The Lose Your Belly Diet was a much anticipated book on Amazon at the start of this year and I just finished reading it. It was written by Dr. Travis Stork who is also known to be a celebrity Doctor as well as health and weight loss specialist.
Now I had read Dr. Stork’s previous book, called the Doctor’s Diet a few years ago and that book was very popular, provided a pretty great overall guide to a healthy lifestyle that combined both dieting and eating tips with exercise methods. That book almost felt “complete”.
But what could Dr. Stork’s new book possibly add to the old? Well he actually mentions that it’s an update to the other one in the first few pages, so let me share what’s inside this book and if it’s information can REALLY help you burn fat.
What is this book about and what is the actual strategy for losing belly fat that it uses?
Well this is the first book I’ve read where the supposed culprit of fat, diseases and health issues is the lack of having enough healthy bacteria in your body known as microbes, although I have personally been told this by various natural health practitioners so the content is something I personally know about.
Basically, healthy people, fit people are said to have a higher amount of healthy bacteria in their body. This bacteria, contrary to what you may think isn’t bad for you, but good. It helps in aiding your body in performing some of the most essential functions such as digestion.
A healthy amount of these microbes in the body, we’re talking trillions as mentioned in the book is a sign of good health and a great way to aid the body in optimizing it’s inside functions and thus giving you a healthier you.
A lack of it however, which Dr. Stork has cited several studies on which involved obese individuals pointed to a lower amount of healthy microbes.
So there’s living bacteria inside the body? Isn’t that dangerous?
No, it is a fact that there are microscopic organisms in our body besides cells that work with our body and against it. Microbes (called gut bacteria), the healthy kind are passed onto us apparently through birth from our mothers and then it is based on how we lead our lives, especially in how we eat and even exercise that determines if we will have a healthy amount of them or not and the amount we has is apparently directly proportional to how healthy we are.
Dr. Stork makes an interesting analogy in the book about how for example, a yard has much more living things within the it the closer we look and that is how we should look at our bodies.
There are also a number of different species of microbes inside the body all of which are important to keep alive and in healthy numbers.
So having healthy numbers of bacteria in the body means we can lose weight and fat correct?
Yes, as they help the body perform better, a healthier amount of these things help you burn fat more faster and maintain other healthy functions.
If that is the case, what is the diet plan laid out in the book that helps you have a healthy amount of bacteria?
Well what surprised me was that a diet that is high in fiber is the healthiest and best way to have a supportive and healthy microbe count. Dr. Stork points to several foods that while high in fiber should be eaten to help you maintain that count.
Foods such as legumes, nuts, seeds, whole grains and certain vegetables.
Dr. Stork mentions that people who do not get a healthy amount of daily fiber in their daily life, can have unhealthy amounts of microbe counts which can affect many things in your body negatively. He suggest that men for example, eat anywhere from 30-40 grams daily, but it also age dependent, whereas women should eat 20 to under 30 grams a day.
There is also a chart provided in the book which lists the highest fiber foods available in the meal plan of this book. Flaxseeds for example, are something that I eat regularly had about 8-10 grams per serving!
Is there an actual meal plan to Dr.Stork’s diet?
Yes, there are essentially 5 points to The Lose Your Belly Diet and they are all meant to target and fuel the growth of the gut bacteria because as you know, doing so aids in weight loss.
1) You basically are told to eat the 2 most powerful dairy products…
That actually have what are known as probiotics (living organisms in the food that directly add to the growth of them inside the body).
These 2 things are Yogurt and Kefir.
Now not all of them are the same and to differentiate which ones have the healthy kind of probiotics you need, there are directions in the book for how to read the labels and make the right pick.
2) Eat high fiber fruits and vegetables.
Lima beans, blueberries for example provide good sources of fiber, among other foods listed in the book. When it comes to cooking, Dr. Stork suggests eating your vegetables raw. Out of the list provided, certain ones can be eaten in limitless amounts, while others, such as corn, beans, things with high starch for example, are recommended in limited amounts daily.
