The flat stomach diet
The flat stomach diet is not a fad diet promising miracle weight loss. Fad diets are generally deficient in essential nutrients. They may deliver weight loss but this is often at the expense of your health. Further more they are unsustainable and when these diets are stopped, the weight comes piling back on. Fad diets are to be avoided. Instead you should eat according to sound nutritional principles which encourage the growth of lean muscle and discourage the storage of excess calories as fat. This key in understanding how to get flat stomach.
The big three
The food you eat can be broken down in to three major macronutrient groups, ‘the big three’:
You need to learn about each one to understand how to plan your diet.
Carbohydrates are the body’s main source of fuel for physical activity. Foods high in carbohydrates are bread, pasta, cereals and potatoes.
Carbohydrates can be divided up into two categories:
- Simple Carbohydrates
- Complex Carbohydrates
Food high in simple carbohydrates include foods high in sugar [including fruit juices] or foods made from refined grains such as white bread or white rice. When simple carbohydrates are digested, they cause a sharp increase to blood sugar levels. This will cause a short lived burst of energy that we experience as a sugar rush. The body is not designed to accommodate such a large amount of sugar. The body responds by releasing a large amount of a hormone called insulin. The insulin released causes the blood sugar level to drop suddenly, leaving us feeling tired and drained and craving more sugar.
Our body cannot burn up all this sugar so the sugar is converted into fat.
Many people are trapped the cycle of sugar addiction. They feed their sugar cravings to experience a brief hit followed by a low and renewed craving. Furthermore the blood sugar fluctuation in their bodies is highly dangerous and can lead to type 2 diabetes, high blood pressure and heart disease.
It is not easy to break the cycle of sugar addiction. Some recent studies suggest that sugar can be as addictive as cocaine and heroin.
However, it is crucial to eliminate sugar from our diet, both for our general health and to shed the unwanted fat from our bodies. Although we may experience a period of ‘cold turkey’ when we give up sugar, the body will adapt and the cravings will start to subside. It is important to replace the sugar with healthy alternatives which will give make us feel full and give us energy. A handful of nuts is one of the best foods for weight loss and is the perfect snack for the flat stomach diet.
Foods high in complex carbohydrates include unrefined foods made of whole grains such as brown rice and brown bread, beans and vegetables. These foods release sugar into the blood stream at a lower more sustained rate which our bodies can cope with. Our bodies can use up the sugar as fuel so there is no excess sugar which is converted into fat. These foods are also high in fibre, which is important for our digestion and the health of our bowels.
Fruit and vegetables are also high in complex carbohydrates. They are an essential part of your diet as they contain essential vitamins and minerals and have been show to reduce the risk of heart disease and cancers. Make sure you eat your fruit raw as opposed to juiced or dried. Fruit juice and dried fruit are very high in sugar and are classed as simple carbohydrates and are not recommended in the flat stomach diet.
Protein builds muscle. We want to build muscle to increase our body’s metabolic rate [the rate at which our body burns energy]. The higher our body’s metabolic rate is the faster we burn off our fat reserves. Protein is a key component of the flat stomach diet and should be part of every meal and every snack.
For carnivores, meat is the prime source of protein.
However it is not necessary to eat meat to obtain protein. There are many vegetarian athletes who have achieved success at the highest level such as Olympic Medalist Carl Lewis and baseball legend Hank Aaron.
Good sources of vegetarian protein include: egg whites, nuts, seeds, cottage cheese, peas, beans, lentils, quinoa, low fat yogurts, and soya.
Eating fat does not make you fat. What makes you fat is eating more calories than your body needs. It is important to understand that the body needs healthy fats. The flat stomach diet will show you which fats are good and which are bad.
These are healthy fats naturally occurring in foods like plant oils, avocados, nuts, seeds and fish. These are the good fats.They reduce cholesterol levels, lower the risk of heart disease and stroke. There was also a study published by the American Diabetes Association finding that unsaturated fats could improve the loss of belly fat better than high carbohydrate diets.
These are unhealthy fats found in animal products like butter, cheese and red meat, They are also found in coconut oil and palm oil. Eating saturated fats will raise the cholesterol levels in your blood increasing your risk of getting a heart attack or stroke.
These are the worst type of fats. Low levels of trans fats occur naturally in animal products. However the bulk of trans fats in modern diets is artificially produced. Processed foods like biscuits and cakes often contain trans fats. Food manufacturers like trans fats because they are cheap and extend the shelf life of their products. When eaten trans fats raise blood cholesterol levels, increasing the risk of heart attacks and strokes. There is also evidence suggesting that trans fats increase the risk of cancer and multiple sclerosis.
Trans fats may be labeled as hydrogenated or partially hydrogenated fat or oil. The oil used in frjed foods may also contain trans fats. The best way to avoid trans fats is to avoid fried foods and processed foods, especially biscuits, cakes and pastries.
Other foods to avoid
Artificial sweeteners, artificial flavors and additives are all to be avoided. You should want to eat natural unprocessed food, not junk which was made in laboratory. You should also cut down on salt as diets high in salt have been linked to strokes, heart failure and stomach cancer.
How often should you eat
It is not just what you eat that’s important, but also how often you eat. Your metabolic rate is the rate at which your body burns up energy. You want a high metabolic rate to burn off excess fat. When you eat your metabolic rate rises. Breakfast is important as it raises your metabolic rate at the start of your day. Throughout the day you should eat little and often to keep your metabolic rate high. Eating complex carbohydrates and protein also keep your metabolic rate high as they require energy to digest.
The flat stomach diet
Now we understand basic nutritional principles we can draw up some basic dietary guidelines for you to follow:
- Eat 3 meals a day including breakfast.
- Each meal should consist of complex carbohydrates, lean protein and vegetables.
- Snack in between meals on fruit and nuts.
- Avoid sugar, and refined carbohydrates.
- Avoid oily and fried foods.
- Drink water or green tea.
So there you have it. The flat stomach diet in six simple steps.