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Zero Belly Diet by David Zinczenko (2014): Food list

Zero Belly Diet by David ZinczenkoZero Belly Cookbook by David ZinczenkoZero Belly Diet (2014) is a weight-loss diet which focuses on how to remove visceral fat from the belly area.

  • 7-day cleanse and lifetime eating guidelines.
  • Eat mostly plant-based foods during the day (except eggs for breakfast).
  • Eat vegetables, fruits, lean protein, healthy fats, nuts and seeds, legumes.
  • Three meals plus smoothie plus optional snack each day; one cheat meal a week.
  • Avoid gluten, refined grains, dairy, sugar, processed foods.

Below on this page is a description of the food recommendations in the diet.  Portion sizes  |  7-day cleanse  |  Zero Belly Drinks  |  General  |  What to eat  |  Foods to limit  |  Foods to avoid  | Gluten-free, lactose-free, vegan.  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 Zero Belly DietZero Belly Smoothies by David Zinczenco for details of why belly fat is bad for you, how what you eat affects your genes, a breakdown of different types of fat, how to measure your ABSI, recipes, and workouts.

Get a copy of Zero Belly Cookbook for more than 150 recipes for this diet.

Get a copy of Zero Belly Smoothies for more smoothie recipe ideas, and an alternative cleanse version of the diet.

The reasoning behind Zero Belly Diet

This book claims that certain foods short-circuit our fat genes, turning off the parts of our DNA that trigger weight gain and activating our bodies to burn, not store, fat. It says that eating the right diet can essentially take your foot off the fat-gene accelerator and dramatically reverse weight gain, in the process literally changing your genetic destiny. It argues that proper digestion quells inflammation, an often-overlooked culprit in weight gain, and that certain foods (e.g. lactose and gluten) create inflammatory responses in many people. It claims to turn off your fat-storage genes by focusing on nine power food groups that are linked directly to the emerging science of nutritional genetics (the study of how nutrients in food influence gene expression).

Zero Belly Diet plan – what to eat and foods to avoid

Portion sizes  |  7-day cleanse  |  Zero Belly Drinks  |  General  |  What to eat  |  Foods to limit  |  Foods to avoid  | Gluten-free, lactose-free, vegan

Portion sizes

This is taken from “How to Build a Zero Belly Cleanse Dinner” – we assume (although it’s not stated in the book) that the portion sizes should be the same for the rest of the diet as they are for the cleanse. Other portion sizes have been extrapolated from the recipes.

  • Protein
    • Cooked any way you want, but with only 1 teaspoon of coconut or extra-virgin olive oil
    • 5 ounces poultry – e.g. chicken breast (skinless) or lean ground turkey (at least 93% lean)
    • 5 ounces lean red meat (allowed once or twice a week in this diet) – lean ground beef (at least 90% lean, preferably grass-fed) or 5 ounces lean steak (sirloin or anything labeled round, preferably grass-fed)
    • 5 ounces fish (preferably wild-caught)
    • 2 eggs plus 1 or 2 egg whites
  • Fiber
    • 2-3 heaping cups of leafy green vegetables or other non-starchy vegetables
    • Fruits – portion size not given, but recipes generally show ½ cup fresh fruit (and it looks like you can average about 2 servings of fruit a day)
    • Grains – portion size not given, but recipes generally show ½ cup cooked grains or 1 gluten-free bun
    • Legumes – portion size not given, but recipes generally show ¼ cup cooked legumes
    • Note that nuts and seeds are also considered fiber, as well as fat (see “fat” below)
  • Fat
    • Only add if no fat exists in the recipe already
    • ¼ avocado
    • 1 tablespoon nuts or seeds
    • 1 tablespoon of your favorite nut butter
    • Other fats – portion sizes not given, but recipes generally show about 1 teaspoon
  • Other foods
    • Starchy vegetables – portion size not given, but recipes generally show ½ cup

Seven-day cleanse (optional)

  • This can be used to kickstart the diet or after a vacation or other reason you’ve put on some weight
  • Two Zero Belly drinks as meals (breakfast and lunch), one snack, a Zero Belly cleanse dinner, and no dessert
  • For each meal, drink, or snack, check that it contains protein, fiber, and healthy fat
  • Cleanse dinners consist of protein, vegetables, and healthy fats, but no grains or fruits (meal suggestions are in the book)
  • No alcohol, no cheat meals
  • At least 8 glasses of water a day
  • Teas to speed weight loss – 3-4 cups of tea per day – green tea, oolong tea, mint tea, white tea, red tea / rooibos. Choose brewed teas over bottled to avoid extra calories and sweeteners

Zero Belly Drinks

  • These are plant-based smoothies which are designed to be creamy, filling, and packed with protein, fiber, and healthy fats, without the lactose and saturated fats found in commercial smoothies
  • Fruit – can be fresh or frozen. If a fruit is at the peak of its season, buy it fresh. If not, stick with frozen. (If you don’t use frozen fruit, you can add a cube or two of ice to each recipe.)
  • Milk alternatives / nondairy milk – almond milk (without carrageenan), coconut milk, hazelnut milk, hemp milk, rice milk, oat milk
  • Protein – protein powder, nuts/seed butter
  • Add liquids first, then protein and fruit to your blender. It’s easier on the blender and gets things moving faster. For a thicker, spoon-able smoothie, use less liquid than listed in the recipe. Add more for a thinner, milk-like consistency
  • If you want to take a Zero Belly drink to travel, consider making it the night before and freezing it in a blender bottle. (Look for one with a metal mixer ball, which helps re-blend the drink when you shake it.)
  • Recipes are in the book

General – after the cleanse

  • Meals each day
    • Three square meals
    • One Zero Belly drink each day
    • One additional afternoon or evening snack (if you’re still hungry)
    • Example schedule if you’re having a lunchtime workout: 7.30am breakfast, 10am Zero Belly Drink, 12pm workout, 1pm lunch, 6.30pm dinner, 7.30pm snack or Zero Belly Drink
    • Example schedule if you’re having no workout: 7.30am breakfast, 12pm lunch, 3.30pm snack or Zero Belly Drink, 6.30pm dinner, 7.30pm snack or Zero Belly Drink
    • Sit down to eat, eat without distractions (e.g. TV), and chew well
  • Weekly cheat meal
    • Once a week, have a zero-guilt cheat meal. This can be anything you want, and it can be at any time during the week
  • Three Zero Belly Questions – for each meal or snack, ask:
    • Where’s my protein?
    • Where’s my fiber? (can be from fruit, vegetables, nuts, seeds, legumes, whole grains)
    • Where’s my healthy fat? (at least one of these: monounsaturated fats, polyunsaturated fats, plant-based saturated fats, omeg-3 fatty acids)
  • Prep power foods for zero stress – at the beginning of each week, prep a few ingredients in bulk – frozen bananas for smoothies, brown rice and quinoa for meals, vinaigrette, lentils if you’re including them in your meal plan

Foods to eat in Zero Belly Diet (after the cleanse)

