The belly melt diet

All you have to do is eat a 1,600 calorie Mediterranean-style diet with a focus on certain food items, such as whole grains, nuts, beans, lean protein and most importantly MUFA foods (shorthand for monounsaturated fat, a good fat that aids in reducing the level of LDL (bad) cholesterol and raises HDL (good) cholesterol in the body). With expert inputs from Dr. Simran Saini, Weight Loss Management Consultant at Fortis Hospital, we take a closer look at this diet and bring you its essentials in this diet review of the belly melt diet.

Main points of consideration for The Belly Melt Diet. The Belly Melt Diet is considered to be a 1,600 calorie-a day diet that focuses on eating small portions of monounsaturated fatty acids with every meal. Monounsaturated fatty acids, or MUFAs, are plant-based fats found in olives, nuts, seeds and dark chocolate. The diet advocates that meals rich in MUFAs can actually help in reduction of belly fat.

How does The Belly Melt Diet work? The Belly Melt Diet works in a combination of two parts. The first phase of the diet is called the "Anti-Bloat Jumpstart". It is a four-day fast-track diet designed to diminish belly bloating which is caused by development of gas or acidity due to inclusion of heavy solids and excess fluids in the diet. In this portion of the diet, you are required to follow an exact menu, which consists of four meals per day totaling 1,200 calories.

The second phase is called the "Four-Week Eating Plan". During this part of the diet the menu is flexible but again you eat four meals which is a total of 1600 Calories per day. Every meal must contain a MUFA, such as olive oil on a salad or a handful of almonds.

Food items one can eat in this diet: What one can have in this diet matters most. This is a MUFA rich diet. Food items one can eat are oils including canola, safflower, sesame, soybean, walnut, flaxseed, peanut, sunflower and olive oil. One can also eat seeds and nuts such as sunflower seeds, pistachios, walnuts, almonds, pine nuts and other nuts and seeds.

A special kind of water termed as 'Sassy Water' is consumed in this diet. This water contains freshly grated ginger root, cucumber, lemon and mint leaves. It purportedly helps calm and soothe your GI tract. One can also eat avocados, dark chocolates, seafoods, chicken, eggs, most of the vegetables and most of the fruits. However, the quantity should always be in moderation.

Food items one cannot eat in this diet: Emphasis is given on eating MUFAS in your meals in different oils, seeds and nuts. Thus, the not-allowed list is not so specific. But the diet does not advocate use of many saturated fats in the diet like ghee, butter and so on.

A sample diet plan for the Belly Melt Diet.

For Breakfast. To start with a MUFA option breakfast you can cook your scrambled eggs in olive oil, with a handful of spinach and mushrooms. With this have avocado slices.

For Lunch. You may have chicken breast or well cooked omega-rich fish. You may include salad garnished with slices of avocado and almonds for extra MUFAs.

For Dinner. Here you can have either tomatoes, mushrooms, onions, eggplant, zucchini or a combination of all, along with fish, seafood, poultry or meat and a MUFA fat like sunflower oil as the cooking medium.

Advantages of the diet:

- The main advantage of the diet is that high consumption of MUFAS can increase your chances of balancing your cholesterol levels, improving your lipid profile and prevent chances of atherosclerosis.

- Also having a diet high in MUFA is an added benefit for women as omega 3 fatty acids from flaxseeds and olive oil help in balancing hormones and relieving women of premenopausal and pre menstrual syndromes.

- This diet, if taken in balanced portions, will help a person lose overall weight.

Disadvantages of the diet are:

- The first disadvantage of the diet is that a MUFA diet can have adverse effects if you consume too much of the foods mentioned with oil inclusions due to their high calorie content. All fats provide 9 calories per gram and if portions are not watched you may be eating 2,000 to 2,500 calories per day and may end up putting on weight rather than losing it.

- Most importantly, since this diet does not advocate any need for any exercise, the weight loss or belly trimming effect will not be sustainable for a long time and the toning required with weight loss will not be effective.

Our verdict on the Belly Melt Diet. The belly melt diet can help with weight loss and promote heart health, but there are no super foods for spot reduction at the belly alone. Do not mistake the diet's name for any declarations of promise for quick belly fat loss.

The effect of weight loss or body trimming is overall and may not just target your belly. We also believe, and quite strongly, that the effect of any good diet is complete only in combination with a good workout program. Also, apart from weight loss, look to the belly melt diet as a healthy diet for improving your lipid profile.

Bottom-line: If you combine this diet with smart and strict portion control, exercise everyday, and don't look for spot reduction or quick weight loss, then this diet will work for you.

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