheeseburger.
As I talked about before I did lose weight on this diet and feel it is an easy one to follow, especially if you are someone like me who loves food and likes to eat. I think anyone can follow this diet, as it really does not ask to give up foods that most people know are unhealthy to begin with. It also makes sense and throughout the book has backs up his claims of eating by scientific evidence and research. I think for most people that know what they should and should not eat, this is a great book and diet to reiterate those facts. If you were someone looking for a diet that is easy and does not ask for you to workout several days a week then this diet would probably not be suited for him or her. It does take time to make the shakes and food and to also prepare your meals if you are someone that works out of the house. It does require a consistent workout plan in order to get the desired results. I also think if someone stopped this diet and went back to unhealthy eating they would notice a lack of energy right away and maybe some weight gain but probably more muscle loss.
I absolutely would recommend this diet to someone looking to get healthier and wants someone to show him or her what strength exercises are right for him or her. I personally do my own workouts; strength and cardio, but still benefit from this eating plan. The only suggestion I would make about this diet is that it should not focus so much on the ability to get a 6-pack or abs from this diet but be able to lose weight in a healthy way that makes sense without feeling deprived. Because I think this is really what the diet is most suitable for and the other benefits from this diet outweigh getting “abs of steel.”
Zinczenko, D., & Spiker, T. (2007). The abs diet for women: the six-week plan to flatten your belly and firm up your body for life. Emmaus, Pa.: Rodale.