  • 9 preferred foods
    • Zero Belly Drinks
    • Eggs
    • Red fruits
    • Olive oil and other healthy fats
    • Beans, rice, oats, and other healthy fiber
    • Extra plant protein
    • Leafy greens, green tea, and bright vegetables
    • Lean meats and fish
    • Your favorite spices and flavors (ginger, cinnamon, even chocolate)
  • Vegetables – high-phytonutrient
    • Leafy greens and brightly colored vegetables – arugula, asparagus, avocado, beets, beet greens, bell peppers (especially red), carrots, chard, chicory, Chinese cabbage / napa cabbage, chives, collard greens, dandelion greens, endive, kale, kohlrabi, lettuce, mesclun greens, parsley, peppers of all types, spinach, tomatoes (especially grape tomatoes), turnip greens, watercress, zucchini
    • Others – onions, garlic, leeks, scallions, celery, cucumber, fennel, Jerusalem artichokes, mushrooms, peas, sweet corn, sweet potatoes
  • Fruits – high-phytonutrient
    • Red fruits – red apples (especially Pink Lady), blueberries, tart cherries (sour cherries), red grapes, red grapefruit, nectarines, peaches, plums, raspberries, strawberries, watermelon
    • Other fruits – e.g. bananas, lemon
  • Protein
    • Eggs (organic)
    • Lean protein
    • Shellfish – oysters, scallops, shrimp
    • Poultry – chicken (especially boneless skinless chicken breast), turkey (lean ground turkey 94% lean)
    • Fish (seawater and freshwater) – anchovies, cod, halibut, herring, mackerel, orange roughy, pike, salmon (especially wild), sardines, sunfish, trout, tuna, whitefish
    • Plant-based protein powders, with at least 15g of protein per scoop – e.g. a blend of hemp protein, rice protein, and pea protein to get a full amino acid profile – Vega One All-in-One Nutritional Shake, Vega Sport Performance Protein, Sunwarrior Warrior Blend
  • Fats
    • Monounsaturated fats – olives and olive oil (preferably extra virgin), nuts (including peanuts) and seeds, avocados, dark chocolate (at least 72% cacao)
    • Polyunsaturated fats – oily fish such as tuna, salmon, mackerel, or sardine, flaxseed, sunflower seeds, sesame seeds, pine nuts
    • Plant-based saturated fats – coconut, coconut oil (preferably virgin)
    • Omega-3 fatty acids – wild salmon, tuna, sardines, and other cold-water fish, grass-fed beef, flaxseed, walnuts, chia seeds
    • Nut and seed oils – e.g. flaxseed oil, walnut oil
  • Nuts and seeds
    • Nuts (raw, unsalted) – almonds, cashews, coconuts, hazelnuts, peanuts, pine nuts, walnuts
    • Seeds – chia seeds, ground flax seeds (flax meal), pumpkin seeds
    • Nut butters, seed butters, ingredients should only be the nut or seed plus maybe a little salt – e.g. almond butter (Justin’s is recommended), peanut butter (Smucker’s Natural is recommended)
  • Legumes
    • Lentils – e.g. French green lentils
    • Beans – e.g. black beans, kidney beans, pinto beans
    • Chickpeas/garbanzo beans
    • Hummus (Abraham’s is recommended)
    • Peanuts, peanut butter
  • Grains
  • Herbs and spices
    • Herbs – e.g. basil, chives, oregano, parsley
    • Spices – especially yellow, black, and brown spices – bay leaf, black pepper, cayenne pepper, cinnamon, coriander, cumin, ginger, horseradish, mustard seeds (especially yellow), rosemary, turmeric, thyme
    • Dark chocolate (70% or higher, Green & Black’s is recommended) is considered a spice on this diet
  • Condiments and pantry
    • Raw apple cider vinegar, rice wine vinegar, red wine vinegar, white wine vinegar
    • Prepared mustard (0g sugar), red curry paste, reduced-sodium soy sauce, sriracha
    • Artichoke hearts, capers, chipotle peppers, Kalamata olives, solid white albacore tuna (packed in water), sundried tomatoes, whole peeled unsalted tomatoes
    • Baking soda, unsweetened cocoa powder, coconut milk (lite is suggested), semisweet chocolate chips
    • Mirin (sweetened Japanese rice wine), sake
    • Salsa (Amy’s Organic is recommended)
    • Gluten-free crackers
  • Nutrition bars
  • Beverages
    • Water – about 8 glasses a day. Drink a glass as soon as you wake up, with every meal, Zero Belly Drink , or snack, and before you go to bed
    • Green tea (Bigelow is recommended) – unlimited amounts (with nothing added)
    • Unsweetened almond milk (without carrageenan), coconut milk, hazelnut milk, hemp milk, rice milk, oat milk

Foods to limit with Zero Belly Diet (after the cleanse)

  • Protein
    • Lean beef (preferably grass-fed), lamb – the book says to limit red meats, but doesn’t give suggestions on acceptable amounts
  • Vegetables which cause gas
    • g. broccoli, Brussels sprouts, cabbage, cauliflower – especially if eaten raw
  • Omega-6 fatty acids
    • g. cottonseed oil, grapeseed oil, poppyseed oil, safflower oil, sesame oil, soybean oil, sunflower oil, vegetable oil
    • Mayonnaise
    • Sunflower seeds
  • Sweeteners
    • Brown sugar, honey – these are listed in the “starter kit” of ingredients for the recipes, although sugar is supposed to be avoided on this diet
  • Soy (presumably foods containing soy ingredients other than soy protein, which is listed as avoid food – e.g. tofu, edamame, tempeh, miso), soy milk
  • Alcohol
    • One drink per week for the initial 6-week program
  • Beverages
    • Coffee – limit to 1 cup per day

Foods to avoid with Zero Belly Diet

  • Processed foods
  • Saturated fat
  • Sugar
  • Refined grains
  • Wheat
  • Dairy
    • All types of dairy / milk products (milk, cheese, yogurt, butter, sour cream, ice cream, etc.)
    • Yogurt, even though it contains probiotics – this is often high in added sugars. If you do choose to eat yogurt, look for ‘live active cultures’ on the label
  • Red meat – there’s conflicting advice in the book; it looks like red meat is allowed on occasion
  • Canned foods, with BPA lining (BPA-free is okay)
  • Fruit juice – eat whole fruit instead
  • Foods that may give you gas
    • Sorbitol – sugar alcohol found in gum
    • Soy protein – found in nutrition bars and other foods
    • Carrageenan – found in some brands of almond milk
    • Fructose – found in naturally high amounts in dried fruit
    • Salty foods, such as canned soup
  • Vegetables low in phytonutrients
    • White root vegetables – e.g. parsnips, potatoes, turnips

What to do if you want gluten-free, dairy-free, or vegan

Adapt Zero Belly to fit your needs – there aren’t any guidelines in the book but it says you should easily be able to adapt the diet

Health benefits claimed in Zero Belly Diet

The diet in this book claims to reduce the risks for: Alzheimer’s, anxiety, arthritis, autoimmune diseases, Barrett’s esophagus, bloating, cancer, dementia, depression, diabetes, gas, GERD/gastroesophageal reflux disease, heart disease, high blood sugar, inflammation, liver disease, low sex drive, memory loss, overweight/obesity, psoriasis, stroke, visceral fat

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 Zero Belly Diet for details of why belly fat is bad for you, how what you eat affects your genes, a breakdown of different types of fat, how to measure your ABSI, recipes, and workouts.

Buy now from AmazonDiet book
Get a copy of Zero Belly Cookbook for more than 150 recipes for this diet.

Buy now from AmazonCookbook

Get a copy of Zero Belly Smoothies for more smoothie recipe ideas, and an alternative cleanse version of the diet.

Buy now from AmazonSmoothies recipe book
The book’s website is http://www.zerobelly.com/. It’s on Facebook at https://www.facebook.com/zerobellydietplan, and on Twitter at https://twitter.com/ZeroBellyDiet.

How has this diet helped you? Please add a comment or question below.

{ 172 comments… add one }

  • Bev January 7, 2015, 12:15 pm

    Wanted to see what this diet was about and your article explained it perfectly.

    • Penny Hammond January 7, 2015, 10:23 pm

      Great, I’m glad it helped!

  • Linda Alia January 9, 2015, 1:22 pm

    Do you buy protein powder for the diet and than mix everything fresH . I would like to try it?? thank you Linda

    • Penny Hammond January 10, 2015, 7:59 am

      Yes, you buy protein powder and use it to create the smoothies from scratch with other fresh ingredients. Recipes for the shakes are in the book.

      The author recommends that you use plant-based protein powders with at least 15g of protein per scoop – e.g. a blend of hemp protein, rice protein, and pea protein to get a full amino acid profile. The brands he recommends are Vega One All-in-One Nutritional Shake, Vega Sport Performance Protein, and Sunwarrior Warrior Blend.

  • Mike January 12, 2015, 8:02 pm

    I purchased the NutriBullet extractor. For the Zero Belly Drink – is the combination Spinach, apple, banana, pear
    or oranges or Grapefruit with CHIA or Sunflower seeds okay as a replacement for the books smoothie suggestions?? Have just started the Cleanse and like the drink ingredients I mention.
    Appreciate you rely by e-mail.

