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The Abs Diet

Book Review

The Abs Diet
By David Zinczenko
Rodale Books (2004)
Reviewed by Roberta Anding, MS, RD, LD, CDE, Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics Spokesperson


This is one of the only books targeted to males searching for a weight-loss solution combining the ABS Diet Power 12 with an exercise program. The diet suggests that by following the six-week plan you will flatten your stomach, live longer and improve your sex life. The author says an elevated waist circumference carries with it an increased risk of chronic illness including heart disease and diabetes and therefore a diet and exercise program tailored to reduce abdominal fat is needed.

Diet Plan

The diet plan consists of 12 "power foods" which correspond to the acronym ABS Diet Power and include almonds or nuts, beans and legumes, spinach and other greens, low-fat or fat-free dairy, instant oatmeal, eggs, turkey or lean meat, peanut butter, olive oil, whole grains, extra protein in the form of whey protein and raspberries and other berries. Although these foods are specifically stressed, it is a high-fiber version of the Food Guide Pyramid. Smoothies are recommended for breakfast and snack and recipes with testosterone sounding names like Mas Macho Meatballs or Bodacious Brazilian chicken are quick and easy to prepare. Analysis of a six small meal 24-hour menu indicates a macronutrient distribution of 50 percent carbohydrates, 20 percent protein and 30 percent fat and a calorie level of approximately 1,700 calories.

Nutritional Pros and Cons

No nutrient deficiencies were noted on this plan. The author does provide some sound nutritional principles and stresses the need for a balance exercise program including both aerobic and resistance training as an integral part of a lifelong weight control program. Specific advice is given on benefits of increasing fruits, vegetables, 100 percent whole grains, low-fat dairy products and lean meats. Only a few recipes and a one-week sample meal plan are given. However, the author does take some liberties with the science of nutrition and often makes outlandish statements to grab the attention of the reader and then tempers the statements with some reasonable facts. References are made to foods that improve your sex life and oatmeal being the Bo Derek of cereal grains…a perfect 10.

Bottom Line

The ABS Diet is a nutritional plan targeting males by the editor-in-chief and a writer of Men's Health magazine. The diet plan focuses on high-fiber, moderate-fat meal plans that are easy to prepare and may aid those attempting a masculine way to improve their diet.

August 2004