Which diet advice is to be believed?

(405 Posts)
TheDeadlyDonkey Fri 24-May-13 17:09:16

I've started reading John Briffa's Escape the Diet Trap. It makes for very interesting reading, but has made me question the usual run of the mill low fat type diet advice.
If Briffa is to be believed, low fat diets are unsustainable and can contribute to ongoing obesity issues and increasing the risk of diabetes.

I've also recently heard that if milk is to be drunk, full fat milk is better, as the majority of vitamins and minerals are in the fat.

I'm also hearing varying reports on cholesterol, and how it maybe isn't playing the dangerous role that many drs are telling us.

So, after DH's stroke (which wasn't in any way a lifestyle issue) he has been advised to be cautious and cut down on fat and use benecol spread and yoghurt drink (I have read that these aren't good for you, but can't remember where, could have been on here)

So when there is so much conflicting advice, who do you trust? What do you believe?

John Briffa's book is really convincing, quotes trials, uses scientific charts etc, and makes sense.
I myself have struggled with low fat diets, and failed more times than I care to admit.
I am in no way qualified to interpret scientific trial data (along with the majority of the population) and am growing more and more confused about the conflicting advice that is out there.

I'm not really sure what I'm expecting from this thread, but I'm interested to see what others think about this, and who you trust when it comes to diet advice?

Trill Fri 24-May-13 17:11:04

I know who not to believe: anyone who claims to "know the answer".

Anyone who understands science will always hedge their suggestions with "as far as we know" and "the latest evidence indicates", and will frame their suggestions as just that, suggestions.

HalfSpamHalfBrisket Fri 24-May-13 17:15:31

I trust no-one!
I used to do the low fat/ wholemeal thing - and despite hard work in the gym 4-5 times a week I was still pushing 15 stone.
I swapped to low carb (via Pig to Twig) and have happily been maintaining between 10-11st for the past 3 1/2 years. I do not feel deprived or hungry, and my cholesterol is low.
I would much rather eat 'real' food (butter) rather than artifical crap (marg). I think the current government advice is crap.
However, I will continue to read research and keep an eye on developments, even though I am a fan of Brigffa at the moment.

HalfSpamHalfBrisket Fri 24-May-13 17:16:15


sooperdooper Fri 24-May-13 17:16:36

The only diet advice I truely believe is that everything is fine in moderation, having a healthy balanced diet of fresh fruit & veg, some fats, some carbs, some sugars etc, plenty of water to drink and you'll be fine

Also, being healthy isn't just about what you eat, you need to get some exercise too

I don't believe in faddy diets or cutting out particular things, like carbs or whatever, everything is fine as long as you don't eat just one thing and your diet is varied and portion sizes are right

YoniRanger Fri 24-May-13 17:17:10

I think a good rule of thumb I'd to eat food. Not chemicals, additives and low nutrient refined carbs.

Low fat tend to equal lots of processing.

The less non food in your food the better.

SoleSource Fri 24-May-13 17:17:36

Low carb, fat, sugar, red meat diet

sooperdooper Fri 24-May-13 17:17:58

Crossed posts but I agree, I'd rather eat real butter than low fat marg that's full of god knows what, anything with a lot of addititives I don't like, I'd rather have a little real sugar than a lot of artifical sweetners

Trill Fri 24-May-13 17:18:03

Also don't believe anyone who talks about "vitamins" in general rather than in the specific.

Nutritional content of milk (data from United States Department of Agriculture)

Very similar on the vitamins side - skimmed milk in the US has vitamin A added, which is why it comes out as having more vitamin A than full fat.

I have tried them all. With varying degrees of success but have always put back on.

I have now lost over 3 stone (gradually) and still losing. The secret?
Eat less.
Move more.

That is it.
I hope that doesn't come across as smug. It didn't mean to at all.

boxershorts Fri 24-May-13 17:21:53

Slimming is a multi million pound business (no pun intended) Best to find your own answers; unless you need to join a club for social purposes

TheDeadlyDonkey Fri 24-May-13 17:24:12

I agree Trill, but every book I have ever read knows the answer (including Briffa's - although it does make more sense and seems more doable than others). Every dr knows the answer - eat less and do more (which Briffa disputes), yet the nation is still getting fatter, so somewhere, somehow, someone has it wrong, but is still sticking with their advice.

PigeonPie Fri 24-May-13 17:24:31

Having also read Briffa's book I am persuaded by his argument but have also been interested in Michael Moseley's Horizon Programme fasting 2 days to 5 normal eating.

We have completely cut out margarine since I read Briffa's book as I really couldn't face it any more, and it has made me think more about what we eat.

I do agree, though, that everything in moderation is a good maxim and we also try to buy as good a quality as we can afford.

HelenMumsnet (MNHQ) Fri 24-May-13 17:27:08

Hello. We're going to move this lovely thread into our new weight-loss chat topic.

HelenMumsnet (MNHQ) Fri 24-May-13 17:27:44

It must just be a discussion of the day, too wink

chocoluvva Fri 24-May-13 17:34:06

We all need a small amount of saturated fat, some mono-unsaturated fats and some poly-unsaturated fats. We tend to consume too many poly-unsaturated fats ('vegetable' oil, sunflower oil etc).

Don't let him have anything with hydrogenated vegetable oil (trans fatty acids).

Or anything with glucose-fructose syrup.

Keep the refined carbohydrates to the bare minimum. That includes food made with white flour, white rice and/or sugar. Wholegrains are fine.

Watch his salt intake.

AlanMoore Fri 24-May-13 17:34:59

I think probably something that mirrors the ww2 diet but with real eggs and less national bread. They seemed a healthy bunch and there are loads of old folk still around who ate the rationing way.

I support eating clean, when you want to choose the healthy lifestyle, its not always a priority for me and so I don't always eat clean. However it is what makes the most sense to me. I also believe that realistically humans are herbivores and not omnivores and that one of the healthiest lifestyle choices to make is going meat and animal fat free.

I eat junk food, I LOVE junk food, but I acknowledge its total crap and when I eat processed food I eat the real shit like Haribos, Cheap Frozen Pizza, and neon drinks.

Otherwise I don't buy or eat junk, on days where I eat crap I do, on days where I don't I don't at all.

So when I eat clean I try to eat only 'original' foods such as fruit and veg, where I can quite clearly see that yes this is a carrot and it has no other ingredients than carrot or have foods which (and this is part of the eat clean advice) have a maximum of 5 ingredients, all of which I know what they are.

TheDeadlyDonkey Fri 24-May-13 17:37:17

A few years ago, I joined slimming world (and weight watchers the year after) I lost weight, alongside others, yet I put it back on, along with 90% of those that lost it.
Does it all boil down to the fact that diets work but people are weak willed, or is it that the diets work, but are destined ultimately to fail by the majority of people who try them because they are unsustainable? is it a diet issue, or a people issue?

chocoluvva Fri 24-May-13 17:39:42

Organic milk usually has higher levels of omega 3 (one of the essential fatty acids) than non-organic milk.

Soluble fibre such as found in oats is considered useful for cardiac health and has a low glycaemic index so is useful for appetite control.

A small amount of protein with every meal helps regulate blood sugar control which is useful for weight management.

Loads of soup (without a ton of cream) and plenty of salad and veg + wholegrain carbs, veggie forms of protein, fish,lean red meat and chicken should comprise almost all of his diet.

TheDeadlyDonkey Fri 24-May-13 17:39:58

Choco - we tend to avoid processed stuff anyway and white bread etc.

I'm confused by the advice on carbs - are they good or not? Some say whole grain is fine, others say any grains are bad - how do we know who is right?

TheDeadlyDonkey Fri 24-May-13 17:46:20

The 5:2 diet, on the one hand, I've read how amazing this is - not just for weight loss, but to improve health etc, yet every GP I've mentioned it to (to be fair, only 2, but also other HCPs) says how bad and faddy it is - is this their opinion, or is there research out there to back up their advice.

Chislemum Fri 24-May-13 17:47:01

My view - unless you have some allergy or hormonal imbalance - Northumberlandlass is right: eat less, move lots, drink water, try to eat veggies and fruit, not too much fat, not too many carbs, bit of protein and keep an eye on overall calories. I think the odd fast day makes sense too so your body can digest everything properly. Everything else is rubbish.

ppeatfruit Fri 24-May-13 17:47:06

I have followed Dr. Peter D'Adamo's advice about the Blood Type which made and still makes a load of sense to me about the fact that we are all different and some of us do better with some saturated fat (O types) in our diets than others (A types) i have always hated red meat and DH has always loved it.

chocoluvva Fri 24-May-13 17:53:59

Refined carbs release their energy/are digested and 'in' your blood very quickly which results in a spike of insulin to lower the resulting high blood sugar. That then results in a slump in your blood sugar later which leads to cravings for refined carbs.

Also, they have little in the way of nutrients and indeed use up a lot of our stores of chromium (possibly zinc).

Diets high in protein and very very low in carbs are difficult for your body to deal with. (I'm not absolutely sure why - animal protein tends to have and acidifying effect on our blood - whereas most fruit and veg are alkalysing). Wholegrain carbs contribute to good moods. We need some but not very much.

Apparently many grains are thought to be contaminated with some cyto-toxins which some people are more sensitive to than other people. It's also possible to eat a large volume of (any) carbs and therefore consume a lot of calories. As grains, even wholegrains tend to have a higher glycaemic index than food that has a higher protein content and salad leaves and raw or lightly cooked veg (in general) they tend to contribute to cravings for more carbs.

Useful carbs are barley and quinoa - super healthy with all the amino-acids we need, unlike other non-animal sources of protein.

AvonCallingBarksdale Fri 24-May-13 17:56:22

I lost 3 stone a few years ago, essentially by really improving what I was eating - so much more fresh fruit and veg, no snacking in between meals, lots of water and controlling portion sizes! I've put about a stone back on and, seeing as I'm doing the same amount of exercise, I'm attributing that to an increase in portion sizes and snacking. I've taken my eye off the ball, but summer is coming hmm, so I'm going to get back on programme again.

PigeonPie Fri 24-May-13 17:56:27

Well, re 5:2 diet, DH and I were convinced by the Horizon programme and so started in August.

Earlier this month DH and I took part in the Oxford Biobank project and as part of this had our bodies scanned for fat levels. Whilst I had a 'normal' amount of fat around my bottom and legs which is the best place to have it, I had very minimal around my organs (which is great). Of course, I don't know what it was this time last year, but I suspect, it would have been a lot higher.

I only had about 6kg to lose and I have lost it very gradually and now usually have one fast day a week.

But I am very pleased with my fat levels.

apatchylass Fri 24-May-13 17:56:28

I mistrust any diet that recommends cutting out major food groups.

Sensible eating is the only plan that makes sense: avoid overly processed foods and don't over eat. Have plenty of veg and fruit, with complex carbs and protein. Exercise. Drink lots of water.

When I read Paul Mckenna it reminded me of how I ate naturally in my twenties when I was never overweight - just trusted an inbuilt gauge of how hungry I was and what would satisfy the hunger.

I know a lot of people who are really happy on the low carb diet, but it makes no sense to me. A friend is on it and also trying to train for a very hard sports event. She gets so weak and hungry. I keep telling her to have some carbs as they release fast energy needed for physical exercise.

TheDeadlyDonkey Fri 24-May-13 19:59:37

When you're doing the 5:2 diet, how do you get though the fasting days without fainting? And on the days you eat normally, do you really eat normally, or do you have to control your inner pig?

loubielou31 Fri 24-May-13 20:14:06

Whilst the programme was annoying there was some interesting stuff on the "Fat Family Tree" thing on C4 last night. The bit about exercise hindering fat absorbtion into the blood stream was eye opening. And that some carbs (although it looked mostly like pulses) and oats help you feel fuller for longer because as well as taking longer to digest than more refined carbs they also ferment in your large bowel. This produces gas which whilst perhaps not overly pleasant has an extra effect on you not feeling hungry. It was interesting.

Wiifitmama Fri 24-May-13 20:14:48

I think you have to spend some time looking at what works for you as an individual. There is no one size fits all way of eating. You can take some of the advice as true for everyone....don't eat processed foods, eat lots of fresh foods as close to nature intended as possible, and move more. But everybody's body is different and reacts differently to food. Some people are fine eating grains (not processed white grains which are not good for anyone) but others are sensitive to them and it makes them bloat and gain weight. Some people do better with meat protein, while others do better with protein from non-meat sources. No book will tell you about your own body. Take the general advice about improving your diet and moving more and then find out what works for you.

For what it's worth, I have ranged from fat to clinically morbidly obese since I was quite a young child until a few years ago. I did every diet out there. They all worked to some extent. And I gained the weight back each time. Not because the diet was bad, but I went back to crappy eating. A life time of dieting did two things for me......one, it killed my metabolism and made my body so screwed up that it doesn't react to food and eating the way a person who has never dieted does; two, it has taught me so much about my body. I know exactly what I can eat and not eat, what makes my IBS flare up, what makes me gain weight etc. I lost all the weight (110 pounds) a few years ago by doing what I know works for me. I have maintained it by doing what I know works for me. I will maintain it in the future by doing what I know works for me. But underlying all of what I do is the basic principles of eat less, eat naturally' and move more.

NaturalBlondeYeahRight Fri 24-May-13 20:18:09

I don't know but three doctors (GP's) know hardly ever eat carbs. Think there must be something in it. I cannot convince my DH though, he's been sucked in by the benecol brigade.

CooEeeEldridge Fri 24-May-13 20:18:52

Eat less, move more. It really IS that simple.

fuzzpig Fri 24-May-13 20:45:29

It's a complete minefield and I find it fascinating and frustrating in equal measure.

I have never been tempted to crash diet as I know it won't work (seen my mum go through them all) but now for the sake of my/my family's health I am focusing mostly on getting more variety of good foods and seeing it as a positive experience. DD (5.11) has taken especially well to this, there seems to have been a recent healthy eating mini topic at school and she loves it, her range of veg has tripled, she is loving nuts and seeds and is finally enjoying fish.

And I totally agree about processed food being something to reduce. It would be quite easy to go through a whole day without eating any 'whole' food at all and only eating processed food as it is just so available and cheap.

