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The Belly Fat Diet by John Chatham (2012): Food list

The Belly Fat Diet by John ChathamThe Belly Fat Diet Cookbook by John Chatham
The Belly Fat Diet (2012) is a diet designed to reduce belly fat.

  • Eat frequently, and include a protein or high-fiber food in every meal and snack.
  • Don’t overeat – eat until you are satisfied, not stuffed.
  • Low-fat protein, vegetables, fruits, nuts, seeds, and oils.
  • Limited whole grains, sweet treats, and beef.
  • Cheat once a week, moderately.

Below is a description of the food recommendations in the diet.  What to eat  |  Foods to limit or avoid.  There’s a lot more in the book.

Use this page as a cheat sheet alongside the book. Send this page to friends, family, and anyone else who you want to understand what you’re eating on this diet.

Get a copy of The Belly Fat Diet for exercise tips and workout plans, details of the role of hormones, supplementation plan, meal plans, tips for meal planning, and recipes.

Get a copy of The Belly Fat Diet Cookbook for more recipes.

The reasoning behind The Belly Fat Diet

Your waist measurement is the most important indicator of overall health. If your waist measurement is more than half your height (in inches), you are at serious risk for heart disease, stroke and type 2 diabetes. Excess belly fat damages your liver, increases insulin resistance and type 2 diabetes, increases the risk of heart disease, stroke, and dementia. The diet claims to attack both types of belly fat – visceral fat and subcutaneous fat – by breaking the cortisol cycle, balancing the hormones leptin and ghrelin, managing insulin, and using vitamin C and omega 3 fats, as well as non-food methods

