Does the Flat Belly Diet or MUFA diet work for weight loss?

A Quick Skim Review of the Flat Belly Diet.
A Skim Review of the Flat Belly Diet.

Welcome MUFA & Flat Belly Diet Searchers.  We have noticed a large percentage of our visits have been from people like you searching for MUFA.  So, We decided to revisit the MUFA / Flat Belly Diet.

With three questions for you:

  • Are you following the Flat Belly Diet?
  • What do you think of MUFA is it a fad diet or is it the next best thing since Protein Diets?
  • How do you Balance MUFA vs. Calories?  Since, that’s the biggest challenge I have had.

Here’s my quick review for those of you new to the Flat Belly Diet.
Disclaimer: I have yet to complete the entire book, (I’ve only skimmed it).

Let’s review the basics of the Flat Belly Diet:

  1. Have a calorie goal, they recommend 1600 calories/day
  2. Eat MUFA at every meal.
  3. Eat Often.
  4. Manage your emotional eating.

Now:  Does the MUFA | Flat Belly Diet Really Work?

As we’ve said before at simpleweight, it does not matter what diet you are on, if you eat you less calories than you burn, then of course you will lose weight. When I wrote, Do I really eat 3790 calories a day, I learned that the average US person eats 3790 calories a day. Now, if you are a normal average person, and you go from eating 3790 calories to 1600 calories, then of course you will lose weight. So, restricting calorie intake is a key of any weight loss plan.

Now, the key for the Flat Belly Diet, is science research states by eating MUFA at every meal you will feel fuller longer and help to curb your appetite. If you are interested in the science, you can check out the British Journal of Nutrition (2003), 90:717-727 Cambridge University Press, specifically the article titled: Substitution of saturated with monounsaturated fat in a 4-week diet affects body weight and composition of overweight and obese men

Substituting dietary saturated fat with unsaturated fat, predominantly MUFA, can induce a small but significant loss of body weight and fat mass without a significant change in total energy or fat intake.

More science states that:

In conclusion, diets in which saturated fat is partially replaced by MUFA can achieve significant reductions in total and LDL-cholesterol concentrations, even when total fat and energy intakes are maintained.
Cholesterol reduction using manufactured foods high in monounsaturated fatty acids: a randomized crossover study

Okay, so you want to add MUFA to your diet, How can you do so?

Check How to add MUFA to breakfast, lunch, or dinner for weight loss?

The question as I stated above, is the challenge of balancing the 1600 calories a day with high calorie MUFA foods.

The other challenge is weight loss is both an emotional task as well as a physical task.  Physically is really the easy part:  Eat Less Food,  Exercise More.   Emotionally, weight loss is the difficult part.  With any lifestyle change, we have to very strong motivations for making the change.  The motivation to change must outweigh the difficulty in overcoming our predeliction for eating and emotional and pscychological attachment to unhealthy habits.  I’ve explored the topic of motivation many times here at simpleweight, and it can not be stated often enough.

You must think positively, manage expectations, create strong motivations, and make weight loss socially fun in order to sustain long term habitual change such as weight loss and weight management. For more information, I suggest you read:  7 steps to a positive and healthy lifestyle.

What are your motivations and how has the MUFA diet worked for you?

5 Summer Weight Loss Strategies

Summer is the easiest time of year to lose weight, especially for those of us who endure long, cold winters. With summer’s abundance of fresh fruit and vegetables, not to mention, warmer weather, there’s no excuse for us not to be eating healthy and exercising. Adopting these simple weight-loss strategies into your summer plans may leave you more than a few pounds lighter come October.

Here are 5 Summer Weight-Loss Strategies to try this summer:

1) Get moving – self explanatory, but for those of you who see exercise as a big scary monster and run screaming when faced with it, think of exercise as a time to reenergize yourself. Exercise does not have to result in a pool of sweat (you know who you are). It can be as simple as a brisk walk with your spouse, playing tag with your kids, or biking to/from work a few times a week. Anything that gets you moving for at least 20 to 30 minutes a day is worthwhile.