PigeonPie Fri 24-May-13 21:17:19

The 'eat less, move more' is fine if you're reasonably able bodied. The only 'sport' I can do is swim, which I try to do once a week. However there are days when even the short walk to school is a struggle for me.

I have used 5:2 to reduce the weight which was starting to creep up after having the DSs. I intend to use 6:1 now to maintain it as, because of my immobility I am a prime target for obesity which ends up being a downward spiral.

Re the feeling of hunger on a fast day: I have breakfast and then have a Bovril for lunch and a small supper with the DSs at 4.30 (can't have it any later atm as they are such slow eaters and bathtime is still 6pm). I drink two coffees (one for breakfast and one at my desk) and then drink water for the rest of the day.

Some of it is, I suppose, mind over matter, but I don't generally have any problems and the waves of hunger pass quite quickly.

LentilAsAnything Fri 24-May-13 21:21:04

If you have Netflix, some good documentaries re diet/healthy living are:
Fat, Sick and Nearly Dead
Forks Over Knives.

cuppateaanyone Fri 24-May-13 21:36:57

Reduce portion sizes, eat a sensible, balanced diet including things you like and excersise, it's worked for me, I weigh the same as I did 20 years ago.

I think that problem is that diets do work, people do lose weight but because they are such an artificial, unsustainable way of eating that it is impossible to follow a diet forever and at some point you have to start to eat normally. Since diets don't tend to teach you anything about healthy eating (look at how much crap WW and the like try to flog as low fat/low sugar this and that) the weight goes back on again. Result - 90% of people put the same weight back on and often more.

I am surprised doctors are so sceptical about 5:2. I first came across fasting or ultra low cal diets whilst studying a psychology course on the effects of ageing on the brain. There are numerous studies out there show that restricting calorie intake reduces the effects of ageing on our health but most people can't sustain that sort of discipline - we are talking 1000 calories a day which is extremely hard. The Alternate Day diet about 3 or 4 years ago was working off that the back of that research but still pretty hard to sustain (I know I did it for about 5 mths and lost 2 st but couldn't keep it up if I had to eat with the family more often than once a day - too hard to lead a 'normal' life) and now the more recent 5:2 dilutes it even further and says that you need only fast for 2 days a week. I would be more sceptical but the health benefits are still there apparently as evidenced by decent research.

You can easily get through the fasting days without fainting (so long as you aren't diabetic or have some other disorder) because we don't actually need to eat as often as we are lead to believe. Plus you get used to it and you aren't doing a total fast, you are able to eat something. If you chose wisely you can eat quite a lot on 500 calories. Lean meat and loads of salad and veg don't actually add up to much in terms of calories but can be quite filling.

But ultimately, eat less move more is the way to go. Portion control and only eating when hungry and keeping an eye on your carb and fat intakes and you should be OK. As somebody up thread says Paul McKenna has the right idea although to maximise his plan you need to listen to the CD and get hypnotised! Not to for everybody but generally the rules for eating are bang on, it is psychological aspect that is his USP.

Samu2 Fri 24-May-13 21:41:57

Can I just give some general tips?

I lost 5 stone. If I could go back in time I would do two things.

1) I would not have lowered my cals as drastically as I did. When you get to goal you are going to have to lower them even more and if you start off like I did you are going to struggle towards the end as you just can't realistically lower them

2) Heavy weights.. read 'The New Rules of Weight Lifting for Women' we do not need light weights, we need to lift as heavy just like men. This will burn fat more than cardio will and will go a long long way with helping loose skin

As for diet, less sugar, good lean fats and less carbs. Also, I found having one day a week where I ate crap like burger and chips helped keep my on track and also kept my metabolism guessing. I would gain a few pound then two days later I would always lost it plus another pound. You need to keep things changing, calories and exercise.

These days I eat way too many carbs as I am a fussy eater. I seem to be maintaining, threw my scales out two weeks ago as I was being too obsessive but I have maintained for almost 2 years by smaller portion sizes.

Samu2 Fri 24-May-13 21:48:03

lost it= lose it

Must learn to preview my posts grin

I am very worried that I am no longer maintaing now I threw my scales out but it was the advice I was given from the GP and my personal trainer. I am very anxious I am gaining but realistically, with my new work out schedule I shouldn't be.

I became a slave to the numbers and it put me off going to the gym incase the numbers didn't change which can often happen when you increase muscle and lose body fat when you are a healthy weight. They had to go.

MollyNollyNoo Fri 24-May-13 21:54:51

Eat less, move more.

Don't diet, just eat a good diet. Never go hungry.

Remember that sugar ages you.

Eat good fats, some are good for you, all in moderation of course but you can lose weight and still eat nuts and have oils (I use good oil )

Eat high value calories...i.e if you are going to eat a 500 cal meal, make sure that it is made up of food that will keep you full for as long as possible and will give your body a gradual release of energy instead of a quick shot of energy that will leave you feeling tired and hungry after an hour. If the food that you are eating has other health benefits too, then all the better. Same for snacks.

I eat brown rice, past etc. I found it weird tasting at first, but now I prefer it.

MunchingCow Fri 24-May-13 22:00:57

DH has a degree in human nutrition, he was told at the beginning of the degree to prepare for everything he's learned to be turned on it's head in a few years time...

Basically eat a balanced diet, stay away from chemicals in your food (aspartame, e-numbers), stay away from processed food (esp processed meat) and eat lots of fresh fruit, veg, fish & whole grains.

MistyB Fri 24-May-13 22:02:22

I am at very least intolerant to wheat and dairy and an immunologist I see with my DC's believes (and has large scale studies to back up his thoughts) that intolerence to grains and dairy is linked to many health conditions. He has shared his recommended diet which involves eating 65% of food intake at breakfast including eggs, which inhibit the absorption of other cholesterol, lots of raw oils including olive, borage, walnut and coconut, lots of oily fish, protein at lunch with vegetables, salad / vegetables in the evening. He recommends that the majority of the population would be healthier eating like this. This paper makes interesting reading.

amazingmumof6 Fri 24-May-13 22:12:12

weihht watchers always worked for me.

other things I believe are necessary or beneficial if you want to be healthy:
lots of water, good sleep, laughing and smiling a lot, some exercise (walking is perfect for me), forgive and forget, hugs, being organized, some level of daily peace and quiet, prepare for the worst & hope for the best. smile

chocoluvva Fri 24-May-13 22:20:35

MistyB cured meats are known to be carcinogenic. Also smoked foods. The nitrites in processed meat such as bacon would not have been available to paleolithic man.

I'd be surprised if there isn't some truth in the theory that many people don't digest grains and dairy well. Modern grains are different from the ancient grains such as spelt. After decades of eating food that has been treated with pesticides or containing traces of antibiotics and growth hormones and too much sugar the intestinal bacteria becomes overwhelmed with rogue flora and fauna resulting in poor digestion, insulin resistance, deficiencies in vitamins and minerals.

HumphreyCobbler Fri 24-May-13 22:28:56

I think eating actual FOOD, without lists of things you don't know what they are in the ingredients and not much processed food is an excellent way to eat. Briffa is a good starting point for that. Also In Defense of Food, another excellent book.

I do feel I want to point out that low carbing does not mean no carbing, I ate more healthy salad and veg than I ever did when doing a low fat diet.

Fat doesn't make you fat
Sugar makes you fat and HUNGRY

HumphreyCobbler Fri 24-May-13 22:40:25

how true Norks.

Cutting out sugar can only be beneficial.

MistyB Fri 24-May-13 23:07:03

Also interesting that there is a trend to attempting to cure tooth decay and remineralise teeth which includes avoiding grains, drinking bone broth, increaing mineral intake writing by Weston Price and Ramion Nagel. Similar to the GAPS diet and Gut and Psychology Syndrome.

PS: absolutely, nitrates are not recommended by Myhill.

cafecito Sat 25-May-13 00:25:43

it's really very simple. intake must not exceed energy expended out. re food groups, minimising carbs is just really the same as minimising sugar intake. sugar causes insulin to spike which causes a variety of things eg in particular adipocytes to uptake glucose for storage, to bring your blood sugar back to normal. It really is that simple. so low GI carbs are good, no super surges of sugar as the only thing that can be done with it is storage, and if you don't use it = fat. you need some sugar though, as without it you start to enter ketoacidotic state which can be very harmful after a while. Furthermore you have an absolute requirement for glucose.
So - sensible, wholegrain carbs/veg. The only book you need is a basic one on cellular metabolism, no diet fad just understanding what your body does with what you put in it

Kyedecmy Sat 25-May-13 06:50:05

Losing weight is never just plain sailing is it .. I v like 99 % women have tried every fad, diet, plan, even worked for a very well known weight loss company , but you never know what lies beneath..
With just turning 40 last year , I couldn't drop a pound - ( 2 stone overweight btw) and I really had to investigate ...I found food intolerances , insulin resistance the lot ... I know it's not every body's cup of tea but I completely changed the way I eat , I dropped ll the rubbish carbs , ate quite low carb but ate GOOD carbs, ( veg , salad, etc , ) loads of water , lean meat, half fat cheese, nice dairy, it's so lovely ...
I have energy , skins awesome, and most of all I m already 16 lbs down , I not do sugar and high carbs anymore , ( the insulin kick in roller coaster stopped me losing weight ) ..
Frustrating really after years of calorie counting. Points, green red days, starvation, 5:2, ,,, it truly is WHAT u eat , sugar and bad carbs wreak havoc on the body ....

HumphreyCobbler Sat 25-May-13 07:24:00

I do find it very dismissive to have the way I eat dismissed as a fad. I eat healthily, without touching processed carbs or refined sugar. It is not a fad.

Kyedecmy Sat 25-May-13 07:29:09

It's definitely the best way to live humphreycobbler , I think people panic and think what no carbs without seeing what healthy , unprocessed carbohydrates actually are ... I have never felt better ....

TheDeadlyDonkey Sat 25-May-13 07:44:20

I love the idea of low carbing, and be quite irritating evangelical about it, but I can't get my head round not having a bowl of porridge in the morning, and no potatoes or rice.

I've had a quick read of the 5:2 diet, and might give it a go.

Nettee Sat 25-May-13 08:00:08

I lost 2 1/2 stone on slimming world - I think it is a good and healthy diet and quite easy to stick to. However - once I got to target I stopped doing it and have started rebelling and eating all sorts of rubbish and am gaining again.

I have read Dr Briffa's book and think some of the things he says make sense but it is still a diet despite what he says.

I have also read Alan Carr's easy way to lose weight and think he makes sense too (although he does say some unfounded and outlandish things) but the basic point is to eat food that we like that humans have been eating for thousands of years.

Recently I have read beyond temptation which is more like the Paul Mckenna approach and I think this is probably what makes the most sense. Eat what you fancy when you are hungry and stop when you are full. Sadly I struggle with maintaining the focus to do this also.

All these things work if you are highly motivated and stick to them. The problem is (for me anyway) how you behave when you are not focussed on losing weight. I think we need to change our mindsets completely and not put food on such a pedestal. Eat all things in moderation and lots of real food as part of that mix.

Exercise is also good but in relation to weight loss it does not have very much effect.

juneau Sat 25-May-13 08:00:41

I think the main problem is that we've forgotten how to eat and how much we really need. Overeating is the main reason why so many of us are overweight as, for most people who don't have some underlying issue, it's a very simple sum of calories in minus calories out. We eat calorie dense foods that simply didn't exist before and we eat far more sugar than we need. In addition, most of us live really sedentary lives. We don't work in fields or chase down our dinner any more - we drive to work, sit in a chair, drive home again and sit in front of the TV. It's not coincidence that during WWII, when rationing was in place, the population was much, much healthier than it is now. People didn't overeat, because they weren't able to, they dug their own gardens, walked everywhere, etc and they were much healthier for it.

So I don't follow fad diets. If I can see the needle on the scales creeping up, I cut down. I do have skim milk, rather than whole, but small amounts of good, nutritious food is much healthier IMO than lots of processed and artificial crap. Benecol? Yuk! I'd rather spread some honey straight onto the bread, or have a small scraping of real butter.

BsshBossh Sat 25-May-13 08:01:05

TheDeadlyDonkey I've lost 5 stones since last year, first of all doing bog-standard calorie restriction using MyFitnessPal and then doing 5:2. Throughout this time I've eaten full-fat everything; I hate the cardboardy taste of low-fat/diet products. But I don't have heart/stroke issues so I've not been worried about eating butter etc - so ref your DH I can't advise. But 5:2 is very easy for me - hunger is nothing to be feared - also on non-fast days I am trying my utmost not to snack between meals and this is helping. Good luck to you and yours.

Nettee Sat 25-May-13 08:01:35

Oh yes and I have a very brief go at the 5:2 diet as it does sound great but I felt so ill and weak for about 48 hours that I am not planning to attempt it again.

BoffinMum Sat 25-May-13 08:13:39

The primary piece of evidence out there of universal relevance and usefulness is what Norks said. Stop eating refined sugar. It transforms anyone's eating.

There is another quote going around:

Eat food
Not too much
Mostly plants

Which is bound to help as well.

MyThumbsHaveGoneWeird Sat 25-May-13 08:21:36

Has anyone mentioned this book yet?

Fat chance: the butter truth about sugar by Robert Lustig

I am only about half way through but am loving it. He's a paediatric endocrinologist with many years of experience treating obesity in children. It's very scientific but also very readable. He says that basically refined sugar (fructose) is as toxic as ethanol and that the low fat push of the past 30 years was a terrible mistake because people increased sugar consumption to compensate. Lots more in it too though about how insulin and leptin work and how hormones, addiction and environment drive behaviour.

Nettee Sat 25-May-13 08:26:34

I am also quite convinced that artificial sweetners are to be avoided and sugar is better than aspartame. When I cut them out I find the taste of fruit improved significantly.

TreeLuLa Sat 25-May-13 08:26:52

I used tobthinkmi had a serious food addiction. Wasvconstantlybtrying to losevweightbwith low fat diets. Often succeeded with great effort, but always re gained the weight.always hungry.

Am now following Low carb, real food diet and am transformed. Have lost 18lbs since Jan, not hungry as my blood sugar is stable.

TreeLuLa Sat 25-May-13 08:27:22

Oops. Sorry for errors.

