The February 2008 issue of Prevention magazine features a success story of four middle-aged women who lost 14 inches of belly fat using a diet that included a high, monounsaturated-fat food at every meal. A diet that asks you to actually eat more fat? Yes. Here is how the monounsaturated fat diet works.
Recent research shows that diets rich in monounsaturated fat actually reduce the fat stored in the belly, the riskiest place to carry extra fat. The study which was published in the July 2007 issue of Diabetes Care, showed that dieters lost belly fat when placed on this high, monounsaturated-fat diet without any additional exercise and without cutting any additional calories.
Monounsaturated fats are found in what have long been known to be the “healthy fat” foods. These high, monounsaturated-fat foods include nuts, oils such as olive and canola, and avocados. Monounsaturated fats have been shown to control type 2 diabetes, reduce the risk of heart disease, lower “bad” cholesterol levels, and now may even help you to lose inches around your midsection.
In order to reap the benefits of the monounsaturated-fat diet, you must eat a monounsaturated-rich food with each meal. You must also still count calories. This diet certainly isn’t a free for all when it comes to eating. You are adding monounsaturated fats into a regular calorie counting plan and just hoping to reap the added benefit of losing extra fat around the belly. Most women should eat three meals a day of about 400 calories each, and consume two snacks of 200 calories each for a total of 1600 calories.
The five monounsaturated-rich foods that the Prevention magazine article suggests you consume with your meals are: oils, nuts and seeds, avocado, olives, and perhaps the most surprising (and exciting), chocolate. Oils include olive, canola, flaxseed, peanut, safflower, sesame, soybean, sunflower, and walnut. A serving is 1 tablespoon. Nuts and seeds include almonds, brazil nuts, cashews, peanuts, hazelnuts, macadamia nuts, pistachios, sunflower seeds, and nut and seed butters such as natural peanut butter, cashew butter, and tahini. A serving is 2 tablespoons. For avocados a serving is ½ cup. A serving of olives should be 10 large olives or 2 tablespoons of tapenade. For chocolate, you should consume semi-sweet or dark chocolate and can have ½ cup as a serving. Limit your chocolate intake to one of the meals.
Like all diets, the monounsaturated-fat diet isn’t foolproof and should be monitored by a doctor. This diet, unlike many others, is not a fad. Research clearly shows the positive effects of monounsaturated fats. So if you are trying to count calories for the new year, why not try adding these monounsaturated foods to your meals to see if you too can lose some extra belly fat.
Resource: Prevention Magazine, February 2008