One popular diet that is currently circulating around North America, touted by the well-read magazine, "Men's Health", is the Ab's Diet. This diet claims to flatten your stomach in six weeks and help you stay lean for life. Does it live up to its claim? You be the judge.
The diet was created by the Men's Health editor, David Zinczenko, and is backed up by celebrities such as The Rock. They claim that it is not another fad diet but one you can live with for the rest of your life. Given that most people who go on fad diets give up after only a few measly weeks, this is a critical part of any diet that hopes to be successful.
The diet also states that by following it, you will learn 12 magical foods that strip away fat, learn how to turn fat into muscle, look and feel younger, supercharge your sex life and live pain free.
While your diet can definitely help you look and feel younger as well as play a role in your sex drive and pain management, no diet is going to 'turn fat into muscle' - that is a process that simply does not happen. You may lose fat and build muscle but again, food alone won't make a conversion of tissue occur.
Their claim that you will lose 12 pounds of fat in two weeks is a little bit of an exaggeration also as in reality, this is close to impossible. Nothing short of starvation would have you losing twelve pounds of fat in two weeks as for this to occur, you'd have to be at a caloric deficit of 3000 calories per day.
Considering most people do not need this many calories to even maintain their weight, starving all day wouldn't create a big enough deficit to make this a reality. So in that regard, right off the bat, this diet will not entirely back up its claim.
What Can You Eat On The Diet?
One good thing that the diet does do is stress the importance of including healthy foods in the diet often and leaving the less healthy ones to having only on occasion. It does not forbid whole entire food groups off the menu or make you become a calorie counting machine. For many people, this approach works well since it is not so strict as some of the other approaches they may have tried in the past.
The foods that are known to be the "Power 12" on the diet that you should be eating as much as possible include:
- Almonds and other nuts
- Beans and legumes
- Spinach and green veggies
- Low fat or fat free dairy
- Instant Oatmeal (note that slow cooking oatmeal would be a better option here)
- Turkey/other lean meats
- Peanut butter
- Olive oil
- Whole Grain Cereal
- Whey Protein Powder
- Raspberries and other Berries
The foods that they describe as ones you should 'eat often' include:
- Brown Rice
- Canadian Bacon
- Canola Oil
- Citrus Fruits and Juices
- Low Sugar fruit juice
- Lean Game
- Peanut Oil
- Sunflower Seeds
- Sweet Potatoes
Then the 'eat occasionally' foods include:
- Baked Potatoes
- Light Beer
- French Fries
- Graham Crackers
- Ice Cream (low fat)
- Pork Tenderloin
- White Wine
- Frozen Yogurt
And lastly, the foods they recommend you try and avoid include:
- Baked Goods
- White Flour
- Non-dairy creamer
- Creamy pasta
- Peanut butter (non-natural)
- Soft Drinks
- Creamy Soups
- Fried vegetables
So as you can see, the Ab's diet does have pretty good recommendations in terms of which foods should be the mainstay of your diet and which should be avoided.
In terms of muscle building this diet does likely work as it doesn't eliminate carbohydrates, which do tend to make gaining muscle easier.
For fat loss though, due to the fact that it doesn't specify calorie levels or how much protein, carbs or fat to consume, it won't be quite as reliable as a diet that does. Anyway you look at it, when it comes to fat loss, calorie counting is how you lose weight.
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Author, Shannon Clark.
You must be sure you are taking in fewer calories than you burn regardless of the types of foods you are eating so any diet that does not track this will not be as successful as a diet that does.
In all regards though, by choosing many of the foods recommended on this diet you likely will be eating fairly low calorie and will feel much healthier because they are quite nutrient dense.
Probably the highlighting factor of this diet that puts it above others in regards to actual food selection is that it does not cut out any specific food groups. For most people, this is something they are looking for. Not everyone has the desire to eliminate carbs entirely from their plan or go on some super low fat diet. This is a much more well-rounded approach.
I wouldn't say the diet completely lives up to all of its claims, in fact likely no diet would live up the claims it makes, so just be cautioned that you aren't expecting too much when beginning it.
Overall Diet Rating: 3 out of 5.