Abs-dietten: fordeler, ulemper og hva du kan spise

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The Abs Diet: Pros, Cons, and What You Can Eat

Vi tror det ikke finnes en helhetlig tilnærming til en sunn livsstil. Vellykkede spiseplaner må individualiseres og ta hele personen i betraktning. Før du starter en ny diettplan, ta kontakt med helsepersonell eller en registrert diettist, spesielt hvis du har en underliggende helsetilstand.

Abs-dietten er en diett- og treningsplan som lover en flatere og sterkere midseksjon på seks uker. I følge diettens skaper, David Zinczenko, den tidligere redaksjonssjefen for Men’s Health , kan sterkere, flatere magesekk hjelpe deg med å leve lenger, sove bedre, forhindre ryggsmerter og til og med forbedre sexlivet ditt.

Forutsetningen for dietten krever at du spiser seks ganger hver dag og baserer matvalg på visse næringsdette “kraftmat”. Du har også lov til å avvike fra dietten en dag i uken. En hjørnestein i planen er et treningsprogram på 20 minutter som utføres minst tre ganger per uke.

Den opprinnelige dietten ble publisert i 2004-boken, “The Abs Diet: The 6-Week Plan to Flatten Your Magom and Keep You Lean for Life . ” Selv om programmet først og fremst var rettet mot menn, fulgte Zinczenko opp med “The Abs Diet for Women” 2007. Det er også en seks ukers plan som inkluderer 12 kraftmat og et vanlig treningsprogram. Zinczenko skrev begge bøkene sammen med Ted Spiker, en journalist og tidligere redaktør ved Men’s Health .

“Abs-dietten” fikk betydelig medieoppmerksomhet i løpet av et år etter publiseringen og ble en bestselger i New York Times . I følge en New York Times- artikkel skrevet på den tiden, kom “six-pack abs” tilbake på begynnelsen av 2000-tallet, og bøker som Zinczenko appellerte til de som prøvde å oppnå en slankere midseksjon.

Zinczenko er en fremtredende skikkelse i diett- og ernæringsindustrien. Han er grunnlegger og administrerende direktør for populære “Eat This, Not That!” mediefranchise og har skrevet 25 bøker som “The Zero Belly Diet” og “The 8-Hour Diet.” Etter suksessen til “The Abs Diet” var Zinczenko og Spiker medforfatter av flere relaterte titler, inkludert “The Abs Diet Get Fit, Stay Fit Plan” (2005), “The New Abs Diet” (2012), “The New Abs. Diett for kvinner “(2012).

Abs Diet diettprogrammet er relativt sunt og balansert og vil sannsynligvis hjelpe noen mennesker å gå ned i vekt og forbedre kondisjonen. Det er imidlertid ingen sterke bevis som støtter noen av Zinczenkos dristigere påstander. Det er heller ikke mulig å målrette fett tap i ett område av kroppen, slik som midtseksjonen.

Hva eksperter sier

“Abs-dietten krever hyppige små måltider, hver med spesifisert abs” superfoods. ” Mens eksperter er enige om at disse matvarene er næringsrike, og at vekttap kan forekomme på dette spisemønsteret, understreker de også at det ikke er noen revolusjonerende sekspakksfremmende funksjoner i disse supermatene. ” – Chrissy Carroll, RD, MPH

Hva kan du spise?

Abs-dietten promoteres som en plan som er enkel å følge, fordi få matvarer er begrenset, ingen kaloritelling er nødvendig, og det lar deg spise ofte hele dagen. Dessuten er det ingen streng karbohydratbegrensning, noe som var et sentralt trekk ved mange dietter som var populære da “Abs-dietten” først ble publisert. Dette kan ha bidratt til å skille den fra andre fett tap programmer på den tiden.

Den seks ukers planen oppfordrer hele frukt og grønnsaker, magre proteinkilder, fullkorn, sunt fett og myseprotein. Smoothies er også en hjørnestein i kostholdet og kan ta stedet for et måltid eller en matbit.

The book provides followers with guidelines about beverages and suggests they avoid alcohol. Beverages that are encouraged include low-fat or fat-free milk, green tea, and diet soda (in moderation). Zinczenko also recommends consuming at least eight glasses of water per day.