2) Eat au natural – I’m not suggesting you eat naked, although some people may like to try this, but rather try to eat foods with the fewest ingredients and limit the amount of processed foods you eat. Processed foods can pack on the pounds, because they tend to offer less fiber and won’t fill you up as much as natural foods. One rule is to eat food with ingredients you actually know and can pronounce.

3) MUFA Me, MUFA You – Monounsaturated fat, or MUFA, is known as the “healthy” fat. MUFA keeps you feeling fuller for longer and studies show that MUFA may also help us stave off chronic diseases, including heart disease, Alzheimer’s, and depression. There are five main MUFA food groups:

* Oils that include canola, flaxseed, and olive oil
* Nuts and seeds that include walnuts, macadamia nuts, and sunflower seeds
* Avocados
* Olives, particularly the green variety
* Dark chocolate

Check out these great ideas to add a little MUFA to breakfast, lunch, and dinner. Also, make it a habit to eat MUFA snacks whenever possible. Keep in mind, MUFA is still high in calories, but a little goes a long way.

4) Divide and Conquer – Think of your plate as a clock – fill the space between 12 and 6 with fresh or steamed veggies; the space between 6 and 9 with whole grains and 9 and 12 with protein/fish. Throw in a little low-fat dairy and you’ll be good to go. By adopting this strategy, it should be easy to eat meals that are low-calorie, high nutrient foods, and to keep portions in control – just make sure you are using normal size plates!

5) Limit simple sugars – Simple sugars or simple carbohydrates refer to foods made with refined sugars or table sugar. Most foods made with simple sugars are essentially “empty calories”, providing very few vitamins, minerals, or fiber but remaining high in calories. They tend to leave us feeling unsatisfied and/or less full, prompting us to eat more. Simple sugars can also lead to a spike in blood sugar levels, giving us a short boost of energy, but leaving us sluggish and energy-zapped for hours on end. Simple sugars can be seen in foods under the names of corn syrup, dextrose, fructose, and glucose, among others. Foods high in simple sugars include sweets like cookies, cakes, and candy. Simple sugars also are found naturally in fruit and milk, but, unlike other simple sugar foods, these provide essential nutrients.

Have another great summer weight loss tip? Let’s hear it….

My Top Three 5 minute MUFA Snacks for weight loss

Eat MUFA, mono unsaturated fat, for weight loss.
My favorite MUFA Snacks.

I know I blogged a while back about adding mufa to your diet for weight loss.  Of course, I feel bad if I don’t eat my own dogfood.  What I mean by that, if I write or talk about something as a positive, I try my best to live what I say.  This brings integrity to my life.  As a by-product, my actions can then speak louder than my words.

Since Jan 1, I’ve been trying to eat more MUFA and lower my calories.   From January to March, I was doing great. I lost about 10 pounds, and all was smooth sailing.

What did I do:  I try to eat MUFA at every meal.  I try to eat sensible portions, and I try to eat often.  Notice the word try.  I’m not perfect, but overall, I’ve had a good experience with MUFA.  There was a keyword you may have missed:  “was”.  From March until recently, I stopped eating MUFA at every meal, and I stopped eating sensible portions.  So, I gained about 7 lbs back from early in the year weight loss. When eating MUFA, Portions are the number key.

One of my personal nutrition challenges has been:  Finding:

  • Quick,
  • Portable,
  • Highly Nutritious

MUFA Snacks that I can eat on the run.

After some searching:  here are my top 3 MUFA snacks that can be had in under 5 minutes.

