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October 2008

My Flat Belly Diet Q&A with Prevention editor Liz Vaccariello

Through the help of the Flat Belly Diet team members,  I sent off some questions about the diet to Prevention magazine editor and Flat Belly Diet author Liz Vaccariello. Here's the Q&A:

Q. Is there a point at which adding the MUFAs raises the percent of fats too high? Nutrition guidelines suggest your fat  intake be something like 20% to 30%. When I follow the diet I seem to be  consuming almost 40% or more of my calories from fat....Of course I'm trying to  eat less than the recommended 1,600 calories so maybe my fat ratios are too  high.

LIZ: Well, first of all, I must congratulate you on your  interest in nutrition! For women over the age of 18, the recommended intake of  total dietary fat is between 20% and 35% of total calories, according to the  Institutes of Medicine, but studies have shown that diets can be healthy if they  contain up to 40% calories from fat, especially if the fat sources are  healthful. On average the Flat Belly Diet provides about 35% of calories from  fat, mostly in the form of heart-healthy monounsaturated fatty acids, or MUFAs,  which have been shown to help reduce the risk of many different types of  disease. Consuming more of this healthful fat as part of your daily calories can  actually help you stay on the plan because fat keeps you feeling full and  satisfied in between meals.

In regards to your  last note — that you're consuming fewer calories than the diet recommends — I would  discourage this. It is very difficult to fulfill all your nutrient needs on a  diet containing 1500 calories or fewer, and it's even harder to get enough MUFA.  If you are cutting portion sizes of carbohydrates and protein, your fat ratio  will indeed be higher. If you are absolutely certain that 1600 calories is too  much for you to lose weight safely, I'd advise cutting a snack pack in half,  rather than trying to shave calories from individual meals. It's easier to  maintain the correct balance of nutrients that way.

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What's in your World Series Taco bell freebie?

Jason Bartlett of the Tampa Bay Rays may have not been on the winning team in the first game of the World Series but he did win America a free taco by stealing a base in the Rays 3-2 loss to the Philadelphia Phillies Wednesday night.

What we want to know is will we strike out on our diets if we eat it?

Turns out the free crunchy beef taco will only set you back 170 calories. There are 10 grams of fat and 3.5 grams of that are saturated fat. But there's no trans fat and you do get 3 grams of fiber and a somewhat respectable 350 milligrams of sodium.

You can snap up your free taco between 2 and 6 p.m. your time Tuesday, Oct. 28 at any particpating Taco Bell.

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Biggest Loser discussion group: Cirque du Cellulite!

If you saw the commercials for last night's episode, you knew in advance it was either going to be Black Team Phil or his wife, Blue Team Amy. (Thanks, NBC!)

Loved how Bob was funnin' on Amy P's sissyness in the self-defense class.

Then it was back to Dr. Huizenga to see how the contestants were doing. And, of course, everyone's making great strides driving down their biological ages with diet and exercise.

The challenge: A crazy circular balance beam over water WITH LASERS! They wanted them to go around 25 times??? How about once!

To read more, click HERE.


Hit the reset button

I've been foundering around in Weight Loss Land since this summer. Haven't gained any weight but haven't lost any either.

So today I took out my little Mary Kate and Ashley notebook (yes, really) and wrote down my meal plan for the foreseeable future. Here's what I have:

Breakfast: High-protein, high-fiber cereal with fat-free, lactose-free milk or soymilk; piece of fruit and coffee.

Lunch: Some sort of frozen meal and a salad.

Snack: Yogurt and fruit.

Dinner: Lean protein, veggies and 1/2 cup of starch

Post-dinner: Minibag of popcorn or a sugar-free pudding.

Sure there'll be times when I'll have to deviate from the plan but this will be THE plan.

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A whole latte love from my buddy Lynn

Lynn Haraldson Bering is my weight-loss hero. She lost over 150 pounds and has kept it off for more than a year. She's been profiled on Oprah, the Today show and People magazine. She, like me, blogs at multiple places, one of which is Lynn's Weigh: The Journey Continues, where she documents her life at goal. Recently she discovered sugar-free syrup and highly recommends Starbucks' Skinny Caramel Latte. She writes:
I’m probably the last person on earth to discover this, but I love, and I mean seriously love, their Skinny Caramel Latte. I’ve never had a shot of syrup in my coffee before and I wanted to know what all the fuss was about. People blog about how they love sugar-free syrup, they post on message boards how much they love sugar-free syrup. Now I know why they love sugar-free syrup. It’s blog worthy and post worthy. It’s a very yummy way to get a dairy serving in, too.
Hey, wait 'til you start buying giant bottles of sugar-free syrup and your pantry is full of different flavors (like mine)!


Japan's Morning Banana Diet is B-A-N-A-N-A-S!

Banana prices are rising and shortages are being reported in Japan, where a Morning Banana Diet has people in a frenzy.


It started in March with the publication of Morning Banana Diet, which claimed that eating only bananas and room-temperature water for breakfast jumpstarted weight loss, regardless of what was eaten during the rest of the day.

So who came up with the diet? A guy who studied preventive medicine in Tokyo. He says bananas help digestion and improve metabolism.

Uh, not really, but if you're not a breakfast eater, jumpstarting your metabolism in the morning will help weight loss. But you can do it with any food. Bananas happen to be filling and so is water.

Here's more from The Japan Times Online.

And here's Banana Man, who prefers peanut butter and jelly:

Easy healthy breakfast Starbucks giveaway

Marielle, Erica and Runnin4fun -- so far you're the winners of our Starbucks gift card giveaway.

Some ideas from our trio:
  • Western Bagel alternative bagel with a Laughing Cow cheese wedge
  • Oatmeal with a little brown sugar, walnuts, craisins and skim milk
  • Shredded wheat with banana or blueberries on top

Please e-mail your name and address to dietexaminer(at) (replace the at with an @) and we'll get your gift cards right out to you.

And for everyone else, we still have a few gift cards, so it's not too late to get your easy healthy breakfast idea in!