The Flat Belly Diet is currently the hottest you gotta do this one! eating plan. Six pack abs are dreamy, but apparently the stress of the 2008 presidential election has us all packing on the beer bellies and love handles. Since there isn't much time for us to take it off before holiday parties make it even worse, people are all over this quick fix diet -- you'll supposedly see results in the first four days.


The catchy name: Flat Belly Diet

The story: Written by the editors of Prevention Magazine, the Flat Belly Diet book and website are user-friendly, and the plan is easy to follow. There is also a membership program, which you can join for a fee, on the site.

There are plenty of inspirational before and after stories, supported by the "proof" of pictures. It's a "painless" way to lose weight without all that annoying exercise or hunger pains. You get a strong sense of, "If these fatties can do it, so can I!"

The Flat Belly Diet is built around eating MUFAs (MonoUnsaturated Fatty Acid) with every meal, which are supposed to fill you up and satisfy your cravings for fat. You eat four meals a day, each of which must include a MUFA, and never go more than four hours without eating. This also helps you avoid diet-busting cravings.

You don't have to exercise, although they do point out that you'll get better and faster results if you do. It's just not mandatory.

The scrawny celebrity dieter: Rachel Ray had the authors on her show and touted the "no cruches required" aspect of the diet. It's also been featured on Good Morning America and the Today Show.

The anti-diet propaganda: It's based on the style of meals eaten in the Mediterranean, so it's a way of life. A sunny, blue water, sunbathing on the Riveria kind of life. Fish! Nuts! Olive oil! Dark chocolate! Where's my yacht?

The regime: Eat 400 calorie meals 4x a day. Include a MUFA (MonoUnsaturated Fatty Acid) in every meal. Since these good fats are in certain oils, olives, nuts like almonds, avocados and dark chocolate, no problem, right? In fact, delicious!

Our judgment: Cutting your cals down to 1,600 a day will make almost anyone lose weight.

We must admit it's a healthy framework for building menus, the recipes are sensible (you can order the Fat Belly Diet Cookbook now!) and the more you follow them the better you will get at eyeballing portion control.

But everyone knows there is no such thing as spot loss. If you lose weight, you lose it everywhere. Your belly is just a very visible spot. Plus, all of the weight will come right back the minute you up your calorie intake, especially if you're not exercising.

Can't hurt you to try this one, but just know that it's not quite the magic bullet the marketing portrays it to be!