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Fat Flush Plan

Overview

The Fat Flush Plan is a combination weight loss and detox diet. Developed by Ann Louise Gittleman, PhD, a former nutritionist at the Pritikin Longevity Center, this plan promises to melt away fat in just two weeks while also detoxifying your body.

How Is This Diet Supposed to Work?

The basis of this diet is that we need to detoxify our bodies, particularly our livers, to lose extra weight. According to Dr. Gittleman, eliminating certain foods and adding others can boost the liver’s performance, flush fat, and accelerate weight loss.

What’s Involved?

Dr. Gittleman believes that there are five hidden causes of weight gain: liver toxicity, waterlogged tissues which cause bloating and cellulite, fear of eating fat, excess insulin and inflammation, and stress.

Her fat flush plan consists of three phases:

Phase One: Two-Week Fat Flush

This is a cleansing program designed to accelerate weight loss from hips, thighs, and buttocks, while detoxifying the liver.

Calories

1,100-1,200 per day

Focus
Foods Allowed
  • Green leafy vegetables such as kale, collards, watercress, and broccoli; other non-starchy vegetables
  • Certain fruits
  • Flaxseed oil
  • Omega-3-enriched eggs
  • Fish, lean meat, skinless chicken, and turkey
  • Unsweetened cranberry juice diluted with water
Foods Not Allowed
  • Trans fats
  • Caffeine
  • Colas, diet sodas, alcohol
  • Aspartame, sugar, and many spices including curries, chili peppers, and black pepper
  • Any vinegars other than apple-cider , soy sauce, mustard, and barbecue sauce
  • Grains, breads, cereals
  • Starchy vegetables such as potatoes, corn, peas, carrots, parsnips, pumpkin, winter squash, and beans
  • Dairy products
  • All oils and fats other than flaxseed oil

Phase Two: Ongoing Fat Flush

This is designed for ongoing weight loss. Remain on this phase until you reach your desired weight loss, which can last two weeks to several months.

Calories

1,200-1,500 per day

Focus
  • Similar to phase one, with the addition of journal writing
Foods Allowed
  • Same as phase one, with the addition of allowing 1-2 friendly carbohydrates back on the menu each week, such as flax bread and sweet potatoes
Foods Not Allowed
  • Same as phase one

Phase Three: Lifestyle Eating Plan

This is the maintenance portion of the program.

Calories

over 1,800 per day

Focus
  • Similar to phases one and two.
  • Also includes food combining. For example, not eating fruits and vegetables together, eating one protein per meal, or having flaxseed oil with dairy.
Foods Allowed
  • Same as phase two with the addition of more fruit and oils and limited dairy.
  • Can now work up to a maximum of four friendly carbohydrates per day.
Foods Not Allowed
  • Many of the foods that were eliminated in phase one remain restricted, including coffee, regular tea, diet sodas, alcohol, sweeteners, sugar, and white flour. Note that herbal teas are okay to drink.

In addition, the following dietary supplements are recommended during all three phases: dandelion root , milk thistle , Oregon grape root , methionine , inositol , choline , lipase, chromium , and L-carnitine .

This diet also includes an exercise plan that consists of bouncing on a mini-trampoline and walking every day, plus strength training 2-3 times per week. The other main focus of this plan is getting enough sleep. Dr. Gittleman recommends having a bedtime of around 10 pm.

What Does the Research Say?

There is no strong research to support the idea that we can detoxify our livers to lose weight. Moreover, the idea that you will be flushing fat away, as suggested by the title of this diet, is misleading. Dr. Gittleman also claims that bouncing on a mini-trampoline will help purify your lymphatic system, and thereby bounce off fat. However, there is no credible evidence to support this theory.

Are There Any Concerns With This Diet?

There are several concerns with this diet plan, including its severe food restrictions and focus on dietary supplements. The first two phases are so low in calories and carbohydrates that they are not healthy for anyone and downright dangerous for some. It should not be followed by certain groups of people, including women who are pregnant or nursing, the elderly, adolescents, or athletes.

In addition, the low-energy content of the diet in these phases may make it tough to do the exercises. Eliminating caffeine and alcohol also makes it hard to stick to this diet.

The focus on supplements is a concern because many are not yet well-researched and are unregulated in the United States. Also, supplements can interact with prescription or over-the-counter medications. Talk to your doctor before taking any supplements.

What is good about this diet, however, is its focus on eating a variety of fruits and vegetables, whole grains, drinking adequate water, exercising daily, and getting enough sleep.

Bottom Line

You may want to try this diet, but there is no evidence to support that it will detoxify your liver. It is not recommended if you are looking for a healthful weight-loss plan. With the severe food restrictions, you'll lose weight because you'll be eating fewer calories. However, the diet is very restricting. This makes it unrealistic to follow for any length of time. Studies show that the most successful diets are those that you can stick to.

Most evidence supports that eating a balanced diet is just as effective at weight loss. Take time to do some research and talk to your doctor before starting any diet plan.

  • Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics

    http://www.eatright.org

  • Weight-Control Information Network

    http://win.niddk.nih.gov

  • Dietitians of Canada

    http://www.dietitians.ca

  • Health Canada

    http://www.hc-sc.gc.ca

  • Fat flush diet. Every Diet website. Available at: http://www.everydiet.org/diet/fat-flush-diet. Accessed February 19, 2014.

  • Golay A, Allaz AF, Ybarra J, et al. Similar weight loss with low-energy food combining or balanced diets. Int J Obes Relat Metab Disord. 2000;24(4):492-496.

  • Step away from the couch. Exercise and a balanced diet do more than fad diets to help you stay healthy and manage your weight. Health News. 2004;10(9):3.