3) Proteins. Not the type you’d expect…
Although Dr. Stork does say it’s ok to eat meats in certain amounts, the biggest endorsements for protein in this book come in the form of fish (ex: Salmon, trout, herring, tuna), shellfish, legumes, nuts, eggs and basically vegetables and grains and seeds that are high in proteins. Things that are high in omega 3 content.
Veggie burgers are also recommended.
4) Grains. Yes grains.
One of the other surprising things I found is that Dr. Stork is not a hardcore opponent of eating grains. Recent weight loss books I’ve read have basically all but made me quit them entirely in saying anything with grain, even healthy types in even limited amount may be bad for your insulin and other things.
However, Dr. Stork I believe disagrees because he says healthy types of grains can be beneficial. Things like Quinoa, which I agree are grains that have high fiber and protein content.
Other foods like whole pasta, whole pasta, whole bread are allowed in small portions and there’s an abundance of choices here to mix in with the other foods from the other 4 guidelines.
5) Fats, healthy fats.
This was the only part of the 5 part plan which didn’t have in my opinion enough food choices other than olive oil, avocado, guacamole and a few other things.
As someone who has recently been on board with being on a high fat eating plan, I am a bit disappointed that Dr. Stork didn’t add more content in this area, because as I have tested it personally, a high fat diet can be very powerful when you eat it correctly.
Although you can count eggs, fish with oils, and nuts as healthy fats too.
This piece should have in my opinion been more developed and I do recommend 2 things (1 of them on it’s own is also good):
A) Read Eat Fat, Get Thin. It is one of the most comprehensive guides to healthy high fat eating that I have personally taken tips from to lose several pounds.
B) 10 fat loss cheats. It’s a free eBook I wrote from seeing the best ways to drop weight (via healthy methods).
The 5 guidelines put together make up a daily, weekly and long term plan for fat loss:
Each guideline above has it’s own list of foods. Your goal is to implement every guideline’s foods, at least some, every day for maximum probiotic gains and weight loss effects.
The book itself has a nice 4 week sample meal plan where everyday there is a chart provided with different foods that are friendly for this plan and will help you get used to eating the way you should to accommodate your gut bacteria and in turn accommodate your weight and fat loss, around the belly.
The Lose Your Belly Diet Score:
4 out of 5 stars. This score actually matches the average Amazon score this book got from people. My reasoning for this rating however is different and here is how I broke down the plan’s value:
Dr. Stork has from what I’ve read always had a very rounded opinion of weight loss issues meaning he was never hardcore to one type of eating style vs another, but more about changing and eating from a broad spectrum of foods that are good for you to maintain an overall healthy life.
The tips themselves aren’t in my opinion directly weight loss oriented, but you will lose weight by following The Lose Your Belly Diet Plan. One thing that is also mentioned is the importance of exercise, and there are exercise plans provided to perform in accordance with this eating plan.
If this is your first time hearing about healthy bacteria or gut bacteria, don’t let the word “bacteria” frighten you. This is a well known concept and part of the human anatomy that has been accepted.
Read the labels on things like acidophilus, a popular probiotic supplement (also recommended) or consider that many good doctors who prescribe antibiotics (notice the term is ANTI-BIOTICS) to people also recommend probiotics to be eaten while you’re on the antibiotic to help maintain a healthy number of gut bacteria.
These things are truly important for our health and things that aid our health naturally aid our body, hence the fat loss.
Why this plan is not so special.
While I did enjoy the book and learned about foods that are good for our “gut bacteria”, a normal, healthy diet will also have these types of foods in it, so even if you know nothing about gut bacteria or even try to focus on it, just eating in healthy ways that is common sense is enough to lose weight and maintain a healthy number of them.
Basically The Lose Your Belly Diet comes to the same conclusion about eating healthy, but it’s thesis is on the gut bacteria, that’s all.
Recommended eating plans if your focus is more on weight loss results…
As I said, there’s 2 supplemental books/plans you may want to take a look at the Eat Fat, Get Thin book if you wish to get a higher understanding of high fat eating plans so you get more out of guideline 5 above and the more powerful, 10 fat loss cheats which also has many probiotic food recommendations, but is the type of plan that I’d recommend for people interested more in weight loss.
I think it’s more flexible and powerful than The Lose Your Belly Diet.