Is Flat Belly Fix A Scam
December 4, 2018
Next to Lindsay Lohan’s naked photos, the hottest thing on the Internet these days is the Flat Belly fix. And while Lindsay Lohan may have a flat belly, she surely didn’t get it from the Flat Belly Diet, which is just the latest in a long line of weight loss scams. It’s not that the program they recommend is dangerous or bad, it’s just that it’s basically a marketing gimmick designed to slim down your wallet first and your abdomen second.
Here are the reasons I call the Flat Belly Diet a scam:
• The book costs $31.95! That’s simply outrageous.
• The book is just the first part of the program, to which you must subscribe. I’m not sure of the exact cost but it’s around $15 a month.
• There is a huge marketing effort behind the book including a slick website and countless interviews and TV appearances by the authors.
• One of the authors claimed on Rachel Ray that “We found the cure for belly fat! MUFAs are the antidote to belly fat.” More on MUFAs later, but you should always be skeptical when someone says they’ve found the cure or the antidote for anything. If is sounds too good to be true, it probably is.
• They emphasize that you don’t have to exercise (“Not a single crunch”). On Rachel Ray one of the authors said: “Exercise is not a mandatory part of the Flat Belly Diet. You will see results if you just follow the food portion of the diet.” But, in the book, they actually recommend “optional” (i.e., not mandatory) exercise such as 25 minutes of brisk walking, or a strength training progra
m. This is just a classic bait and switch! NO EXERCISE NECESSARY (but highly recommended). Always beware of the fine print!
• The basic diet is one of calorie restriction. You are supposed to eat four meals a day each consisting of 400 calories. That’s 1,600 calories a day. Of course you’re going to lose weight if you’ve been eating 2,000, 2,500 or more calories a day. There’s nothing new to that. So this is a basic calorie counting diet, in which you have to count every calorie for every meal forever. Good luck with that.
• Not only do you have to count your calories and package them into neat little 400 calorie meals, but every single meal has to have a MUFA. This is a dead giveaway for a scam because it’s the part where they put in the magic. Now don’t get me wrong, MUFAs are great, they’re just not magic and you don’t need one in every single meal. They are a kind of fat: MonoUnsaturated Fatty Acid. They are part of the so-called good fats. According to the authors they come in five groups; namely, certain nuts, certain oils and seeds, olives, avocados and dark chocolate. These foods just happen also to be found in the so-called Mediterranean diet, which has long been known to provide health benefits.
• The diet alleges to hone in on belly fat. There’s a reason for this and it’s called marketing. Everyone would love to lose some belly fat and recent evidence has shown the unhealthy effects of excess belly fat. But don’t you think it’s a bit strange that this 1,600 calorie MUFA infused diet (that we’ve already seen is simply a restricted calorie diet with similarities to that eaten in Mediterranean countries) would go right for the belly fat? Why would it? How would it? The answer is that if you strictly follow the diet you will lose weight and some of it will come from your belly and some will come from other places. And most likely when you go off the diet, as you eventually will, most, if not all of the weight will come back.
• Everything about this program is gimmicky: It has to be four 400 calorie meals a day. Gimmick. Each one has to have a MUFA. Gimmick. You have to buy an expensive book. Gimmick. You have to pay for an online program. Gimmick. You don’t have to exercise (but you should). Gimmick. It is swaddled in marketing, hype and overstatement. Gimmick.
• Take a look at the video clip from Rachel Ray’s program. Pay particular attention to the authors of the book. Both young, thin, vibrant – probably never dieted a day in their lives. There used to be an expression “Would you by a used car from this salesman?” because he looked so obviously like a con man. Well “Would you by a diet program from these women who don’t know anything about the real world of dieting?”
So let’s summarize. I think it’s a great idea to eat less. I’ve said this over and over again in this blog. There’s just no reason that it has to come in four 400-calorie meals (you’ll spend all you’re time counting calories). I also think it’s a great idea to work in some exercise into your daily routine (and the authors of this book clearly agree although they’d rather hide that fact). I think MUFAs are great and should be part of everyone’s diet. But they are not magic, they don’t need to be part of every meal and they are not “the antidote to belly fat.” Here’s what will likely happen if you get involved with this program. First, you’ll spend money on the book and then spend more money on the program. For a while everything will be great and you’ll be motivated and excited. You’ll lose some weight. Then you’ll quickly find that sticking to four 400 calorie a day meals each with a MUFA is just too much work. You’ll sour on the program and go back to your previous eating routine. The weight will come back. You’ll look for the next miracle diet.
There is no miracle cure for belly fat. Complex, restricted diets requiring calorie counting and MUFAs at every meal are bound to fail. Eat a little less, exercise a little more. Lower your fat intake and replace some, or a lot, of your bad fats with MUFAs. But do it gradually, do it sensibly, do it over the long-term. If you want to read a well-thought out book about how to eat, one without gimmicks that will set you on the right course, I recommend you get Michael Pollan’s “In Defense of Food.” His advice is summarized into seven words: Eat food. Not too much. Mostly Plants.” When he says “food” he means fresh food, not highly processed, high fat, high sugar industrialized food. Food your Grandmother would recognize.
Good luck and if you want to share your experiences with the Flat Belly Diet or with any other diet, please post your comments here for others to read.