The Belly Fat Cure vs. The Atkins Diet
So you have finally decided to put some real effort into shedding a few pounds… you want to expand your wardrobe…not by going on a shopping spree, but by ridding yourself of the extra inches that have inserted themselves around your waistline, hips, and thighs hoping that you can finally wear the clothes which have unfortunately been relegated to the bottom of the draw, the back of the closet, or even worse… the seasonal clothes bin stashed under your bed or up in the attic! You want a program that you can see results with sooner rather than later, but something that will not require the discipline of a Buddhist monk living in a cave midway up Kilimanjaro. Today there are more diet programs than there are health food stores so picking the one most suitable for you can be as difficult as climbing Kilimanjaro to find that highly disciplined monk. In this review we are looking at a couple of fast acting, well reputed diet programs that spawn from a solid scientific foundation. Both the Belly Fact Cure program and the Atkins Diet will require a little math so early on you may need to have your calculator ready, but both are built to provide you with an immediate impact measured in lbs. and inches to help you feel good…get some confidence…and get into it! Even more importantly, both are sustainable programs that limit deprivation…kind of.
Let’s talk about what is most important to you right from the start. Why are either of these programs worth your while and where are you most likely to fail if you subscribe to either program? In that the measure of success is different for everyone, the first step in choosing a plan is to understand what you are trying to achieve and make room for a certain level of flexibility in your efforts to achieve your goal. “Duh, I want to lose weight” is the obvious response to this question, however, that response is not good enough to succeed. In fact, this same thought process is what makes casino owners so incredibly rich. Everyone walks into a casino thinking, I will only lose X amount of dollars before I quit…but they never put a number on the other side of that statement… I will stop gambling when I am up X amount of dollars. Dieters do the same thing… They want to lose weight but don’t set a goal and a program that will help them stabilize once they reach their desired weight… If you understand what success looks like and how to execute on the plan, you have a legitimate chance. Both of these programs provide a blue print for the plan and will help you with execution. The Atkins Diet is a little more structured in terms of helping you achieve your ideal weight and stabilizing your intake once you get there. The Belly Fat Cure, although it does not use a phased approach, naturally progresses towards your ideal weight based on changed food consumption habits that allow for sufficient variety such that you won’t get bored eating healthy.
Both the Belly Fat Cure and the Atkins Diet command that you manage your carb intake. No, this does not mean that you can’t have a single carb or you can only eat vegetables for the rest of your life as you may have seen or heard in the sound bites and headlines. That being said, early on in both diet programs, you better get ready to fight the cravings for sweets, breads, and even a certain types of fruits. Counting carbs and controlling carbs are definitely a big part of both of these programs so the further off the mark your regular calorie intake has been, the stronger you are going to have to be…mentally. The Belly Fat Cure emphasizes that sugar and simple carbohydrates derived from refined sugar are the devil as do both the original and revised version of the Atkins Diet rightfully cast sugar and simple carbs as the evilest of villains, but where The Belly Fat Cure emphasizes maintenance of a sugar/carb ratio… the Atkins Diet places the most emphasis on ‘Net Carbs’ to help you stay on track.
So, what’s the difference?
Actually, early on in both programs, there is very little difference in terms of requirements and restrictions. The science for both programs is a derivative of the research done by Dr. Cordain and his team related to the diet of hunters and gatherers before farming. Because both programs have websites and highly accessible communities that can help you out, it may not be necessary to read both Jorge Cruise’s books, The Belly Fat Cure and The Belly Fat Cure ‘Fast Track’ as well as the Dr. Atkins’ New Diet Revolution and The Atkins Essentials’) but I strongly recommend that you read or at least review both. You don’t really have to know why you shouldn’t eat certain things that you grew up eating, but if you do, it will likely help when you are about to reach for that bagel in the morning or the chocolate cookie before you go up to bed at night.
Managing Sugar Intake
The Belly Fat Cure is all about managing insulin level by drastically minimizing the amount of sugar consumed and maintaining a pretty strict limit on the number of daily carbs ingested as well. If you can believe it, our descendants from 50,000+ years back to as recent as 200 years back, who have been deemed to be significantly healthier than we are today (collectively speaking) averaged a daily intake of fifteen grams of sugar. For those of you who are already reading labels, you know that is not a lot. For those of you who don’t understand what that signifies… we ingest more sugar when we drink a can of Coke or Pepsi than our healthier descendants consumed in 2.6 days. In fact, the average individual today consumes about 189 grams of sugar each day which is why their insulin levels, along with their girth, their weight, and their blood pressure has shot through the roof.
The Belly Fat Cure recommends not only that you limit your sugar intake, but also that you limit your carb intake to roughly 120 grams per day from which at least a quarter of those carbs should be in the form of high fiber complex carbohydrates… In English… eat more green leafy vegetables, peppers, and string beans than you ever thought you could and you will be on the right track. According to Jorge Cruise, healthy complex carbs are an essential to this diet because they ‘clean out the system’ and the waste lining your intestines is responsible for a fair amount of both your girth and your weight. The fibrous carbs clean you out while supplying you with the necessary nutrition to bring your body to better health.