Talkinpeace Sat 25-May-13 11:02:07

Thin people do not snack.
Thin people stop eating when they are full.
Thin people serve themselves smaller portions.
The vast majority of thin people skip meals.
I am now a thin person.
5:2 got me there last December and keeps me there very easily.
I will continue with 5:2 for the other health benefits for the rest of my life.
It is not a "diet" it is a different way of eating.

Beechview Sat 25-May-13 11:11:02

I think most people would lose weight if they just gave up snacking and had a normal portion of decent home cooked food

chocoluvva Sat 25-May-13 12:19:01

I can't see that virtually no carbs is a good idea - the argument about paleolithic diets having almost no carbs is doubtful IMO - what about tropical countries with the bountiful supply of fruit? Or in cooler climes - nuts?

Trills Sat 25-May-13 12:19:50

Thin people do not snack.

Not necessarily true.

Thin people stop eating when they are full.

Not every time.

Blanket statements of "this is true" are the thing that I object to most.

HumphreyCobbler Sat 25-May-13 12:26:07

paleo diets would not have been no carb. They would have been without processed grain, sugar and large amounts of fruit though.

chocoluvva Sat 25-May-13 12:41:39

Even the fruit thing is debatable though - would there not have been a glut of fruit while it was in season then virtually nothing for the rest of the year.

Studies have shown that thin people are much more likely to consume fewer calories than overweight people of the same height and build. But that is often/sometimes because they have higher levels of the hormones that tell you you're feeling full.

I don't think overweight people should be made to feel that they're weak-willed or greedy when they are surrounded by unfilling yet highly calorific food designed to be eaten instantly and make you crave more of it.

ppeatfruit Sat 25-May-13 13:05:13

Deadly are you asking about healthy diets or diets for weight loss? Sadly these are not always the same thing. I mentioned the blood type upthread and if you go on their FB site there are many people who've been cured of many ills by it. I'm the only 62 yr old i know who's healthy and I've been on it for 14 years.

For weight loss though the Paul Mckenna Way of Eating is very good.It concentrates on HOW we eat rather than what so removing the stress which surrounds the calorie counting and weighing (as well as the shxx diet food) on more 'normal' diets.

TheDeadlyDonkey Sat 25-May-13 13:12:11

I'm asking because everything I read or hear about either healthy diet or weight loss diet is conflicting.
I'm confused by drs telling us one thing (eg. low fat, less red meat) yet another dr writing a book tells us low fat is bad, red meat is fine and actually helps the body function better.

I have read stuff about cholesterol that makes me believe that GPs advice is outdated and in some cases could cause more harm than good (use benecol, take statins), but like I said, I'm no expert and in no position to interpret the latest medical data on the subject.

I do like the idea of a PMcK approach - how you eat rather than what you eat, and think it could result in a far healthier relationship with food.

Willowisp Sat 25-May-13 13:21:50

I followed a low fat, high carb vegetarian way of eating for years. I was always hungry & although fairly slim had high cholesterol (not sure what the Hdl/LDL ration was). I also craved sugar.

About 10 years ago I read the Zone book, which had a ratio of 30 fat/30 carb/30 protein & started eating chicken. I felt better, less hungry & stayed as slim without struggling. I didn't follow it religiously, but kept within the boundaries.

After a horrible time on AD's I messed up my eating & gained about 1/2 stone. Switching to lower carb, higher fat way of eating saw me drop the excess pounds & feel fab.

So, IMO low fat is crap, doesn't fill you up, you don't get the mouthfeel from foods, so always looking for other things to eat (usually sugar).
High carb raises your blood sugar, so again, always hungry, always poking around for nibbles.

I'm very conscious to ensure my DC eat healthily. They drink non homongenised full fat milk, eat foods that have homemade stock in them. Eat red meat, organic eggs, a couple of bits of fruit, nuts. I've just started adding organic liver to meatballs & they also eat salmon a couple of times a week. Everyone is slim, strong & healthy compared to me who lived on cocoa pops, white bread & turkey burgers & was <sigh> a chubby child.

The Diet Deluision by Gary Taubes is a very interesting read, as is the Weston A Price www.westonaprice.org/basics/dietary-guidelines

ppeatfruit Sat 25-May-13 13:29:22

The deadly the Blood Type answers your question about no one diet being correct for everyone because we are all different. So what suits me wouldn't nec. suit you because e.g. I'm an A type secretor and maybe you're an AB non secretor.

lljkk Sat 25-May-13 13:41:30

I am middle aged with BMI around 21. I snack all the time!! Terrible for my teeth, but no harm to my weight. My teeth are a bigger stress to me than my weight.

There are lots of Food gurus nowadays, it's bewildering. I try to shut most of it out.

Things I believe:

Fruit and veg are good, I try to bulk my diet out on them. I tend to think that if I bulk up on F+V the other things tend to fall into place by themselves.
Even dried fruit & fruit juice are good in moderation.

High sugar / high salt / high animal flesh / high wheat / high fat: need to be moderated.
Eg: full fat milk fine daily, shop fried chips daily not so good.
No fear of carbs as a group.
Hidden sugars are especially bad.
A lot of people eat wheat all day and don't seem to think that's weird. confused Wheat, especially bread, is so jolly convenient, I have to work harder to minimise that than anything else.
I don't like health-gimmick foods (vitamin fortified, probiotic type things) .

Artificial colours / flavours / weird ingredients like diglycerides are bad, but I am not going to stress if I ingest a little.

Transfats are very bad and I strongly avoid. Most veggie oils have solvent residues so am trying to cut down.

Milk production is horrible to cows and I would in my highest ideals like to go milk free.

Because I love my small portions, I can have whatever I want as long as I make the portions sensible.

My dad was diagnosed pre-diabetic and his official diet guidelines now look a lot like how I eat.

lljkk Sat 25-May-13 13:44:23

And one other thing, which increasingly I suspect is very important:
Food should be enjoyed, so you have to take your time and eat in a peaceful environment. Eating on the run all the time or maybe even more than occasionally, is a disaster for our relationship with food and our bodies. It's a bizarrely philosophical thing for me of all people to say, but I think peaceful eating might be key to heaving a healthy relationship with food, body size, etc.

Talkinpeace Sat 25-May-13 13:44:34

but you are snacking instead of large meals, rather than between large meals ....

MarshaBrady Sat 25-May-13 13:49:01

One of best things to avoid is diet low fat food. Pretty much anything marketed as diet food.

Go for fresh, unprocessed food instead.

Talkinpeace Sat 25-May-13 13:57:38

the main tips I give to people starting on 5:2 are
- if it has more than ten ingredients listed : leave it in the shop
- if you do not understand why an ingredient is there : leave it in the shop

compare the ingredients list of plain simple yoghurt (4%fat) and any 0% fat yoghurt ....

ppeatfruit Sat 25-May-13 13:57:46

True IIjkk also eating slowly and consciously makes a huge difference to your digestion; it helps you not to overeat because you get to know your FULL point and then (importantly) on Paul Mckenna you STOP eating grin It's amazing how little food we actually need to feel full!

ppeatfruit Sat 25-May-13 14:00:32

The other thing the conscious eating does is makes you realise how disgusting a lot of high sugar junk food is! So you eat more healthily because you WANT to!

whowherewhen Sat 25-May-13 14:07:12

Don't follow any diet advice - it doesn't work!!

Do your own thing - 3 meals a day but smaller portions - use a smaller plate.
If possible - cook your own food starting with fresh ingredients.
Eat plenty of fruit and vegetables.
No snacking - don't have crisps, biscuits, sweets etc. in the house ( do allow yourself a few treats though!!)
Don't rush meals - eat slowly.
If possible - exercise more.

You need a good balance of everything.
It's as simple as that and has worked for me.

ppeatfruit Sat 25-May-13 14:09:54

Yes Whowhere but also drink plenty of filtered water when you're thirsty but not too much!

whowherewhen Sat 25-May-13 14:10:58

Yes ppeatfruit - forgot the drinking bit!!

rockerrock Sat 25-May-13 14:12:23

I used to have issues with food.

Now I don't. I had cancer a few years ago, and I now look at food as medicine and fuel. These days I am much more likely to worry that I ate a non organic chicken and put hormones and assorted junk into my body than worry about the calories in it.

You cannot see food as just calories to lose/gain weight. You have to see it in the whole. Some high-calorie food is incredibly good for you (avocados, peanut butter etc) so to only count calories might bring your weight down but won't help your body in other ways (immunity, hair, skin etc).

In the same vein, don't exercise just to lose weight. Exercise to strengthen your heart and lungs, to develop muscle so that you're strong, to reduce your cholesterol levels. Get your body into good shape.

Eat wholesome food, lots of fruit and veg and do not eat junk or too much red meat. Don't use 'I'm got PMT' or 'I've had a bad day' as an excuse to put crap into your body.

I get shocked at the threads on here of people's diets or meal planning: people's weekly menus are meat pie, spag bol, cottage pie, pizza, fish and chips. Heavy, stodgy stuff lacking in goodness.

Think about what your body needs and give it to it.

lljkk Sat 25-May-13 14:15:18

I have large meals, too, I love my food so much I will only eat when hungry so that I know it will taste twice as good, and only when I can sit down peacefully for a spell. So I can get very hungry before I get around to eating.

But if you know you can eat again whenever you like then it's easier to stop the moment you feel full. I think I am good at delayed gratification, that part is hard-wired, maybe.

I mostly drink teas made from tap water too (don't claim to have great skin, mind).

rockerrock Sat 25-May-13 14:16:59

And don't go too long without eating. Snack if you need to, but good stuff, not crisps/biscuits etc. Have a banana if you're genuinely hungry. Going too long without food ruins your metabolism.

Talkinpeace Sat 25-May-13 14:24:16

as somebody who does 24 hour fasts 2 or 3 times a week, every week for many months, I have to utterly disagree with your assertion.
Intermittent fasting has been around for many years - it is part of Buddhism after all
show me the evidence that fasting damages your metabolism.

ppeatfruit Sat 25-May-13 14:25:23

rocker the reason I'm on the Blood type (sorry to go on about it grin) is because Dsis and Dgran. had cancer so I decided to do the best i could NOT to get it!

lljkk Sat 25-May-13 14:47:16

PPEAT do you have a favourite website for the blood type diets?
I first heard about them about 25 yrs ago & their advice never fit that well.
Also apparently the Japanese all think we're shifty types. hmm
So I am enormously skeptical, but then again I am always open-minded & willing to reconsider.

I am AB+ (the useless blood type), my mom was probably A (loved her meat, mind) & dad probably B.

ppeatfruit Sat 25-May-13 15:01:00

lljkk well I bought the Encyclopedia; I go on facebook which has sites for specific Types. ABs are quite lucky in that they can eat some meat and dairy and potatoes. DD2 is AB but takes no notice hmm . I'm hmm about the 'personalities' of the "types" but `I like it because you can personalise your supplements and exercise IFYSWIM.

I know that if you've been eating the 'wrong' foods for your type it takes a while for your body to get used to the correct foods; they talk about that on Facebook.

Xenia Sat 25-May-13 15:05:48

All you really need to know is - if man made it, don't eat it. Everything else follows from that.

Most British people do not eat enough protein and veg or good fat for that matter and huge amounts of junk foods and drinks.

Just ditch anything processed and you'll be fine.

amazingmumof6 Sat 25-May-13 16:02:27

xenia huh?

so what do you eat?

I'm guessing hardy anything.

I mean you can't even eat a sandwich or a soup - even if YOU make it, you have to throw it away...because it's made by a human!confused

lljkk Sat 25-May-13 16:11:28

Xenia is a heavy presence on the paleo / primal threads.

Salbertina Sat 25-May-13 16:17:15

Paleo, low carb.. 80% of the time. That's it!

TheDeadlyDonkey Sat 25-May-13 16:17:42

I read a very good paleo book called It Starts with Food. It promised to sort out inflammatory issues.
DH and I were going to do it for a month to see if it helped with our asthma, but his GP said the large amounts of green leafy veg may interfere with his warfarin.

I came up with my own low fat low carb and very low calorie and it worked for me I lost 10 stone in less than a year

Talkinpeace Sat 25-May-13 16:18:21

roots, berries and lions leftovers ....

TheDeadlyDonkey Sat 25-May-13 16:19:25

Wow! 10 stone - that's fantastic, well done smile
Do you find it difficult to stick to? Have you kept the weight off?

Lifeisontheup Sat 25-May-13 16:27:50

I was thinking back to my childhood, my parents were adults during WWII and we were also quite poor.
We ate well but all was home cooked, a small amount of meat with every meal and lots of veg, mainly homegrown so lots of cabbage, cauliflower and greens with carrots and a small amount of potatoes. No pasta or rice but small amounts of potatoes and homemade wholemeal bread.
We always had puddings but they included a large proportion of homegrown fruit and very little sugar, steamed pudding were made using grated carrot and a reduced amount of sugar as that's what my Mum did when sugar was rationed. All cake was homemade and we drank unsweetened tea or water, very rarely squash and never fizzy drinks.

None of us were overweight even though we didn't exercise much apart from housework and dog walking so it must have worked. I think it was a diet lower in carbs (pasta is too easy and a default meal) and higher in veg, fruit was mainly bottled berries and apples and fats were all natural. Chips were a rarity as they were a pain to make and portions were not large.

I think if I went back to that diet I would lose the weight I have gained. Reducing portion size and replacing the majority of carbs with veg is my aim.

Sorry this is a bit of an essay blush

amazingmumof6 Sat 25-May-13 16:33:56

lifeisontheup fantastic post, that is food for thought! wink

Lifeisontheup Sat 25-May-13 16:41:31

My sister and I were discussing it, she still follows that way of cooking/eating and her whole family are slim. SHe's never been near a gym and doesn't own a pair of trainers but does walk her dogs every day.
I think there must be something in it and am going to give it a go. Have two stone to lose. sad

amazingmumof6 Sat 25-May-13 16:45:59

good luck, I'd like to know how you get on!smile

whowherewhen Sat 25-May-13 16:51:55

I'm a Xenia fan. 'Ditch anything processed' Don't eat all those processed fats - butter is best (in moderation) Anything natural is to go for!!

Xenia Sat 25-May-13 16:54:52

I eat absolutely loads of food. I had lemon soul and spinach for lunch with squash. I also had a bit of brown rice (which I do eat). I eat lots of eggs - I have poached eggs every morning etc. I love sea food, fish.

