I’ve always believed that a healthy diet is very important, but as I’ve grown older it has become even more important to me. I want to live as long as I can and I want to be fit and healthy, therefore, I am very aware of my weight and the effects of the food I put in my body.
For the last couple of years I have followed Dr Gundry’s Diet – sometimes strictly and at other times in a more relaxed way. With this diet basically you cut out carbohydrates so all meals consist of meat or fish and leafy green vegetables and you get to drink two glasses of red wine a day! It definitely works very well for weight loss but also for health benefits. It was devised by a heart surgeon for patients who weren’t well enough to undergo surgery. It’s quite extreme and not for everyone though and you have got to really love vegetables!
Last weekend though my wife came home with a book she’d picked up in Sainsbury’s – The Fast Diet. There’s been a lot written in the press about this diet after the Horizon programme – Eat, Fast, Live Longer was aired last year. Dr Michael Mosley investigated the benefits of fasting, not for weight loss but because of the health benefits and life extension. He was 55 and mildly overweight, like most of us! His father had died in his early 70s of complications associated with diabetes.
Whilst making the documentary he had an MRI scan. This revealed he was thin on the outside but fat on the inside. This is the most dangerous sort of fat, visceral fat, because it wraps itself around your internal organs and puts you at risk of heart disease and diabetes. He also had blood tests which confirmed he was heading towards diabetes with a really high cholesterol score.
Dr Mosley followed conventional advice but it made little difference. He discovered that intermittent fasting had massive health benefits and trialled his own version – the 5:2 Diet. After three months on the diet he had lost 19lbs and his blood indicators had improved massively. So much so that his wife – also a doctor – was astonished. She regularly saw overweight patients with a blood profile similar to that of her husband’s and none of the advice she had given them had made anything like the difference that the Fast Diet had made.
The science behind the diet is that animals out in the wild have periods of fast and feast. This is also how we are genetically programmed. Our bodies and our genes were forged in an environment of scarcity, punctuated by the occasional massive blow-out. These days we eat all the time! Dr Mosley’s research found that fasting can improve mood and protect the brain from dementia and cognitive decline. It reduces IGF-1 thus reducing your risk of a number of age related diseases such as cancer. It increases insulin sensitivity which reduces your risk of obesity, diabetes and heart disease. And you lose weight!
One way to check your BMI – a predictor of your likelihood of developing heart disease, is to measure your waist around your belly button. Your waist should be less than half your height. In a study of over 45,000 women followed for 16 years the waist to height ratio was an accurate predictor of who would develop heart disease.
Are you convinced yet? Are you concerned about your weight? Do you want to stay healthy so that you can enjoy your retirement? Either way, READ THE BOOK! This is just my synopsis. For less than £4 I suggest you buy it and make your own mind up. I’d suggest it’s money well spent.
SO WHAT IS THE FAST DIET?
Basically, for 5 days a week you eat normally and for two days a week you fast. It doesn’t matter which two days you fast – whatever fits in with your lifestyle. On your fasting days you are allowed 500 calories for a woman and 600 calories for a man – a quarter of your normal daily allowance. You should try to consume food that makes you feel satisfied i.e. high in protein with a low glycaemic index. You consume these calories in two meals. This can be breakfast and dinner or brunch and dinner. You can drink tea and coffee without milk and are encourage to sip water throughout the day.
I’m trying it. My wife has already started it. We have several friends who are on it – some for weight loss and some for the health benefits. If you decide to try it please let me know how you get on with it. And good luck!
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