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Saturday, June 11, 2011

In Defense of the Belly Fat Cure

The other day a girlfriend said to me "Amber, are you still on that extreme diet?" I said yes, but I didn't think it was extreme at all. To which she replied "It sounds extreme to me!"  That, plus a lot of comments I see in response to Jorge's appearance on Rachael Ray really makes me think. And some of it gets under my skin. I see "This is a gimmick", "You can't just eliminate one thing", "It's too extreme", "It's Atkins, repackaged".

Not that it needs it, because the proof is in the pudding, but I'm going to take a moment to defend Jorge Cruise's Belly Fat Cure.

First of all, it is not a gimmick. Can Jorge himself come off as gimmicky? Sure. Despite how I named my blog, the diet isn't about him. A gimmick is a trick, something with short term results that are later reversed. This is not a gimmick diet. It is real plan that allows for 3 meals a day and snacking. It lets you have alcohol and even chocolate, if you plan for it. It lets you eat out and cook at home. You can fulfill all your nutritional requirements and still limit your sugar and carb intake. I have thrown out an entire closet full of size 16 clothing and replaced with size 8s. That is not a gimmick.

You are not eliminating sugar on the Belly Fat Cure, you are LIMITING sugar. Other diets limit calories and fat, this one limits sugar. Most nutritional guides and restaurants do not even list the amount of sugar in their food, so this is different. But it is based on newer research and studies that say our bodies convert sugar into fat and THAT is what makes us fat. Not calories and fat digested, but sugar. So you can have some sugar, just not a lot.

There is one thing you do eliminate on the plan, and that is ARTIFICIAL sweeteners. You can have none, zero, zilch. Not allowed. This is a really strange concept for dieters, since we have relied heavily on our "diet" drinks and foods for so long. But it is key on the Belly Fat Cure. If you do everything else on the plan, but leave in artificial sweeteners (such as Sucralose/Splenda, Saccharin, Aspartame) then you will crave foods that are sweet. You will never lose the taste for sugar and expect sweetness in your foods. This is all very subtle and you don't even realize that this is happening.  That is the simple version, as I now believe that artificial sweeteners are actually very harmful to us in so many ways. So to artificial sweeteners, I say good riddance!

Sure it is a low carb diet, but it isn't Atkins. No offense to Atkins at all. For induction on Atkins (the losing stage) you get a max of 20 grams of carbs a day, I forget the number of sugars, but I think the goal is zero. You can also subtract things like sugar alcohols and fiber from your carb count. It's mostly meat and cheese baby, meat and cheese! Plus Atkins dieters rely heavily on artificial sweeteners. I think of the Belly Fat Cure as more of a low sugar, moderate carb plan. On the BFC we get tons of green veggies and limited fruit (hello little berry), along with the meat and cheese. You can have up to 120 grams of carbs a day, limiting each meal to no more than 40 grams. It concentrates on what you have in each meal, as your body processes the food and how that affects your insulin levels, not so much on an end of day total.

Extreme implies that it is far beyond the norm, and I see that point. We have never been told to limit our sugars before. How much sugar is too much or too little? The FDA doesn't have a recommended daily value even. Jorge, and many others, have suggested it is lobbied against it by the food industry. But if it were too extreme then I (and many, many others) would not be able to eat this way for over 18 months. It would be a quick fix diet and that is not the case. For me, this diet is not extreme at all. I make different choices now, low sugar choices. I can eat out at any restaurant you pick and find something that fits in perfectly.

This is feedback I get from friends and family all the time, even though they see the results in me. Change is scary and doing something different the Weight Watchers, Jenny Craig or the standard calories in/calories burned goes against so much of what we thought we knew about dieting. That is my .02 and how I see it. Do you get the same push back from others on this plan, or have the same worries you have seen addressed here?

