The 7-Day Belly Shrinker

Which foods help depoof your tummy, and which increase the bloat, pudge, and "little extra" peeking over your waistband? Learn the surprising research, then dig into our exclusive —and delicious — slim-your-middle plan.

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You know the feeling: After weeks (or months) of reaching for comfort foods or second helpings, you only want to wear clothes that have an elastic waist. That's why we created a quick and effective plan to trim everyone's problem area. It's designed to give you an immediate flattening effect by eliminating sneaky foods that go by the acronym FODMAP. You'll feel less bloated after a week, and you'll lose a little fat, too, thanks to an eating plan based on whole foods and sane portions. Got more winter belly fat to drop? Keep the clean eating going right into swimsuit season.

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Quick science lesson: FODMAPs (short for fermentable oligosaccharides, disaccharides, monosaccharides, and polyols) are a class of carbohydrates found in a variety of foods. They pull water into the small intestine, which can make you feel as if you've got a beach ball attached to your midsection. Worse, once these FODMAPs reach the large intestine, they get broken down by bacteria and begin to ferment, filling the belly with extra gas.

Your "poof" factor depends on your tolerance level: Some people's digestive systems can handle these carbohydrates better than others'. One way to find out if FODMAPs could be causing your tummy troubles? Try limiting them for a period of time, says Maya Feller, a New York–based registered dietitian who created this seven-day diet exclusively for The Good Life and The Dr. Oz Show. It's a healthy menu overall and low in calories to help you lose a few pounds, if pudge is your main issue. But it's also low FODMAP to deflate your belly fast.

The FODMAP foods you'll take a vacation from include fructose (in some fruits, honey, and high-fructose corn syrup); fructans (in wheat, onions, and garlic); polyols (in sweeteners and some fruits); lactose (in milk and soft cheeses); and galactans (in beans and legumes). You're probably thinking: Wait, aren't a lot of those foods healthy? You're right. That's why you should reintroduce them (slowly) after the week is up.

Along the way, you may identify a couple of bad guys that make it hard for you to button your jeans, and decide to keep them off your regular shopping list. The editor of this story discovered, for example, that onions and pears caused instant tummy inflation, while other high-FODMAP foods didn't wreak as much stomach havoc.

In this plan, you'll find recipes for a full week's worth of meals. Pick from the breakfast, lunch, and dinner options; mix and match to your heart's — and belly's — content; but don't skip meals. Part of your success relies on never letting yourself get famished. There are also optional snacks for hunger prevention between meals.

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The Magic of Seven Days

What can you expect after a week? An altogether happier tummy — with less unpleasantness on the inside and less bulk on the outside. You may notice that your skirts feel looser; the average 160-pound woman may shed 1 to 3 pounds, says Feller. (Of course, the heavier you are, the quicker the pounds tend to come off.) And while you're ditching your tummy shapewear, you'll also be putting yourself in an eat-right mind-set to last all summer.

What's Off the Menu?

The FODMAP diet was first developed by scientists at Monash University in Melbourne, Australia, and nixes the foods below, which are high in a class of carbs that lead to tummy troubles in some people. For a full list, go to monash.edu.

  • Onions, garlic
  • Asparagus, beets, broccoli, Brussels sprouts, cabbage, cauliflower, mushrooms
  • Milk, soft cheese, ice cream, dairy yogurt, coconut milk
  • Beans, lentils; pistachios
  • Wheat/rye breads; pasta
  • Avocados, apples, mangoes, pears, stone fruit, watermelon
  • Honey, chocolate, high-fructose corn syrup

Your Flatter-Belly Foods (A.K.A. What's Allowed on This Plan)

  • Leafy greens, bell peppers, radishes, corn, carrots, squash, tomatoes, potatoes
  • Beef, chicken, fish, pork, tofu (must be extra firm), eggs
  • Hard cheeses like cheddar, feta, or Parmesan
  • Almond milk
  • Bananas, pineapples, berries, grapes, kiwis, lemons, limes, oranges, tangerines
  • Seeds and nuts (except for pistachios; in the case of almonds, limit to 10 pieces)
  • Wheat- and gluten-free bread, pasta, and cereals (such as oatmeal); corn tortillas; quinoa
  • Olive oil, cider or rice wine vinegar (for balsamic, limit to 1 Tbsp), mustard
  • Herbs, spices, salt, pepper, table sugar

This story originally appeared in the May 2017 issue of Dr. Oz The Good Life.

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