Over the last 30 years anyone trying to lose weight will usually have been given the advice:

Restrict calorie intake and maintain a balance of complex carbohydrates (60%) protein (25%) and fat (15%).

Despite this advice the nation has been growing fatter and heavier with an increase in Type 2 diabetes.

New research has shown that this advice may well have been wrong. There is evidence which shows that continued intake of high carbohydrates eventually makes cells more resistant to insulin – the hormone produced by the pancreas to stabilise the blood sugar level.

This is particularly true of simple sugars from sodas and sweet fruit drinks which are more likely to cause swings in blood sugar levels and increase hunger for more sugar (simple carbohydrate).

In contrast fat is more satiating and saturated fats are actually good for the system and do not increase the good small particle cholesterol or triglycerides.

SO those of you who remember ‘fads’ like the Cambridge diet of the 80s using protein shakes to lose weight or have found how well the Atkins diet can work for many people need not fear the barrage of criticism from traditional nutritionists. However old ideas are hard to change and consumer advertising from food and drink companies will keep pushing the sweet carbohydrates.

Another recent dietary approach which is very promising and quite painless is the 5:2 diet; 5 days of the week on a normal diet and 2 days 600 calories maximum. You get used to the low calorie day quite quickly and it is easy to bear when squeezed between 3 days of normal eating.

See BJSM 2103 P Bruknervol 47: no 11,663-4

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