Diet 101: Flat Belly Diet | Healthy Eats – Food Network Healthy Living Blog

Diet 101: Flat Belly Diet by Dana Angelo White in Diets & Weight Loss, July 17, 2013

Seems like everyone has been asking me about ways to lose belly fat lately. Is the Flat Belly Diet the way? And which foods does the diet recommend? Find out.

From the editors of Prevention magazine, the Flat Belly Diet claims that followers can lose up to 15 pounds in 32 days. Researched in part by a registered dietitian (always a good thing), the plan focuses on taking in monounsaturated fats (MUFAs) from foods like oils, nuts and seeds, olives, avocado and dark chocolate. The author promises that dieters will want to follow this type of eating for the long haul.

The Plan
This 32-day plan includes a “Four Day Anti-Bloat Jumpstart” followed by a 4-week program. The jump start banishes caffeine and most sources of sodium from the diet to help promote a loss of water weight. The four-day meal plan is made up of low-fat foods, a minimal amount of starchy carbs and lots of lean protein and fruits and vegetables. Dieters must also guzzle “Sassy Water,” a concoction of water flavored with ginger, lemon, cucumber and mint created by contributing dietitian Cynthia Sass.

The four-week plan aims for a 1600-calorie per day plan made up of three, 400-calorie meals, plus a 400-calorie “snack pack” to work on throughout the day. Numerous options for breakfast, lunches and dinners are given for dieters to choose from, all of which include a dose of MUFA. Recipes are also included.

Exercise is encouraged but not a must on this diet. Chapter 10 includes an exercise plan designed by a Prevention staffer. The regimen highlights a one-month walking program, plus basic strength training and core exercises using light weights.

The Costs
The book retails for $15.99. For an additional $27, you can purchase the Flat Belly Cookbook or the Flat Belly Family Cookbook. Money aside, there’s a lot of information for dieters to wrap their brains around to truly grasp the concept behind this diet.

The Good
• Overall, a well-rounded program
• The plan involves proper education about nutrition
• Promotes cooking but also includes options for dining out
• Simple exercise is encouraged

The Not-So Good
• Meal prep and shopping for multiple ingredients may be too much for some
• 1600 calories might leave some people hungry
• Hydration is always good, but not sure all that Sassy Water is necessary
• MUFAs are healthy fats but not necessarily the key to successful weight loss

Bottom Line: The Flat Belly Diet is a sound diet plan, but as with any “plan,” there are plenty of rules to remember and follow. Dieters must be prepared to do their homework before getting started.

Tell Us: Have you tried Flat Belly?
Dana Angelo White, MS, RD, ATC, is a registered dietitian, certified athletic trainer and owner of Dana White Nutrition, Inc., which specializes in culinary and sports nutrition. See Dana’s full bio »


Top 3 Myths About Plant-Based Protein (And Why They’re Wrong)

Top 3 Myths About Plant-Based Protein (And Why They’re Wrong)

BrendanBrazierHero-850x400.jpgA common misconception about plant-based diets is that they lack protein. That’s simply not true. I’ve achieved top-level athletic performance and sustained huge health gains by switching to a plant-based diet. That’s why I created Thrive Forward, a website dedicated to plant-based education for health and sports performance. It provides short educational videos, clean eating recipes and tips to support day to day life.

Whether your goal is to lean out, build muscle mass and strength, or just improve your health, plant-based proteins play an important role. Here are the top three myths I hear about plant-based proteins:

Protein Myth Number 1: You Can’t Get Enough Protein From Plant-Based Diets

The idea that plant-based diets lack sufficient protein isn’t true. Here are five benefits of eating plant-based proteins:

1. Low in saturated fat

High levels of saturated fat in the blood raise cholesterol and contribute to clogged arteries. If your diet is rich in saturated fats (found mostly in meat, dairy and eggs), you are more likely to suffer from heart disease in the years to come. Unsaturated fats (found in nuts and seeds) are the alternative and help to keep your heart healthy.

2. Free of the growth hormones and antibiotics found in animal proteins.

Modern meat production uses growth hormones and antibiotics. This will always be a major topic of discussion and while you can find antibiotic and hormone-free meat, plant-based proteins are the best option to avoid this altogether.

3. Alkaline-forming.

A good indicator of whether a food is alkaline-forming is the presence of chlorophyll—the greener the food, the better. The typical North American diet is acid-forming (meat, bread etc…) which is not helpful in maintain your body’s naturally alkaline pH. Adding more alkaline-forming foods with a clean, plant-based diet can help you combat inflammation, reduce stress, and protect bone health.

4. Easy to digest.

Whole plant-based foods, especially those that are raw, are easy for your body to digest. They contain fiber, which is crucial to proper digestion. Less time spent on digestion means more energy to use throughout your day.