    • Penny Hammond January 12, 2015, 8:28 pm

      Hi Mike,
      David includes vegetarian protein powder in all his smoothies, as well as fruits and nut/seed butters. Your combination looks good, just wondering if you’d be willing to add some more protein for the “where’s my protein?” part of the meal – chia and sunflower seeds have some fat and a little protein but maybe not enough.
      Hope that helps,

      • Mike January 13, 2015, 3:09 pm

        Have no problem with adding more protein – not sure what to add to the drinks – I have not been able to find the vegetarian protein powder.
        Is this found in a specialty store ? We live in Metamora Michigan.

        • Penny Hammond January 13, 2015, 3:59 pm

          It’s easiest to get it online – there are links in the page above to find the recommended protein powders on Amazon.
          You might also find them in supplement stores such as Vitamin Shoppe, or health food stores.

          • Mike January 13, 2015, 7:21 pm


            One last question : Which of the three protein powders listed above is the better of the three??
            Have started the cleanse – 2nd day – hopefully with the drink I have done – see above – has been all for naught.

          • Penny Hammond January 14, 2015, 4:25 pm

            There’s probably no single answer to what’s better – it depends on what you want it to be better at!
            All three of the protein powders have 4 star ratings on Amazon. Sunwarrior has the most reviews. They’re all vegan, gluten-free, dairy-free, soy-free. Sunwarrior lists a bunch more “free-from’s”. I don’t know if there’s a difference in the products or just the marketing.

          • Debbie Lanehart January 15, 2015, 6:56 pm


            How much are you suppose to eat of proteins, fiber and healthy fat? He doesn’t really come out and say 4 oz of protein a meal or a certain amount of fiber! Am I missing something? I would think my husband would require more food than I would to lose weight

          • Penny Hammond January 16, 2015, 5:55 pm

            You’re right, there aren’t clear guidelines on portion sizes. Have a look at the recipes in the book to see how much of each type of food is included. E.g. it looks like a serving of eggs is 1 – 1.5 eggs plus 1-2 egg whites, a serving of carbs/grains is about 1/2 cup, a serving of meat or fish is about 4-6 ounces uncooked, and a serving of fat is about 1/2 teaspoon to 1/2 tablespoon of fats.
            The author doesn’t say anything about portion sizes for men vs. women. Maybe a guideline would be to eat slowly, until you feel 80% full (a guideline on many other diets that might also work here).

            Update 1/18/15 – I had another look through the book and found some serving sizes in the Cleanse section – I took those and added extrapolations from the recipes. See the new Portion Sizes section on this page.

          • jinny January 24, 2015, 6:59 am

            i found the protein powder at TJMAX..

  • sunnie golden January 12, 2015, 9:23 pm

    I purchased the audio book for Zero Belly Fat and downloaded it. As I listened to the audio book, the author says that the recipes and food lists, exercises are all found in the PDF file that was downloaded with the book, but there was no PDF file downloaded. If anyone can tell me where I can find this file online or who I should contact about the matter I would very much appreciate it.

    Thank you,

    PS: Sounds like a great diet, I’d really love to try it!

    • Penny Hammond January 13, 2015, 11:24 am

      Hi Sunnie,
      That must have been frustrating!
      We don’t sell the book – please approach whichever company you bought the audio book from, and ask them where to get the PDF.
      Hope that helps,

      • Ford January 19, 2015, 8:50 am

        If you got the audio book from Audible, the PDF will be in your library on their website.

        • Terri Ferus March 23, 2015, 4:36 pm

          I got the audio book by mistake but listened. I was confused too at first, but it turns out disc number 1 includes the PDF. I just stuck it in the drive of my computer and the file quickly came up. There were maybe 160 pages, including lists, recipes, exercises, etc. Good luck (if it’s not already too late!)

  • will January 14, 2015, 9:30 am

    What foods can I replace for dinner as a vegetarian? Please And Thank You

    • Penny Hammond January 14, 2015, 4:41 pm

      The book doesn’t give guidelines for vegetarians or vegans, and there’s no info I could find on the website or Facebook page.
      The Zero Belly Drinks are vegan already, so no issue there.
      The diet is very low dairy, although David tells you how good yogurt is for providing probiotics. Soy is also on the list of foods to limit; he says it’s a food people eat too much of. Perhaps you could have dairy or soy products occasionally.
      If you’re an ovo-lacto-vegetarian, you can have eggs.
      You could have grains and legumes to get a full range of proteins – as long as they’re whole grains.
      If those ideas don’t work for you, this may not be the best diet for you.
      Hope that helps.

  • Mike January 14, 2015, 7:17 pm

    Being 70 yrs – not sure how to determine “what we want to be better at” – hopefully we can lose the “belly”. We found the Vega One All-in-One in a Health Store ( did not have the other two) in Lapeer, MI – a little more expensive when comparing to the other two shown on line. Price in about the same as Amazon when considering shipping costs. Will let you know how the “Cleanse” week goes.
    Appreciate the suggestion/advice. Nice job!

    • Penny Hammond January 14, 2015, 8:00 pm

      Good luck!

  • MJ January 15, 2015, 7:56 pm

    I have purchased the book and I am trying to follow. I don’t know if I have missed something completely but I am confused. If I do not want to use a recipe in the book, how much fiber and healthy fat can I use with the protein I choose for each meal?
    The Starter Kit calls for semi sweet chocolate chips, however, the recipe calls for vegan chips. I also find the serving sizes, with the exception of the breakfast recipes, too large when only cooking for one , its impossible to have that amount of food in the house.
    I would appreciate any suggestions.
    Thank you,

    • Penny Hammond January 16, 2015, 6:03 pm

      You’re right, I haven’t been able to find clear guidelines on portion sizes in the book. Has anybody else found them?
      You could try using similar serving sizes and proportions to the recipes.
      Update 1/18/15 – I had another look through the book and found some serving sizes in the Cleanse section – I took those and added extrapolations from the recipes. See the new Portion Sizes section on this page.

      Vegan dark chocolate chips are only mentioned in the Zero Belly Cookies recipe; if you use any chocolate chips that are at least 70% cacao that should be fine.

      Many of the non-breakfast recipes are designed for 4-6 people – you could try cutting the recipes in 1/2 or 1/4, or making the whole recipe, dividing it up into servings, and freezing the spare servings for a quick meal later in the week (I find there’s usually less temptation to snack on something if it’s frozen rather than sitting in the refrigerator…)

      Hope that helps,

      • jinny January 24, 2015, 7:16 am

        I feel the same way..I bought the book myself..and it has confused me also. Not clear on portion sizes..and very hard to understand ..their is a guideline on what to eat…had to go online to find the portion sizes..book, isn’t well organized for a beginner..I have been trying to figure it out myself..not seeing the results that I should be..and I am have been being so good..cut out dairy, white flour, white rice..eating mosly vegetables,and fruit..and protein,and fiber..no soda,sugar..don’t know what I am doing wrong?

        • Penny Hammond January 24, 2015, 4:41 pm

          Make sure you’re drinking enough water – Dave says you should have about 8 glasses a day; drink a glass as soon as you wake up, with every meal, Zero Belly Drink, or snack, and before you go to bed.
          Keep an eye on how much fruit you have – the portion size is 1/2 cup, and it’s not something to have in unlimited amounts.
          Also, make sure you look at the ingredients of any packaged/prepared foods you eat, because they often have surprise ingredients.
          Hope that helps.

  • Kym Pharris January 16, 2015, 10:44 am

    I bought the book and have been following the plan to a T. Love the food – I think it all tastes good and is worth all the prep. Question – IS there another book with more recipes? I can see that I may get tired of the same meals after a while….

    • Penny Hammond January 16, 2015, 5:32 pm

      The book just came out, and there isn’t yet a separate recipe book… that usually comes out after a diet has been successful/selling books for a while.

  • Mike January 16, 2015, 6:42 pm

    Is there a certain amount of the “Drinks” to be taken at breakfast and then lunch? I have been drinking about an
    8 oz glass for breakfast and another 8 oz for lunch. Drinks are thick like a smoothie/shake.
    Again – appreciate you advice.

  • Janice Cameron January 18, 2015, 9:58 am

    I have a nutribullet and was wondering will adding Spinach until I get the vegetarian protein powder, in the shake be enough protien? I usually use a cup of baby spinach to my drinks. Example 1 cup spinach, strawberries, 1/2 banana, mixed blueberries with raspberries and coconut water.

