WHEN it comes to fat loss, it can be hard to know which “experts” to trust.
Everyone has their own methods and theories about the best way to slim down.
But one person it might be worth listening to is Dr Michael Mosley.
He’s the guy who brought us the 5:2 diet and he’s now written another book called The Fast 800, How to combine rapid weight loss and intermittent fasting for long-term health, which he uses to advise other health care professionals on how to help their overweight and diabetic patients.
He claims that 800 calories is the golden number when it comes to successful weight loss.
But he’s got a bunch of other tips too:
1. Eat a Mediterranean diet
“My main food principles are to stick to a broadly Mediterranean diet, one that is rich in fruit, vegetables, and has plenty of olive oil, nuts, fish, eggs and of course some red wine,” Dr Mosley tells Healthista.
“The Mediterranean diet has long been hailed as the world’s healthiest diet and it’s easy to see why.
“It is full of an abundance of fruits, vegetables, whole grains, legumes, nuts and healthy fats such as olive oil.”
The Meditteranean diet was named the best diet in 2019 – beating things like keto and WW.
It’s amazing for heart health – as well as for sustainable fat burning and lean muscle gain.
According to scientists at Sheffield Hallam Uni, “at least in the short-term, the Mediterranean diet improves significantly the availability of nitric oxide in our veins and arteries – which is important to maintain the good health of our vascular system”.
Writing in The Conversation, the study’s author, Markos Klonizakis, said: “So as far as reducing cardiovascular disease risk, our work suggests that it is probably better to look for a solution in the Mediterranean diet”.
2. Snack on chocolate
It might sound off for a diet doc, but Dr Mosley’s favourite treat is chocolate.
But he’s not nailing bars of Dairy Milk – it’s strictly the dark stuff he’s after.
“Chocolate is considered a super food when consumed in its purest form,” he explains.
“If you do find yourself craving something sweet after dinner, choose dark chocolate. High-quality dark chocolate with at least 65 per cent cocoa is lower in sugar and rich in antioxidants.”
Dark chocolate is also great for reducing bloating because it’s rich in magnesium.
One 2010 study found that PMS sufferers who took a combination of magnesium and vitamin B6 (found in eggs, bread and chicken) found their symptoms “significantly decrease” – leading scientists to conclude that filling up on the two vitamins was an effective treatment for cramps and bloating.
Someone pass the Green & Blacks…
3. Have a curry for your cheat meal
Despite believing that the UK’s biggest downfall is takeaways, he says that his favourite meal is curry that’s full of healthy spices.
“Spices used in Indian cooking are known for their brain-protective properties. The popular spice turmeric has always been a popular signature spice of Indian food.
“It’s a powerful anti-inflammatory agent full of antioxidants.
“Recent evidence now shows that it also helps protect against memory loss and dementia by keeping our neurons healthy as we age.”
If you make curry yourself, it doesn’t have to be calorific or fattening at all.
Simply reduce the oil content, choose lean proteins and lots of veg and go for a tomato-based sauce rather than a creamy one (sorry, korma and butter chicken fans!).
Dal is also incredibly nutritious and low-calorie.
As well as being inflammatory, spicy foods have been proven to help us burn more body fat.
Scientists from the University of Aarhus, Denmark, found that capsaicin (the chemical that gives peppers their spiciness) can increase metabolism and body temperature by altering the activity of a muscle protein called SERCA, which was forced to burn energy rather than storing it.
“In a review of twenty studies, when capsaicin was included in the diet, an extra 50 calories were burned each day – which over time may help to induce weight loss and prevent weight gain as part of a calorie controlled diet,” dietician Helen Bond told us.
“Other small studies show other spices such as mustard and ginger, may help burn calories or improve satiety (feelings of fullness) so we eat less. All good news for adding spices to our foods, ditching the salt pot and encouraging all-round healthier eating habits.”
4. Breakfast on eggs
What does a diet expert have for breakfast? Scrambled eggs.
“My breakfast would usually consist of eggs, sometimes scrambled with some smoked salmon, or a turmeric omelette,” says Dr Mosley.
5. Drink more water
“Drink plenty of water, two to three litres a day,” Dr Mosley advises.
A lot of the time when we think we’re hungry, we’re actually thirsty.
So drinking plenty of water should help to distinguish exactly what your body needs.
However, Virgin Breakfast Show host Chris Evans has said recently that his weight loss is down to ditching all drinks around mealtimes.
He says that he doesn’t drink anything 45 minutes before or after a meal, and that that has significantly improved his digestion and ability to go between meals without snacking.
“45 minutes after a meal you really do want to drink, and if you eat four to five hours apart you drink right in the middle, and so that keeps you full,” he said recently.
6. Eat within a 10-hour window
Beyonce, Liv Tyler and Ben Affleck are all fans of intermittent fasting.
The concept is super simple – limit the number of calories to a certain timeframe.
The key to weight loss is reducing your calorie load and that’s a lot easier if you’re not grazing from the moment you wake up till the minute you hit the hay.
Dr Mosley recommends setting yourself a 10-hour window – which is more generous than some IF programmes.
All that means is that if you have your breakfast at 10am, you finish your last meal at 8pm.
7. Try consuming 800kcals for the first few days
As a believer in the magic 800 calories, Dr Mosley recommends eating that amount every day for the first couple of weeks.
800kcals is really low so it’s definitely not something that is sustainable or a good idea if you have any history of disordered eating.
It’s probably going to involve you largely filling up on ultra-low calorie veg and doing a lot of intermittent fasting.
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Dr Mosley’s Fast 800 plan is essentially a low-carb Mediterranean style diet that he claims doctors have used to help patients lose weight, reduce blood sugar and reverse type 2 diabetes.
You can find out more here.
This article first appeared on Healthista
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