|From Run. Race. Repeat.|
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The worst of the four is "The Doctors" Dr. Travis Stork's "Lean Belly Prescription." This is more a collection of post-it notes than a book, with so many shifts and interruptions that it looks like an ADD support group transcript. Stork has the advantage of being the only one of the four authors to have a medical degree, but he's an ER doc and has never had to battle a weight problem. His book is about living a healthy lifestyle - the title is a complete misnomer - and is in the "100 little changes add up to a lot" approach. There's nothing wrong with the advice given, it just doesn't say anything you didn't know already and isn't focussed on the titular topic.
"Prevention" magazine's Liz Vaccariello wrote "The Flat Belly Diet." It's based entirely upon one unsupported correlational scientific study that showed that people with more mono-unsaturated fats in their diets had leaner stomachs. Avocado, olive oil, tree nuts or chocolate are to be eaten with every meal, she says (though chocolate, sadly, is not really a good source of MUFAs). No real explanation is given as to the reason this should work to decrease one's stomach size.
Jorge Cruise penned "The Belly Fat Cure." He personally lost a ton of weight and says that anyone following his regimen will get similar results. To him, all sugar is evil, regardless of type or source. Cheese is better for you than milk. Fruit is to be eaten only in tiny quantities. His recommendations are no more than 15 grams of sugar per day and 6 servings of carbohydrates (which, digging a little, turns out to be 120 grams, including fiber). This is between an Atkins no-carb diet and a Zone-type diet, as it works out to 25% calories from carbohydrates on a 2000 calorie diet. This plan has one thing (and only one thing) going for it: extremely low carbohydrate diets cause the body to lose water which gets stored with carbs and makes musculature look more defined; it's the diet that bodybuilders follow for a few weeks before a big contest to get "ripped." Following this diet might make your abs more prominent if you're down to 2% body fat.
Last up is "Men's Health" magazine's David Zinczenko and "The Abs Diet." I have to admit that I wanted to hate this book, as I think the author is annoying. It's actually not bad! It combines many different ideas, from the importance of calcium (shown in some studies to be involved in weight loss) to eating protein - in particular, eggs - for breakfast. The diet suggested is balanced and non-restrictive; in fact, the major criticism most have for it is that there's no calorie restriction for weight loss. He recommends 6 meals per day, which is difficult to schedule, and he includes recipes (which seem okay, if maybe off on the calorie counts). He does have a fondness for 12 "power foods," which aren't problematic, except for the whey supplements, which is merely added protein I'd prefer one get from more natural sources. He includes a long section of core exercises of varying difficulty. When I finished reading it and found little to fault, I saw that it happened to be almost exactly what I happen to do myself. So, like most people, I like people who agree with me.