    • Penny Hammond January 18, 2015, 10:47 am

      Spinach doesn’t have a measurable amount of protein. Maybe you could use a nut or seed butter as a temporary substitute.

  • Jodi January 18, 2015, 10:48 am

    This article is a great concise overview of the book. I am too looking for recipes to add to the ones in the book. I did find one on Amazon but the review was only a 1 1/2 star….i usually do not purchase anything under a 4 3-4 star review.

    I am no expert and do not usually “comment” but I know how hard it is too start on a new healthy eating plan…it is so confusing. I just started the new way of eating (not a diet since I hope to never go back) with my husband 5 days ago and have lost 7.5 lbs and my husband who is not completely following lost 3 lbs. He has a hard time eating 5 times a day , he was a big skipper of meals then would eat a huge meal at end of day. Over the weekend he followed the plan exactly and lost 2 of the 3 lbs.

    I just read through the comments/ questions and have a couple answers to some questions….
    I bought the digital book on Amazon, I would think it would work on other devices than the Kindle. The drinks do not need extra protien as the powder mix is the protein. Besides getting online Whole Foods carries the Vega one drinks and as a cheaper alternative (same ingredients) Skinny Gut (last week they had the smaller container on sale for 9.00).

    As for portion size within the first chapter the is a section that describes portions i.e. serving of. xxx is the size of a deck of cards, serving of xxx size of a fist (xxx do not have exact food name handy and do .it want to mis-quote). And most of the recipes are for 2-4 portions, I have either cut recipe to one or followed recipe then stored the rest divided into portions I can pull out of fridge and have already made meal. Penny, you are correct about men’s vs woman size portion I did not think of that, I just automatically give my husband an extra 1/2 to 1 scoop. But on the veggies they are, I considered food so if you are still hungry eat more veggies or drink a glass of water before your meal.

    Good luck to everyone on eating healthier. Oh one big suggestion.. one the drinks the books says they are delicious. Ha, they are acceptable at best, my husband gagged on the first one. I suggest adding water to thin them out and drink them very cold. Just my opinion…others may love them.

    • Penny Hammond January 18, 2015, 6:04 pm

      Thanks for all your comments and feedback!

      There’s a recipe book that’s been selling a lot of copies in the past week that looks like it’s a recipe book for this diet – but it looks like the author (Ben Williams) took the name of a popular diet that came out recently and released a recipe book that didn’t necessarily follow the guidelines of the diet. That happens quite often with popular diets – always look for a cookbook that’s written by the same author as the diet, or at least has a foreword written by them.
      UPDATE OCTOBER 2015 – the official Zero Belly Cookbook has been published

      I re-read the whole book and found some portion sizes in the Cleanse section, and I’m assuming those portions are the same for the rest of the diet; I’ve also extrapolated other serving sizes from the recipes. See the new section of portion sizes. I didn’t see anything on hand sizes for portions (such as the thumb/palm/fist sizes used for example by Chris Powell in books like Choose More, Lose More for Life) or the deck of card size (found in other diets such as The 100 by Jorge Cruise)

  • tina January 18, 2015, 10:13 pm

    When it says to exercise an additional 30 minutes a day along with the workouts they share in the book. Can that extra workout be walking, jogging etc?

    • Penny Hammond January 19, 2015, 10:04 am

      I look at the food side of diets, not the exercise side – sorry, I don’t know the answer. Anyone else?

      • Scott Brooks February 22, 2015, 12:36 pm

        Exercise makes you feel better but does not help with weight loss, as seen in many studies.

        • Terri Ferus March 23, 2015, 4:42 pm

          Yes, he says any aerobic exercise in the morning, before you eat, so I did the treadmill. The idea was that after 10 hours or so of fasting you would have burned off glycogen stores, so any exercise at that time of day would burn fat.

  • Gwen Walker January 19, 2015, 10:54 am

    Thank you so much for all this information.

    • Penny Hammond January 19, 2015, 11:31 am

      You’re welcome!

  • Josee Prudhomme January 19, 2015, 2:27 pm

    Do you absolutely need to do
    The cleanse before starting the Zero Belly Diet?

    • Penny Hammond January 19, 2015, 2:57 pm

      You don’t have to do the cleanse. Dave says that superfast results (like you get from a cleanse) are a great way to motivate you toward a healthy future.

  • Donna January 19, 2015, 8:51 pm

    Not finding vegetarian powder recommended but did find a soy protein powder. Will that work? Want to do this right.

    • Penny Hammond January 20, 2015, 1:51 pm

      The author says that soy protein powders are often low-quality.
      Can you see if you can find a blend of hemp protein, rice protein, and pea protein to get a full amino acid profile? Try shopping online, or look in a healthfood store or vitamin store, if you have access to any of those.

  • Katia January 19, 2015, 9:36 pm

    The book lists certain approved foods, like red fruit, but doesn’t say when or how much you can have in any of the meal plans. It says to have 3 meals and 1 snack so when does the fruit come in? On the approved list it mentions other foods such as hummus and sweet potatoes but doesn’t reference them in meal plans either. Also can you have shirataki noodles?

    • Penny Hammond January 20, 2015, 1:59 pm

      There aren’t clear guidelines in the book, but I’ve tried to reverse-engineer what’s in the book to give portion sizes – see the Portion Sizes section above.
      If you look at the breakfast recipes, you’ll see that many of them include fruit, about 1/2 cup each time.
      Fruits, legumes (including chickpeas/hummus), and sweet potatoes could be considered “fiber” – when you’re creating a meal on your own, you’re supposed to include protein, fiber, and fat. Hummus also includes fat.

      Shirataki noodles aren’t described as a “don’t eat” food – unless they give you gas, in which case you should avoid them. There are different types – original shiritaki noodles are made from konjak flour, and most shirataki noodles found in supermarkets in the West are made from soy flour. Soy is listed as a food to limit.

  • Don January 20, 2015, 10:37 am

    The book of recipes on Amazon is not by the same author and I believe is trying to ride on the coattails of the book. You can tell by how they did the title “Zero Belly Diet Recipes”. The “And flat” part is obviously small and trying to not get noticed. They do this because they simply can’t flat out use the name of the diet (no pun intended).

  • Barbara January 21, 2015, 8:46 am

    Penny, I am a little confused about meals……..do I have to exactly follow the sample meal plan for a week with the ZB recipes or can I make my own meals as long as they consist of foods from the ZB list and all meals include a protein, a fiber and a fat? I am a very simple, plain eater and some of the meals have foods I do not like.

    • Penny Hammond January 21, 2015, 10:26 am

      You can follow the meal plans if that’s easiest for you. But if you prefer to design your own meals, you can do what you said – follow the general recommendations, make sure every meal includes a protein, a fiber, and a fat; eat mostly the recommended foods, limit the foods suggested to limit, and avoid the foods to avoid. You can use the recipes as guidelines, and substitute with your preferred foods as long as they’re within the guidelines, or you can create the meals from scratch.

  • Tracy January 23, 2015, 6:55 pm

    Does anyone know of a different salad dressing that may be used? I’m not real fond of mustard flavor

    • Penny Hammond January 24, 2015, 4:33 pm

      You could take out the mustard from the recipe – it would still contain vinegar, which Dave says is very good at keeping blood sugar steady.
      Or you could use any other vinegar + oil salad dressing, or lemon juice + oil.

      • Terri Ferus March 23, 2015, 4:44 pm

        I’m not big on mustard either but you can’t taste it and the dressing is surprisingly tasty!

  • SHARRON January 23, 2015, 7:55 pm


    • Penny Hammond January 24, 2015, 4:37 pm

      The recommended protein powders can be used as shakes in their own right, but it looks like Dave wants you to add the other ingredients as well so you’ve got fresh fruit and nondairy milk in there as well.

  • whitney January 26, 2015, 12:44 am

    I haven’t started the zero belly diet yet but I have a question my lunch hour is from 10:30 a.m. To 11:15 a.m. And I don’t get off work till 3 p.m. Can I adjust my eating schedule to my current schedule instead of the one that’s in the book? I wouldn’t be able to eat according to the schedule that’s in the book because it’s during my teaching time thank you for your help

    • Penny Hammond February 2, 2015, 8:19 pm

      The book asks you to have three square meals a day, plus a zero belly drink. The additional snack is optional. The timing guidelines in the book aren’t set in stone – as long as you have three square and a drink a day, that should be fine.