What You Need to Know

Despite the lack of restrictions, there are a few guidelines to follow such as portion control, which is strongly encouraged. Zinczenko writes that men commonly eat up to twice as much food as they think they’re eating, especially when they consume grains, fats, and sweets. (By contrast, a study conducted by the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) published the same year as “The Abs Diet” found that food recall in men is generally accurate.)

To avoid overconsuming food, Zinczenko encourages those who follow the diet to watch portion sizes of all foods, but especially those containing fat (such as peanut butter) or carbohydrates like rice, bread, and pasta. The diet recommends consuming no more than 1–2 servings per food group at each meal. He also advises that the total contents of your meal should fit on one dinner plate without piling the food too high.

Making certain key food choices is also important on this plan. You are encouraged to eat “energy-efficient foods.” In general, these are foods that are nutrient-dense—meaning that they provide more macronutrients, vitamins, and minerals for fewer calories. For example, beans are encouraged. Kidney beans, black beans, pinto beans, and others provide fiber and protein and are relatively low in calories when prepared without oil or other fats. Nuts, whole grains, and berry-rich protein smoothies are also emphasized.

Recommended Timing

Eating frequency is another key component of the Abs Diet. Followersare advised to eat six meals per day—three relatively small meals and three snacks. Zinczenko claims that eating three large meals creates an hourly energy imbalance that is associated with a fatter body. By eating regularly throughout the day, he claims you are able to keep your energy input (food consumption) and energy output (activity) in balance to maximize fat loss and muscle gain.

Zinczenko also writes that eating more often helps to improve satiety and reduce the risk of binge-eating. Satiety is a feeling of satisfaction and fullness that you are likely to feel after eating, and boosting satiety is believed to help avoid severe hunger that can lead to overeating.

As a specific schedule, the Abs Diet alternates larger meals with smaller snacks. It is recommended that you eat two of your snacks two hours before lunch and dinner, and one snack two hours after dinner. If you eat over the course of a 12-hour day, you can expect to eat about every three hours.

Resources and Tips

Books in “The Abs Diet” series are still available online and in many bookstores across the country. For some time, a website was maintained for the diet. It provided updated recipes, meal plans, and workouts to paid subscribers. However, it is no longer available nor is there is any other form of live ongoing support.

Those who follow the diet will, however, find helpful recipes, eating schedules, sample meal plans, and other resources in the books that were published as part of the series. Also, since the foods allowed on the plan are very similar to foods recommended on other diets (like the DASH diet or the Mediterranean diet) you can follow the plan (or a program very similar) without buying the books.

Exercise Plan

The exercise plan is fundamental to the Abs Diet. Followers of the program should expect to exercise at least three times per week for a minimum of 20 minutes per session. The exercise plan has three components:

  • Strength training performed three times per week. Each session is a total-body workout and one places special emphasis on the legs. Strength exercises are compiled into a circuit format with little to no rest between exercises. Typical exercises include the military press, upright row, leg extension, biceps curl, and bench press.
  • Abdominal exercises are performed two times per week. Ab exercises include the traditional abdominal crunch, bent-leg knee raise, and side bridge.
  • Cardiovascular exercise is optional on non-strength-training days. Activities like cycling, running, or swimming are recommended. At least some light cardiovascular activity (like walking) is recommended for at least two of your three off days.

Specific workouts are provided in “The Abs Diet”book, which also recommends one interval workout one day per week.

Modifications

Those with dietary restrictions should be able to follow the Abs Diet for the full six weeks. Vegans and vegetarians should be able to eat well on this program, although vegans will need to find an alternative to whey protein powder (such as pea protein powder or soy protein powder) for smoothies. Since whole grains, legumes, fruits, and vegetables are encouraged, plant-based eaters will find plenty to fill their plates at mealtime.

Those who adhere to a gluten-free diet will also be able to follow the program, choosing whole grains like quinoa or buckwheat instead of gluten-containing grains.

