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Deciphering diets

August 27, 2008 - Kathie Evanoff
Are they all the same?

Not really, but they all work, if that is, a person can stick to them.

The hardest part is finding one that works for you, as each person is not only different in body type and metabolism, but in lifestyle as well.

The current fad diet to hit the market is the Flat-Belly diet, developed by registered dieticians along with Prevention magazine, claims to attack the most difficult of all areas where fat accumulates, the mid-section. The diet is based on the theory that by following a low calorie program rich in what the dieticians call MUFA’s, a person can not only lose weight, but will target the dangerous belly fat. Doctors and nutritionists have long been saying that the apple-shaped figure that holds a majority of weight around the mid-section, is the most dangerous of all and is harder on the heart than a person who carries their weight below the belt.

MUFA stands for monounsaturated fatty acids. We all need fat in our diets to help our organs work properly and to help our immune systems, but monounsaturated fats are those that are said to be “healthy fats.” We all know that saturated fats are those that come from animal products and are often the culprits in problems with cholesterol. The good fats; however, are polyunsaturated and monounsaturated. Polyunsaturated fats belong to the fish group including the ever-popular Omega-3 oils that we read about. Monounsaturated fats come from plants and include nuts, seeds, avacados, olives and even chocolate.

While the Flat Belly diet is still low calorie, and all of those MUFA’s are included in the daily calorie count totals, the creators of the program believe these foods work harder to attack the dreaded and dangerous belly fat areas.

I can’t tell you if those claims are true. I can tell you that any low calorie diet will help you lose weight. It all goes back to the bottom line of burning more than we take in, but if you are interested in giving it a try, the Web site is There is a charge for the Internet services that include a place to journal your food intake, a designer food program that you can follow if you choose and a message board where you can share your experience and get advice from others on the same program. Or you can simply buy the book and follow it yourself.

Only you can decide if this is something you can live with or if it can work for you. Upon inspection for the diet; however, I realized that I already incorporate a lot of these MUFA items in my diet already. Perhaps not for every meal, which is what is advised by the program, but I do believe they are a part of a healthy way to eat and live.

Breakfast this morning was based on a recommendation from the diet book, which included two slices whole wheat toast, sliced banana and two tablespoons peanut butter. The peanut butter, in this case, was the MUFA item.

Since I had some extra time this morning before leaving for work, I tossed together a lunch that was a little different. We raided the garden last night and came up with some very nice potatoes, peppers and Italian tomatoes. I cut them into small pieces, tossed in a handful of fresh green beans and sauteed them all in a teaspoon of olive oil (another MUFA, although unintended). After the vegetables were soft, I added a bit of salt, pepper, dried basil leaves (also from the garden), and just a small amount (about a quarter teaspoon) of minced garlic. On top of this, I poured three egg whites and one whole egg, which I beat well before adding to the pan, and cooked it all like a frittata. It all went into a container in my lunch bag. This was a lot of food and it was very low in calories because of the vegetables and egg whites. It tasted good too.


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Breakfast: 2 ounces grains; 2 ounces meat (peanut butter is considered a meat); ½ cup fruit, 30 discretionary calories (sugar in tea). I am stubborn and refuse to give up my morning tea with sugar. Total breakfast calories: 434


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