Belly fat is potentially dangerous, increasing your risk of heart disease, type 2 diabetes and breast cancer. Celebrity fitness trainer Jorge Cruise claims to have the answer with his Belly Fat Cure diet. Get the skinny on the diet details to decide if it's the right plan for you.
Belly Fat Cure Basics
Cruise's Belly Fat Cure promises that dieters can lose four to nine pounds per week without having to count calories. In fact, he says you need to stop counting calories, and disregard what you have heard about weight loss being a numbers game — calories in versus calories out. He disagrees with mainstream medical advice that eating less and exercising more is the best way to lose weight.
Instead, Cruise says that what you eat is more important than how many calories you eat, and he identifies one main culprit that should be avoided or severely restricted: sugar. This simple carbohydrate raises levels of the hormone insulin, which regulates blood sugar. According to a review published in BMC Medicine in December 2018, research supports the idea that high insulin and high blood sugar levels contribute to total-body and abdominal obesity, although it is not yet fully understood why.
Sugar has no nutritional value, and it's not a necessary part of the human diet. Even natural sugars in fruits and some vegetables, Cruise says, do not serve any nutritional purpose in the body.
Sugar is everywhere, from your breakfast cereal to the milk you drink and that apple you think is a healthy snack, and if you really want to lose the weight, you have to become an expert sugar sleuth. Cruise also says that consumption of certain other types of carbs contributes to increased sugar intake.
The Carb Code
The Carb Code is Cruise's system for avoiding hidden sugar. To lose the belly fat, dieters are encouraged not to exceed 15 grams of sugar a day. This sets a great challenge for the average American who consumes 71 grams of sugar a day, according to the University of California San Francisco. Are you ready to cut 55 grams of sugar from your diet right now?
Cruise says it's not as hard as it sounds. All you have to do is consume "optimal carbs" and avoid hidden sugar. So, how do you spot these sources of hidden sugar? According to UCSF, there are more than 60 ways sugar is listed on ingredient labels in packaged foods, including the well-known sucrose and high-fructose corn syrup, as well as less-easily recognized sources such as barley malt, dextrose, maltose and rice syrup.
You can print a list of all the many possible names of sugar, or you can go a simple route — stop eating packaged, processed foods. Eating whole foods takes the guesswork out of what may or may not be lurking in your breakfast bowl.
In addition to limiting sugar to 15 grams per day, Cruise also recommends limiting your optimal carb intake to six servings per day. Cruise's list of top optimal carbs include:
- Whole-wheat pasta
- Steel-cut oats
- Brown rice
- Brussels sprouts
Fruit lovers will be disappointed to know that Cruise places fruit in the "treats" category, next to red wine and dark chocolate. If you are going to have a fruit treat, stick to fresh, unsweetened raspberries, strawberries, blackberries, blueberries and apricots.
As for other foods you can eat, there are no restrictions as long as you follow the 15/6 Carb Code rule. However, everything should be in moderation, and as with carbs, there are optimal sources that should be prioritized. For fats, Cruise's top picks are:
- Egg yolks
- Raw butter
- Extra-virgin olive oil
- Flax oil
- Fish oil
And his top picks for protein include:
- Any fish or seafood
As a personal chef, Cruise offers plenty of his own Carb Code-approved recipes that he promises will leave you feeling satisfied and help you kick simple carbs to the curb for good.
Read more: 16 Diet-Friendly Healthful Carbs
The main premise of the Belly Fat Cure diet is sound: Added sugars are not good for you, regardless of whether or not you have belly fat. Avoiding added sugars is something that everyone should be doing to avoid disease and weight gain.
However, the Belly Fat Cure promises rapid weight loss, encourages cutting out certain foods and says that exercise isn't important and can even hinder weight loss. The Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics warns people to be wary of these types of diets because they are unsustainable and often lead to weight regain.
With the rules and food restrictions, the Belly Fat Cure diet may be hard to follow long-term. To lose weight and keep it off, you need to make lifestyle changes, including diet modifications and regular activity, you can follow for life.
- Jorge Cruise: "About Jorge Cruise"
- Harvard Health Publishing: "Abdominal Fat and What to Do About It"
- BMC Medicine: "Insulin Translates Unfavourable Lifestyle Into Obesity"
- UCSF: "How Much Is Too Much?"
- UCSF: "Hidden in Plain Sight"
- Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics: "Staying Away from Fad Diets"
- "The Belly Fat Cure" by Jorge Cruise