Call To Change ‘Low Fat’ Advice in UK

Great blog post from Cytoplan this week about the increasingly-urgent call from experts and public health bods to change the advice UK citizens are given about eating fat. Why? Cos it just ain’t working, check this out:

Official guidelines on fat intake: Are we in need of a “major overhaul”?

Urging people to follow low-fat diets is having “disastrous health consequences”, a health charity has warned”….

Recently, this has been more in the public eye than usual as a result of a recent report by The Public Health Collaboration – titled “Healthy Eating Guidelines & Weight Loss Advice For The United Kingdom” (you can download the full report here) – which questions the healthy eating guidelines recommended in ‘The Eatwell Guide’, with the topic of fats (i.e how much we should be eating) at the forefront of the report….

Indeed, the report goes as far to say that “the advice to follow current healthy eating guidelines has resulted in 25% of adults being obese, the prevalence of type 2 diabetes doubling in 20 years, 35% living with pre-diabetes and 20% living with the early-stages of non-alcoholic fatty liver disease.”

See. If the advice was right, this just would not have happened. Sugar is a major culprit too – and some people believe it is an even bigger threat to our health overall than fat by a long way. I have long bemoaned the low fat lobby and I directly link it to mental health issues such as depression and brain illnesses including Alzheimer’s as we simply are not feeding our brains enough of the right fats.

The advice to go low fat has harmed us in my opinion and not just because of the rise in diabetes and obesity talked about here in this report. I suspect the need for the right fats in cell membranes and our barriers has had a major effect too – are they more permeable or leaky than they were because of it? I suspect so. Plus, fats are needed for prostaglandin production – and those control inflammation. Almost every disease has now been linked to some form of inflammation. I truly hold my head in my hands with this daft low fat advice.

Anyway, I like the recommendation here that people should be encouraged to eat fat but from good natural sources rather than from processed ‘low fat’ foods the industry has created to fit the niche created by such advice.

OK, I’ll stop ranting now. Do get a cuppa – green tea for heart protective antioxidants? – and sit and read this if you are still one of the low fat weight loss believers. I won’t say I told you so, even though I did about 15 years ago 😉

In fact, it reminds me of when I used to teach the Stop Dieting and Lose Weight cookery courses (remember those in Poulton le Fylde College anyone?). I used to fling olive oil, avocado, nuts etc into the recipes with gay abandon and simply loved the look of shock on participants faces. They had the last laugh too because every one of them lost weight and felt better in themselves. Nuff said.

Not low fat: good fat.

Diet Drinks Make You Fat

Haven’t I been saying this for years? I would rather you had a small amount of ‘proper’ sugar than kid yourself by drinking and eating lots of artificially-sweetened stuff!

OK, neither is good for you, but people do tend to think they can have more if a product says ‘low sugar’ on it or even ‘low fat’. If a product does say that, it invariably has artificial sweetener instead as they have to make you like it somehow. I literally groan inside when someone says: ‘it’s OK, I’m eating “healthy ready meals” or ‘”low sugar pop”‘. Aargh.

I debate with myself whether to say ‘well done’ or ‘Nooooooo. I’d rather you ate proper food, not processed!’. As a nutritionist, you don’t want to diss anyone’s attempts to eat more healthily, but in this case it is a bit Hobson’s Choice because I know that ultimately it won’t make a jot of real long-term difference and, in fact, will probably confuse the poor pancreas so much, it will be worse in the long run.

My advice is always to eat proper food, not messed-about-with food ie. processed and marketed to make you feel you’re doing something better. Invariably, you’re not. Sorry. If you want something sweet, have something sweet and enjoy it, but 80% of the time, eat properly and you will be far healthier than relying on ‘low sugar’ aka usually artificially-sweetened or so-called ‘low fat’ meals. ‘Proper’ food is low sugar and low fat most of the time: see my Low GL Lose Your Belly Fat’ diet here.

Ok, lecture over. Here’s the piece from WDDTY that started me off:

Diet drinks can make you fat


New Free Chopra 21 Day Weight Loss Meditation Starts Today!

You know how much I love these 21 days meditations from Oprah and Deepak (see, first name terms now!). Here’s the latest one which starts today. Follow the link to the free sample below and you can register for this new one for free there too.

Don’t forget, too, to read my Weight Loss 4 Step Programme factsheet here for more ideas and other programmes I rate. Note, step 4 is to do some form of hypnotherapy or emotional work – and this Chopra stuff counts. Do it – your body will thank you.

Shedding the Weight

You’ll take the first step to revolutionizing the way you look and feel in a lasting way with Shedding the Weight: Mind, Body and Spirit!

As you get ready for the life-changing experience ahead, we’d like to take a moment to share some insights to help you prepare:

  • Jump start your meditation practice. Enjoy this free sample meditation from our previous Experience, Become What You Believe, to get a glimpse of what’s in store.
  • Create your sanctuary. Choose a convenient time and a quiet, comfortable place for your meditations.
  • Make sure you won’t be interrupted. Let the members of your household know when and where you will be meditating. Or better yet, invite them to join you!
  • Set your intention. Intention is a powerful tool for transformation. Take a moment to ask yourself, “What would I like to manifest in my life over the next 21 days?”