24 comments:

  1. Amber, you don't need me to say that I agree with you 100%. A lot of people comment to me about how disciplined I am now, and some say that I should be able to eat whatever I want now - but I put them in their place real quick and let them know...That if I want to look like this-Than I eat like this..
    PEOPLE - this really does work and is not a gimmic... I have lost over 85 lbs by doing the Belly Fat Cure.. Come join US :-)

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  2. Amber such a great blog. I can say that this has been the best plan I have ever been on and it works...no gimicks. I know read all the labels on foods that I use to eat and cannot believe how much sugar are in them. I have been on many many plans and this one does not seem extreme to me. By the way when I was in Missouri I found some suncrystals at walmart for 2 dollars a bag and bought them all....lol I almost thought they would not let me fly with them thinking I was trying to smuggle in something.

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  3. Amber, your post really hit home today. I woke up and wondered if I am on the wrong plan. I really believe in the whole premise of the BFC, but I am not as strict with carbs, and overdoing the wine every night probably doesn't help. My husband and I love to eat out alot and socialize with friends. Our kids are off on their own or in college, so we are pretty much empty nesters. It's fun to meet friends during the week for dinners out, but I would probably do better if I didn't eat out so much. I think I overdo the cheese and nuts too. So I tried to count carbs, sugar and weight watcher points. I figured I have to watch those calories too. It's all a bit too much. I think I am going to approach this again as a newcomer. Pull out the book, turn to all the help on the blogs of people like you and Roasalie, and hope that I too can get into a size 8 again. My son is getting married next July. I don't want to walk down that aisle in some big tent dress! Thanks again for keeping us going.

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  4. Amber, one more thing. I have a few questions and you are one of the experts. Jorge never answers any questions on facebook, so if you have a moment and could answer a few questions I would appreciate it.

    Do you ever eat white, refined carbs like pasta, ravioli or maybe really good french bread at a restaurant? I know they are not the best choice,but if you count them in your carb total is it okay once in awhile?

    Do you ever have something with the artificial sweeteners in it? I use stevia now and I am off all splenda, saccharine etc. But I have found a few products, like the cocoa roasted almonds, or the atkins bars, that have some sucralose in them.

    Do you ever just eat a bunch of fruit? Yesterday I couldn't help myself and had about a cup of blueberries with redi whip. So satisfying, but there went my sugar count for the day!

    Thanks!

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  5. I like the way you say that the BFC limits sugar. My weight loss is gradual but it is staying off. I bought Sevia drink for the first time, it was not available before in the health food store. I could only drink half a can- it was way too sweet for me!
    It is true that one's taste buds change when reducing sugar intake, I no longer crave for sugar like I used to. There are still family members that keep asking me if I would like a piece of cake, I just say no thanks 99 percent of the time.

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  6. I'm with you, Amber. The BFC is not extreme- if that were the case, then I wouldn't have been able to make it a LIFESTYLE CHANGE for the last 18 months. I've lost over 20 pounds, not much of a # but to put in perspective, went from rather tight size 8 to size 4 pants that still have bit of gaping waist because I have plenty of toosh- if it were a diet (extreme), I would have gone back to my old ways since deprivation is why most diets fail. I know I take in less calories overall, even with fats, on BFC because no matter what - it's a basic equation of calories in being less than calories burnt to lose weight. On BFC I quickly got how sugar was my hunger trigger for a vicious circle of wanting more food than my body needed. That's what is so lovely about this plan, once you follow it, you don't feel a need to stop because it isn't deprivation but just a new way of eating that allows you to lose weight and then keep it off.

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  7. Hi Amber! I am with you - although BEFORE I tried the diet, I did think that it was a bit extreme. It actually took me a whole year of occasionally getting Jorge's email subscription and occasionally reading the orginal book or other things he posted online before I actually took the plunge at the end of last year. It's funny, because that week I realized just how EASY it was going to be to cut sugar down to 15 grams. It was just about making the decision to do it. And now I don't even consider going 'back on sugar.' It just seems idiotic. Now I'm working on getting my kids to eat less of it. That's much more painful. lOL

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  8. Thanks for the comments! I wrote this because so many ppl think it is extreme at first, but it really isnt.