What to Eat

  • Whole grains
  • Lean meat
  • Vegetables
  • Lowfat dairy
  • Beans
  • Fruit (especially fiber-rich berries)
  • Nuts
  • Protein powder
  • Any food you desire for a “cheat meal”

What Not to Eat

  • Fatty meat
  • Refined grains
  • Alcoholic beverages
  • Sweetened cereals
  • Cookies, candy, processed sweet treats
  • Processed microwavable meals
  • Other foods containing trans fat or high fructose corn syrup

“Power Foods”

As a key part of the program, you are required to add at least two “power foods” to each meal and snack that you consume. There are 12 total foods on the list and readers are encouraged to remember the foods because the names align with the concept of the book:

  • Almonds and other nuts
  • Beans and legumes
  • Spinach and other green vegetables
  • Dairy (fat-free or low-fat milk, yogurt, cheese)
  • Instant oatmeal (unsweetened, unflavored)
  • Eggs
  • Turkey and other lean meats
  • Peanut butter
  • Olive oil
  • Whole-grain breads and cereals
  • Extra-protein (whey) powder
  • Raspberries and other berries

“Cheat Meals”

Those who follow this diet are encouraged to have what Zinczenko refers to as a “cheat meal” once a week. On this day, there are no guidelines, no portion control rules, no encouraged or discouraged foods. You simply eat the foods that you have been craving or missing. Zinczenko says that the way to control your cravings is to satisfy them every once in a while. He also says that a high-calorie “cheat day” helps to increase the body’s metabolism.

Smoothies

You are encouraged to build smoothies around the 12 power foods, such as protein powder, berries, yogurt, peanut butter, and other ingredients. Smoothies should measure no more than eight ounces.

Alcohol

Due to the substantial calorie content of alcoholic beverages, Zinczenko advises followers to avoid alcohol during the six-week plan. He also believes there is a tendency to eat more whenever alcohol is consumed.

Sample Shopping List

The Abs Diet eliminates processed foods and added sugar and other unhealthy foods and includes a wide variety of nutrient-dense, whole foods that you can eat. The following shopping list provides suggestions to help you get started on the six-week plan. Note that this is not a definitive shopping list and there may be other foods that you prefer.

  • Dark leafy greens (kale, spinach, bok choy, arugula, lettuces)
  • Bright-colored vegetables (broccoli, eggplant, bell peppers, beets, tomatoes)
  • Fruit (blueberries, blackberries, strawberries, grapefruit, cherries, pineapple)
  • Lean meat and fish (chicken and turkey breast, lean ground beef, salmon, tuna)
  • Whole grains (brown rice, oats, quinoa)
  • Legumes (black beans, pinto beans, chickpeas, lentils)
  • Nuts and seeds (almonds, walnuts, cashews, chia seeds, flaxseeds)
  • Low-fat dairy products
  • Avocados
  • Olive oil
  • Eggs
  • Whey protein powder

Sample Meal Plan

“The Abs Diet” book features a variety of compliant recipes for meals and specialty smoothies like the Abs Diet Ultimate Power Smoothie, the Banana Split Smoothie, and the Halle Berries Smoothie. The protocol outlined in the book includes sample meal plans for those in need of extra guidance.

The following three-day meal plan offers additional suggestions for getting started on the Abs Diet. Note that this meal plan is not all-inclusive, and if you do choose to follow this program there may be other meals that you prefer. Just be sure to remember to eat three meals and three snacks and include a smoothie every day.

Day 1

  • Breakfast: 8-ounce Abs Diet Ultimate Power Smoothie (1 cup 1% milk, 2 tablespoons low-fat vanilla yogurt, 3/4 cup instant oatmeal, 2 tablespoons peanut butter, 2 teaspoons chocolate whey powder, 6 ice cubes, crushed).3
  • Snack #1: 2 tablespoons peanut butter with apple slices
  • Lunch: Mediterranean Veggie Wrap 
  • Snack #2 1/2 cup mixed berries; 1 serving almonds
  • Dinner: 2 Grilled Chicken and Tomato Skewers; 1 cup Quinoa Tabouli Salad
  • Snack #3: 1.4 ounces dark chocolate