During our time together, we encourage you to trust your journey and know that your meditations are unfolding just as they should be.

We look forward to meditating with you!

21-Day Meditation Experience Team

Paleo, Mediterranean or Nordic?

Interesting article today from Dr Michael Murray on the Nordic Diet that is taking the weight loss industry by storm currently.

The diet is based on wild foods, fruits, veg, plenty of fish, good oils and fats and some grains. People have been losing healthy amounts of weight on it. I’m not surprised as – minus the grains – that is my diet, and I am now a healthy size 8 with perfect body and visceral fat scores, yay!

I really like Dr Murray’s point, though, that it really doesn’t matter what you call the diet, or even the specific foods involved in it. Most good and effective diets have certain things in common, as he says:

The key point that I want to make is that if you look at the medical research on diet and health, there are some obvious principles that are common. Eat more whole, unprocessed natural foods with a focus on low glycemic plant foods and good oils including mono-unsaturated fats and fish oils; while avoiding overconsumption of meat and dairy. The research on the NDD mirrors that with two highly popularized diets – the Mediterranean Diet and the Okinawan Diet. However, I am 100 percent positive that healthful versions of the traditional Latino, African, Asian, Indian and Middle Eastern diets would also show positive effects on overall health as well as genetic markers of inflammation. Again, my point is that these diets are all very similar in food constituents, though they can differ quite significantly in the actual foods.

Here, here. I’ve always said it is the choices in the typical diets we make that make the difference; all types have healthier foods than others. For example, I’ve always thought having a curry is really good for you – depending on what oils you use and how you choose to cook it!

I like the idea I’m on a Scandi type diet – how cool!

Read the article here:

Move Over Paleo And Mediterranean Diet, Here Comes The New Nordic Diet

Sweeteners Make You Fat

Image result for sweeteners  I’ve been saying this for well over a decade now: artificial sweeteners trick the body somehow and lead to weight gain so the irony of people choosing ‘low cal’ and ‘low sugar’ food and drinks which contain artificial sugars as part of their weight loss strategy is not lost on me!

Today, I see WDDTY has done a special feature on the issue which makes fascinating reading. You have to be a subscriber to read the whole thing but here is a taster (pun intended!) here for you:

The discovery that artificial sweeteners (ASs) don’t help you lose weight wouldn’t be a surprise to anyone who kept up with the scientific evidence. As long ago as 1988, clinical trials showed that adding saccharin to rats’ water supply made them eat up to 15 per cent more food than rats drinking plain water.4

That same year, a Leeds University study found the same thing in people. Tests comparing ASs with sugar as sweeteners showed that the artificial ones increased people’s appetites, making them eat more food. Why? Probably because of  “the uncoupling of the sensory and energetic components of sweet solutions”, said the researchers.5

In other words, having tasted something sweet, the body expects, yet fails to receive, the promised energy boost, so it resorts to fulfilling the expectation by eating more food.

They go on to add that the sweeteners somehow affect glucose control and affect the bacterial balance in the gut:

So the apparent paradox of zero-calorie sweeteners causing weight gain is solved. They deliver a sinister double whammy: first a rise in glucose, which is then followed by hobbling of the glucose ‘antidote’ mechanism—two huge hits that can only result in weight gain—because, as we now know, the major cause of fat storage is not excess calories, but excess glucose in the blood circulation.  

In effect, the only sweetener recommended in the conclusion – and that’s probably because it is not man-made – is pure water-extracted stevia and not mixed with anything else. However, there are issues even with stevia, see my post here, for example, where I discuss the fructose issue with sweeteners too:

Agave – Healthy Or Not?

Meantime, do read the WDDTY feature if you can.

Sweet not-so-nothings

Which UK Area Has the Most Obese People?

New obesity figures released: Find out how your area fared
New figures from Public Health England were released just before Christmas that detailed the percentage of people in different local authorities who are overweight or obese. The fattest local authority with an alarming 3 in every 4 people being overweight or obese (76%) was Copeland in Cumbria. This compares to around 66% as a national average and the lowest percentages were found in Kensington and Chelsea (47%). This is still nearly half of the people in this one local authority who have a BMI of 25 or over. 

To find out the percentage in your area click here.

Source: Nutri ENews January 15
Don’t be one of the statistics! Check the Purehealth 4 Step Weight Loss Programme. It works. Simples.

Perfect Body Composition, By Accident!

English: Illustration of obesity and waist cir...
English: Illustration of obesity and waist circumference From left to right, as labeled in the original image, the “healthy” man has a 33 inch (84 cm) waist, the “overweight” man a 45 inch (114 cm) waist, and the “obese” man a 60 inch (152cm) waist. (image source) (image reference) Source: Report of the Dietary Guidelines Advisory Committee on the Dietary Guidelines for Americans, 2000. Infographic: FDA/Renée Gordon (Photo credit: Wikipedia)


As many of you know, I have been following quite a strict allergy diet for the last couple of years which is loosely Paleo-based, but a lot stricter. Currently, I eat loads of fish, healthy fats like olive oil, avocados and coconut oil, and tons of fruit and veg so quite balanced actually protein, fat and carb-wise, if a little limiting! Nothing else. No grains, legumes, nuts, seeds or meat.