  1. My number one snack favorite is naked Almonds. Trader Joe’s has the perfect 200 calorie snack-sized packages of  naked almonds.  If I can’t do that, or I’m more economical, I’ll buy a bulk bag of naked almonds and make my own snack-size using my handy scale.  However, that takes a little more time.
  2. My second favorite snack is Dove 63% Dark Chocolate or Ghiradeli Square Dark Chocolate. Again, these are very easy to take and eat. However, Dark Chocolate is addicting for me. It can be very difficult to stop at just one chocolate square.  My MUFA Chocolate hack is only bring one square to work with me. Obviously, I have to stop at only one since I don’t have any more.  Additionally, I’ll try to break that square into 4 pieces so it feels like more than it really is.   When the whole bag is so close to me, I end up eating more than one.
  3. My third favorite MUFA snack is well, this is hard.  I like walnuts on my cereal, I like sunflower seeds on my salad.  I cook my egg whites in olive oil, and I’ll eat Peanut Butter and Jelly, but all of those items are lunch/breakfast/dinner items.  They’re not really snacks.I guess my third favorite would be adding two tablespoons of Peanut Butter to Fruit Smoothies.  It takes a while to get used to, but you get the punch of Protein from the PB combined with the MUFA, and after a few times, you get used to eating the Smoothie that way.  My favorite recipe is add a banana, to some frozen strawberries, add some 1/4 cup of milk, 1/2 cup of orange juice and the two tablespoons of Peanut butter and blend until smooth.  This makes a great snack or a great breakfast.

Of course, I’m interested to hear.  What are your favorite 5 minute MUFA snacks?

If you liked this post, you’d may want to read: Flat Belly Diet: A Skim Review

How to add MUFA to Breakfast, Lunch, and Dinner for weight loss?

Eat MUFA for Breakfast, Lunch, and Dinner.  Photo Credit:  Jeff Kubina

After writing my Flat Belly Diet Eat MUFA for Weight Loss post, I continued to do more research. Some people asked me,

How do I add MUFA (mono unsaturated fat) at every meal?

Basically, try to add: Avocado, Canola oil, Olive Oil, Nuts like almonds, cashews, pecans, and peanuts, Olives, Peanut butter and peanut oil, or Sesame seeds to your diet.

One of the best ways is to try to mix and optimize those ideas. For example: Traditional pesto is made from pine nuts, olive oil, basil, parmesan cheese. What a tasty way to get MUFA.

Here are some more specific ideas for each meal:

MUFA Breakfast Ideas for weight loss

  • Add Avocado in omelet
  • Spread Peanut butter on toast, bagels, english muffins, or apples
  • Sprinkle Almonds (nuts) on top of pancakes, waffles, and even french toast
  • Mix nut-based granola in your yogurt
  • Blend Flax Seed Oil with your favorite fruit smoothie
  • Add Sunflower seeds, Walnuts, or Pecans to your cereal or oatmeal

MUFA Lunch & MUFA Dinner Ideas for weight loss

  • Toss sliced avocado, chopped olives, or sliced nuts in your green leaf salad
  • Pour Oil Based Dressings on top of your salad specifically Olive Oil, Sun Flower, or Peanut Oil
  • Add avocado to a Mexican chicken or black bean soup
  • Instead of croûtons, add nuts and seeds to your or soup or salad
  • Add nuts to stir fry dishes
  • Ask for Olives in your Enchiladas or other Mexican Food.
  • Dribble Pesto sauce over a small bed of noodles
  • Add a dollop of pesto to dishes such as tomato soup or baked potato
  • Stir olives into your red pasta sauce
  • Sprinkle nuts on cream-based soups like tomato-basil, butternut squash soup, etc.
  • Add Avocado to your deli sandwich (Jimmy John’s is great for this)
  • Top your Chicken Sandwich, Turkey Burger, or Small Hamburger with Guacamole

MUFA Snack Ideas for weight loss

  • Eat Raw Nut based Trail Mix.
  • Spread Olive tapenade on a cracker or crostini
  • Spread Avocado and cheese on a cracker
  • Dip apples or celery in Peanut or almond butter
  • Have an Olive Loaf Bread slice with olive oil

Remember, the key here is you need to keep your quantity of calories down for maximum benefit.

As I detailed in my MUFA weight loss article, Nuts, Avocados, and Oils are all high calories foods. Yet, they are very filling so you need less food at your meal. Try to strive for 400 calorie meals with a vegetable and protein rich diet.

Now that you know my MUFA ideas, What’s your favorite MUFA meal idea?

Photo Credit: Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner via Flickr, by: Jeff Kubina
Here are some other articles that you might like to read:

Flat Belly Diet for weight loss, eat MUFA

Eat Avocado to Lose WeightOne of my goals with this blog is I hope to browse the internet to read diet and fitness articles and give you the low down so you don’t have to search all over the place.