  • Linda T. January 26, 2015, 10:54 am

    Started “cleanse: two weeks ago – lost only 3#s – seems portion size and what to eat is many questions.
    The following is what I combined for the cleanse – would I be mixing to much fruit?
    – Belly drink twice a day consisting of : Vega One – fruit of each per drink: half apple, hand full of blue berries, half
    banana, 4 frozen straw berries – tablespoon of chia seeds, 1/4 cup almond milk – 1/4 cup walnuts.
    Dinner : 5 oz. of the proteins meats, poultry,ground turkey
    Too Much fruit???
    Thank you – Linda T.

    • Penny Hammond January 27, 2015, 3:55 pm

      Measure out the fruit into a 1/2 cup measure – the amount you’ve listed looks like well over 1/2 cup of fruit, which is what the book generally says you should have in the smoothies/Zero Belly Drink recipes.

  • Joyce February 3, 2015, 6:46 am

    Can you drink Diet soda while on the cleanse or regular plan?

    • Penny Hammond February 3, 2015, 5:43 pm

      Dave says “I’d encourage you to cut out booze, soda, and any artificially sweetened drinks for the six-week plan.” (The Zero Belly Meal Plan, Guideline 5) – so diet soda is out, and presumably that would include the cleanse as well.

  • Esmeralda February 3, 2015, 1:13 pm

    Can you use those protein powders that are plant based, but they come in flavors, like chocolate, vanilla and so on, they are individual packages

    • Penny Hammond February 3, 2015, 5:51 pm

      The protein powders that Dave recommends come in different flavors, and he doesn’t say you can only have the plain versions. Just check to see that they don’t contain any ingredients that you’re supposed to be avoiding on this diet.

  • Jane February 3, 2015, 8:36 pm

    Confused, just bought new cookbook and started the two-week recommended diet. I can’t believe I am supposed to eat potatoes at breakfast and dinner, worried about too much food. I just checked my scales and gained 2 pounds today this is making me very nervous, help

    • Penny Hammond February 4, 2015, 8:10 am

      The official Zero Belly Cookbook isn’t expected to be published until September – it looks like you may have bought a cookbook written by someone else that has a similar name and doesn’t follow the guidelines of this diet.
      UPDATE OCTOBER 2015 – the official Zero Belly Cookbook has been published
      Potatoes are listed as a food to avoid in this diet (although sweet potatoes are allowed).

  • Michelle February 3, 2015, 11:30 pm

    1) If I stick to only a 1/2 C fruit ( total) in the smoothie (which is very hard for me); do you think I can still eat fruit as my snack (apples & nut butter)? I understand the potions, but am confused on how many times a day I can eat fruit. I was thinking that apples had enough fiber to be a good snack and the nut butter has protein & fat.

    2) I put about 3 C spinach in my smoothie; do you think that I still have to eat salad or leafy greens at lunch and or dinner? I prefer to have asparagus, etc.

    3) I don’t use any of the non-dairy items in the smoothie. I’ve been adding some walnuts (until I get to the store for the powder), but am not sure if that’s enough protein.

    Thanks for the time you put into helping others.

    • Penny Hammond February 4, 2015, 1:59 pm

      (1) I looked at the meal plan at the end of the Zero Belly Meal Plan chapter, and counted the number of fruit servings for each day.
      Monday: 2 1/2 – Thin Elvis Oatmeal, Blueberry Dazzler ZB drink, Zero Belly Cookies
      Tuesday: 1 – Strawberry Banana ZB drink
      Wednesday: 2 – Cherry Pie Oatmeal, Vanilla Milkshake ZB drink
      Thursday: 2 – The Peanut Butter Cup ZB drink, Apple & Nut Butter
      Friday: 2 1/2 – PB&J Oatmeal, Mango Muscle-Up ZB drink, Zero Belly Cookies
      Saturday: 1 – Vanilla Milkshake ZB drink
      Sunday: 3 – Blue Ribbon Oatmeal, Strawberry Banana ZB drink, Apple & Nut Butter

      So it looks like on average you can have 2 servings of fruit a day.

      (2) The vegetables you’re having for fiber don’t have to be green leafy vegetables – you can also use other non-starchy vegetables for your fiber count.

      (3) All the Zero Belly drinks have protein powder, and some have additional protein from nut or seed butters. But using nuts on their own won’t give as much protein as protein powder. Probably okay for a couple of days while you’re waiting to get the protein powder.

      Hope that helps!

  • Lance February 9, 2015, 7:48 am

    May sound like a dumb question but can you have like a breakfast meal for dinner. Like a omelet instead hamburger.

    • Penny Hammond February 9, 2015, 3:06 pm

      I can’t see anything that says you shouldn’t – just make sure you’re incorporating protein, fiber, and fat into the meal.

  • Gail C. February 13, 2015, 2:34 pm

    For the cleanse it states no fruits – so do you do the protein drinks for those days without fruit?

    • Penny Hammond February 15, 2015, 10:35 am

      It says no fruits in the Cleanse dinners – it doesn’t look like you have to avoid fruit in the Zero Belly Drinks for the cleanse.

  • Masood opel February 18, 2015, 2:31 am

    I tried to buy the iBook but it is not available in my region in AppStore. That is in Middle East. Can it be arranged that this book is available in our region.

    • Penny Hammond February 18, 2015, 4:05 pm

      Try contacting the publisher (Ballantine Books, part of Random House) to see if there are plans for releasing the book in your area.

  • Linda T February 20, 2015, 10:43 am

    Just finished week 5 – lost 12 lbs first 4 wks. nothing in wk 5 – haven’t done anything different.
    Any suggestions?????????
    Linda T.

    • Penny Hammond February 20, 2015, 8:10 pm

      The rate at which you lose weight loss tends to decrease over time.
      Did anything different happen in week 5 – were you sick, was it extra cold, anything like that?

      • Linda T February 24, 2015, 7:49 pm

        Nothing different that I know – yes- extra cold – live in Michigan 🙂 Husband thinks
        maybe to much fruits in drinks and maybe salt in the dinners. I have cut back – see what happens next. No complaints on losing the 12 #’s.
        Thank you

  • Chris Walker February 21, 2015, 8:09 am

    Is stevia an approved sweetener? My Garden of Life brand protein powder contains it.

    • Penny Hammond February 22, 2015, 1:33 pm

      Dave isn’t really clear on his position on sweeteners for this book. He doesn’t mention stevia in this book, or previous books – Eat It to Beat It, 8 Hour Diet, Abs Diet.
      However, the protein powders he recommends all contain stevia, so I’d assume he thinks it’s okay.

  • Laura February 21, 2015, 2:00 pm

    Thank you for this concise and helpful explanation of the Zero Belly Diet!

    • Penny Hammond February 22, 2015, 1:13 pm

      You’re welcome!

  • Roger February 23, 2015, 3:50 pm

    This is a great diet, and it’s my first. Since I’m a novice at this, I have a couple of questions. What is the difference “The Abs Diet” and ZBF diet? Also, I don’t see we can use reduced sodium chicken stock, is that correct? Thank you.


    • Penny Hammond February 23, 2015, 6:13 pm

      I haven’t reviewed The Abs Diet so I don’t know the differences between them.

      Dave mentions low-sodium vegetable stock in one of the recipes. If you’re making chicken stock from scratch I’m sure it would be allowed as long as the fat was skimmed off the top – for store-bought stock, check the ingredients and avoid if it has ingredients you’re not supposed to be eating on the diet or if it seems artificial.

  • Heidi Bullinger February 25, 2015, 12:35 pm

    Do the herbalife shakes fit into this diet. All of this seems very managable in my life and diet. I just purchased herba life product and do not want to waste it but want to stay as close to his diet as possible.

    • Penny Hammond March 4, 2015, 5:29 pm

      I know it can be really frustrating when you’ve spent money on something and then you’re told to avoid it, but looking at the ingredients lists of herbalife shakes they have a ton of ingredients; the second ingredient is “fructose” which is basically sugar, they contain carrageenan and other ingredients that you’re supposed to avoid because they can give you gas, and they seem pretty processed. That’s 3 strikes in the “avoid” list and I haven’t even read all the ingredients yet…
      Is there someone you can sell or trade the shakes with?

