Zero Belly Breakfasts
THE Zero Belly Breakfast SECRET
Griddle cakes with freshly tapped maple syrup; fluffy scrambled eggs with cracked pepper and a fresh tomato; crunchy grits with whole milk and a biscuit; eggs Benedict and a Bloody Mary; the classic egg and bacon sandwich, made with crispy rashers; creamy Greek yogurt topped with fresh berries and dark chocolate.
Some people wake up to seize the day. I wake up to eat breakfast.
It’s my favorite meal of the day, and has been all my life—although my choices weren’t always the healthiest. As a kid growing up in the 1980s, I greeted every morning with my BFFs (that’s Breakfast Friends Forever): Cap’N Crunch, Count Chocula, and the Cookie Crook, literally pouring chocolate chip cookies into a bowl. By the time I was 14, I had a belly the size of my dad’s, carrying 212 pounds on my 6-foot frame.
I wasn’t alone.
The adult obesity rate has more than doubled since the 1980s, growing from 15 percent to 35 percent in the mid-2000s. It’s now at 35.7 percent—yes, more than one-third of Americans are considered obese, according to the National Institutes of Health. Obesity shortened my father’s life, and for most of my childhood I struggled with that extra 25 pounds as well. I figured it was my genetic destiny to be fat, too.
But like you, I got sick and tired of being sick and tired, and since then, I’ve made it my life’s work to learn everything there is to know about belly fat.
As the editorial director of Men’s Health, Women’s Health, and Prevention, I poured over the latest research about obesity, weight loss, and a longer life. My findings helped inform The Abs Diet, and while there, I wrote Eat This, Not That!, the first of a bestselling series that helped Americans make the right food choice—every time—in a world before there were calorie counts on every menu. Eat This, Not That! went on to sell 8 million copies, and lives on at eatthis.com, the most authoritative website anywhere about weight loss and nutrition. But I still wanted to know how to blast belly fat—for good. And that’s when I discovered that certain foods can target your belly specifically, especially if you eat them in the morning. That’s when I knew I had to write the Zero Belly series.
Turn Off Your Fat Genes—with Zero Belly
We all want to look good in a bathing suit at the beach, but there’s a far more important reason to lose that roll of belly fat creeping over your waistband: your health and longevity. Belly fat—or “visceral fat,” as the doctors call it—is the common link in almost every major life-threatening disease we face today, from diabetes to heart disease, from dementia to cancer.
That’s because visceral fat is like an invading army. It tries to take over your body by releasing compounds that erode muscle, damage your ability to manage insulin, and increase the levels of inflammation in your body. These three things not only put you at risk for heart disease, diabetes, and Alzheimer’s, but they do something else: They set you up for more belly fat.
By reducing the amount of belly fat you carry around, you will dramatically improve your chances of living a long and active life.
Easier said than done? Sure. Except that the new science of nutrigenetics—the study of how food and DNA interact—is making it easier than ever, and turning the odds of flat belly success in your favor. It’s this exciting new field of research that forms the basis of Zero Belly, the first program to eliminate belly fat, not through traditional calorie-restrictive weight-loss methods but by actually “turning off” our fat genes, altering our genetic destiny, and reversing the march of obesity and its related diseases.
Since introducing the series, it’s sold hundreds of thousands of copies and changed the lives of that many readers worldwide.
Because obesity is a worldwide epidemic. A study by Public Health England found that children there are eating half their daily allowance of sugar before they head to school. As a result, “a quarter of five-year-olds have tooth decay and nearly a fifth of children are already obese by the time they leave primary school,” reports the BBC.
How Breakfast Targets Your Belly
The solution for this worldwide epidemic is clear. It’s breakfast.
We’ve all heard the saying that breakfast is the most important meal of the day, but the author of that adage probably didn’t have doughnuts and Belgian waffles in mind when they said it. With so many high-carb, high-sugar options available in the a.m., breakfast is often the cause of our low energy throughout the day as well as our expanding waistlines. Instead of reaching for a starchy snack that will give you a quick burst of energy and cause you to crash later, enjoying a meal that combines protein, healthy fats, and slow carbohydrates will help your energy levels stay stable all day and won’t undo the hard work you’ve done to achieve your Zero Belly.
The studies prove they work. New research from universities around the world have come to the conclusion that eating a healthy, high-protein breakfast every day—like the kinds found in Zero Belly Breakfasts—leads to weight loss and prevents obesity.
In one, published in the American Journal of Epidemiology, scientists evaluated the relation between eating patterns and obesity, over a four-year period, for nearly 500 participants. They found those who ate regular meals throughout the day, including a consistent breakfast, lost more weight than those who didn’t, while “skipping breakfast was associated with increased prevalence of obesity.” (What’s interesting was that where you eat breakfast also made a difference. Those researchers found that if you ate breakfast at home, you’d lose more weight.)
That’s why Zero Belly Breakfasts is so important. The recipes contain a unique approach to weight loss that attacks belly fat in three ways.
First, they light a fire under your metabolism, triggering your body’s natural calorie-burning mechanism—a mechanism that specifically targets belly fat. Zero Belly Breakfasts unleash the power of protein, fiber, and healthy fats to burn calories by encouraging lean muscle growth and maximizing the thermogenic effects of eating—in effect, burning more calories by eating more great food.
Second, Zero Belly Breakfasts attack inflammation throughout the body by triggering your digestive system’s natural defense system, shrinking bloat, easing digestion, and flattening your stomach with shocking rapidity. While the diet plan isn’t strictly dairy-free or gluten-free, these meals substantially reduce your intake of lactose (the naturally occurring sugar in dairy), gluten (the protein found in wheat), and animal-derived saturated fat, and they will eliminate inflammation-causing additives.
