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Weight-Loss Software > Abs Diet Power

Abs Diet Power 12: Do They Work?

By Terry Dunkle, DietPower Editor-In-Chief*

The Abs Diet Power 12 is a dozen foods recommended in David Zinczenko's book, The Abs Diet, which promises that you can flatten your stomach in six weeks by eating generous amounts of these foods. Is the claim true?

As a national and international award-winning journalist who has covered weight loss and fitness for 30 years, and as inventor and marketer of a leading brand of science-based weight-loss software (DietPowerŽ) that is completely diet-neutral, I think I'm qualified to answer.

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Here's the bottom line: The Abs Diet Power 12 can help you lose weight, but flattening your stomach and upholstering it with six-pack abs requires an extra ingredient: exercise. What's more, you probably won't see a remarkable transformation in only six weeks—although you can make a pretty good start.

Here are six of the most prominent claims from Zinczenko's book and its website, with my analysis:

"Eat More to Weigh Less!"

True and false.

The Abs Diet Power 12 favors foods lower in fat and higher in protein and carbohydrates. Fat contains nine calories per gram; protein and carbohydrates, only four calories per gram. The three nutrients are also roughly the same density. Hence, if you measure your food by weight or volume, the claim is true.

If you measure by calorie content, however, the claim is false. The only way to lose weight is by maintaining a net calorie intake (eaten minus burned in exercise) lower than your body needs for maintaining your weight. (This isn't somebody's opinion; it's a law of physics.) Hence, you can't eat more calories and weigh less—unless you burn all of the extra calories (and then some) in exercise.

"Turn Fat into Muscle!"

False if you literally mean transforming fat cells into muscle cells. The two are vastly different. Turning one into the other is no more likely than transmuting lead into gold.

"Look and Feel Younger!"

True and false.

If you lose a lot of weight, you'll feel less winded when climbing stairs or playing basketball—the way you did when you were younger and thinner. But you probably won't look significantly younger unless you dye your hair, get a facelift, and such.

"Supercharge Your Sex Life!"

True and false.

Losing weight gives you more stamina. There is also some scientific evidence that carrying too much fat can "feminizes" a man by increasing his estrogen (female hormone) levels. And of course most men consider a woman who is lithe and lissome more attractive than one who is obese (everything else being equal).

But "supercharge" is an exaggeration. The Abs Diet Power 12 are not likely to transform you into a cougar or a stallion in six weeks.

"Live Pain-Free!"

True and false.

If your back or knees hurt primarily because you're overweight, losing a few pounds can help. But the Abs Diet Power 12 won't magically relieve you of other kinds of pain.

"In Six Weeks!"

True and false.

Mostly false. The Abs Diet Power 12 aren't going to make a huge difference in only six weeks.

It is possible (but difficult) to lose 20 pounds in six weeks if you're 60 pounds overweight, but almost impossible if you're only 20 pounds overweight. And in both cases, because the weight loss is so rapid, you are virtually certain to put those pounds back on—and maybe a few additional pounds, because yo-yo dieting tends to increase the number of fat cells in your body.

Most weight-loss experts advise losing no more than two pounds a week. One pound is even better.

Will a six-pound loss make your stomach look flatter? It depends, of course, on how big a belly you start with.

Six weeks of crunches and other abs-building exercise will make a difference in your abs—but if they're still buried under a cushion of fat, you won't look much better.

The bottom line is that, at least where appearance is concerned, losing the fat is more critical than building the abs.


*Terry Dunkle is a 30-year veteran medical journalist and consumer advocate who serves as CEO and chief editor at DietPower, Inc., a leading maker of nutrition and weight-loss software.

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Last modified July 17, 2010

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