  • jenny February 27, 2015, 12:54 pm

    anyone have a list of acceptable brands/flavors of salad dressings? i am not going to buy ingredients to make my own. and i’d like to have a few choices/flavors.

    • Penny Hammond March 4, 2015, 4:12 pm

      Dave doesn’t list any brands of salad dressings on this diet.
      He suggests you make up a batch of Zero Belly Vinaigrette (raw apple cider vinegar, extra-virgin olive oil, Dijon mustard, honey, salt and pepper) and use that.

      You said you don’t want to buy the ingredients – see if you can find any brands which have similar ingredients.

      • Brenda July 6, 2015, 2:20 pm

        Bragg makes an excellent dressing called “Healthy Vinaigrette.” The listed ingredients are organic apple cider vinegar, organic extra virgin olive oil, purified water, organic honey, organic garlic, liquid aminos, organic onion, organic black pepper, and natural xanthan gum.

  • Amy February 28, 2015, 7:58 pm

    Just wondering when other recipes will be coming out. My husband and I have been on the diet and I’ve lost 10 pounds he’s lost 8.
    I am a type A person, so I have followed the recipes to a T. Now I’m hoping for some new ones to be coming out and trying those also.

    • Penny Hammond March 4, 2015, 4:46 pm

      Great work so far!
      I can’t find anything about a publication date for a follow-up recipe book, sorry.

  • Kathy Connett March 1, 2015, 2:10 pm

    I’m going to start working on this diet as soon as I can get the protein powder. There is one thing that bothers me, though, and I’m hoping you can at least point me in the right direction. A lot of the meals include various kinds of beans – lentils, black beans, pinto beans, etc., etc., etc. – I loathe beans and really just can’t eat them without gagging, and peanut butter or peanuts are equally loathsome to me. At age 68, this is not something I’m going to overcome, not do I wish to. What can I substitute for legumes?

    • Penny Hammond March 4, 2015, 5:12 pm

      On this diet, beans/legumes are mostly counted as fiber, so you could replace them with vegetables (or more vegetables if there are already vegetables in the dish) for savory dishes or fruit for sweet dishes.
      However, they do have some protein in them, as you can see from the nutrition counts after the recipes – so if you take out the beans and there aren’t any proteins in your dish, add in some approved protein.

      • Kathy Connett April 1, 2015, 9:17 am

        Thanks so much for your thoughtful reply. When I’ve raised this question with others, I almost always get a pitying look and zero advice, other than “you should learn to like beans.”

        • Penny Hammond April 1, 2015, 6:20 pm

          Of course, how could anyone not like beans? 😀

  • Len March 4, 2015, 8:50 am

    Purchased Zero Belly Diet book after reading this article but cannot find reference as to whether this diet is healthy for a current type 2 diabetic (because of the amount of carbs consumed). Seems like it’s geared to preventing diabetes rather than helping to reverse or control it. Any comments?

    • Penny Hammond March 4, 2015, 6:17 pm

      This diet (like pretty much every diet out there) claims to reduce the risk for diabetes – there’s even a chapter called “Zero Diabetes.”

      If you find you do best on a low carb diet, you could try that instead.

  • John Cook March 9, 2015, 1:30 pm

    I’ve read the Zero Belly book and am purchasing the “supplies”. I already eat oatmeal in the morning, and will switch to almond milk, but after adding blueberries and strawberries I always end up with 12-16 oz. of cereal. Is the quantity here a big deal or should I tether my volume to what’s recommended in the recipe? It’s tough to keep to the portion sizes when making meals. I guess too much of a good thing is bad also?

    • Penny Hammond March 10, 2015, 6:38 pm

      Oatmeal has fiber, and fruit has fiber – so each of those are adding to the fiber part of your meals, and you don’t need to overdo it!
      The oatmeal recipes show a total of 1/2 cup oats (which are cooked and probably expand) and 1/2 cup total of fruit. Maybe cut down on the oatmeal and fruit portions you’ve been using so you’re getting a bit of everything but not too much.

  • Russ Byne March 14, 2015, 4:46 pm

    I work M-F until 6pm. I go to taekwondo at 7pm M-W. I also work a second job Friday and Saturday from 6:30pm – 3:00am. What modifications should I make to the ZBD?

    • Penny Hammond March 15, 2015, 5:59 pm

      I don’t see anything in the book that would imply that you should make any specific modifications – although I understand it can be difficult to have full meals when you’ve got a busy work schedule. Have three square meals, one Zero Belly drink each day, and one additional snack (if you’re still hungry); space out the meals/snacks by about 3-4 hours.

  • Jesslynn March 17, 2015, 10:28 am

    I have just started week 2. Can I drink a zero belly drink for breakfast instead of breakfast?

    • Penny Hammond March 17, 2015, 7:56 pm

      Dave says that you should eat 3 square meals, one zero belly drink, and one additional snack (if you’re still hungry) per day. You could have the drink at breakfast time, but should make sure you’re eating 3 meals on top of that.

  • Steve March 20, 2015, 12:48 pm

    Can you use cashew milk?

    • Penny Hammond March 20, 2015, 1:47 pm

      Cashews are listed as okay to eat, and Dave lists a number of nut milks to include in the Zero Belly Drinks, so cashew milk should be okay to use.

  • jake March 21, 2015, 12:47 pm

    Great information!
    I have been instructed to not consume hemp products due false positives in urinalysis.
    Do all of the recommended protein shakes have hemp?
    Is there on you can recommend that does not have hemp?

    • Penny Hammond March 22, 2015, 2:09 pm

      It looks like Sunwarrior and Vega All In One contain hemp protein, but I don’t see it listed in Vega Sport vanilla flavor.

  • Barb Doppel March 24, 2015, 8:51 pm

    I want recipes, not just a list of ingredients! Help!

    • Penny Hammond March 25, 2015, 11:09 am

      This page is a food list to show you what foods you can and can’t eat on the diet.
      For recipes, get the book.

      • Barb Doppel March 25, 2015, 10:34 pm

        Yes, I got the book! I read the book! The recipes in there are really really good, but I need more recipes for dinner than just 6 recipes and burgers! I like to cook, so I am very frustrated with the lack of further recipes.

  • Janet March 25, 2015, 11:09 am

    I am trying to follow this diet and prefer to eat a salad for lunch. The recipe for confetti salad calls for tuna, can anything else be used in place of tuna? I am do not like fish.

    • Penny Hammond March 25, 2015, 1:18 pm

      You could substitute with another protein, using the given portion sizes.

  • Kelly March 26, 2015, 11:32 pm

    Can I eat pickled beets on Zero Belly?

    • Penny Hammond March 27, 2015, 8:56 am

      Have a look at the ingredients. Beets and vinegar are allowed on the diet, and a little salt, but no sugar.

  • Kathy March 30, 2015, 7:18 pm

    can I have sugar-free jello while on the diet?

    • Penny Hammond March 31, 2015, 9:36 am

      Dave isn’t really clear on his position on sweeteners for this book, but he does say you should avoid processed foods. Sugar-free jello is pretty processed.

  • Lorie C April 6, 2015, 11:16 am

    After some considerable research on the protein powder, I ended up with the Sunwarrior vanilla flavor. So many people said how great it tastes. Is it just me? I am having trouble drinking this stuff. How big of a problem would it be to use whey protein and follow all the rest of the program in its entirety?

    • Penny Hammond April 12, 2015, 11:53 am

      You’re supposed to avoid dairy on this diet, and whey protein is dairy, so you shouldn’t have whey protein on this diet.
      See if you can find another plant-based protein powder without added sugars or other ingredients that aren’t allowed here – maybe an unflavored one would work better for you and you can add your own flavors with the fruit you add.
      Alternatively, you could use a nut butter instead as your protein, e.g. natural unsweetened almond butter or peanut butter.

  • Jan April 13, 2015, 10:46 am

    Is there an app for the Zero Belly Diet? I am not finding one in the IOS store.

    Thank you.

    • Penny Hammond April 13, 2015, 12:00 pm

      I don’t think so – there’s no mention in the book or on the website, and I can’t find anything in the Apple or Google app stores.