If you just think back to what man ate for 1 million years and stick wtih that you cannot go very wrong (and some of those people were in the artic with only meat/fat and others were rooting out tubers - so quite a bit of variety, but not man made.
"xenia huh?
so what do you eat? I'm guessing hardy anything.
I mean you can't even eat a sandwich or a soup - even if YOU make it, you have to throw it away...because it's made by a human"

If man made it don't eat it was a quote from I think a 1950s male film start but I forget his name. He was of course pretty fit.

specialsubject Sat 25-May-13 17:05:35

for everyone in normal health: it is calories in versus calories out. End of.

Do what the nhs say on their eatwell plate. Learn the difference between simple carbs and complex carbs. Eat your veg, don't pig out, move around.

amazingmumof6 Sat 25-May-13 19:16:01

I'm sorry Xenia, your diet sounds more than reasonable.
the philosophy about what cavemen ate - not so much.
incomparable circumstances, so makes no sense to me.

And I can't think back what happened a 1 million years ago.
I barely remember what happened last monthgrin

glad it's working for you though!smile

No deadly first few weeks were hard but I kept it of for couple months . I have a 7lb weight float thing I get near top end the. I cut it back I use 5/2 to maintain now

emblon Sat 25-May-13 19:56:54

I eat a reasonably healthy diet but love food and tend to overeat given the chance. Although not really overweight, my weight has crept up over the last 10 years (since the birth of my second child) by about 20 pounds. I've tried dieting before, but after some initial success have reverted back to old habits and the weight has gone back on.

However, last summer, after seeing the horizon programme I started on the 5:2 diet. I don't strictly calorie count on the two fast days, but I try to eat just one small meal and maybe a banana to keep me going. I've found this surprisingly easy. I still eat loads on the other days and I get through a fair amount of alcohol at the weekends.

I weigh myself about once a month. Although not as 'successful' as some reports of this diet, I have gone from just under 11 stone, to just under 10 stone. There is much more definition to my body and clothes are much looser fitting. I'm confident, that after a few more months I will be down to my pre-children weight. I'm not sure what I will do then - maybe like PigeonPie 'I will just fast on one day a week.

snoworneahva Sat 25-May-13 20:50:40

I believe eating nutrient dense foods is probably best for health - I avoid grains, I avoid processed foods, I avoid additives, I avoid sugar. I fast twice a week 5:2 style but it does not result in weight loss for me - been doing it for 9 months - fingers crossed it's giving me positive health benefits elsewhere.
But apart from diet I am a firm believer in exercise, not just to burn calories but for good general health and flexibility and strength through to the retirement years.

UmBongo Sat 25-May-13 21:01:46

I am losing weight my own way at the moment. Mainly following the Eat Less Move More diet!

I have a normal weetabix and dried fruit breakfast, small lunch and smaller than before portion of whatever I make for family tea. I'm not faffing about making myself eat "diet food" while making sausages or whatever for the rest of the family!

I am also following the couch to 5k running podcasts off the nhs website.

I have lost 1.5 stone in around 2 months. grin

EuroShaggleton Sat 25-May-13 21:15:15

I think ignoring all fads is key. Eat less, move more, and your input/output in balance to maintain weight, make sure you are burning more than you put in if you are trying to lose. If you don't want to or can't do much exercise, then you are going to have to watch what you are eating.

I don't go for full on paleo, but I do try to eat natural foods rather than chemical-laden non-food (I won't allow marg in the house). I try to eat brown rather than white carbs most of the time, with decent amounts of protein and veg. If I am going to have something sugary, I try not to have it on its own as it tends to give me a sugar crash afterwards, so orange juice with a breakfast of bacon and eggs is fine, orange juice with a croissant and jam will leave me feeling crap.

Bexicles Sat 25-May-13 22:24:23

I try to follow the glycaemic index as much I can. I also juice daily and take spirulina. I just think being sensible is the key, calorie restrictive diets don't work long term.

fatlazymummy Sat 25-May-13 23:27:55

Use a smaller plate (mine is 8'' diameter)
minimum 5 a day (2 of fruit, 3 veg)
home cooked food, no ready meals or takeaways
Alcohol free.
The odd biscuit or piece of cake is fine, but limit it to 1 or 2, on special occassions.
I still eat bread. I usually have 1 wholemeal pitta for lunch.
Lots of exercise.
I have lost nearly 5 stones through eating like this, and maintained for a year.

scarecrow22 Sun 26-May-13 07:57:11

DH and I eat almost exclusively home cooked food, with the exception of the odd seeded fish from m and s, or basic pasta base sauce in a jar. When I buy anything processed I try to get things that only have ingredients I understand and could buy individually. Margarine is a total no! If we think we've been eating too much sweet or red meat or whatever we err on the more healthy side for a while, or if we are feeling run down or whatever go for more meat or dark greens, etc. We both normally do moderate exercise - he cycles daily for work, errands, etc. I walk and run/jog normally. Apart from year after babies (just had second) we are both a healthy weight and have good energy levels - the latter being my no one focus after having children in our 40s!!

scarecrow22 Sun 26-May-13 08:00:40

in terms of who to trust, no one individual, but two books by Felicity Lawrence are a good way to educate yourself about food and the food industry, especially Eat Your Heart Out.
Never follow a diet, I would say, but do listen to sensible eating advice. if you love almond croissants (as I do) have one occasionally, as a meal perhaps, the you won't waste too much time thinking about them and feeling deprived.

fatlazymummy Sun 26-May-13 09:04:16

I would also recommend eating the kinds of foods that you like and that suit you, that way you will be more motivated to stick to it.
eg, I find full fat milk disgusting. I'm not going to force myself to drink it because some diet 'specialist' recommends it. I just carried on drinking semi skimmed.

apatchylass Sun 26-May-13 12:25:38

The caveman argument is hilariously bonkers. Their life expectancy was 30 years. As our diet has become more varied and complex, we have gained health and longevity. Those who had a wider tolerance for a greater number of food types thrived.

Why do people fetishise good, healthy eating? It's very straightforward and it's stuff most people already know, but there's such a penchant for making it more complicated than it is - creating unnecessary rules and strictures.

Eat fresh food from all main food groups - whatever takes your fancy - in moderation and get moving.

It's that simple. People don't seem to want simplicity.

Xenia Sun 26-May-13 12:30:31

It's very simple - eat how we always ate. I don't think people are really disagreeing here. If you eat highly processed junk foods you won't get enough nutrients and we aren't adapted for that. Eating healthy whole foods is not a fad. It is what people have changed to eating in the last 40 years - processed junk which is abnormal and bad for us.

Eating wholefoods is the opposite of faddy.

chocoluvva Sun 26-May-13 12:48:02

apatchylass Apparently 'cavemen' ie, hunter-gatherers had a longer life expectancy than the 'farmers' who came after them. I think that's how the idea to eat like a caveman started. (I agree that the idea of a 'paleolithic diet' is very problematic though).

But I agree that the principles of healthy eating are overlooked in favour of "unnecessary rules and strictures". I blame the easy 24/7 availability of cheap, nutritionally-empty, convenient foods designed to appeal to our taste for sweet, fatty/salty foods which blunt our palates and lead to cravings for more of them.

It's so annoying that people who eat all/mainly wholefoods are made out to be faddy by others whose diets are comprised of mostly white flour and dairy.

Xenia Sun 26-May-13 12:51:59

choco, yes I agree. The fad, the bad food, the strange awful way of eating is what most people eat from their cakes, biscuits and junk stuff which is so full of so little that is good for you and people who eat what I regard as a normal diet, fish, eggs, veg, sea food etc etc weirdly have been come to be seen as strange whereas go back 60 years and just about anywhere on the planet everyone would eat like I do.

There is an interesting programme about how the UK came to get sugar www.youtube.com/watch?v=lG1CM7zXK5w The others in the series are interesting too on alcohol and tobacco.

farmersdaughter Sun 26-May-13 13:09:55

Haven't read the whole thread so apologies if I'm repeating!

Eat less, move more!

ppeatfruit Sun 26-May-13 13:11:15

apatctchylass We may be living longer than cavemen but are we all healthy? A good percentage of people I've known have died quite young (4os and 50s) and I'm healthier than most of my friends now (of all ages) just because a food is fresh or home cooked doesn't automatically make it okay for everyone. Ever heard of allergies? tomatoes and oranges give me bad eczema so i don't eat them but a lot of people are fine with them.

That's the reason I follow my blood type.

Xenia Sun 26-May-13 13:44:12

I don't think people need to worry about reasons or the history of food and eating. Just eat non processed foods and you'll be fine. That might for some mean they want 100% vegan or vegetarian or it may be mostly meat and fat like eskimo or a mixture but what all those have in common in absence of sugar and absence of processed junk so wherever you fall on the spectrum - veg, meat etc you will feel a lot better.

Also bear in mind you can live on diet coke, coffee, chocolate and be very thin if you don't eat much else and people on those diets tend not to be very healthy. It is not just about weight. It is about what foods long term make you happy (rather than short term sugar, drugs, alcohol high) and which keep you healthy.

I am just about never ill (so far touch wood....) and I eat well. I think there is some connection.

Minifingers Sun 26-May-13 13:50:12

"The caveman argument is hilariously bonkers. Their life expectancy was 30 years. As our diet has become more varied and complex, we have gained health and longevity"

We live longer because we don't die in childbirth or infectious illnesses or injuries. We aren't weakened by periods of starvation.

The diseases which kill the majority of people are cancers, liver diseases, circulatory disorders, heart disease, diabetes related complications.

I can't believe that people who were 10 times more active than your average person is now, and who lived on a diet of berries and game would have been subject to these diseases in anything like the way we are today.

Trills Sun 26-May-13 13:55:11

A society where people mainly die of cancer and heart disease could actually be a very healthy society - people are not dying of other things first and are living long enough to die of cancer and heart disease.

ppeatfruit Sun 26-May-13 13:56:39

I couldn't agree more that it's not just about weight. Before I was on the Paul Mckenna I was 3 stone over my now normal weight but I was healthy!

Yes Xenia if you choose the foods that you're good with, our bodies often tell us.

The problems start when as you say people become addicted to junk; high sugar, high salt foods (the manufacturers of ready made meals and fizzy drinks and most fast foods know it well grin)

chocoluvva Sun 26-May-13 14:08:02

My understanding of the 'caveman' school of thought is that the people living before we had agriculture - ie, grains had a longer life expectancy ( presumably, because their grain-free diet was healthier.) (I don't think the optimum diet is as simple as that though).

Cancer is becoming more common in younger people. Life expectancy improved markedly after the discovery of effective antibiotics and other medical advances and the beginning of the welfare state which gave people access to medical care. Better housing and less extreme poverty has contributed to the increase in average age of death too.

I don't think the average age of death will continue to go up if we continue to eat so much processed food (and food containing growth hormones, antibiotics and pesticides).

Romann Sun 26-May-13 14:11:12

What about the kids? DH and I eat big salads for dinner every day and a bit of meat or fish, but not always. I have lots of eggs, which I love. We hardly ever drink any alcohol at all - I'm quite convinced by the studies that show that alcohol is really bad for you, even in small quantities, and I feel much better without it. I'm a big fan of spelt and quinoa, and we have loads of olive oil which we make ourselves so we know it's cold-pressed and has no chemical residue.

But it's not so easy to feed children like this. My kids eat a bit of salad or veg, and plenty of fruit, but I usually give them pasta and meat or fish and potatoes or whatever. They have some sugar, but I try to restrict it a lot, and they hardly ever have sweets or fizzy drinks/squash/fruit juice. How do the very healthy eaters feed their children and make sure they have enough fuel?

infamouspoo Sun 26-May-13 14:28:13

I was diagnosed with coeliacs so cut out all grains except rice (I dont eat potatoes) and found that eating pretty much as Xenia describes made me feel better. Fish, butter, rice, veg, pulses, nuts, fruit and plenty of it. Full fat cheese, yogurt and cream when I can be arsed. If I do eat something with sugar in I feel sick and dizzy very quickly.
And I never count calories. A stone fell off very quickly, my mood improved and my tiredness is due to an ever waking child not that heavy feeling from sugar.
Personally I think sugar is the real issue in obesity.

ppeatfruit Sun 26-May-13 15:46:48

Romann Our GD is being bought up a vegan (except for a bit of goats or sheep's cheese and some fish) Our DIL doesn't give her much wheat either so she has whole rice and there's good pasta made with rice, spelt and or kamut that GD loves, she likes quinoa and spelt too. If you involve them in the growing and making of salads like carrots etc. (most DCs like carrots)

infamous There's that horrible high fructose corn syrup that's in everything, the Americans are finally suggesting is causing the obesity. Even Coca Cola are talking about it!

riverboat Sun 26-May-13 16:33:28

I don't doubt that people can lose a lot of weight and be really healthy on paleo / low carb diets. For me the problem is that it would be incredibly hard to maintain in the long term in the context of foods like bread, pasta, poatoes and above all sugar, being so omnipresent in life. Particularly in contexts like eating at other people's houses, going to parties/weddings, buying a quick snack while in a hurry, lunch/dinner out with friends etc...

I'd say that at least once a week I end up in a situation like that: eating at someone else's house or go to a restaurant with friends or whatever. I fairly often go away for weekends to stay with friends or family too. And being paleo or low carb in those circumstances would feel really restrictive, even if technically you could eat the meat and certain veg on offer and just leave any carb parts of the meal, refuse dessert, refuse wine or cocktails etc. I think I'd cave really quickly. How do paleo eaters / low carbers manage in these kinds of situation? How often do you 'let go' and break the rules in the context of being in a situation where it's not you preparing your own food? I've read that for low carbing it's not really possible to do this very often without completely undoing all the good work you've done in getting your body to burn fat instead of carbs.

I think that's why I prefer the calorie control approach, nothing is forbidden, you can have a bit of everything in moderation and it's quite flexible, i.e. you can have an indulgent day here or there and make up for it elsewhere. I do agree though that you could get all your calories from totally crap foods and be missing out on proper nutrients, so I'd say calorie control with the proviso of eating lots of fresh food especially fruit and veg is what seems good to me.