The Belly Fat Diet plan – what to eat and foods to avoid

What to eat  |  Foods to limit or avoid

Foods to eat in The Belly Fat Diet

  • Meals
    • Eat as often as possible, with no more than two hours between meals and snacks
    • You can eat anything on the foods list as often as possible without overeating or stuffing yourself
    • Eat as soon after waking as you possibly can
    • Include a protein or high-fiber food in every meal and snack – don’t eat carb foods on their own (e.g. bread or fruit)
    • Reshape the way you eat, by helping your body to be happy with “just enough” food. This means that if you’re having chicken breast, a salad and a baked sweet potato for dinner, you should eat slowly and finish everything before deciding you want more. If you are still hungry, by all means, have another breast or some more veggies. However, your goal should be to eat just until satisfied, not until stuffed
    • If you’re hungry – for those times when you’re standing in front of the fridge, unsure of what it is you want, try satisfying yourself with these foods in this order: Try some water — thirst often masks itself as hunger. If you’re still hungry or just know you crave actual chewing, try a vegetable. If you’re still hungry, try a fruit. If you’re still hungry, go for a protein
  • Protein
    • Poultry – chicken breast, ground chicken breast, turkey breast, ground turkey breast – as often as you like. Use leftover home cooked poultry rather than packaged or deli counter meats.
    • Eggs – as often as you like. Limit to free-range or organic. If you are watching your cholesterol, you can use one whole egg to 3 egg whites
    • Beef – you’re allowed lean cuts of beef steak or beef roast once a week
    • Buy organic, grass-fed meats and poultry if at all possible
    • Fish and seafood – as much as you like, as long as it isn’t breaded, fried or covered in a cream sauce. It should be steamed, broiled, baked, boiled or sautéed in a bit of olive or canola oil.
    • Oily fish – try to focus on oily, cold water fish, as they’re the richest in Omega-3 fats. E.g. anchovies, bloater, cacha, carp, eel, herring (fresh), hilsa, jack fish, katla, kipper, mackerel, orange roughy, pangas, pilchards, sardines (in water or olive oil), sprats, salmon, swordfish, trout, tuna (fresh is best but packed in water is okay too), whitebait
    • Other fish – e.g. catfish, cod, haddock, halibut, flounder, sea bass, skate, smelt, snapper, sole, tilapia, trout, whiting
    • Shellfish, mollusks, misc. – e.g. clams, crab, crawfish, lobster, octopus, oysters, prawns, scallops, shrimp, squid
    • Superfood: Salmon
    • Unsweetened protein powder – whey or soy
  • Dairy products and dairy substitutes
    • Milk – skim, 1% or 2% milk – try to limit the milk to using for coffee, cereal and cooking, rather than using it as a beverage. Milk is actually a food, not a drink. This will keep your intake down to a healthy level. However, if a cold glass of milk is a real treat for you, go ahead and have it, just keep it down to one glass a day
    • Almond milk
    • Cheeses – low-fat or nonfat mozzarella and cottage cheese
    • Greek yogurt, probiotic if available
  • Vegetables
    • All vegetables are allowed on the plan, with the exception of white potatoes and corn. Both are high in starch, which means they’re quickly converted to sugar
    • E.g. acorn squash, alfalfa sprouts, artichokes, arugula/rocket, asparagus, avocado, bamboo shoots, beets, beet greens, bok choy, broccoli, broccoflower, Brussels sprouts, cabbage, carrots, cauliflower, celery, chard, Chinese cabbage, collard greens, cucumbers, endives, fennel, green onions/scallions, kale, leeks, lettuce (preferably dark leafy varieties), mushrooms, mustard greens, okra, onions, peas, peppers (preferably red or orange), pumpkin, sauerkraut, shallots, snow peas, spinach, summer squash, sweet potato, tomatoes, turnip greens, watercress, water chestnuts, winter squash, yams, zucchini
    • Superfood: sweet potatoes
    • Veggies are best eaten raw, but steaming, roasting, baking, sautéing and stir-frying are perfectly fine
    • Fresh veggies are best but frozen vegetables without butter sauce or cheese sauce added are perfectly acceptable
  • Legumes
    • It looks like these are considered vegetables in terms of portions
    • E.g. cannellini beans, chickpeas, lentils, lima beans, soy beans
  • Herbs and spices
    • All herbs and seasonings
    • Herbs e.g. basil, chives, cilantro, dill, mint, oregano, parsley, sage, rosemary, tarragon, thyme
    • Spices e.g. allspice, cardamom, cayenne pepper, cinnamon, chili powder, cumin, curry powder, ginger, kudzu powder, nutmeg, paprika, red pepper flakes, saffron
  • Fruits
    • You can have any fruit you like, as often as you like
    • E.g. acai berry, apples, apricots, bananas, blueberries, boysenberries, cantaloupe melon, cherries, clementines, cranberries, grapefruit, grapes, guava, honeydew melon, jujube, kiwi fruit, lemon, lime, lingonberries, mango, nectarines, oranges, papaya, peaches, pears, persimmon, pineapple, pitaya/dragon fruit, plums, pomegranate, pomelo, raspberries, star fruit, strawberries, tangerines, ugli fruit, watermelon
    • Dried fruits without added sugar, e.g. dried apricots, dried cherries, dried blueberries, dates, figs, raisins
    • Superfoods: berries, kiwi fruit
    • Fresh is best, but frozen fruits (without syrup or added sugar) are fine for out-of-season fruits or for adding to smoothies and other treats
    • When using fruit as a snack, try to couple it with a protein to lessen the effect on your blood sugar. For example, if you’re in the mood for some grapes, have them with a stick of mozzarella or a boiled egg
  • Whole grain carbs
    • Grains are limited to 2 servings per day, because most of them are converted to sugar quite quickly; they’re also one of the easiest foods to overeat
    • You may choose from whole-wheat, whole grain breads, whole grain wrap or tortilla, whole grain hot and cereals (no sugar added), whole wheat couscous, brown rice, quinoa, barley and whole grain oats
    • When you’re choosing your grains, it’s a good idea to opt for the most filling choice. A slice of whole grain toast won’t stick with you for long, but a bowl of mixed-grain hot cereal will make you feel full longer
  • Nuts, seeds, and oils
    • Nuts and seeds – walnuts and almonds are the best choice; also Brazil nuts, coconut, flax seeds, pecans, pine nuts, pistachios, poppy seeds, pumpkin seeds, and sesame seeds
    • Superfood: Nuts – walnuts and almonds are your healthier choices and you should eat them in as natural a state as possible. Raw is best, roasted okay, too, as long as you skip the salted or honey-roasted types
    • Nut and seed butters – almond butter or sesame butter (tahini) that has no trans-fat or sugar added
    • Polyunsaturated fats, such as olive oil, avocado, canola oil
    • Omega-3 fats, found in many fish, nuts, and seeds
  • Sweet treats (limit to 1 per day, must not be artificially sweetened)
    • Frozen fruit pops with no added sugar, nonfat pudding, sorbet without added sugar, dark chocolate (min 66% cacao)
    • Limit yourself to one pop, one pudding cup, one scoop of sorbet and one piece of chocolate the size of a dental floss box
    • Use moderation is your servings of these foods and try to really enjoy them. Eat them at a time when you can focus on how good they taste, rather than eating them mindlessly or in a rush
  • Condiments and pantry
    • Use condiments that are not packed with sugars and unhealthy fats
    • Savory – e.g. low-sodium broth, capers, horseradish, hot sauce, miso, mustard, olives, salsa, soy sauce, tamari, teriyaki sauce (no sugar), V8 juice, vinegar (balsamic vinegar, rice vinegar, etc.), Worcestershire sauce
    • Sweet/neutral – e.g. arrowroot, raw cacao nibs, unsweetened cocoa powder, carob powder, coconut milk, vanilla extract
    • Psyllium husk, bran flakes
  • Sweeteners
    • Honey and agave nectar (as a sugar substitute)
  • Beverages
    • Limited to water , coffee, green tea and black tea
    • You can sweeten your coffee and tea if you must, but limit the sugar in the rest of your diet to accommodate
    • Drink a minimum of 64 ounces of plain water per day, more if you spend a good deal of time outdoors
  • Cheat – one cheat, once a week
    • Once a week, you are allowed to have one thing that you’ve been craving, missing, waiting for and doing without
    • Use a bit of sense here. You’re not supposed to have a whole pizza, but a slice or two. If you can make it a thin crust veggie pizza, that would be awesome, but if Hawaiian with extra cheese is the only thing that makes you happy, have it. Any kind, with any of the enemies you feel like loading on top of it — but just have one or two slices
    • If you’re longing for a few different foods, try to choose the one that is either the healthiest or highest in protein
    • If one coveted food has sugar and the other doesn’t, opt for the one without sugar. It’ll affect insulin and blood sugar less
    • Try to choose foods you really love, rather than wasting your weekly cheat on something that just shows up. In other words, don’t give in to an unplanned slice of mediocre cake at an office party when you’ve been looking forward to having gourmet ice cream on Saturday

