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The Fat Smash Diet: Smash or Crash?

By H.K. Jones

"Diets don’t fail people, rather people fail diets. The Fat Smash Diet is a program that will never fail you, if you open your mind to the great possibilities, believe in yourself and give a full commitment," says diet book author Dr. Ian Smith. "Fat Smash is about smashing the bad habits and demons of the past and constructing a new and improved you now ready to take on new challenges and passions while fully enjoying the gift of life."

Hmmm. Smash bad habits? Never fail? Improved you? "The Fat Smash Diet" certainly sounds promising. The question is: Is it a real smash or a real crash?

The Fat Smash Diet, featured on the VH1 hit show, "Celebrity Fit Club," where B-list celebrities compete to lose weight, is getting a lot of attention these days. So is the author of the diet who also happened to be the show’s hunky judge, Dr. Smith. But he’s not just your average handsome reality show judge. This Harvard graduate is also a medical contributor to ABC's "The View," a medical columnist for Men's Health magazine, and he sits on the board of directors of the American Council on Exercise. Like many diets, he breaks his into a four phase plan.

This phase lasts for nine days and limits your intake to only fruits and vegetables. This detoxification period is supposed to clean your body and mind of impurities. Dr. Smith says that people can lose anywhere from 6 – 10 pounds during this phase. He also has some nifty (a k a useless) suggestions to try during this phase, including "weigh yourself in the nude," "have someone photograph you a bathing suit" and "reduce stressful occurrences in your life."

After the 9-day detoxification you start to lay the foundation to a healthier way of eating and start to reintroduce many foods you missed during the detox phase, including 3 – 4 ounces of meat or seafood, along with oatmeal, yogurt, brown rice, cheese, cereal and egg whites. Portion control, not calorie counting, is stressed as a part of the foundation. This phase lasts for 3 weeks.

The next four weeks you start constructing an eating plan that incorporates the all the foods you love. Desserts, pasta, bread, etc., with a continued focus on quantity and moderation.

This is your life long approach to maintaining your weight; you have built a sacred temple of good eating habits. Now, you need to treat that temple with respect and honor. All foods are allowed, but you are warned that just because you have added all foods back, doesn’t mean that you can eat out of control. This final phase is about maintenance and self control.

[The Bad News] The Crash: The 6-10 pounds from the initial quick-loss phase of a weight loss regimen will simply be the result of severe calorie restriction caused by cutting out ALL food except low-cal fruits and veggies. Not to mention that a 9-day detox is unnecessary and downright unhealthy. Eating lots of fiber-rich fruits and veggies is a not a horrible idea, but you’ll be missing important nutrients like protein from lean meats, eggs, beans or peas and calcium from low-fat or fat-free milk or yogurt. Your body is designed to purify itself and will do the job it’s supposed to do if you eat a healthy diet

[The Good News] The Smash: Detox aside, anyone struggling to keep a healthy diet and regular exercise program can benefit from the reasonable advice Smith dishes out. His 90-day, four-phase program is designed to change your approach to eating and exercising by making lifestyle changes. The exercise advice (Smith "prescribes" 30 minutes of exercise, five days a week, in the initial phase of the program, and increases the activity in each of the remaining three phases) and diet recommendations (more fruits, vegetables, whole grains, seafood, lean meats, low-fat dairy, sugar substitutes and less sweets, refined grains, fatty meats, alcohol, fried foods, fat-laden salad dressings) are solid, if scarce.

H. K. Jones is a registered dietitian, freelance writer and nutrition professional based in Washington, D.C.