Xenia Sun 26-May-13 16:47:28

rb, I don't find it so. Also I think sugar is pretty much a poison but it may affect some people just worse than others. I think it is dead easy when away to have eggs for breakfast (at most hotels anyway) and then for your dinner you can have a lovely bit of steak or fish or veg. It's not hard at all. I do plan however as to what I will eat and when and I regard that as a very small price to pay for virtually never being ill.

riverboat Sun 26-May-13 17:07:04

What about if you eat at other people's houses and they make a risotto or a potato dish or something, and they've made a lovely dessert? I suppose maybe after a while people start catering for you when they realise what you do / don't eat?

It's only anecdotal of course, but I am virtually never ill either. In my whole life (I'm 30) I think I've had maybe 10 days off school/work for illness, none consecutive. Am estimating of course, but I definitely haven't had any days off work for illness in the last 4 years. I get a cold most winters, but apart from having a runny nose for ages it doesn't actually make me feel ill as such. And I've eaten pretty much all foods all my life...

Romann Sun 26-May-13 17:35:37

rb I'm like Xenia in that I pick carefully in restaurants. In other people's houses I just eat it - have small portions and don't have seconds. I think it's quite rude to make a fuss at other people's houses unless you're going to have some serious reaction to the food.

infamouspoo Sun 26-May-13 18:15:10

riverboat - I dont actually eat out as the opportunity never comes up and people know I have coeliacs (and again, maybe once or twice a year I eat at someones house) but I do eat rice so would eat that or fish and not have dessert. I go camping with friends and they eat pretty much the same way but can eat bread so I just decline the bread when we share meals. None of them eat sugar.
Technically I'm not a deliberate low carber, its just turned out that way because of the coeliacs. If I'm out for the day I take a packed lunch (cheaper too)
So now I'm aware I sound like billy no-mates grin but I dont eat out as I eat kosher only and have no-one to babysit a very sick child. Friends come here and I'm quite happy to nip to Greggs and buy them sugar laden cakes. I do have friends, honest!

Minifingers Sun 26-May-13 18:15:49

"I think that's why I prefer the calorie control approach, nothing is forbidden, you can have a bit of everything in moderation"

I don't think there's evidence that calorie controlled diets are effective for the vast majority of people in the medium to long term. My understanding is that the vast majority of people who lose weight by simply eating less of their normal diet regain the weight they lose, then some more on top, the minute they stop focusing on calories in/calories out.

riverboat Sun 26-May-13 18:22:36

Yes I've heard that too Mini, but I thought it was for all forms of diet, low carb/low fat etc, not specifically low calorie?

EMUZ Sun 26-May-13 19:10:19

I go with what makes me feel better. Paleo/primal works for me because I don't have to think about it, I buy meat,eggs, fish, veg, berries, nuts and I'm done. I drink almond/hazelnut instead of milk and have butter and full fat plain yoghurt. The protein/fat combo makes me more satiated (is that even the word?!)
I don't get blood sugar crashes any more or bloated and I lost 9kg relatively easily. I do exercise as per primal though, I lift heavy weights and do short fast cardio. One cheat meal a week (with rules) and then straight back to eating as I usually do

lljkk Sun 26-May-13 19:21:15

the burden to the environment of such an animal protein-heavy diet, that alone would deter me from ever eating the primal-paleo way.

Riverboat if at someone's house then will eat anything just smaller portions and yes occasionally I have a blow out but then I'm just more careful after

HardlyEverHoovers Sun 26-May-13 21:28:13

I've not read all the posts as not got time, just responding to OP. I have many of your concerns regarding low fat diets etc. A combination of reading the books 'Deep Nutrition' and other similar books, and spening time with my in-laws in a remote African village with the strongest, healthiest people I have ever met, whose diet largely consists of animal fats, has led me to reject the current trends.
We have whole fat dairy products and cook with clarified butter, we eat a moderate amount of meat, usually on the bone, and have mainly wholewheat grains. Breakfast in our house for example is porridge made with full fat milk and butter, with lots of honey. Both my husband and I are slim and healthy, and our son is thriving. We are thankful for this and don't know how much diet has to do with it of course.
I avoid at all costs 'low fat' versions of things, and also 'sugar free'. While it's important to limit your intake of fat and sugar, I think this is better done by eating the real deal in sensible amounts, rather than replacing it with wierd stuff that isn't really food.
I can imagine that taking into account your husbands stroke, your really want to be careful, but I would advise you to go beyond the basic advice you find in pamphlets etc. What I've learnt from my in-laws is that if you eat real natural food, you can't go far wrong.

Wiifitmama Sun 26-May-13 21:36:12

Just came back to thank mythumbshavegoneweird for recommending the book "Fat Chance:the butter truth about sugar". I am about halfway through now and have nevet learned so much about the biochemistry of how our bodies deal with food. Eye opening. Truly.

itsonlysubterfuge Sun 26-May-13 22:47:05

From the nutrional information I've read about milk, the only big difference between the milks is fat content. A lot of vitamins have to be added into milk because the heating of milk destroys a lot of them anyway. In fact, sometimes skim milk comes up better as far as vitamins.

ouryve Sun 26-May-13 23:05:42

I red Escape the diet trap recently, too and did find it interesting. I liked that there was lots of research quoted for most issues and that he did discuss where there were advantages and disadvantages to eating certain foods, eg cheese.

However, he seemed to make a few big jumps of logic and there were issues, such as "leaky gut" where he became a lot less rigorous with his citations.

The book has made me more comfortable with completely eschewing the low fat idea, though (although large amounts of animal fats don't agree with me at all, so I very literally don't go the whole hog) and more relaxed about not always scrabbling round for an acceptable source of carbs in a meal for DS1 when I'm not cooking pasta (he'll not eat potatoes or rice in any form) despite the fact that he needs a lot of calories in order to not end up all skin and bones.

ouryve Sun 26-May-13 23:08:49

lljkk Sun 26-May-13 19:21:15

"the burden to the environment of such an animal protein-heavy diet, that alone would deter me from ever eating the primal-paleo way."

Yes - this did occur to me, too.

ouryve Sun 26-May-13 23:12:43

I had lemon soul

That explains so much grin

Kungfutea Mon 27-May-13 00:56:33

There is some truth in the assertion that the diets of hunter-gatherers was superior to settled farmers. But the main reason for the decrease in life expectancy was due to the increase in infectious disease as a result of increased population density. So I don't buy the story that it's all about nutrition.

Personally, I agree that the best way to go is lots of fresh fruit and vegetables, whole grains and lean protein in moderation plus nuts and seeds and very limited processed food, especially sugar. But I also believe that calories in has to be less than calories out for weight loss and it doesn't matter all that much what form those calories take.

The biggest one to watch out for is sugar in drinks including juice. We don't register sugar in drinks as food - even if we ate the same amount of sugar in haribos we'd adjust the number of calories at the next meal (on average) which doesn't happen if we drink it.

Tortoiseonthehalfshell Mon 27-May-13 01:04:06

Hahahahahaha this thread is cracking me up.

OP, you're clearly not wrong in asserting that there's a lot of conflicting advice out there!

chocoluvva Mon 27-May-13 01:07:47

"increase in infectious disease as a result of increased population density" in ancient farming communities - how interesting.

I understand that the grains we mostly eat now, especially wheat are more difficult to digest and less nutritious than the ancient grains. And grown in soil treated with chemical fertilisers and sprayed with pesticides.

Xenia Mon 27-May-13 09:59:17

I think we are mostly in agreement - eat real foods, not processed junk, avoid sugar. Whether you are a carnivore, vegan or just an NHS GP you would all agree with that.

You can ear paleo and eat only veg by the way. There are plenty of roots and the like which our ancestors ate.

I think eat real food and avoid sugar is a pretty good thing to go by. I would put artificial sugars, diet drinks and full fat colas top of the list of what people should give up. One of my greatest victories is that the only thing the children now drink is water (after a good few years of all kinds of rubbish and I include lots of fruit juice in the rubbish category too - far better to eat an apple than apple juice).

On the other hand if your difficulty is keeping children alive and fed and getting enough calories in them to survive then of course you can see why plenty of people are simply grateful they have a loaf of bread in the house to get the children through the next day.

What is sad is that so many people in the UK eat badly and worse than their ancestors. My relatives' graves in the country (farmers) in the 1800s show they lived to 79, 80 etc they would have been eating no processed foods on the whole, grew own veg, ate sheep etc Roll forward to he next generation (my grandfather lived with 26 young men in one house in a town) and that generation were dying off so much younger and presumably moving less, less sun light, worse food, cramped in cities and had moved away from the traditional diet they ate in the country where they ate what they grew.

I don't eat in other people's home very often. A couple of weeks ago we all just worked around it. It was interesting my sons also noted the lack of the foods they eat here - they are quite into steaks, fish, roast chicken, although they do eat a lot of things like spaghetti bolognese and pizza once a week. I have never fussed. I've never sent to anyone a list of what I can or cannot eat. Most of what I eat is just normal food and thankfully most people I know eat it too rather than processed things. I don't find it too hard not to have puddings. What I never do unless asked is foist my views on eating normal real food on anyone as there is no point and people's view differ a lot. The only time I find it hard is if there are drinks and no water. Then I would ask any serving staff for some water which is usually relatively easy to find and tap water is fine for me.

MarshaBrady Mon 27-May-13 10:09:12

I'm pretty much the same. Very rarely have juice at home as so sugary and the dc just have water or sometimes milk at night.

Socialising is easy as in restaurants they rarely serve carbs and you just get say duck with some vegetables or salad etc and no pudding. With friends it's usually a more relaxed thing with salads and chicken drumsticks type thing, easy to eat normally without mentioning anything.

Slightly harder when travelling as everything so geared towards carb/sugar heavy sandwiches and snacks but usually find sushi place or a supermarket.

MarshaBrady Mon 27-May-13 10:14:19

Also eat lots of fish, eggs and salad so not too meat heavy.

infamouspoo Mon 27-May-13 10:46:41

you know the hardest place? Hospital. The food they serve there is unbelievable shite. Having been in myself and recently had ds been in 10 days with serious surgery I couldnt believe the rubbish that was served. We'll overlook that it was cold but it was carby sugary crap. They couldnt manage ds's medical ketogenic diet and the couple of days I was bored enough to check out the hospital cafeteria when a friend visited (I took in all my own food but it was a faff at 6am) the food was appalling. Acres of crisps and chocolate. The hot food was chips n chips n chips or lasagne or overpriced sandwhiches or pasta salads.
You could see why the parents whose kids had been there months (it was a neurosurgery/burns unit) had started putting on weight/getting sick. From the stress and lack of time for shopping and preparing food so they were eating this shit day after day. After 10 days I was down to nuts and fruit as I didnt have time to shop as I was there 8am till 9pm while dh did 24 hours without a break. And seeing the food the kids who ate by mouth get (ds doesnt) I'm afarid I judged my knickers off.

infamouspoo Mon 27-May-13 10:47:24

My kids all grew up drinking water. Until university. Now its beer. ho hum.

freerangeeggs Mon 27-May-13 10:59:45

I lost 5st on weight watchers about eight years ago. I've kept almost all of it off - 2st crept back on very slowly. But overall, it changed my life so I'm reluctant to put it down.

Having said that, I just couldn't spend the rest of my life pointing everything. I got sick of it and later attempts to follow the plan were a failure. It's also a fact that low-fat stuff just doesn't taste as good, and I was sick of getting tomato pasta every time I went out for a meal (am veggie).

I've lost the 2st again and some star. At first it was through just being healthy and sensible - it cam off slowly, but it came off. Then I watched the 5:2 diet programme and decided to try it. I'm really glad I did as it has really helped my weight loss and I don't feel bloated any more.

I think the key thing now is that I can enjoy food. I love food. It's hard to enjoy it on a low-fat diet. I don't feel deprived any more, and there's no guilt. I go out to restaurants often and I still lose weight. Love it!

MrsPennyapple Mon 27-May-13 11:39:36

Rockerrock - I get shocked at the threads on here of people's diets or meal planning: people's weekly menus are meat pie, spag bol, cottage pie, pizza, fish and chips. Heavy, stodgy stuff lacking in goodness.

I am only partway through the thread but had to question this statement. It seems that most people on the thread are agreed that chemical-laden, low fat substitutes are bad, and that real food is good. So taking spag bol for example, mine includes: A bit of olive oil, lean mince, tinned tomatoes, onions, mushrooms, red peppers, and herbs, and served with pasta. Why is this bad? In fact I would say that most of the things on that list, if home made and in suitably sized portions, are ok. (I am prepared to be corrected, this is a genuine question.) The only thing on that list I wouldn't make at home is fish and chips, which we have as an occasional treat.

Incidentally, I am not overweight but DH is, so have been reading this thread trying to get answers to questions that have been bothering me for a while. Mayonnaise for example - very high in fat, but if you go for the low fat one it has bizarre ingredients that would not be thought of as "food". (Obviously the full fat one has some too, but not as many.) Is the answer just to stop eating mayonnaise? (Or make it at home, but that's not going to happen, I'd rather go without.)

TheDeadlyDonkey Mon 27-May-13 11:44:02

Something else I've read: how come milk isn't ok, but yoghurt is fine?

Every time I read a post, I think "5:2! That's it!", then next minute "Paleo, that's the one for me!" grin

Infamous - I completely agree about hospital food. The few times I've been in (after cs, the odd times with a dc) the food has been terrible. I ended up having salads for lunch and tea, and was told off by the mw for not eating properly. The childrens meals were all fish fingers and chicken nuggets - fine once in a while, but it did make me wonder what would happen if my child needed to stay in hospital for longer, it's hardly a diet that promotes healing confused

ppeatfruit Mon 27-May-13 11:59:43

Mrspenny the problem with spag. bol. is the mixing of the wheat which a lot of people are intolerant to (it exhausts dh and makes him bad tempered too!!) with protein.

Most people find it hard to digest, it stops my digestion dead. If you served your bolognaise sauce with rice pasta or quinoa that would be easier to digest or grated courgettes or spahgetti squash which is lovely and even bettter I know you'll say well Mcdonalds bases its culinary world on protein and carbs. served together well its one of the reasons for obesity IMO and E.

MrsPennyapple Mon 27-May-13 12:12:55

You know I'll say that? That's a pretty massive assumption. I don't eat Mcdonalds and haven't in ten years, but even if I did, I'd hardly hold them up as a paragon of delicious nutritious fare!