Day 2

  • Breakfast: 1 Quick and Easy Egg McMuffin-Style Sandwich; an 8-ounce glass of orange juice
  • Snack #1: 3/4 cup Banana Date Smoothie (add whey powder)
  • Lunch: 3/4 cup Lower Fat Chicken Avocado Salad
  • Snack #2: 1 slice 12-grain toast with 1 tablespoon almond butter
  • Dinner: 4 ounces Oven-Baked Salmon With Herbs; 1/2 cup Lemony Roasted Low-Carb Broccoli; 1 cup cooked brown rice
  • Snack #3: 1/2 cup Dark Chocolate Avocado Mousse topped with 1/4 cup fresh raspberries

Day 3

  • Breakfast: 8-ounce High Protein Shake With Berries (use whey powder)
  • Snack #1: 1/4 cup Low-Carb Trail Mix
  • Lunch: 1 Turkey and Veggie English Muffin Sammie
  • Snack #2: 1/4 cup Roasted Red Beet Hummus; 3 ounces carrot sticks
  • Dinner: Greek Chicken Meatballs With Tzatziki Sauce (use low-fat yogurt); 1 serving Roasted or Grilled Asparagus; 1 cup cooked couscous
  • Snack #3: 1 Peanut Butter Banana Yogurt Parfait

Pros and Cons

Pros

  • Encourages consumption of nutrient-rich foods
  • Includes foods from all food groups
  • Promotes daily physical activity
  • Includes specific exercise plan
  • Maintenance plan included in books

Cons

  • Makes substantial health claims
  • No exercise or diet support
  • Cheat day may promote unhealthy eating behavior
  • Frequent eating doesn’t work for everyone

The Abs Diet is a relatively healthy eating and exercise program, but it may overpromise in terms of some of the benefits. Review the pros and cons to help inform your decision about trying this plan.

Pros

  • Protein-packed nutrition. Foods that are encouraged on the Abs Dietare not only nutrient-rich but are likely to help to build muscle and reduce hunger. For example, many of the foods on the “power foods” list are good sources of protein. Many also contain healthy fat and fiber so that you don’t feel deprived.
  • Encourages exercise. Another benefit of this plan is that it includes a specific, evidence-based exercise program that incorporates both strength and cardiovascular training, which may lead to weight loss. Many fat loss programs do not provide a specific exercise prescription.
  • Maintenance plan included. “The Abs Diet” book includes a maintenance plan to follow once the six-week diet is complete, which may help to promote long-term weight management.

Cons

  • Lacks sufficient evidence. The Abs Diet makes substantial claims about certain health benefits, but there is no research specifically related to this particular diet to support it. For example, Zinczenko says that a six-pack is the “ultimate predictor of your health” and that great abs have powers of seduction.
  • Lacks live ongoing support. “The Abs Diet” book is the only resource available to those following this plan. Many people benefit from personalized guidance or additional resources when trying to lose weight, which can help them to stay motivated and reach their goals.
  • Encourages unhealthy eating habits. Zinczenko advises eating whatever you want on your “cheat day,” which does not promote a healthy relationship with food and encourages overeating.
  • Eating frequency may not work for everyone. There is disagreement among nutrition and wellness experts about whether or not frequent eating can promote weight loss. Current research suggests this may not be the most effective strategy.

Is the Abs Diet a Healthy Choice for You?

There are several diets on the market that may appeal to those interested in reducing their waistlines. For instance, the Zero Belly Diet, also developed by Zinczenko, includes a range of nutritious foods like lean meats, fish, fruits, vegetables, whole grains, and legumes. This diet includes nine—not 12—power foods that Zinczenko says can help to turn off your “fat genes,” but this claim is unsubstantiated by research.

The Flat Belly Diet suggests you can lose 15 pounds in 32 days by following an eating plan centered on healthy monounsaturated fats. While the diet encourages the consumption of healthy plant-based foods, such as fruits, veggies, nuts, and seeds, it overpromises in terms of weight loss.

There’s also the Body Reset Diet, a three-part plan developed by another well-known name in the weight loss community, Harley Pasternak, a celebrity trainer. Stage one of the diet includes mostly smoothies followed by a healthier eating plan that includes smoothies along with low-calorie foods. Like the Abs Diet, physical activity is encouraged.