5. Better for the environment.

We all hopefully want to reduce our personal carbon footprint. Diet affects the environment even more than your commute. Because it takes more water, energy and fuel to produce animal products, switching to plant-based foods offers the planet less harmful consumption and has a huge environmental impact.

Protein Myth Number 2: Plant-Based Proteins Aren’t Complete

Once I explain some of the benefits of plant-based proteins, I’m likely to hear, “Well, they still aren’t complete proteins.”

A complete protein has all essential amino acids — the ones your body can’t produce itself. While essential amino acids are just that, essential, your body can combine different foods to get all the amino acids it needs.

When choosing a variety of beans, grains, and vegetables, for example, you don’t have to worry about which ones are complete or not.

But just to prove the point, here are three examples of complete proteins:

1. Hemp Seed

Not only is hemp seed a complete protein, it’s also rich in omega-3s. Adding hemp seeds to salads and smoothies is a great way to increase your protein intake.

2. Quinoa

While it tastes like a grain, quinoa is actually a seed. This gluten-free alternative is not only higher in amino acids than many grains, but it also contains essential fatty acids. Swapping out brown rice for a side of quinoa is a good option to get a complete protein boost.

3. Sea Vegetables

Seaweed, kelp, and other algae have been protein staples to many coastal civilizations for thousands of years. Try swapping kelp noodles for regular pasta, and adding wakame to soups and salads. You can also add chlorella or spirulina to smoothies.

Protein Myth Number 3: Animal Protein Is The Only Protein That Builds Muscle

I’m always telling people that adding plant-based proteins won’t make you lose muscle. Athletes of all types, from body builders to Crossfiters, yogis to runners, can build incredible muscle strength and bulk with plant-based proteins.

I’ve worked with professional athletes and celebrities to educate and provide direction on nutrition, helping to build while keeping their eating clean and the result always helping them thrive in their sport. Formulating Vega One, along with the Vega Sport line of performance products only cements that plant-based protein can provide anyone with the grams needed to build muscle in a clean, digestible way.

It’s all about choosing the right kind of protein that can help you build and sustain muscle. The best protein comes from whole food, alkaline-forming sources, such as lean, plant-based protein — found in sprouted nuts, seeds, or pseudo-grains. Not only will you be getting complete proteins, but plant-based proteins are rich in antioxidants which help to reduce the inflammation caused by exercise, helping you to recover faster from your training.

There are a lot of myths out there about protein, but I’ve found tremendous benefits from adopting a plant-based diet. Adding more of these nutrient-dense protein sources, you’ll begin to adapt and form a sustainable, clean-functioning body.


Vegetarians: Facts vs. Myths | Healthy Eats – Food Network Healthy Living Blog

Vegetarians: Myths vs. Facts by Dana Angelo White in Healthy Tips, July 9, 2013

Vegetarians are often seriously misunderstood. It’s time to debunk some of the most common vegetarian myths!

Myth: Vegetarians don’t get enough protein
Fact: It’s actually pretty easy for vegetarians to meet their needs for protein, even if they choose not to eat eggs and dairy products. Thanks to plant-based proteins like tofu, beans, lentils and what’s found in whole-grains breads and cereals, getting enough protein can be deliciously simple.

Myth: All vegetarians eat the same foods
Fact: Many folks who follow a vegetarian diet still choose to incorporate dairy and eggs (or even fish or chicken) into their meal routine. There’s really no right or wrong when it comes to these choices, and whichever foods they do choose to eat will expose them to important vitamins and minerals. For example, calcium can be found in dairy products like yogurt, milk and cheese, but it’s also in tofu, leafy greens and calcium-fortified orange juice. (Learn more about the types of vegetarian diets.)

Myth: Vegetarian diets are always low in fat
Fact: A well-rounded vegetarian diet includes healthy fats from foods like olive oil, peanut butter, nuts and seeds. But less than healthy foods like french fries and doughnuts fall into the vegetarian category as well. So even vegetarians needs to watch which fats they take in.

Myth: Meat substitutes are better for you than the real thing
Fact: From bacon to ground meat to hot dogs, there’s a veggie imposter for just about every type of meat. While these options may lack animal protein and be low in cholesterol, they’re often made from highly processed ingredients and contain large amounts of sodium and fat (that doesn’t sound so healthy, now does it?).

Myth: Vegetarians are iron-deficient
Fact: It’s possible for both vegetarians and meat-eaters to become iron-deficient, but there are plenty of ways to get iron from plant-based foods like beans, tofu and spinach. Eating these plant foods along with vitamin C-rich foods will enhance iron absorption. (Learn more about getting enough iron in your daily diet.)

Dana Angelo White, MS, RD, ATC, is a registered dietitian, certified athletic trainer and owner of Dana White Nutrition, Inc., which specializes in culinary and sports nutrition. See Dana’s full bio »