So the answer to my question is that it's the mixing of protein and carbs? Interesting. Neither DH nor I have digestive problems, but it's worth noting. I'd love it if DH would eat quinoa... <sigh>

Bernicia Mon 27-May-13 12:18:04

Message deleted by Mumsnet for breaking our Talk Guidelines. Replies may also be deleted.

Seems to me that eating healthily is common sense for the average educated person and that any advice that comes in the form of a diet or eating plan that gets published in a book is best avoided. Most of it is a money making ploy from people who take a pseudo- scientific approach and try to convince you they have re-invented the wheel. They haven't but you can bet they made a lot of money from desperate people trying to lose weight without any effort. If only life were that easy.

Escape the Fat Trap for Life by Judith Wills is pretty good at rating all the faddy diets over the years, including some she says she is ashamed to have written herself in the 80's. of course as it was written in 2010 it is already out of date. There will always be a new craze come along. sad

AvonCallingBarksdale Mon 27-May-13 13:23:50

THis is such an interesting thread. ppeatfruit, what's spaghetti squash? I'm assuming butternut squash, but how do you make it into spaghetti? I really don't like quinoa, but would like to replace the pasta in our meals with something!

Selba Mon 27-May-13 13:35:00

don't believe any diet that suggests cutting out any major food groups.
our local hospital has wonderful food. We are very fortunate

fatlazymummy Mon 27-May-13 13:39:06

If pasta is such a crap food there must be loads of obese Italians.
Oh wait, there aren't.

MarshaBrady Mon 27-May-13 13:44:28

Pasta is great for the dc. Post-dc I don't need it like they do.

specialsubject Mon 27-May-13 13:57:13

relieved to find there are sensible people out there in among all the fad dieters.

as to who you trust; trust science. You know what nutrients your body needs and roughly how many calories. All else is bollocks to get money from the gullible.

amazingmumof6 Mon 27-May-13 14:49:40

infamous - our hospital's food is delish. maybe I was biased by being ravenous after giving birth, but it was sooo good!

itsonlysubterfuge Mon 27-May-13 15:17:04

avon Spaghetti squash is a squash when cooked that looks like spaghetti. It is not butternut squash. I have never seen it in the store where I live, though there isn't much vareity.

riverboat Mon 27-May-13 15:42:14

fatlazymummy - was just thinking that in France where I live bread, pastry, potatoes, wine etc are all very much staples and there are markedly fewer overweight people than in the UK, at least going on what I see out and about. I believe I have also read that obesity rates are low compared to other developed countries.

I think in my experience the French tend to avoid snacking, eat three meals a day and tend to eat consciously and appreciate and respect food a lot. People have massive blow outs for celebratory occasions, but its not the regular way of eating. And people go to McDo, eat burgers etc but its not regarded as 'real' food, just an occasional convenience.

I think certain cancer rates are high mostly due to the prevalence of smoking...

ChippingInWiredOnCoffee Mon 27-May-13 15:47:56

fatlazymummy italians eat a small amount of pasta, the quantity of a 'serving' here would shock them.

TheDeadlyDonkey - I completely understand what you are saying/asking. It's hard to know who to believe isn't it?! All I can do it tell you that after having tried pretty much everything known to mankind, low carbing is what suits me best - I get good results and I feel better smile

Have you finished reading Briffa yet? In January I had a bit of a health shock, I have read a lot in the past few months & out of all of them I really rate his book & his knowledge. I'm a vegetarian who doesn't eat eggs, so I do eat some soya & quorn (which he doesn't agree with) but on the whole I follow his advice. I have lost 32lb since the end of Jan, I'm not hungry and I'm happy. BIWI's Bootcamp threads have really helped as it has been good to chat to others doing the same and the 'rules' are pretty much what Briffa says.

We can live without processed carbs - it is not eliminating a food group (for those that are concerned) and low carbing is about adequate protein and adequate fat not high fat & high protein. Low carb is not No carb smile

Anyone who spouts 'Eat less and move more' as the answer just needs shooting.

AvonCallingBarksdale Mon 27-May-13 16:10:19

itsonlysubterfuge - thank you! I shall look out for that.

naturelover Mon 27-May-13 17:17:03

Haven't read the whole thread but I like this quote (can't remember who said it):

Eat food. Not too much. Mainly plants.

I don't avoid any food group. I eat full-fat everything. I eat lots of fruit and veg and cook from scratch every day. Bake my own bread. I drink water or green tea. Hardly any alcohol. Processed food is very rarely in the house. I'm a healthy person with BMI of 21.

Xenia Mon 27-May-13 17:46:26

Yes, eat food, not too much. mainly plants is good. So not processed rubbish but real food, just as someone 30,000 years ago might be eating. Eat a variety too. Some groups of people ate 800 things although I think 750 of those were insects!

If you want to eat healthily you certainly do not need to give up any food group at all but the bottom line is most British people most of who have very large bottoms indeed eat an awful lot of bread, pasta, cakes, biscuits and that is not a very varied diet and their idea of a normal quantity has gone off the scale. In the US in the hotel we were served per person what would be the quantity three people would eat.

amothersplaceisinthewrong Mon 27-May-13 18:29:44

When i went to the US on holiday we saved money as my daughter and I shared a meal almost all the time!

amothersplaceisinthewrong Mon 27-May-13 18:31:05

Sorry, eat less and move more IS the answer. All diets are actually restricting calories, however faddy or not faddy they are.

Talkinpeace Mon 27-May-13 18:40:53

I bet restaurants got funny about it : the US is weird like that.

Holiday in Crete, when we said we were having a light lunch and ordered two things they automatically brought four plates - a happy place

In New York we got grief for ordering children's desserts as the adult ones were just too huge : and the smell of rotting thrown out food as we walked home from dinner was overpowering.

ssmile Mon 27-May-13 19:47:03

I agree eat less move more worked for me. I lost 3stone last year post baby no 2 and its thr first time I've succeeded at losing weight and keeping it off so far because I didn't "go on a diet" but changed my outlook and eat smaller portions off all the things I like smile

lljkk Mon 27-May-13 20:33:42

I virtually never order a full meal when dining out with family. I just scavenge off of other people's plates, maybe a salad for me otherwise. Usually leave plenty food behind, nonetheless, And I eat A LOT.

I've read that the "Mediterrean diet" has been widely misunderstood; the Italians dont' actually eat that much pasta after all! They do eat lots of specialty veg dishes, though. The veg are in season, meals are taken slowly, And the portion sizes are reasonable.

ChippingInWiredOnCoffee Mon 27-May-13 20:41:04

amothersplace you are wrong.

I am eating more calories, generally more food & moving less. I am losing weight, I feel better than I have done in years and my last set of results from the doctors show a lot of improvements.

Please don't insist that eating less and moving more is THE answer - it is NOT for the vast majority of people with weight issues. Do some reading, watch some documentaries - educate yourself.

childof79 Mon 27-May-13 21:40:15

The advice is not that conflicting once you actually read the proper scientific papers and it has not changed dramatically over the past 20 years as people think.

The standard advice is 3 meals a day - with 3 elements: carbohydrate; protein and fat. The healthy plate model has been used to demonstrate how this works. 1/3 of the plate meat / protein; 1/3 carb; 1/3 veg.

If you do this 3 times a day, 7 days a week without drinking too much alcohol or bingeing on sweets AND include an hour a day of physical activity you will lose weight if you need too. The only thing to take into consideration is that not all people on a diet need to lose weight and some people have a naturally bigger build than others.

Why do I know this? Because I am a State Registered Nutritionist and I read the papers properly. I am fed up of seeing the latest "diet" forced upon a gullible public. Also, I have had people come to me asking for advice and when I have given it and they have stuck to my diet they have lost weight.

showerhead Mon 27-May-13 21:57:26

well said childof79.

robyn2 Mon 27-May-13 22:19:52

Just started to make an effort to shift my baby weight and i go by Alan Carrs book, easy weigh (its helping me paticually as a motivation tool as i know ive developed an over eating habit) It again basically tells us Not to diet but to eat less and move a little more but importantly to eat the foods we were designed to eat, natuaral foods, and paticually staying away from low fat and processed foods. All those things we all really know all ready. I think everyone should have a copy of this one. I had got so fed up with my weight situation and failed attempts at getting back on track but somehow Alan just provides that talking to that i needed. Im feeling great and im loosing the excess pounds without feeling like im dieting.

Willowisp Mon 27-May-13 22:36:46

Where are these proper papers you are referring to & where do you become qualified as a state registered nutritionist ? There is no such thing. The 'State' only employ dieticians qualified on approved courses.

I have to say that what you've written is rubbish...one size does not fit all & I'd be interested in your facts to back this up.

I also refute the move more eat less idea. My dh has been marathon training, his appetite has increased greatly. Much to his horror, because they generally taste vile, I suggested he have a high protein shake after his training & his constantly hungry state evaporated. His weight has remained the same.

Talkinpeace Mon 27-May-13 22:40:40

links to the papers please
and links to the evidence of your job existing

3 meals a day is post 1960's food marketing
cereal for breakfast was invented by Kellogg the groper

Kungfutea Tue 28-May-13 00:23:57

Eat less move more leading to weight loss is basic thermodynamics. It's just very hard to do in practice.

Eating to lose weight and eating for health are not necessarily the same.

BsshBossh Tue 28-May-13 07:31:10

state registered nurse is the old name for registered nurse. Think it is pre-80s.

Chandon Tue 28-May-13 08:19:44

Eat less move more. Those who say eating more helped them lose weight, I am sure that is true if you mean replacing a small portion of rich food with a large playe of lean protein, vegetables and wholegrain.

I have dogs and horses, they can get fat too ( in winter) and with animals it is simple to address: feed them leaner food, smaller portions, and exercise them more.

No hocus pocus or complicated or formulas, neither do dogs get fat from merely " looking at a glass of water".

If we could get pigs fatter by letting them starve for a bit, so their bodies would then " hold on" to anything they eat, heck, I am sure farmers would!

Whilst hormones and medicine has effects on weight , and again this is the same with animals, basically you get fat from eating too much of the wrong things.

Xenia Tue 28-May-13 08:22:45

child's advice is consistent with how many of us eat too - but it is what is on that plate that matters. If it is junk processed food rather than natural protein then it's not going to help. I eat three meal a day and no snacks. YOu can call it healthy eating, paleo, primal or whatever but it is basically food without ingredients.
Perhaps that should be our answer - eat real food, food without ingredients (other than say if it's an egg the ingredient is egg, if it's fish the ingredient fish not fish coated in a load of complex batter full of junk and additives etc etc).

Also for some people who cannot resist sugar eating ab it less does not work. it's like giving a heroin addict a bit of their drug once a week "in moderation". You may need to stop eating the sweets and chocolate entirely just like an alcoholic giving up drink and no doctor (or nurse) will tell you that's wrong. They will all agree that you can live a very healthy happy life without the cakes and biscuits.

snoworneahva Tue 28-May-13 08:35:05

Xenia what's wrong with ingredients? The ingredients I use to create tasty meals are natural, not nasty artificial junk....I'm intrigued as to why you think recipes with ingredients are bad?

ppeatfruit Tue 28-May-13 08:52:51

avon sorry for not getting back straight away; spahgetti squash looks like a white butternut squash and after you cook it (best baked whole) when you cut it the flesh is just like spag,!

BBB while I agree that there are many (too many) faddy diets. The Hay diet which is not mixing carbs and proteins at the same meal and eating fruit on an empty stomach is a very old and tried and trusted way of eating (the late Sir John Mill's wife saved his life in his 20s with it and he lived till his 90s!) I am very healthy at 62 (no colds, or arthritis or IBS problems apart from a few varicose veins which i can keep under control) so i must be doing something right .

I don't know if I said this upthread but I totally agree that weight loss diets and eating for health are not nec. the same thing although they can be of course.

To the SRN nutritionist why are most people unhealthy if your ideas are so good? The reason why people would lose weight on it would be the hour's exercise a day that would work for everyone!!!! There are young people who keel over and die when they run every day, how come?

*chandon IME dogs and cats get fat (and ill) from eating those wheat biscuits; its cruel to put them on diets just give them what they'd eat naturally meat and a few veg. (ducks to avoid flames grin).

showerhead Tue 28-May-13 08:53:50


i saw a state registered dietician/nutritionist last year in hospital to help treat my IBS- she was great, turned out problem was simple, i was eating too much fibre.

Xenia, in my experience psychology plays a massive part in why we overeat. I thought i was 'addicted' to sugar, to extent i even went to 2 meetings in order to kick the habit. Then i went on holiday, stayed in a hotel- so no constant access to food as at home, lo and behold i ate my trigger foods- I had a slice of cake or an icecream once a day with a lovely cup of coffee, baguettes (several lunches consisted of a baguette sandwich). I did not however snack the way i do at home, i came back weighing the same- despite eating 3 proper meals a day of whatever i wanted and i did not binge. The reason i didn't binge was i was busy, i wasn't going to run into a supermarket thinking 'oh no i've eaten a slice of cake what a pig i am , i must now stuff my face with more'. I didnt even notice the crash that must have occurred some time after eating high GI foods. I also allowed myself to feel hungry between meals- this is crucial! In order to eat well at mealtimes you have to be fairly hungry. Am I addicted to sugar or white flour ? no. However it is sensible for me to keep trigger foods to a minimum at home, mainly because those triggers are foods that lead to a sharp rise then drop in blood sugar, the resulting drop isn't pleasant to deal with but can be dealt with by keeping busy. I am talking here of my experience, not anyone else's.

Eat real food, not too much and plenty of plants. Mindful eating really helps.

Xenia Tue 28-May-13 08:56:19

Just because most foods with ingredients have a lot of additives, sugar, pretend sugar etc etc in them. you cannot go too wrong with a food without ingredients. Anyway everyone has to make their own choices and you may well be able to have a food with ingredients which is not processed which then would be fine. It is all pretty easy for me as the foods I like then to be fairly simple so I'm lucky. I never even liked tomato sauce (which is 40% sugar) as a child.

