The Detox Diet: Lose weight in 21 days

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The Detox Diet has been designed to stop us storing subborn fat around our middles. Not only does gaining weight on our tum make us miserable in front of the mirror, it's bad health news too.

Tummy fat contains high levels of hormones and chemicals, which is also linked to a higher risk of heart disease, stroke, diabetes and even some cancers. Experts all over the world are now busy researching how to fight it. As a result, they now know the best foods, drinks, exercises and more that can help reduce your middle spread fast. So we've combined all that expert research into a simple tummy slimming super plan to help you reclaim your curves.

What to eat Following our three week eating plan couldn't be easier. While it's fine to swap days or repeat them, don't swap individual meals as each day is calculated to ensure you get a mix of food groups, nutrients and calories.

If you really hate an ingredient on any given day you can swap like for like (ie, broccoli for spinach, or trout for salmon). Each day, also aim to drink two litres of no- or low-calorie fluid such as water, tea, coffee, herbal tea or diet drinks.

Plus, take a calcium supplement to switch on your fat burners - ideally one that is combined with vitamin D, as this maximises absorption.

Just 5 easy rules The first step of any tummy-flattening diet plan is to lower insulin and cortisol levels. The second step is to stimulate fat burning in the abdominal area. So how do you do that? You follow the five rules below...

1 Eat only low-GI starchy carbohydrates This means wholegrain breads and cereals, any pasta, new or sweet potatoes, basmati rice rather than white, or even brown. This naturally lowers the amount of insulin you produce and explains why in recent trials people on a low-GI diet for six months lost six times more fat from their middle than those eating a low-fat, high-carb plan.

2 Have a cup of black or green tea with a meal containing carbohydrates These interfere with the enzymes that break down carbohydrates, slowing their digestion and reducing insulin levels, but also cutting the calories you absorb from them by up to a quarter.

3 Eat at least one dairy food and one soy food daily Calcium in dairy foods has been shown to switch tummy fat cells from storing mode to burning mode. In recent trials from the University of Virginia, women given just one soy drink a day after menopause lost tummy fat, while women denied the soy didn't.

4 Fill half your plate with fruit and vegetables at lunch and dinner Particularly those packed with high levels of antioxidants like berries, dark green leafy vegetables and tomatoes. Studies by Fujita Health University in Japan have found the lower your antioxidant levels the higher your levels of tummy fat.

5 Have a portion of oily fish Or, alternatively, eat 25g (1oz) nuts, seeds, olives and avocado - or oils/other products made from these daily. The healthy fats these contain decrease insulin levels.

The diet plansThe diet recipes

Meet the diet expert Helen Foster, who created our fabulous little weight-loss plan, is author of many brilliant diet books.

If you have any health problems, always consult your doctor or health professional before starting any diet