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Fat Flush for Life: The Year-Round Super Detox Plan to Boost Your Metabolism and Keep the Weight Off Permanently

Book Review

Fat Flush for Life: The Year-Round Super Detox Plan to Boost Your Metabolism and Keep the Weight Off Permanently
By Ann Louise Gittleman, PhD, CNS
Da Capo Lifelong Books (2009)
Reviewed by Andrea N. Giancoli, MPH, RD

Claims

The Fat Flush Plan for Life claims a seasonal approach to diet, exercise and wellness will "flush" and "detoxify" your liver and lymphatic system, ridding them of harmful toxins that cause weight gain and excessive bloating.

Synopsis of the Diet Plan

The author prescribes a slightly different "Fat Flush" diet plan for each season, with the exception of autumn that is primarily vegetarian. There are daily year-round staples consisting of drink concoctions like Cranberry H2O, Spiced Lemon Toddy and Green Life Cocktail, in addition to a probiotic sweetener (her own commercial formula), whey protein, chia seeds and a range of supplements.

For each seasonal diet plan, the reader is presented with lists of allowable foods and beverages with instructions on how many servings to consume daily from each list. Allowable quantities change from season to season. For the most part, all food groups are represented, including proteins, grains, fruit, vegetables, oils and dairy and the lists consist of the relatively healthful food choices that are found towards the bottom of the current USDA MyPyramid. However, some seasons eliminate food group categories. Also, the number of servings she allows from each food group are not consistent with MyPyramid. The author prescribes more servings of protein-rich foods, especially animal protein, and fewer servings of grain and dairy foods than MyPyramid. Further, during some seasons and not others she eliminates whole categories of foods, such as dairy in the summer, for no given reason but presumably to reduce calories.

The author also prescribes exercise plans that also vary according to season, as well as seasonal wellness plans that call for odd "detox" regimens such as oil pulling (swishing oil in your mouth for 20 minutes), coffee enemas, dry skin brush massage and castor oil pack (lying down for an hour covering your abdomen with a castor oil soaked flannel cloth).

Nutritional Pros and Cons

Pros
  • Suggested menus are portion controlled
  • High in colorful vegetables
  • Fruit is included
  • Encourages minimally processed and refined foods
  • Encourages lean proteins and fish
  • Encourages heart healthy oils
  • Whole grains are included although not in USDA-recommended quantities
  • Exercise is addressed.
  Cons
  • Eliminates or restricts many foods and beverages. The Academy does not support eliminating specific foods and beverages completely from the diet
  • Unnecessarily instructs dieters to remove foods that may cause sensitivity or allergies without proper evaluation by their MD or consultation with a registered dietitian
  • Recommends many supplements the author developed, which means she stands to gain financially, which is always suspect
  • Low intake of grain foods
  • For every food and beverage group there are so many rules that change within each season it is difficult to keep track
  • Unnecessary and potentially harmful "detox" regimens such as coffee enema. There is no credible scientific evidence proving "flushing" and "detoxing" the liver and lymphatic system results in weight loss. There is also no scientific evidence that there is even a need to "flush" the liver, much less any benefit from doing so.

The author claims the "Fat Flush for Life" is a simpler, less stringent, flexible approach to the original "Fat Flush"; however, it is anything but. Each seasonal "Fat Flush" has different diet plans and varying regimen rules within the season itself. This takes a lot of calculating and memorizing, inevitably making it time consuming for the dieter to make sense of all the rules and plans.

Eating seasonal produce is certainly great for your health and the environment, but in this case the "seasonal" approach is a gimmick to lure the dieter into believing certain foods and exercises are better for them than others because it happens to be spring, winter, autumn or summer.

This is essentially a high-protein, reduced-calorie diet. While the foods in her various lists vary slightly from season to season, this is all about high protein with lots of watery vegetables and beverages to fill in the gaps. Although the author doesn't provide any calorie counts for meal plans and recipes, because the portions for each suggested meal and snack are so prescriptive this is a reasonably low-calorie diet that will likely result in weight loss if one follows her plans. But why bother?

Bottom Line

This book contains a tremendous number of superfluous lists and rules, not to mention unnecessary "detox" regimens, which are continually changing. Dieters will likely become so overwhelmed they'll end up blaming themselves for not being able to stick to it. Instead flush Fat Flush for Life away before it flushes you.