If you pick up a pack of something in a shop and it has lots of ingredients it is usually not good for you. If you pick up a steak or piece of fish or an apple the only ingredient is the food itself and that simplicity seems to be what is good for us.

ppeatfruit Tue 28-May-13 09:25:01

Xenia steak (and i'm talking about the best organic grass fed steak) makes me ill. The saying (an ancient one) "one man's meat is another man's poison'' is absolutely true which is why the blood type makes soo much sense to me.

shower I totally agree about mindful eating and that too much fibre (esp. brown wheat fibre) is not good, I eat whole rye bread but whole wheat bread makes me ill as well.

Xenia Tue 28-May-13 09:38:13

I don't eat much steak myself but I do eat a lot of fish including sardines and tuna as well as grilled salmon. I think it is important people realise you can eat real wholefoods without spending a fortune. By no means do you need to eat steak to eat well.

ppeatfruit Tue 28-May-13 10:04:40

Yes I eat fish but smetimes there's mercury in it and I hate the thought of overfishing and some fish farming is not ideal hmm nothing's really straightforward is it?

I agree about people being brainwashed into think ing that proper fresh whole foods are expensive which is dreadful maybe they really mean it's time expensive.

Sorry ppeat I have to disagree. The Hay diet is just another example of somebody making money out of telling people to eat less and eat the right foods, the combining thing is rubbish - loads of foods are both carbs and protein, what are you supposed to do about them? If you restrict carbs or fat or sugar, you will weigh less - these best sellers can state the case in a dozen different ways but in the end, eating the right amount of natural foods will help you lose weight. There is no need for a gimmick, most of which have any basis in science. That is why I do PMcK - it doesn't tell you what to eat but addresses the root problem for a lot of people, their relationship with food.

ppeatfruit Tue 28-May-13 11:09:02

I thought you were off it BB? The Hay diet is OLD it's been around for ages. You don't have to eat less on it the bean family are a mix as you say but they're okay without extra carbs. I tell you it makes a lot of difference to my health (and I eat for my health as you know) I don't follow P.M. for health (though it helps) If I really ate what I wanted I would be ill so I don't.

The main problem with PMK as we have discussed endlessly (sorry op we're on the paul Mckenna thread) is that it doesn't seem to stop people from being ill does it?

ppeatfruit Tue 28-May-13 11:35:37

Though BB I don't follow any Way Of Eating or diet blindly I go by how my body reacts e.g. The Hay is way off with the amount of time between fruit eating and a meal because I notice how long it takes between eating fruit and feeling hungry (due to PMK) grin But the paleo is a bit Hay like.

childof79 Tue 28-May-13 13:22:12

Here is the link showing the difference between a dietitian and a nutritionist for those who are doubting the credentials. There are links also on this page to the current accepted wisdom.


If you want to know more about nutrition generally you can go to British Nutrition Foundation website and also the Nutrition Society has monthly publications (they are hardcore nutrition).

Thank you, those of you who are sceptical for saying that I wasted 3 years of my life doing a degree in Nutritional Science before going to do a Msc for 2 years. Clearly I was wasting my time. Someone else has read two books and knows so much more than me. Would you tell your doctor he had wasted his time at medical school and that you know so much more because you read one book?

Seriously, people that make up these diets are all after only one thing - the money in your pocket. They have no qualifications and no scruples. Their diets will work for a while because you are cutting out foods and sometimes whole food groups.

Xenia Tue 28-May-13 14:17:39

However the difference with those who say eat whole foods or paleo or primal is there is not a penny to be made in that. There are no products, no bars, no potions - just normal food. As soon as someone suggests protein powders, paleo bars etc they are departing from eating normal healthy food.

Lifeisontheup Tue 28-May-13 14:44:01

I started new eating yesterday following my Mum's way of eating and cooking even though her's was probably caused by lack of money rather than any dieting fad.
No in between meals snacks and last night a much smaller portion of supper than usual.
Today, porridge made with water, vegetable soup for lunch and a big casserole in the oven for supper. I halved the amount of beef in it, 500g instead of a kilo and used one big swede five large carrots, one large parsnip, two heads of celery and two onions. It will be served with spring greens and possibly dumplings of which I will only have one. It will probably do us at least two, possibly three meals (four adults as DC's eat adult size portions at over 16) depending on whether I do an apple crumble with it tonight.
We will see if it makes any difference after a week.

Chandon Tue 28-May-13 15:15:10

Yes but they sell books

OliviaP Tue 28-May-13 15:37:34

I hate to sound so simple but here goes. Burn off more than you eat. The trouble with diets is that you are on a diet. That means when you are at your target you are no longer on a diet and slip into old way. It's all about lifestyle.

That said, I would warn against an Apple a day. It didn't do this man any good eveningharold.com/2013/05/28/man-dies-after-eating-an-apple-a-day/

Wishihadabs Tue 28-May-13 16:21:00

The reality is that we live in an obesegenic environment. Most of the food around us is no good for us. Skipping the odd meal / having the odd blow out does no harm. I am loving 5:2 for its simplicity. Just 1 meal a day twice a week, what could be easier and I struggle to see whose pockets I am lining TBH. I have lost 1st since Feb, with virtually no effort.

ppeatfruit Tue 28-May-13 16:29:45

I don't see why buying the odd book or DVD or C.D. is so terrible everyone has to live. I don't like the huge money made from shit diet food though! Especially as it's not doing anyone any good.

Pp - if a way of eating has a name and somebody has written a book about ( have you seen how many blood group diet books that author has brought out - another set in the autumn too) then somebody is making money out of what most of us can do naturally given a common sense approach and the right frame of mind. The fact that Hay has been around for ages (although not that long in the history if eating and nutrition) doesn't mean it isn't a gimmick, just another low cal diet that works specifically because it is low cal, not because it is the answer we have all been missing the last 70 odd years. Anybody would lose weight on 1000 - 1200 cals a day.

And no I am not 'off' PMcK - i follow the rules but I don't listen to the CD for maximum effect and I am sure I could do better if I could stand to do it. Ultimately though, nothing is going to be that successful unless I get significantly more sleep which is by far my biggest problem.

Childof79 - you must find threads like this sooo frustrating. smile

Oblomov Tue 28-May-13 17:32:03

This thread has certainly confirmed OP's point, that there is so much conflicting advice, you just don't know where to turn.
PLus, if the answer was really that simple, then as said, the diet industry wouldn't be worth millions.

VenusUprising Tue 28-May-13 17:48:10

Sorry to hear your DH had a stroke OP.
If his cholesterol is high, he might find great benefit in seeing a nutritionist, or dietitian.

I found the books by Patrick Holford very interesting, and especially the book, Food is better medicine then drugs.
Even if your DHs stroke was haemorragic, there is a lot you can do to strenthen the vessels.

I hope he's ok.

Fwiw the benecol etc is just soya derived and the benefit can be gained by having a drink of soya milk.

The zestforlife programme for weight loss has been very good for me. I've felt very healthy on it too.

Willowisp Tue 28-May-13 17:50:48

child79 Yes, looks like you've wasted 5 yrs. perhaps get yourself a 'couple of books' & open your eyes to reality.

Nutritionists work in different roles including public health, health improvement, health policy, local and national government, in the private sector, Non Government Organisations (NGOs) and in education and research.
Nutritionists are qualified to provide information about food and healthy eating.
Many employers of nutritionists in all sectors will only consider recruiting Registered Nutritionists – or Registered Dietitians.
Is their title protected by law?
No – anyone can call themselves a nutritionist, however only registrants with the UK Voluntary Register of Nutritionists (UKVRN) can call themselves a Registered Nutritionist (RNutrs). RNutrs are not permitted

As I said, no such thing as a State Registered Nutritionist

Willowisp Tue 28-May-13 17:54:51

Don't drink soya milk or benacol...why is the public being duped ? sad

My mum rings me up, my cholesterol is high, is it the eggs ? Er no, it's the 2 choc ices you eat every night, the 3 x 3 course meals you eat each week. The 'low fat' yogurts that lull you eating into mo, because they are 'low in calories'.

People have lost touch with good quality clean food & are afraid to be hungry.

childof79 Tue 28-May-13 18:04:46

The answer is that simple. The diet industry makes millions because they know how to key in to people's insecurities and they know that most people who are overweight will do anything to lose it. I feel like I have seen it all before with friends and clients.

People desperately clutch at straws when they want to lose weight and they can't see where they are going wrong. Most people don't even know they overeat until they spend a few days thinking about it. If anyone is interested my suggestion would be keeping a food diary for a week and report it honestly (down to the last crisp) - weigh your food and then calculate your calories. You will be surprised at how much you are eating.

At the same time keep an activity diary - this will also be telling. An hour of physical activity a day, most days is the current recommendation.

Lifeisontheup Tue 28-May-13 18:07:28

This is purely for interest, do children really need snacks?

Mine are all older so it doesn't matter to me but I don't remember having regular snacks as a child, possibly a drink of milk and sometime one very plain biscuit but young children now seem to have a mini meal mid morning and mid afternoon.
I don't remember feeling weak and deprived although I remember being reasonably hungry when it came to meal times.

childof79 Tue 28-May-13 18:18:02

Willow You must have a lot of time on your hands to be reading up on this meticulously. I assumed most people wouldn't know the difference and wouldn't care but I am not about to out myself to prove you wrong.

BBB Yes it is frustrating - but actually it is fascinating.

Willowisp Tue 28-May-13 19:28:03

Yes I have had a lot of time, over 20 years of experience in the work of dieting/dieticians/nutritionists.

So yes, please do bring on the links. I love to research & access their validity.

In fact I'm still reeling from my experience of being sent to an eating disorder clinic for asking why the state registered dietician was drinking artificial sugars. Oh & the BANT (British Addiciation of Nutrition Therapists) who advised me to eat carb snacks every 2 hours & literally sent me into a sugar coma.

ChippingInWiredOnCoffee Tue 28-May-13 19:43:09

childof79 - it would appear that you have wasted 5 years of you life, yes. Sorry.

lljkk Tue 28-May-13 19:52:20

There are people making a good living out of promoting paleo & primal diets, too.
Folk want their cake and to eat it too! So plenty of them are still trying to figure out how to do that.

I suspect preferred mode of transport is the main obesogenic factor.

AvonCallingBarksdale Tue 28-May-13 20:32:09

Thanks to those who explained the whole spaghetti squash thing to me! I think so much of it is down to portion size and, as someone else upthread said, it's the acknowledgement that it's ok to feel hungry - we don't need to be in a constant state of feeling sated!

AvonCallingBarksdale Tue 28-May-13 20:34:22

Oh, and the food diary is a really good idea too - I remember being really shocked at all the hidden extras I was consuming!

Kungfutea Tue 28-May-13 20:40:56

"literally sent me into a sugar coma"

You were literally sent into a sugar coma, willowisp???? Goodness, I hope you weren't in a coma for too long. What is a sugar coma exactly? Do you mean a diabetic coma? Are you diabetic? Did you sue this nutritionist for literally sending you into a diabetic coma?

Personally, I'd rather take the nutritional advice of someone who has had 7 years of training than someone whose qualifications appear to be based on a few books, documentaries and google..

Xenia Tue 28-May-13 21:55:52

Some of the Government's eating guidance is not very up to date and some plain wrong, but if you just stick to real foods and avoid drinking anything but water you tend not to go far wrong.

TwasBrillig Tue 28-May-13 22:14:57

I've just started seeing a nutritionist as part of an eating disorder treatment. I was surprised after reading this to see low fat yoghurt on her list of suggested snacks.

However she is amazing and is very good as a coach at enabling me to make the changes I need to make in my life. So much of it is psychological -an eating plan often won't cure the 'real' reasons behind the eating issues.

I'm interested in whoever above that said wholefoods needn.t be expensive. I'm interested to hear more. It seems to be to me at the moment (but presumably worth it). I'd love to learn to eat enough of the right foods etc.

However fish fingers are cheaper than fish, pizza base is cheaper than chicken, a pack of biscuits is cheaper than fruit.

TwasBrillig Tue 28-May-13 22:18:10

Real food and mainly water has to be the way forwards though.

Its interesting the eatwell plate doesn't seem to value protein as much. I was going to aim for protein as part of lunch and supper and small snacks if nec of fruit or nuts or oatcakes.

I'm still trying to wade throughthe ness of disordered eating. I'm starting with a food diary. .

willowisp Tue 28-May-13 22:38:46

kungfutea oh what fun, lots of ????

Are you doubting me ? Well, FYI, these were my actual MEDICAL drs words after doing an urgent appointment & a prick-your-finger-what's-your-blood-sugar levels. Now I don't credit Dr's with regard to good eating, but I'm as sure as hell they can read & understand blood tests.

Stopping the stupid snacking on high GI rice crackers resolved this as confirmed by another ACTUAL MEDICAL BLOOD test. Golly gosh !

Lifeisontheup Tue 28-May-13 22:46:00

A coma is GCS 3 , means you have no response in eyes, verbal or motor ie you are effectively dead unless successful intervention happens immediately. You would not have heard the doctors words if you were in a coma.

Kungfutea Tue 28-May-13 22:46:19

I just asked what a sugar coma is. I never heard of it. Are you sure you're not diabetic/prediabetic? Hypoglycemia (if that's what you had - I don't know if you had high or low blood sugar) is often a precursor of diabetes.

Tortoiseonthehalfshell Wed 29-May-13 04:54:37

A "sugar coma" is a non-medical term referring to the sudden dip that can occur in blood sugar in a diabetic person. More commonly known as 'hypoglycaemia'.

High GI food can cause hypoglycaemia in a diabetic person, because they spike blood sugar high and fast and for a short period of time. That's why nutritionists who deal with diabetics advise low GI snacks, preferably with lots of protein.

Tortoiseonthehalfshell Wed 29-May-13 04:55:46

Oh, my mistake, it's not limited to diabetics, just more common.

FiftyShadesofGreyMatter Wed 29-May-13 05:40:46

It's interesting reading that the advice in UK is 1/3, 1/3, 1/3, protein, veg, carb.
Over here (NZ) the advice is 1/2 the plate of veg, 1/4 each protein and carb.

NightLark Wed 29-May-13 05:59:51

Eat less, move more, be honest with yourself about what goes into your mouth, and recognise feelings of hunger. Thriving in an obesogenic environment needs self determination, not following an arbitrary set of dieting rules.

Ther are so many diet myths about. Dont skip breakfast...drink loads of water...dont eat too little or your body will go into 'starvation mode'...dont eat white things. I buy into as many of them as anyone but I suspect they are mostly tosh or work for some people and not others.

