Extreme Fat Smash Diet
By Ian K. Smith, MD St. Martin's Griffin 2007
Reviewer: Tara Gidus, MS, RD, CSSD, LDN
The author claims to offer a quick weight-loss plan based on sound scientific principles and thoughtful, proven research. The diet, which is constructed so most people will lose 12 pounds after just threeweeks, has been created for dieters to repeat cycles until they have lost their goal amount. This diet is targeted toward people who have to lose 10 to 25 pounds in a short period of time. The author encourages following the plan as written and not deviating from it.
The plan is divided into three cycles, each lasting one week. After these three weeks, you can either start the cycles again or, if you have reached your weight loss goals, go into the maintenance phase. Each weekly cycle gives a list of guidelines as well as a meal plan of four meals. Two snacks are allowed as long as they are less than 100 calories each. A later chapter gives examples of suggested snacks, and there are 70 pages of recipes. The first cycle is the most strict and it adds more foods and alcohol by phase three.
Exercise is part of the plan with 55 to 75 minutes of cardio six of the seven days of each cycle. One rest day is built in, but the author notes he would still like you to get 30 minutes that day if you can. He adds resistance exercise during the maintenance phase and brings the cardio to 45 minutes three times per week minimum.
The book includes descriptions of three distinct dieting types, the alpha, beta and gamma. The alpha dieter responds with success to diet programs with moderate effort. Modifications are suggested for the beta and gamma dieters. The beta dieter loses only a moderate amount of weight because of a slower metabolism. The gamma dieter fares well at the beginning of a diet but quickly hits an impassable wall and may get frustrated and give up. Throughout the cycles, the beta and gamma dieters are given more exercise minutes and smaller portions than the alpha dieter.
The diet is well-balanced but fairly strict, and suggests a weight loss of 12 pounds in three weeks. This may be too fast, especially since the book is targeted toward people who only have 10 to 25 pounds to lose in total. It does not allow white bread, pasta, potatoes or white rice. It encourages using whole grains in their place. It includes a good explanation of metabolism and highly encourages a large amount of exercise. Once the dieter hits the maintenance phase, the aerobic exercise is reduced significantly.
The book is full of tips, most of which are easy to understand and apply. The diet is not very well-defined for how to incorporate the "Smash List," which is primarily high calorie, low-nutrient value foods. The instruction is simply to eliminate or cut back on these foods.
This book is an easy read with clear cut recommendations incorporating (compared to other diet books) a high amount of exercise and easy-to-follow diet plans. Readers will very likely lose weight following the Extreme Fat Smash Diet. But they may struggle with weight regain when following the reduced exercise and vague instructions on incorporating high-calorie foods in the maintenance phase.