No, you can’t cheat the system with fake sugar. The truth is… most sugar substitutes are worse for you than eating the real thing. They do a number on your body chemistry and have been linked to an increase in everything from cancer to stomach disorders to brain issues. If you need sugar in your coffee or just can’t go without sweetening up your oatmeal, find Stevia or Truvia… Unfortunately, both of these healthier options are not readily available at most coffee shops and cafes so you might want to bring a couple of packets with you.
The Food: Carb Swapping
The restrictions set forth are no-doubt game changers… Life Changers for sure. You will be shocked, in a not-so-comfortable way at how little sugar you can eat daily. The sugar/carb value however is not the most restrictive we have seen in terms of diet programs, but it is rigid and it will drive results pretty quickly. What is really interesting, but in a good way this time, is that The Belly Fat Cure provides hundreds, maybe even thousands of food, drinks, recipes, sauces, and even condiments that are Belly Fat Cure friendly. Cruise calls it ‘Carb Swapping.’ Essentially, he has recreated just about every mainstay food imaginable such that it will allow you to both enjoy flavorful meals but stay within the Sugar/Carb Value guidelines. Pancakes with sugar-free syrup…it was really good!… The Margarita Pizza… very edible!…Mexican…he has you covered!
So what is the downside? You have the potential to yo-yo with this program… For almost everything you want to eat… Jorge Cruise has come up with a solid work-around so you can eat a version of the original but you do have to make it on your own and of course this takes time and effort…and let’s face it…people get lazy and eat whatever is available… that’s why there are a million diet programs. Another area of potential difficulty; because this program was so creative and thorough in terms of Carb Swapping, you can still eat plenty of foods that other diet programs would restrict because they elicit cravings. Cravings are real and sugar and simple carbs are addictive…this program doesn’t do as much to eliminate cravings and that can be a little dangerous.
How is the Atkins Diet different?
As we mentioned, the Atkins diet is also based around controlling insulin production via severely limiting carbohydrate intake from simple carbs like baked goods, breads, pastas and sugar. The Atkins diet uses a Net Carb counting system and a phased approach opposed to the sugar/carb value system for life proposed in The Belly Cure.
So what is a ‘Net Carb’ and how does it differ from working Jorge Cruise’s system of maximum sugar and carb limits? The Net Carb is equal to a food items’ total carbs less the carbs from dietary fiber and sugar alcohol. Depending on which program you sign up for, the total number of daily Net Carbs allowed varies. In the original Atkins Diet program, victims were allowed a total of twenty Net Carbs per day in phase one. They have since developed a new program, the Atkins 40, where you are allowed 40 Net Carbs to start and slowly increase the number of daily Net Carbs such that you are maintaining your weight loss schedule. For the Atkins 20 program, Phase one is the most restrictive phase as the majority of all carb intake should be from ‘foundational vegetables.’ Translated into English… you are eating a lot of green leafy vegetables and the like and you are staying away from everything that you probably like. Obviously there is 20 Net Carb per day difference between the Atkins 20 and Atkins 40… Why have two different plans? Well, despite what anyone will tell you, it’s a business decision. The 20g of Net Carbs per day is severe. Our Buddhist monk holding the charity cup is likely going to eat about the same amount as you for a minimum of two weeks while you are in phase one. The big difference is our friendly monk living half way up Kilamanjaro doesn’t see fast food restaurants, pizza commercials, and buy one get one free adverts on potato chips at the supermarket ten times a day. You will have to fight the urge with greater fervor. Although the Atkins 40 is no picnic, carb intake is more substantial. The idea behind the Atkins 40 is that you will eventually get to where you want to go…just not as quickly but with potentially less mental anguish.
Climbing the Carb Ladder
In the Atkins 20 program, the phased approach is based on where you are in relation to your ideal weight. The recommendation is to stay in phase one until you are about fifteen pounds away from ‘goal weight’. Once you have arrived at ‘Goal weight plus 15lbs.’ you can begin the transition to phase 2. Phase 2 will increase both the number of carbs you can eat and the type of carbs you can eat. Don’t get too excited… burgers and donuts are not on the menu. The added foods in phase 2 are primarily what the average citizen would consider to be ‘health foods’… a wider assortment of fruits, vegetables, dairy(cheeses), and legumes now have the green light. During this phase you are climbing the ‘Carb Ladder’ by introducing new carbs at a 5g of Net Carbs incremental increases. Upon increasing your Net Carb intake, you see if you are managing well and if you are still losing weight, albeit not at the same pace as you did in phase one…you keep climbing the Carb Ladder. Upon increasing your net cab intake to between 50-80 Net Carbs a day and dropping to within 10lbs. of your Goal Weight all the while, you can start to transition into phase 3. During phase 3, you can climb the Carb Ladder in up to 10g of Net Carb increments and start eating starchy vegetables (sweet potatoes, squash, beets, baked potato), whole grains and a wider variety of fruit. You should essentially stay in this phase until you reach your goal weight at which time you transition to phase 4 which is really about managing your Net Carb intake to stay at your goal weight for the rest of your life.
We found that The Atkin’s Diet has a similar issue in the later phases. As they introduce more carbs and more types of foods are no longer restricted, temptation becomes a real issue.
So in the end, both programs are capable of taking you to a slimmer, healthier, and hopefully happier self but that doesn’t necessarily mean it will be a fun-filled journey void of sacrifice… Determine which of the paths is most conducive to your life style and get started!