Cruise promotes a ‘carb swap’ system which allows you to eat ‘bad’ foods including chips, ice cream, pizza, and cheeseburgers so long as you minimize your intake of sugar and processed carbohydrates. You are permitted 15 grams of sugar from six servings of "smart," fiber-rich carbohydrates per day. The sugar/carb value is calculated by comparing grams of sugar on food labels to the number of servings of carbohydrates.
He claims the ‘carb swap’ helps you get your insulin levels under control. He rightly says that diets high in sugar increase insulin levels – which, in turn pushes fat into fat cells and cause other side effects like wrinkles, low energy levels, and cellular inflammation. Inflammation is the underlying cause of chronic diseases such as cancer and heart disease. Because fat and protein don’t increase insulin levels, he claims there is no need to limit or track them.
This is a departure from his ‘portion control’ approach promoted in his earlier book entitled: The 3-Hour Diet: How Low-Carb Diets Make You Fat and Timing Makes You Thin. Cruise now says he was wrong. The latest science, he says, shows that "losing weight has nothing to do with calorie counting, eating less, or exercising more".
This statement is of course at variance with the opinion embraced by most nutrition and diet experts who preach the weight loss mantra of reduced calories and regular physical exercise. To keep it off though you basically have to conform to this protocol of portion control and exercise forever.
The Belly Fat Cure consists of protein, fats, and vegetables with small amounts of sugar and complex carbohydrates. Processed foods and all sweeteners including artificial sweeteners are out. Wine, beer, champagne, and dark chocolate are OK – but not cocktails or candy bars.
The default daily meal plan looks like this:
- Breakfast: 3 eggs, 2 slices buttered toast
- Snack: handful of walnuts
- Lunch: tuna salad on one piece pita bread
- Snack: 1 cup cottage cheese with honey
- Dinner: grilled chicken or steak, sautéed veggies and 1/2 cup brown rice
- Beverages: 8-10 glasses of water per day
In spite of obvious benefits of limiting processed foods, sugar and trans fat, some experts call this diet a gimmick and question Cruise’s interpretation of scientific studies. Many criticize the diet’s high consumption of meat, fat and salt, and low consumption of fruit and dairy which limits calcium and vitamin D. They say any plan that green-lights foods like burgers, steak, bacon, and sausage, and eliminates healthy foods like fruits and low-fat dairy, and gives you a pass on exercise and calorie control is cause for concern.
While there is no doubt you will lose weight on this diet. The question is will you keep it off if you return to your ‘normal’ diet. The answer of course is No.
Similar diets are the Atkins, South Beach.