The article I saw tonight was by MSN and Prevention magazine titled:
Lose Inches of Belly Fat Now
Here’s what you need to know:

  1. Include Monounsaturated fats (MUFA) at each meal
  2. Have a clear calorie goal
  3. Eat Often
  4. Improve your attitude towards food. ( In other words, Think to lose weight.)

    • Manage Stress
    • Ask for help
    • Control Emotional eating

It seems that Omega 3 fats (Fish Oil and Flax seed) are the ones that have been getting all the buzz in 2007, but other oils such as MUFA’s are healthy too.

What are examples of MUFA’s (monounsaturated fats)?

  • Olive Oil, 9.8g MUFA in 1 Tablespoon, 119 calories
  • Peanut Oil, 6.2g MUFA in 1 Tbsp, 119 calories
  • Canola Oil, 8.2g MUFA in 1 Tbsp, 124 calories
  • Almonds, 12g MUFA in 1/4 cup, 212 calories
  • Peanuts, 9g MUFA in 1/4 cup, 207 calories
  • Most Nuts.
  • Avocado, 19.7g MUFA in 1 avocado, 322 calories
    (mmm, another reason to eat guacamole)

Now I notice one problem with this. Notice the quantity of calories for these foods. They’re high in calories Some people read, I have to eat more Fat to lose weight. Well, it works great, BUT, you must watch your calorie intake.

Notice Step Number 2.

Have a clear Calorie goal.

For the average woman, 1600 calories a day is a decent goal. For the average man, 1800 calories a day is a decent goal. Now, if I eat a MUFA at each meal, that does not leave much for other items such as Protein and Carbohydrates. Before I know it, I am at my calorie goal for the day, but I don’t feel full. What can I eat? Eat Vegetables! Many of these have very little calories. The key here is Journal your Food.

Eat Often

In Jorge Cruise’s book, the Three Hour Diet, he recommends eating every 3 hours. It’s the same in the Abs Diet, and Cardio Free Diet, and almost all other diets. The idea is to eat often to prevent you from getting starved. You also feel full, because you are eating all the time. Some people like to do 4 400 calorie meals. Some people say 5 300 calorie meals. Other people like to do 3 bigger meals and 2 smaller 100 calorie snacks. Regardless, by eating often, your body can easily burn the food into energy rather than eating a one or two huge meals. The body can not burn it all once. So, it stores some as fat.

Improve your attitude towards FoodEmotional Eater?

Most of us are emotional eaters. When we meet friends, we meet for coffee, drinks, dinner, lunch, or parties. All Social events where eating is concerned. We’re having fun when we eat a beautiful big meal where we’re stuffed. Come On, think about it. The Super Bowl, Thanksgiving Day, and July 4th Barbecues are all events with huge eating. We equate happiness with eating. So, what can we do? Change the equation!

Friends + Eating = Happy.

Couldn’t we change it to:

  • Friends + Morning Walk = Happy.
  • Friends + Hiking Trip = Happy.
  • Friends + pick-up soccer game or basketball game = Happy.
  • Friends + Ski Trip = Happy.

Notice the change? We’re social creatures. Making exercise a social event instead of making eating a social event. There is a strong correlation between living in an active community and physical fitness vs. a lethargic community and obesity. The obesity rates are higher in areas where exercise is not as social. So, Improve your attitude towards food. One way to do so is by making your exercise social.

Another way to do so, is by journaling. If you write what you eat, and then also write how you felt when you ate it. you can look back and help determine what caused your bout of emotional eating. Life is an experiment. We all need to find what works for us. The key though is to learn from others. Researchers are finding out what works for the majority, and that’s where you should start.

So, the Flat Belly Diet to me sounds like every other successful diet.

  • Eat less food than you Burn. (Food in < Food Out)
  • Eat the Right Foods.
  • Learn to control your Emotional Eating.
  • Measure your Goal Progress.
  • Make it social.
Photo Credit: Avocado via Flickr, by: ingserban
Photo Credit: Day 161 – Losing It, by: gotplaid?

Update:  If you like this post, you might like: How to Add MUFA to breakfast, lunch, and dinner for weight loss?