Third, this program turns off your fat-storage genes by focusing on nine power food groups that are linked directly to the emerging science of how nutrients in food influence gene expression.
And these breakfasts are simple to make, with ingredients you already have at home. To wit:
•A study published in Plant Foods for Human Nutrition found that eating oatmeal aided in weight loss, improved liver function, and got hip-to-waist ratio into a more desirable territory.
•Scrambled eggs are one of the easiest ways to enjoy a protein-packed breakfast without a ton of preparation. A study by the International Journal of Obesity found that consuming eggs at breakfast helped participants lose 65 percent more weight.
•Protein-rich quinoa provides a nutty, slightly crunchy texture that works well with the soft sweetness of berries, bananas, and baked apples.
Other cookbooks can help you lose weight, but only Zero Belly Breakfasts places a bull’s-eye on the fat cells that matter most. The result: weight loss that is easier, faster, more lasting, and more delicious than you’d ever imagine.
FOUR WAYS breakfast is best
Enjoying a delicious Zero Belly breakfast every morning will help you quickly strip away flab in a number of ways. Here’s what makes Zero Belly Breakfasts so effective:
They Help You Keep the Weight Off
Science proved it. Of people who’ve lost 30 pounds or more, 80 percent kept the weight off by eating a high-protein breakfast every day, according to a study done by the National Weight Control Registry, who concluded that “eating breakfast is a characteristic common to successful weight loss maintainers.”
They Help You Eat Less
A study in Obesity found that eating a high-protein breakfast led to “the prevention of body fat gain, voluntary reductions in daily intake, and reductions in daily hunger.” Meanwhile, skipping it leads to eating more food throughout the day—and unnecessary weight around your midsection.
They’re the Most Important Meal of the Day—for Fat Burn
Your mom was right. “People who eat their largest daily meal at breakfast are far more likely to lose weight and waist line circumference than those who eat a large dinner,” reported researchers in a 2013 study from Tel Aviv University titled “Eating a Big Breakfast Fights Obesity and Disease.” “They also had significantly lower levels of insulin, glucose, and triglycerides throughout the day, translating into a lower risk of cardiovascular disease, diabetes, hypertension, and high cholesterol.”
They Taste Amazing!
And you won’t believe how hearty they are. For example, steak and eggs may seem like a rich combo, but they can also be a part of your quest to banish belly fat, thanks to the high protein content of this satisfying meal. Choose a lean cut of meat and you can enjoy this low-carb breakfast without concerns over its heart-healthiness.
Regardless of your health history, your lifestyle, or even your genes, Zero Belly Breakfasts will give you the power to flatten your belly, heal your body, soothe your soul, and wake up happier than ever!
YOUR ZERO BELLY CHEAT SHEET
“Crazy busy.” There’s no escape from it. No matter who you ask—family, friends, colleagues, retirees—everybody seems to be “crazy busy.” You’re crazy busy, too. That’s why we made Zero Belly Diet easy to follow and simple to practice. If you’re new to the program, here’s an at-a-glance guide to the Zero Belly principles, the diet plan that will flatten your belly, turn off your fat genes, and help keep you lean for life. (And if you would like a turbocharged version of the program, check out the “Zero Belly BreakFAST” chapter!)
SUBJECT: Number of Meals
GUIDELINE: Three meals, one snack, and one Zero Belly Smoothie per day.
SUBJECT: The ZERO BELLY Foods
GUIDELINE: Each of the meals and snacks is built around the 9 ZERO BELLY Foods, each carefully selected for its micronutrient content. Every meal or snack should have protein, fiber, and healthy fat, derived from one of these sources:
Zero Belly Smoothies
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)
SUBJECT: Portion Size
GUIDELINE: While most diets center around controlling calorie intake, Zero Belly focuses on maximizing your intake of key nutrients. When you eat protein, fiber, and healthy fat, you’ll crowd much of the junk out of your diet and control your hunger and calorie intake naturally.
SUBJECT: Secret Weapons
GUIDELINE: Smoothies. You’ll find some in this book, and 100+ more in Zero Belly Smoothies, and it’s in these delicious drinks that the principles of Zero Belly come together so brilliantly. Each of the smoothie recipes combine the Zero Belly Foods into high-nutrient meals that are ready in just 90 seconds, and each combines protein, fiber, and healthy fat to ensure you’re always highly fueled and never hungry.
SUBJECT: Nutritional Ingredients to Emphasize
GUIDELINE: Protein, fiber, healthy fats
SUBJECT: Nutritional Ingredients to Limit
GUIDELINE: Dairy, wheat gluten, added sugars. (Note: Zero Belly is not strictly dairy-free or gluten-free. But because these can cause bloating and inflammation in some people, I’ve made sure that the entire program can be done without either ingredient. Each of the recipes in this book is gluten-free and dairy-free.)
GUIDELINE: Limit yourself to no more than two or three drinks per week to maximize the benefits of the program. Because of its high concentration of resveratrol, a compound that helps turn off fat-storage genes, red wine is the best choice
SUBJECT: Exercise Program
GUIDELINE: To turbocharge the weight-loss effects of Zero Belly, I’ve created the Zero Belly Workouts, a unique full-body fitness experience that builds abs while simultaneously toning your entire body. The complete Zero Belly Workout plan is found in Zero Belly Diet.