  • Becky April 14, 2015, 2:18 pm

    If you are a Costco member, look for the Orgain USDA Organic Protein Plant-Based Powder (Sprouted Brown Rice Protein, Chia protein, Hemp Protein, and Inulin Fiber—all organic). My local store has the Creamy Chocolate Fudge flav0r, in a 2.74 pound container, in the over-the-counter health products area. It does have stevia and organic erythritol (a naturally-occurring sugar alcohol derived from a corn source and naturally found in small amounts in various plants), as well as Hemp (if people are avoiding it) but if you are not avoiding hemp, this has the best value I have found that has NO dairy, soy, gluten, lactose or GMOs. I hope Costco never decides to stop carrying it!

  • Becky April 14, 2015, 2:26 pm

    Here is a link to the Costco.com page with the Orgain Protein Powder.

  • Taliay April 30, 2015, 9:47 pm

    I just finished reading this book and your summary is spot on, even including the brand recommendations. In fact, I found your summary to be more clear and concise than the book, which left me with questions. Thank you so much!

    • Penny Hammond May 3, 2015, 10:10 am

      You’re welcome, glad to help!

  • Michelle Thibault June 1, 2015, 3:34 pm

    I have been doing the Zero Belly Fat Diet – LUV IT! Quick question however, when it says 3-4 cups of green tea (freshly brewed) is beneficial a day, how many ounces are they speaking of? I have read too much green tea is not good either. So I did not know if they are speaking of a cup as 8 oz, or 6 oz. (as a tea cup would be).

    Thanks again,
    Michelle Thibault (very happy participant)

    • Penny Hammond June 1, 2015, 4:26 pm

      It’s not exactly clear what size of cups the book’s author thinks you should have – how about thinking of it as 3-4 teabags in as much water as you like in a cup?

  • Joe June 1, 2015, 4:53 pm

    Great reviews on all the diets you have listed here. Just bought the Wheat Belly book and am wondering what the main differences are from this diet to Wheat Belly. They seem very similar in what you show on this review and what I have read so far. Thanks.

    • Penny Hammond June 2, 2015, 5:28 pm

      Both plans avoid many of the same foods (gluten, sugar, processed foods).
      This book asks you to avoid dairy, while Wheat Belly allows it in some forms.
      This diet encourages you to eat mostly plant-based food during the day, while Wheat Belly doesn’t say when you should (and shouldn’t) eat animal protein.
      This diet asks you to have a smoothie a day, and Wheat Belly doesn’t expect you to have smoothies for meals.

      Those are the main differences. There’s a Chewfo food list for Wheat Belly if you want to look at more detail.

  • Joyce July 1, 2015, 10:20 am

    I’m pleased with the knowledge that I have acquired, thanx very much.

  • Susan Rowe August 28, 2015, 10:27 pm

    What does the book say about exercise? I exercise 6 out of 7 days per week and already eat clean and 1200 calories daily, plus 70 oz. of water, but still gaining and not losing. Want to try this but weary of trying something else…I have a very long list of failed eating plans.

    • Penny Hammond September 1, 2015, 10:28 am

      I focus on food, not exercise, and can’t really help you on that end.
      The book says “Every other day, you’ll follow one of the ZERO BELLY workouts. But there’s more: in addition to your regular workout, you’ll start each of the next seven mornings with a thirty-minute aerobic workout before breakfast to jump-start your metabolism.” The workouts are in chapter 9.

  • Fran September 2, 2015, 11:28 am

    Are any foods unlimited like salad or raw veggies? My husband and I are trying to follow this diet, and I’m very frustrated because a lot isn’t clear. He is a lot bigger than me so should he be eating bigger portions?Are we allowed any fruit during the day in addition to the three meals, or does it have to be paired with a protein and fat? Also, can we put a little honey in the green tea and can we drink it cold as well?thanks so much

    • Penny Hammond September 2, 2015, 6:58 pm

      It isn’t clearly stated, but it looks like leafy green vegetables are probably unlimited.

      There’s nothing saying that portion sizes should be different depending on your size – it’s a bit of a one-size-fits-all diet.
      Is your husband very hungry if he follows the given portion sizes? If so, he could try scaling up a little, as long as all ingredients are scaled up by the same percentage and it’s a a smallish increase (I know, that’s unclear, but I don’t have anything to go with) and see whether he still has success on the diet.

      On this diet you’re supposed to have:
      – On the cleanse – Two Zero Belly drinks as meals (breakfast and lunch), one snack, a Zero Belly cleanse dinner, and no dessert
      – After the cleanse – Three square meals, one Zero Belly drink, and one additional snack per day.
      The snack (and any other meal) should contain protein, fiber, and healthy fat.
      So if you choose to have fruit in your one snack, make sure you have some protein and healthy fat as well.

      Honey is included in some recipes, but it’s not clear whether it should be used in drinks (there’s no discussion on the effect of drinking calories in this book). If you do use it, watch out for how much you’re adding.
      Drinking your green tea cold would be fine.

  • Fran September 2, 2015, 12:05 pm

    Also, I’m confused about carbohydrates. What is the serving size for a piece of whole wheat bread for instance? One slice? Half a cup of pasta? The guidelines on portions are so not clear

    • Penny Hammond September 2, 2015, 7:01 pm

      Bread and pasta aren’t really included in this diet. It asks you to avoid gluten and wheat, as well as refined grains. As whole wheat bread contains wheat, it should be avoided on this diet. Pasta is also usually made with wheat.
      The only bread-like substance in the book is gluten-free buns for burgers – the serving size is given as 1 gluten-free bun per meal.

  • Sandi September 14, 2015, 9:06 am

    Thank you for all the great information. Found it to be helpful in searching for answers.

    • Penny Hammond September 19, 2015, 11:58 am

      You’re welcome, thanks for visiting!

  • Carol September 14, 2015, 11:18 am

    What is a sample meal plan if I work out first thing in the morning? When is it best to have the Drink?

    • Penny Hammond September 19, 2015, 12:33 pm

      The book advises that you work out first thing in the morning for the cleanse – in Chapter 11 there’s a “Food and Exercise Plan” that shows workouts (circuit or cardio) every morning followed by breakfast.

      Chapter 9, “The Zero Belly Workouts”, doesn’t give any guidance on eating and exercising (just to stay hydrated).

      Guideline 2 in chapter 6 gives 2 examples of meal plans that include exercises, but doesn’t have a version with a morning workout.
      However, what the chapter says is that these two are only examples and you should have 3 meals, at least 1 Zero Belly drink, and 1 afternoon or evening snack (if you’re still hungry) per day.
      You could try something like this: Workout, breakfast, zero belly drink, lunch, snack, dinner. Or shuffle some of those around.
      I can’t see any guidelines for the best time to have the drink – it looks like there’s some flexibility, so think about what would work best for you in terms of hunger/thirst and ability to easily make one of the drinks.

  • kathleen September 16, 2015, 7:53 pm

    Hey is the flat belly diet the same as the zero belly diet

    • Penny Hammond September 19, 2015, 12:50 pm

      The Flat Belly Diet is by a different author (Liz Vaccariello and Cynthia Sass); it’s a different book and I haven’t reviewed it. Probably it’s a different set of recommendations, but a similar title.

  • laura purschke September 25, 2015, 12:20 pm

    do you know of any site that has recipes from people who are actually on the diet…there are not many dinner recipes in the new book…

    • Penny Hammond October 2, 2015, 9:23 am

      Does anyone have any links to share? Thanks!

  • barb October 1, 2015, 6:53 pm

    what is the opinion on stevia? the vanilla protein powder recommended has stevia??

    • Penny Hammond October 2, 2015, 9:25 am

      Dave isn’t really clear on his position on sweeteners for this book. He doesn’t mention stevia in this book, or previous books – Eat It to Beat It, 8 Hour Diet, Abs Diet.
      However, the protein powders he recommends all contain stevia, so I’d assume he thinks it’s okay.

  • Charlie October 3, 2015, 4:26 am

    Can a type 1 diabetic use this diet for weight loss and not have medical issues

    • Penny Hammond October 5, 2015, 2:10 pm

      This diet (like pretty much every diet out there) claims to reduce the risk for diabetes – there’s even a chapter called “Zero Diabetes.”
      However, it seems to focus mostly on type 2 diabetes.
      Check with your doctor to see whether this diet might be suitable for your situation.