    Pattie - Yes to refined carbs, in small quantities that fit into 5/2 per meal. No artificial sweeteners. I have decided they are bad for me in so many ways,not just related to my weight. They are banned from house now! No to lots of fruit. I have small handful of black, blue or raspberries with my Uncle Sam's cereal many days. Or a slice of apple when I'm cutting them up for my kids on occasion. But that is it! I really dont miss the things I dont eat any more, but it was a process to get to that point. If I still wanted those things, I would be eating them or craving them all the time.

    I think you can do this AND eat out and socialize. Stick with proteins, green veggies, no more than 2 glasses of wine. Have coffee with cream while they have dessert, that is what I do. I dont think it mixes that well with WW though. Just my opinion. I dont think the nuts & cheese are the problem, I think it is the other issues.

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  9. I believe in this way of eating 100%. I do have warm berries and cool whip every night. Everyone has their favorite ways to use the 15 sugars, I use mine for berries instead of chocolate bars.
    I love this blog Amber!

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  10. This is the first time that I have been on a "diet" that actually makes sense. This way of eating is logical and sensible. Almost all doctors and nutritionists would agree that Americans need to reduce their carbohydrate and sugar intake. Many experts even agree that fruits should be eaten in moderation and only when in season.

    Compared to WW, Atkins, 17 day diet, Dukan diet, etc... the BFC is moderate and can be followed indefinitely. I have lost 35 pounds and will be conscious of sugar, carbohydrates, and artificial sweetners for the rest of my life.

    I think your friend is just jealous.

    Thanks for your commitment to this blog. I discovered it a few months ago and went back and read all of your posts from the very beginning.

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  11. Amber,
    I love your blog and the reviews on the food. I have done bfc and lost weight. My problem has always been my sugar addiction and everything I have read does support the claim that it's so bad for you! I'm looking forward to Jorge's new book that will be coming out this fall.

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  12. Amber, I am forwarding you blog post to my mother! She, and you would think otherwise, is my worse critic in my new eating lifestyle. She does not understand why her cooking "is not good enough for me anymore". I've lost 44# since May 1st, if I eat anything outside my "sugar limit" I get the WORSE headache ... a hangover headache would be better. I am loving the way my body is starting to look, loving my energy level, and loving how I now eat. I appreciate your blog more than you can know, it is what gave me the extra bit of encouragement back in February to "do it". I've been to my Dr. who has done a blood work-up on me for all my vitamins, sugars, cholesterol, ect. Other than being a bit low on B3, I'm EXACTLY where I should be now and so now I take some B3 vitamins. Reality, I was low on all my vitamins before and did nothing about it. So eating this lifestyle has proved to not only allowed me to finally loose weight, but I'm healthier because of it. That in my mind is NOT extreme! Thank you again Amber for everything, you have given this almost 40 year old back her life and at my 40th b-day this summer, I will be wearing a swimsuit!!! Char

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  13. Char - Thank you SO much for this comment! Means the world to me that you and others share my same struggle and that we are learning to overcome it! Here's to you AND your swimsuit!

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  14. Why wasn't it ever considered extreme to eat 700 calories and 0 fat and have earth shattering hunger headaches and fatigue?

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  15. To me BFC is a new, sensible approach to eating. Sugar intake in our society is out of control and BFC is the only plan that addresses the issue of sugar in specific terms. After a few days following the plan, I no longer craved sugar. I, too, find the stevia super sweet and try to avoid using it. I had to go off the BFC because i was diagnosed with BC. I went back to consuming simple carbs while undergoing chemo. The weight came back and so did the sugar craving. I can't wait to get back on the BFC. Thank you, Amber, for inspiring us and making the BFC consumer friendly by sharing your charts, recipes and product reviews. I appreciate your updates as well as patiently answering our questions.

