Diet me Arse

May 11, 2013 by

As I write this post there is yet another “diet” being talked about on the radio.  This time it’s the Alkaline Diet. To be honest I switched off as soon as the dietician started describing it.

I always remember when studying nutrition as part of my food science degree, a lecturer saying to us that when you go on a diet your metabolism actually slows down.  This is due to the sudden drop in calories.  Your brain sends warning signals to all the various organs and metabolic processes to slow down and conserve energy in order to hold on to reserves.  He described it a bit like when you are low in petrol in your car you slow down and coast downhill.

So I knew the latest fad fasting diet of cutting down severely on calories for two days was a non-runner from the off.  However, it has been proven that occasional fasting is good for you but it is only beneficial as part of an already low calorie diet and not a burst out of the blue.

I used to have a really fast metabolism and was always able to eat like a horse and still remain slim. But in the last few years this ability has deserted me.  Also I have a real sweet tooth which has got a lot sweeter in recent years and a love of baking. A fatal combination.

But four weeks ago I decided to do something about the excess winter layer that piled on.  I am lucky I have a good scientific knowledge of nutrition and I also do a lot of reading about latest thinking and advances on nutrition.

Two major changes have come about recently.  The first is to do with fat. Fat is no longer the enemy that it was made out to be.  Eating a normal amount of fat means you actually feel full and eat less.  It is also a source of vital fat soluble vitamins. Saturated fat such as butter and the fat found on most meat is beneficial.  Polyunsaturated and monounsaturated such as olive oils also contribute to a balanced diet.  The one fat to avoid and indeed eliminate completely from your diet is hydrogenated fat.  This is a chemical process whereby a cheap liquid oil is hardened by adding hydrogen to make it solid at room temperature.  It is found mainly in processed foods including biscuits, cakes and your sliced pan. 

The next big change is sugar and particularly refined white sugar.  Avoid at all costs.  I have changed almost completely to unrefined muscovado cane sugar.

A few years ago I dallied with Weightwatchers but when I heard the crazy, inaccurate nutritional information they were dishing out I left in disgust. They were recommending all their own products packed with hydrogenated fats and other nasties.  They also recommended using a chemical spray to fry with rather than a teaspoon of olive oil or even butter. 

They advocated severely restricting nuts, avocados and bananas all terrific sources of vitamins and minerals.  And they banned wine apart from of course their own Weightwatchers brand.  Enough said.

To date and four weeks down I have lost 5.5kg or 12lbs.  I have eaten three meals a day and if hungry in between meals have eaten handfulls of nuts and a banana with a glass of water.  When you eat nuts, drink a glass of water, you feel full for ages after.

For breakfast I have a bowl of porridge with muscovado sugar and full fat milk. As well as a freshly squeezed orange and tea. I used to only buy low fat milk now I use full fat.

For lunch two eggs either boiled or poached with sourdough toast or salad which includes either cous cous or another carbohydrate.

For dinner no change from normal apart from slightly smaller portions and plenty of vegetables.  I haven’t changed the way I cook, as in I still use oil to fry with.

If hungry before bed I eat more fruit and or nuts.

I have also made a discovery and I stress this may only apply to me. Wine makes no difference.  As in I have still managed to lose all this weight by allowing myself wine at the weekend.  I actually think that if you drink too much alcohol, what causes the weight gain is the false appetite it causes or the “munchies”. 

So forget the ridiculous diets and eat sensibly. Do not cut out fat, but do cut out refined sugar and indeed refined carbohydrates such as white bread and pasta.

And for heaven’s sake enjoy a glass of wine or two at the weekend.

Tags: Diets  Alkaline Diet  Fasting Diet Healthy Eating Irish diet  Weightwatchers  Wine diet

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