When compared to federal guidelines for a well-balanced diet, the Abs Diet is well-aligned. The USDA’s 2020–2025 Dietary Guidelines for Americans includes recommendations and tips for a healthy diet. The USDA recommends the following nutrient-dense foods:

  • “Vegetables of all types—dark green; red and orange; beans, peas, and lentils; starchy; and other vegetables
  • Fruits, especially whole fruit
  • Grains, at least half of which are whole grain
  • Dairy, including fat-free or low-fat milk, yogurt, and cheese, and/or lactose-free versions and fortified soy beverages and yogurt as alternatives
  • Protein foods, including lean meats, poultry, and eggs; seafood; beans, peas, and lentils; and nuts, seeds, and soy products
  • Oils, including vegetable oils and oils in food, such as seafood and nuts”

The USDA also advises limiting foods and beverages with higher amounts of added sugars, saturated fat, and sodium, and also limiting the consumption of alcoholic beverages, similar to the Abs Diet protocol. 

When it comes to calorie intake, the Abs Diet will vary since there is no specific daily food plan, only suggestions. For a sustainable rate of weight loss of 1–2 pounds per week, the USDA recommends a reduction of 500 calories per day, but this number varies based on age, sex, weight, height, and activity level. Use this calculator to help determine the right number of calories for you.

The USDA’s recommended foods are included and encouraged in “The Abs Diet” book. Zinczenko also encourages followers of the program to cook healthy meals at home instead of relying on packaged, processed foods. These are smart choices for both weight loss and overall health.

Health Benefits

May Promote Weight Loss

The Abs Diet encourages healthy, whole foods and regular exercise, which may very well lead to weight loss. Research has shown that combining exercise and diet is more effective for fat loss than exercise or diet alone and that both strength training and cardio are effective exercise modalities.

While there is some science to support certain aspects of the Abs Diet such as the aforementioned, there is no research that has specifically investigated this plan. Core strengthening exercises can certainly help develop stronger abdominal muscles, but spot reduction of fat in one area of the body is a weight-loss myth.

There is no evidence to suggest that Zinczenko’s diet and exercise plan is more effective than other well-balanced diets that include exercise.

Health Risks

Eating More Meals Doesn’t Always Work

Eating more frequent, smaller meals may have been a health trend when “The Abs Diet” was first published, but more recent studies have suggested that the opposite approach may be smarter for some if fat loss is your goal.

A large research review on the matter was published in Frontiers in Nutrition in 2015. Researchers examined studies that investigated the relationship between eating frequency, food intake, and weight. Eight out of the 13 studies that reported on food consumption found that increasing eating frequency provided no significant benefit. Eleven out of 17 studies that reported on body measurements found that eating more often had no significant effect on body size.

May Create An Unhealthy Relationship With Food

Since “The Abs Diet” was published, the importance of developing a healthy relationship with food has become a focus in the nutrition community. Programs that include “good” foods or “bad” foods have been questioned as they may have a negative impact on eating behaviors.

“Cheat days” and “cheat meals” are also problematic, as these terms associate food with guilty behavior and imply that “cheating” may cause more harm than good. In fact, some studies have found that those who associate food with guilt are more likely to have unhealthy eating habits.

Final Thought

A diet that promises six-pack abs and a better sex life sounds appealing on the surface, but there is no evidence that a diet program can spot reduce fat in a specific targeted area of the body. For health reasons, reducing visceral fat (belly fat) is smart—but that goal can be achieved with a program that includes reasonable portions of nutritious foods and regular moderate exercise. You don’t necessarily need to read “The Abs Diet” book to improve your health or lose fat.

Remember, following a long-term or short-term diet may not be necessary for you and many diets out there simply don’t work, especially long-term. While we do not endorse fad diet trends or unsustainable weight loss methods, we present the facts so you can make an informed decision that works best for your nutritional needs, genetic blueprint, budget, and goals.

If your goal is weight loss, remember that losing weight isn’t necessarily the same as being your healthiest self, and there are many other ways to pursue health. Exercise, sleep, and other lifestyle factors also play a major role in your overall health. The best diet is always the one that is balanced and fits your lifestyle.

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Zahra Thunzira is a Jakarta-based nutritionist and gym instructor. She’s also an adventure travel, fitness, and health writer for several blogs and websites. She earned her Master degree in Public Health from University of Indonesia.