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  16. I really like the diet, but I have never lost weight on it. It only seems to help me maintain. I crave, crave fruits this is hard for me. You run how do you have the energy to run with lower fruits and carbs. I am training for a half marathon and if I lower my carbs I crash on my runs over 4 miles. I would love to hear what you are doing to prepare for the long runs and stay on the diet. I tried the fast track diet and was falling asleep every time I sit down to watch tv or just hold a child.

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  17. Anonymous said...Excellent defense and thank you so much for this blog-very encouraging as I am on week 2 of BFC..down 6 lbs and one inch! yay!!
    Would love to see more choices for breads besides the Ezekiel bread-which is hard to find...and ideas? Thanks again:)

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  18. Hello, I am 5'7" and 148 lbs. Is this really a diet for me? I am only on my third day...but it seems like I am eating too well...BUT I have NOT had my almost nightly pint of Ben & Jerry's and don't crave it at all...I have always been a carb and sugar girl..but at this current weight can I lose pounds? Thank you for any comments on my sitution. Karen H.

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  19. This diet is extreme. People were meant to eat food - and a lot of this diet involves searching for replacements for food crutches and non-sweet sweets. People generally just need to reduce their desserts (ie give up nightly desserts not fruit) and junk food intake to drop pounds. Are people having success? Yes. Will it last? No.

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  20. Anon @148lbs - In my book you are already a skinny little thing, and I dont have personal experience to say weather the BFC will work to get you smaller. BUT I have interacted with several ppl who have been able to get into the 120s on this plan, just not me (yet?).

    Anon Extreme - I could not disagree with you more, but thank you for your comment. My loss has lasted 1 yr and WILL last. Im pretty sure you misunderstand the plan as it is designed.

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  21. Amber,
    First, I would like to congratulate you on your weight loss and awesome blog. Thank you for the "In Defense Of The Belly Fat Cure" post. I am having a lot of mixed feelings about beggining this program. I have heard many negative and few positive comments about this book/diet. I was diagonosed with Type II Diabetes in April 2011. Since then I have lost 12 lbs. I have made the switch from sugar to Truvia and limited carbs but am in the search for something that will help me loose more weight. I refuse to loose a limb, eyesight and/or die from Diabetes like some of my family members have. I have had the book for about 2 weeks (I wanted to read it before starting the BFC). My husband is AGAINST the BFC. He says that it doesn't follow the Food Pyramid and no diet should restric healthy foods like fruits and veggies. I somewhat agree with him on that. It seems that the only fruits with low S/C value are berries...so would I need to take a whole lot of supplements and vitamins to compensate for that? Does Benefiber count as an S/C one value? HELP!!! lol. This really seems to be something that I would be willing to try. It is a really reasonable diet, in my opinion. I just wouldn't have any family support. (they think i would be starving myself) lol. I came across your blog through a MeandJorge YouTube Video while doing some research on the BFC . Thank you for the great reviews, post and blog Amber. Sorry for the lenghty post.

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  22. Sylvia - email me at meandjorge@gmail.com so we can talk in detail. You can get TONS of veggies within the BFC, but yes very limited fruits. But they are high in sugar which you should be limiting with your diagnosis anyways, right? There are lots of different types of Benefiber, most count as 0/0. You will not be starving yourself, no way!

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  23. Amber- I love your blog! I just got started on BFC this week. I'm 5 days in an so far so good. But here's a question. I'm a coffee drinker...probably 3 or 4 cups a day. Typically, I take it with very little milk (best defined as a splash) and the dreaded artificial sweetener. I don't like the taste of half and half so I'm willing to give up the milk but what do I do about the sweetener... Switch to Truvia? any other suggestions??

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  24. Lisa - I love my coffee too! Used to have it with Sugar Free coffeemate and I dreaded even the thought of giving it up... but I did it. I prefer a splash Heavy Cream with no sweetener. A splash of milk is probably not so bad, and oz is 1.5 grams of sugar. If you need to use a stevia sweetener like Truvia, just remember to add to the milk's grams for your carb servings. But best is if you train yourself to have it as plain as possible.

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