The MUFA diet, also sometimes called the Flat Belly diet, is based on the premise that eating more healthy monounsaturated fats can help you lose abdominal fat. Although it may be hard to believe that eating more fat can help you lose fat, there's some scientific evidence to support this, including a study published in "Diabetes Care" in July 2007 that looked at the effects of MUFAs on obese diabetes patients. Eating monounsaturated fats can also lower your risk of heart disease, especially when you eat them in place of saturated fats. Before you try the MUFA diet, however, talk to your doctor.
Foods to Focus On
You'll easily be able to fit more MUFAs in your diet if you keep foods on hand that are naturally rich sources. The best source of MUFAs is high-oleic sunflower oil, which is over 80 percent monounsaturated fatty acids. Hazelnut oil, safflower oil and olive oil are other rich sources of MUFAs. Use these to cook with and to dress salads. Additional rich sources include nuts, nut butters, avocados, olives and peanut and canola oils. Along with adding sources of MUFAs to your diet, you should reduce your intake of saturated fats and processed foods, such as white bread and pasta, and drink plenty of water.
Breakfast on the MUFA diet is easy when you make simple substitutions to increase your intake of healthy fat. Instead of cooking your eggs in butter, use olive oil to prepare an omelet with spinach, tomatoes and a couple slices of avocado. Eggs contain saturated fat, but they have more monounsaturated fats. As an alternative, spread nut butter on a piece of whole-grain toast, and eat a few slices of avocado on the side. Pair your breakfast with fresh fruit, such as a half cup of berries or half a grapefruit.
For lunch, make a cold pasta salad with a cup of whole-wheat rotini, a tablespoon of olive oil, a quarter cup of canned salmon and a half cup of snow peas. Or top your favorite salad veggies with cubed light-meat chicken breast and a dressing made from a tablespoon of avocado oil, a dash of lemon juice and fresh herbs. Another option is to layer fresh mozzarella, sliced tomato and basil on a piece of toasted whole-grain bread spread with MUFA-rich pesto and eat as an open-faced sandwich.
Healthy Fats at Dinner
Snack on a few olives while you prepare your evening meal on the MUFA diet, which could consist of a black bean burger sauteed in a little olive oil and served on a whole-wheat bun spread with guacamole. Top the veggie burger with a slice of reduced-fat Swiss cheese, leafy greens and sliced tomatoes. Or head south of the border by filling whole-wheat flour tortillas with eggs scrambled in a dollop of olive oil. Top your eggs with a little shredded reduced-fat cheddar, a couple slices of avocado, shredded lettuce and salsa verde.