  • T. Matz October 6, 2015, 10:06 pm

    I purchased the diet book & recipe book but it didn’t spell out the plan like you did. This was a big help, thank you.

    • Penny Hammond October 7, 2015, 5:11 pm

      You’re welcome! I hope it goes well for you.

  • Louise October 16, 2015, 2:37 pm

    I found this recipe on the Zero Belly Facebook page (which is not monitored by author or anyone else!). Wondering if we can have popcorn since we can have corn……
    1 tablespoon popcorn kernels (2 cups popped)
    1 teaspoon coconut oil for popping (melt first, toss kernels to coat)
    1 square dark chocolate, melted (Ghirardelli Midnight Reverie is a good brand)
    Cooking Directions
    Follow package directions for popcorn. Drizzle with melted chocolate and swoon.
    143 calories, 11 g fat, 3 g fiber, 2 g protein

    • Penny Hammond October 23, 2015, 1:20 pm

      All those ingredients are included in the “foods to eat” after the initial cleanse – note that popcorn is more of a grain than a fresh vegetable, and the indicated serving size for cooked grains is 1/2 cup.

  • Louise October 16, 2015, 2:58 pm

    Do you think squash is an acceptable vegetable?

    • Penny Hammond October 23, 2015, 1:22 pm

      Zucchini are listed as a food to eat after the cleanse, and orange vegetables with a similar starch content to winter squash are listed (carrots), so summer squashes are definitely okay and winter squashes are probably okay too.

  • Sheryl October 27, 2015, 8:42 pm

    Do you know if cheese is allowed.? Do we have 4-6 oz of protein at each meal or for the entire day?

    • Penny Hammond October 31, 2015, 12:14 pm

      The book asks you to avoid dairy – so that would include cheese as well as milk, cream, yogurt, butter, sour cream, ice cream, etc.

      5 oz of protein is the portion for each meal, not for the whole day.
      Snacks should contain protein as well, but I can’t find any guidance on how much protein they need to contain.

  • Doni November 8, 2015, 2:59 pm

    Can I have tofu on this eating plan?

    • Penny Hammond November 18, 2015, 7:26 pm

      Tofu isn’t specifically listed in the book, but the author says “Soy is particularly high in naturally occurring compounds called estrogenics, which raise estrogen levels and lower testosterone levels, which promotes fat storage. That doesn’t mean you need to avoid soy at all costs, but most Americans eat far more soy than they know. I’ve chosen to leave soy out of ZERO BELLY recipes for just these reasons.” (Zero Belly Drinks chapter 7, under discussion of mix up the milks)

      I assume that means you should limit soy, including tofu.

  • Jenn December 5, 2015, 11:26 pm

    Would a pomegranate (seeds) be considered a red fruit?
    Thanks in advance!

    • Penny Hammond December 13, 2015, 6:40 pm

      Dave lists these as red fruits: red apples (especially Pink Lady), blueberries, tart cherries (sour cherries), red grapes, red grapefruit, nectarines, peaches, plums, raspberries, strawberries, watermelon

      However, pomegranate is a fruit and the seed pulp is very red – so it would make sense to include that. (He doesn’t mention it at all in the book). Just make sure you’re eating the fruit pulp, not drinking pomegranate juice – you’re supposed to avoid fruit juices on this diet.

  • Robin December 12, 2015, 8:19 pm

    I just bought the book today and have my first question and I can’t seem to find an answer for it. I can’t drink any form of shakes. It’s a texture thing for me and I have never found a single one I can drink (even just a blend of my favorite fruits make me sick to my stomach.) Is there something I can substitute for the Zero Belly Drinks? I would prefer it not to be a drink if possible.

    • Penny Hammond December 13, 2015, 7:24 pm

      That’s frustrating for you, as the book insists you have shakes/smoothies every day!
      This may sound weird, but do you think you’d be able to have the fruits/nut butter/veggies/protein powder/other dry ingredients as a “salad” with the milk/liquid as a drink on the side? Just make sure you chew well…

  • Kathy January 31, 2016, 10:19 pm

    Loved this summary! Thank you.

    • Penny Hammond February 2, 2016, 11:09 am

      You’re welcome!

  • Ron February 10, 2016, 5:05 am

    I am trying to get good ideas of an all around protein powder for the cleanse smoothies. I bought the book and noticed many recipes call for an unflavored vegan protein powder. Anyone have experience with the pea protein? The one I am looking at provides 24g/scoop and is unflavored http://www.bodybuilding.com/store/now/peaprotein.html?searchterm=pea I don’t want to get something flavored as some of the recipes may not taste right.

  • Jodi Van Appelen March 12, 2016, 2:01 pm

    What is the measurement for a scoop of protein powder. I purchased envelopes of the powders to try prior to buying a large amount which come in envelopes.

    • Penny Hammond March 22, 2016, 5:12 pm

      The serving sizes vary depending on the brand – for the recommended brands listed above, the serving sizes are between 25g-48g / about 1-2 ounces.

  • Laurena Barlow May 6, 2016, 11:08 am

    I have never ever had a book described in such a fantastic way and can’t wait to get the book & also cookbook. I know it will change my life for the better in every way. Thank you for taking the time to describe in such detail.

    • Penny Hammond May 22, 2016, 4:14 pm

      Thanks, and I hope you do feel better in every way!

  • Carol Jussely May 23, 2016, 10:19 am

    I have been on this diet since October and have lost 35 pounds. I have really enjoyed the diet and plan to stay on it. It has become a lifestyle change for me. I would like to know if there is a chip that can be eaten on this diet plan. I have used Beanitos which are made of brown rice and beans and they have been fine, but I wanted to know if I could eat the blue whole grain corn chip. It says on the food list that sweet corn is fine so just wondering if this chip would be ok to eat. Thanks!

    • Penny Hammond May 30, 2016, 3:16 pm

      Congratulations on your success so far!

      The book isn’t clear about corn (as a grain instead of as a vegetable – they can be pretty different). Whole grain blue corn might be okay.
      The thing to watch out for is the oil. Most chips are made with some type of vegetable oil, rather than the types of oil the book encourages (monounsaturated fats such as olive oil; plant-based saturated fats such as coconut oil; and nut and seed oils such as walnut oil and flaxseed oil). Instead they’re usually made with one of the oils that the book says to have only in moderation – oils high in omega-6 such as cottonseed oil, grapeseed oil, poppyseed oil, safflower oil, sesame oil, soybean oil, sunflower oil, vegetable oil. Also look for other ingredients that the book says to avoid – sometimes chips sneak in unexpected ingredients. Hope that helps.

  • LIZ WILLIAMS August 6, 2016, 12:05 pm

    i have purchased the audio version of your book and now i can’t retrieve the pdf. How can i get another one?

    • Penny Hammond August 21, 2016, 5:49 pm

      Hi Liz,
      We write summaries of diets, we’re not the authors/publishers of the diet.
      Where did you buy the book? Try contacting them to let you know you have an issue.
      You could also the publisher (Ballantine Books, part of Random House) to see if they can help.
      Hope that helps

  • Tari August 27, 2016, 10:07 am

    Been on this now for 7 days. following to the letter EXCEPT one night Idid have 7 corn tortilla chips with home made salsa. Have only gone down 1 pound. Very frustrating since most everyone saying how much weight loss. Any suggestions?

    • Penny Hammond September 29, 2016, 7:12 pm

      Yes, that does sound frustrating.
      Are you drinking the amount you’re supposed to be? (at least 8 glasses of water a day)
      Also, are you feeling better in terms of any other health conditions?

  • Debbie Doss August 31, 2016, 12:41 am

    Hi my name is Debbie . I just recently bought your book , Zero Belly Smoothies. The Smoothies look really
    good , but that Plant Base Protein Powder taste really nasty. We have tried a few smoothies. Wondering if you could suggest another powder that could be used. Please let me know. Thanks Debbie

    • Penny Hammond September 29, 2016, 7:17 pm

      Hi Debbie,
      Here at Chewfo we write food lists / summaries of diet books, we don’t write the books themselves. If you’d like to contact David Zinczenko directly, you could try sending a message on the Zero Belly facebook page.

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