Foods to avoid or limit with The Belly Fat Diet

  • Processed foods
    • Fast foods
    • Convenience foods
    • Ready-made baked goods
    • Etc.
  • Sweets and added sugars
    • Limit sugar to sweetening your coffee or tea (if you need it) and the amounts that naturally occur in allowed foods such as flavored Greek yogurts, frozen fruit bars and some of the homemade sweet treats in the Belly Fat Diet Cookbook.
    • Sweet treats are allowed on the eating plan, but they’re limited to one per day and only the sweet treats that are on the allowed foods list
    • No artificial sweeteners
  • Beef
    • This is limited because it typically contains a good deal of unhealthy fats, is expensive to buy in healthier, grass-fed varieties and is usually eaten in fairly large portions
    • You’re limited to one serving per week of steak or roast; the leaner cut the better, trimmed of visible fat
  • Most grains
    • Most grains are limited because they are easy to overeat, quickly converted to sugar or glucose and many of them fail to fill you up for very long
    • You’re limited to two servings per day of the grains on the allowed foods list
  • High-starch vegetables
    • Corn and potatoes
  • Canned fruits and vegetables
    • Canned fruits and veggies are off limits, as they usually contain fewer vitamins and minerals, less fiber and a good deal of sugar and additives
  • Fats
    • Keep saturated fats to healthy levels – found primarily in animal products such as meat and butter
    • Butter and butter substitutes are off-limits, as are high-fat cheeses (cheeses listed in the Foods to Eat dairy section are allowed)
    • Avoid trans fats – found in processed foods and hydrogenated oils
  • Condiments
    • Condiments packed with sugars and unhealthy fats – e.g. ketchup, mayonnaise, Miracle Whip
  • Beverages
    • Fruit juices are not on the diet – they contain little or no fiber, don’t fill you up like the whole fruit will and are easy to overdo
    • The same is true of flavored waters
    • Sodas are strictly off limits. Save them for your cheat day if you’re really attached to your colas
  • Other tips
    • Don’t count calories, measure grams, weigh portions, or write down everything you eat
    • Don’t skip meals

Health benefits claimed in The Belly Fat Diet

The diet in this book claims to reduce the risks for: dementia, type 2 diabetes, fatty liver, heart disease, insulin resistance, overweight/obesity, stroke

As always, this is not intended to be a replacement for professional medical diagnosis or treatment for a medical condition. Consult your doctor before starting a new diet. This page describes what the authors of the diet recommend – Chewfo is describing the diet only, not endorsing it.

Get a copy of The Belly Fat Diet for exercise tips and workout plans, details of the role of hormones, supplementation plan, meal plans, tips for meal planning, and recipes.

Buy now from Amazon
Get a copy of The Belly Fat Diet Cookbook for more recipes.

Buy now from Amazon
How has this diet helped you? Please add a comment or question below.

{ 2 comments… add one }

  • Greg June 30, 2014, 11:33 pm

    What about pork?

    • Penny Hammond July 1, 2014, 5:34 pm

      The book doesn’t really give any guidelines on pork – it doesn’t say you shouldn’t have it, so perhaps you could have lean pork once a week instead of lean beef.

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