Anyway, I decided this week to have a try on my Innerscan machine – the one I used to use in-clinic for those of you remember standing on it in the dispensary! Ok, it’s not perfect but I reckoned it would give me a good idea how I am getting along. So, here are my results. Very pleased with them I am too. I am showing you these to prove that you can get a perfect body composition with the right diet if you stick at it long enough – even if I have done it by accident as I wasn’t consciously trying.


Weight: perfect for my diminutive height at just under 8 and a half stone. I am now a size 8-10, where I was a 14  three years ago.


Bodyfat 25%. In healthy range for my age group, could actually do with being a bit higher, which can be useful for hormone production as we approach menopausal age (aargh!). More avocados and olives for me! Incidentally, 5 years ago, this was 36% and I couldn’t seem to shift it no matter what I did! Has certainly shifted now: an 11% drop!


Visceral fat (the yellow stuff around your abdomen that is the really harmful stuff) is 4. Healthy range is under 12 so happy with that. It was always under 12, but more in the 7-9 range so this is a good drop too.


Bear in mind with the fat scores here that I am actually eating a lot of fat day to day, mainly as olive oil, avocados, oily fish (4-5 x week)  and coconut oil, so this adds fuel to the argument that the issue with fat is where it comes from, not how much you are eating really; something I have always believed. Choose good sources and eat plenty of it – see the effect this has had on my hydration levels next, too…


Water 52%. This is an interesting one. For women, it should be 50-55%, men 60-65%. I could never get it over 45% before and I used to drink water like a fish. I can only conclude that my fatty acid levels are good enough now to metabolise water well enough. Most people with poor fatty acid levels find it difficult to stay hydrated. My increased good-fat intake I think may have helped here.


Muscle level. I am rated 5, ‘standard’ for my age/height etc. That’s good – you can go from 1 (hidden obese) to 9 (very muscular). 5 is exactly in the middle, hence the term ‘standard’. I used to be classed as ‘3 Solidly-built’ or ‘2 Obese’ even at my worst times, so this is a great shift too.


Bone mass is 4.6lb which is almost spot-on for my weight. If you weigh less than 110lb, it should be average 4.3lb; if 110-165lb, it should be 5.3lb; 165lb and over, it should be 6.5lb plus. My weight is 119lb currently so I think 4.6lb is OK, maybe could do with raising a little bit. To be honest, I thought it would be a lot less than that as I am computer-glued most of the day and don’t get anywhere near enough weight-bearing exercise currently.


Lastly, my metabolic age is calculated at 22! In other words, given all those statistics, my body thinks I am 22. What fun!


Makes me feel a whole lot better about being on a restricted diet, I can tell you!

The lesson we can learn in terms of weight loss, body composition etc is that you can do it and it takes time and effort, but look at what results you can achieve, even if you’re not thinking about it or consciously trying to diet. In fact, better if you’re not.

Low GL diet, highish protein, good levels of healthy fats, your carbs from fruit and veg, eat loads and see it as a way of life, which is what I do. I’m not saying that will work for everyone, or that I want people to be as restricted as me (heaven forbid), but the principles are good ones if you need to improve your body composition.

I do also have to point out that removing my allergens has drastically reduced my inflammatory levels too and I have always believed that a lot of the weight people are carrying around is actually inflammation-based swelling which, quite often, will not go until long enough off your specific allergens. I remember the day about 9 months after I gave up grains (my personal bete-noir), I woke up one morning and realised my wrists were back! I promise, it was that sudden. One minute fat around my bones, next gone. I assume the inflammation dropped sufficiently and I no longer needed the water-swelling protection (think of the swelling and redness you get when you cut your knee, for example: it goes when you have scabbed over and healed the skin underneath.) A theory anyway, but I like it.

Want to see how you’re doing? You can read the Weight Loss Factsheet on the site here and scroll down to Resources to find the machine I used. Use the various diet pointers there too for where to start: the Detox or the Belly Fat progammes.

Good luck! May your clothes all be tiny ones…!

Artificial Sweeteners Linked to Obesity and Diabetes?

Many of you know that I, and naturopaths in general, have been saying for years that artificial sweeteners confuse the insulin system and the body treats them the same way as sugar, we reckon.  Certainly, I have never recommended them in cases of diabetes or for weight loss. I have recommended certain ones like xylitol from birch in cases of candida where the xylitol can be used as a sugar substitute as it doesn’t feed candida.

Here today is a study published in Nature that suggests that the sweeteners may indeed be confusing the glucose tolerance system. Lot more research to prove it yet, but…

You can read the Nature abstract here:

Artificial sweeteners induce glucose intolerance by altering the gut microbiota

or a Guardian story about it here:

Artificial sweeteners may promote diabetes, claim scientists

Read more about the different types of sweetener here on Diabetes UK’s site – who may need to look at their recommendation of sweeteners again before too long then.