Some diets simply don't work. They're too restrictive about what pardticipants can eat or they require such a high level of exercise that an average individual can't maintain the routine long term. What if a diet came along that promised to target stubborn belly fat, but said you don't have to exercise and that a dessert of dark chocolate is just fine? That's exactly what the Flat Belly Diet promises. But does it really work?

Like other diets, the Flat Belly Diet does restrict the intake of certain foods, but it allows a bit more freedom and flexibility. This probably explains why it's gained popularity in recent years. The diet claims to focus on decreasing the unhealthy fat levels in participants. The two major fats in our bodies are subcutaneous, which is under the skin, and visceral, which forms around the body organs [source: Kovacs]. The Flat Belly Diet focuses on visceral fat, which is medically recognized as the most dangerous kind of fat [sources: Kovacs, Every Diet].

Cutting calories alone might help, but Flat Belly creators Liz Vaccariello, editor in chief of Prevention magazine, and Cynthia Sass, MPH, RD., believe the key to shedding the excess weight and visceral fat levels is the consumption of monounsaturated fatty acids (MUFA) in place of unhealthy saturated fats. Reportedly, by ensuring the existence of MUFA components in each portioned meal and snack, the diet targets the dangerous fat, allowing you to lose weight in just more than a month with little to no exercise [source: Flat Belly].

Participants often do see results, but many critics are skeptical as to whether this has anything to with MUFA. While the diet claims that belly fat is often the hardest to lose, many professionals disagree. In fact, it's said that when weight is lost, it's usually going to be from the belly [source: Zelman]. The Flat Belly Diet says MUFA will stifle cravings and reduce belly fat but there is little research to support this claim.

The Flat Belly Diet may be right for you if you're looking to decrease your caloric intake and eat healthier foods. To learn more about the specifics of the Flat Belly Diet, check out the next two pages. First up -- how the plan works.