GinOnTwoWheels Wed 29-May-13 06:54:45

This thread has certainly confirmed OP's point, that there is so much conflicting advice, you just don't know where to turn.

There are many things in life where the 80/20 rule applies - eg in business, 80% of your profits come from 20% of your customers, there are many other examples, but I think dieting is another example of this - what matters is what you do most of the time.

It seems pretty clear now that losing/maintaining weight is a combination of eat less/move more, restrict sugar and refined carbs, eat more veg etc etc, but eating the odd pizza/cake/pasty doesn't matter so much, as long as you eat well most of the time.

The sheer amount of food available is one of the biggest problems along with the poor nutritional quality and too large portion sizes of most prepared food. Just look at what is available to 'eat now' on your average high street - places like Greggs and McDonalds are everywhere. With the exception of some supermarket/coffee shop salads, almost all ready to eat food is utter crap, full of fat/salt/sugar and far too many calories for one meal - OK for an occasional treat but not lunch every day.

Xenia Wed 29-May-13 09:05:13

I don';t think there are lots of differences. Just about everyone agrees if you eat real food (unadulterated, grown etc) then you do fine. If you eat processed food and lots of sugar you don't do fine. Whether you want to make half your plate veg and the rest meat or 100% veg /beans or 100% protein does not much matter as long as what is on that plate if real food.

It will be in the interests of the junk food/sugar business to divide and rule those who instead eat well but there is no need for that division. you will be healthier if you move to eating 100% veg/beans or veg/fish/brown carbs. Don't worry about that and give up thinking it's too difficult. Just go for simplicity. Eat what man ate for 1 - 2 million years and you cannot go very wrong.

ppeatfruit Wed 29-May-13 09:13:06

This thread is never going to agree because some of us are talking about healthy eating and others are talking about weight loss. IMO and E they are not the same though they SHOULD be.

I agree GinOn but one of the problems is that regarding high sugar,fat, salt and wheat foods as "treats' not just food is what has created our obese society (there's a thread ATM where the poster has a borderline eating disorder due to her mother feeding her 'treats' all the time not occasionally. sad)

if everyone had commonsense BBB then we'd all be slim and healthy. I notice you ignore my comments about my health though. Just because Dr. Peter D'Adamo has bought out plenty of books doesn't make his advice wrong, not perfect; nothing is perfect. But IMO and E if the NHS took a few of his ideas on board us taxpayers would be saved a ton of money .

Health is a bit of the luck of the draw pp - I don't really hold much store in a anecdote. My father smoked from the age of 14 to the age of 80 and went to the doctors about 4 times in his adult life until he was diagnosed with Alzeheimer's - never with anything smoking related. Would you recommend we all smoke or even infer that smoking is good for us just because he has been in excellent health? A sample of one is not data, it is an anecdote and I would rather my medicine had some basis in science. For the record, I don't get colds and infections either, so what? I am lucky that way.

'Eat less, move more, be honest with yourself about what goes into your mouth, and recognise feelings of hunger. Thriving in an obesogenic environment needs self determination, not following an arbitrary set of dieting rules'.

Nightlark, that is it in the nutshell. So many dieting books are just an arbitrary set of rules to milk money out of the desperate, the ill-informed and the gullible.

I think the honesty bit is the hardest for a lot of people. They won't admit how much crap they do eat or they know but don't do anything about it (I include myself in that). There aren't many people who are so ill-informed about nutrition that they couldn't improve their diet if they would just make a few changes even if they don't go the whole hog (we could quibble about the finer details until the cows come home but we all have a rough idea what less fat, less sugar looks like). There are a lot of reasons why people don't make the changes and I grudgingly concede that if some diet book triggers something that makes you make the changes you need make then that is a good thing. That does not however, mean that the book itself is the salvation for us all or that the unproven claims made in them are right, just that it was a psychological trigger for a few that made them improve their diets.

JanStevens Wed 29-May-13 11:12:24

Message deleted by Mumsnet for breaking our Talk Guidelines. Replies may also be deleted.

Xenia Wed 29-May-13 11:59:35

I think something like Diet Chef is probably the utter opposite of what just about everyone on the thread feels we should eat.

Breakfast treacle granola chocolate granola - i.e. sugar.
Lunch - tiny lunch of 147 calories only being a soup - with look at the huge number of ingredients on one of them...

Ingredients: Water, Sweet Potato Purée, Carrots, Potatoes, Creamed Coconut, Double Cream, Cornflour, Dried Onions, Thai Red Curry Paste (contains Soyabean oil, garlic, cayenne pepper, shallots, lemongrass, sugar, flavour: natural shrimp, fish sauce (anchovy extract, salt, sugar [ IE SUGAR]), galangal, salt, pineapple juice [ IE FRUCTOSE/SUGAR], kaffir lime peel, herbs and spices), Butter, Concentrated Vegetable Bouillon (contains Salt, Sugar [ YET MORE SUGAR], Yeast Extract, Onion Powder, Potato Starch, Vegetable (contains Celery), Herb Extract, Spice Extracts, Vegetable Oil), Yeast Extract, Sea Salt, Honey [ IE SUGAR], Lemon Juice, Dried Red Peppers, Thyme, Sage, Garlic Purée, White Pepper

If you change how you eat to healthy non processed foods you will feel better, improve your immune system and lose weight at a rate that is sustainable for life.

ppeatfruit Wed 29-May-13 12:00:47

BBB smoking affects your blood vessels; don't the blood vessels go into the brain then? My ILS also smoked their whole lives they lived till 80ish BUT they had emphysema, arthritis, obesity etc. you name it.

I wouldn't want to live like that.I suppose the fact they didn't eat junk food may have improved their longevity. You'll sneer but they were both O types who statistically have longer lives regardless. It's us A types who die young esp. if they eat a lot of meat. BTW D' Adamo is a scientist.

I knew you would say that pp, but my point was that at your age he was in as good health as you are. He is 83 next month. He doesn't have arthritis, heart disease or any other disease. His blood pressure is fine, he survived pneumonia that would have killed many last year and to be fair, nearly finished him off. There is an element of luck and I repeat again, that one person's experience isn't really a basis for extrapolating a whole lifestyle is it?

Can you link to a study that shows that different blood types have different life expectancies?

Actually, thinking about it some more, does the fact that your blood group makes you more prone to dying young than not ring any alarm bells for you about the blood group diet hypothesis? Your blood group is supposed to arisen later on in the evolutionary process, is it not? Surely, if Darwin is to be believed, evolution is a way of improving on what has gone before and any weaknesses would be breed out (for want of a better way of putting it). Why is life expectancy shortening with later mutations? It doesn't make any sense. Of course, there are many who believe that O was not in fact the first blood group which would make more sense in terms of your lower life expectancy, but then that throws the whole diet into question because it is based on what people ate in prehistoric times.

Surely, if O type lives longer, you should be eating more like them? They are clearly doing something right. confused

ppeatfruit Wed 29-May-13 14:10:41

Sorry ! can't do links but the encyclopedia does have the stats. Yes it seems strange that A's should not have evolved to cope with high meat diets we're ok with most fish and a bit of poultry. But before ever knowing about the Blood type I couldn't stomach red meat at all or bananas oddly both are avoids for me.grin.

Might we have evolved in more fish eating areas? Bs and ABs are interesting because they can eat more like an evolved O. IFYSWIM even though they came later. It's a fascinating subject and I wouldn't pretend to understand it fully I just know what i'm good with and not. (coffee is supposed to good for A's but when i gave up my daily fix i lost weight so as I said i don't follow blindly!!).

DH sounds like your D he is an O has been checked by the medics and is in good health he doesn't smoke he drinks a bit too much wine though but has been limping. He has rheumatics but has stopped eating cashew nuts stopped eating pork which was literally disabling him, and is fine now.

The thing is BBB is does sound a faff but I KNOW i feel so much better without certain foods.(if I ate like DH I'd be in a wheelchair and with claws for hands like my gran. also my family has a bad health history) that's the reason.

ppeatfruit Wed 29-May-13 14:14:18

Xenia Interesting ingredients in that soup it's just padding and most supermarket jars and soups are like that aren't they?

Xenia Wed 29-May-13 15:21:46

Yes. Whereas if we take my lunch which I am sure was a huge lot more than 147 calories (who can eat 147 calories for lunch for life and be happy and healthy?) I had a piece of fish (nothing added), spinach - quite hard to add stuff to spinach, brown rice and half a butter nut squash. So no ingredients as it were and just what I call real food and of course it tastes very good too and I would imagine it would be 3 times the calories of the soup above but I don't count calories.

snoworneahva Wed 29-May-13 15:36:32

Xenia your food sounds healthy but also very dull and worthy. You are the only person I know who would describe a piece of plain fish with brown rice and spinach as tasty, are you a super taster? I'd have to fire in at least some ginger, chilli, garlic, tamari and coriander, maybe some fish sauce too. wink

I didn't think that Sweet potato soup was too bad - at least it had real ingredients. My problem would be that processed soup always tastes bland, in fact i think most processed food tastes bland - it's designed to appeal to the majority, so sweet and bland work.

ppeatfruit Wed 29-May-13 16:08:09

Yes snoworn not chilli or fish sauce but I love garlic, onions and also olive oil they'd go in the spinach, fish and esp. whole rice for me also maybe a bit of tamari with the rice?

Xenia Wed 29-May-13 16:54:25

I don't think I'm alone. If the food itself is tasy why hide or ruin it with stuff added on?
Isn't it just the same as those who eat chocolate who think how could anyone ever prefer nuts or spinach to chocolate when in fact it is just a question of taste and what you are used to. One man's meat is another man's poison.

snoworneahva Wed 29-May-13 17:11:17

I don't expect you are many though - and I suspect you would have a hard time convincing many people to follow your diet based on the meals you have described.

Diet food always reminds me of that Croc Dundee - "you can live on it but it tastes like shit" grin

What about garlic though xenia would you have that as a side or a roasted chilli pepper - I mean what's wrong with the small stuff - why let spinach and squash have all the fun? Surely some coriander and lemon juice would br keen to snuggle up next to that salmon, don't they deserve a moment of glory? Are they not worthy food stuffs too?

TwasBrillig Wed 29-May-13 18:23:15

I've got a friend who is a super taster and likes food bland without garlic chilli etc. She doesn't like much veg though!

I like the idea of simple food. Xenia is almost converting me but yes the addition of garlic or lemon etc sounds more appetizing!

Talkinpeace Wed 29-May-13 18:31:51

Xenias lunch : so long as it was liberally seasoned with pepper and maybe some raisins in the spinach and rice sounds nom nom

but my main meal of the day is always family supper : I tend to only eat solid food in the evening during the week now so I can really enjoy my meal.

riverboat Wed 29-May-13 18:56:02

Can someone point me to studies that have found that artificial ingredients (sweeteners, chemicals, stabilisers etc) have harmful effects?

My actual meals are all basically homemade and using fresh meat, fresh veg etc. But around that, I drink Diet Coke and no-sugar squash, use low fat spread (simply don't really care for the taste of real butter that much) and eat the odd jaffa cake. I thought that there hadn't actually been any scientific evidence to prove that the chemicals in these products were bad for you? Obviously if you're eating all that stuff to the exclusion of everything else you're not getting the nutrients you need, but is it actually proven to be harmful if consumed in supplement to a balanced diet?

snoworneahva Wed 29-May-13 19:49:28

I had the book E is for additives, when the dcs were small, after reading that I decided where possible that artificial additives were best avoided as even if they didn't do any harm they rarely did your body much good and in my experience, the more artificial additives a food contains the poorer its quality and flavour.

Talkinpeace Wed 29-May-13 19:50:40

I have a 1970's edition of E for additives
It is interesting to note how many of the entries in it are now banned ......

itsonlysubterfuge Wed 29-May-13 19:53:35

What do you mean ingredients are bad for you? If I make a vegetable soup with loads of different vegetables, this doesn't make it bad. Also, there is a difference between sugar and simple carbohydrates. Besides, your lunch is one of the reasons that people don't like "diet" food. You can make healthly food yummy by adding things that aren't bad for you, like garlic, herbs, and spices. In fact lots of herbs are full of vitamins. Of course some people don't like these things, but most people do not enjoy eating things that are bland and bitter, as most vegetables are. Also, eating food plain doesn't make it healthy.

I'm sorry if I've mispoken, but I've been going in and out of this thread and Xenia seems to say a lot of, but none of it seems to have much substance.

Anyways, sorry rant over.

Talkinpeace Wed 29-May-13 20:01:08


ingredients are not bad for you : home made Lasagne has quite a lot of them.
when you buy "salt and vinegar crisps" why is there "sugar" in the ingrdients?
and if you buy a "zero fat yoghurt" do you know what all of the components are and what they do?

The point that Xenia is making : and one that I will back her up on completely is
- if you do not understand why an ingredient is in a packaged food, walk away and buy a food whose ingredients you DO understand.

And that does NOT imply a lack of intelligence
I cannot tell the difference between xanthan gum and guar gum
and I know that "responsibly sourced palm oil" just means they killed all the Orang Utangs more than three years before the harvest date ....
so I try to by "ingredients" when I shop rather than "things that contain ingredients"

itsonlysubterfuge Wed 29-May-13 20:09:31

That isn't what she said though. She said her meal was healthly because it doesn't contain ingredients. She had salmon, by itself, rice, spinach, squash, all by itself with nothing added. As if I added some chopped garlic and tomato to my spinach it would somehow be less healthy than hers?

I had chili-cheese fries for lunch, this was not a healthy lunch, but I made it myself and know where all the ingreidents came from. There was no added sugar or artifical anything.

Talkinpeace Wed 29-May-13 20:14:56

ah but xenia had soul for lunch one day .....

I must say I don't understand Xenia's stance on adding ingredients either. Surely, garlic and herbs are good for you? I would have thought cooking was more damaging than adding flavours so I can't get my head around why she thinks her bland but cooked food is so much better than any thing the rest of us might cook with some added garlic, herbs and spices. Unless she stick to a raw food diet of course but that isn't the impression I got.

lljkk Wed 29-May-13 20:40:11

Hats off to anyone who can easily avoid palm oil (I can't).
This thread is making me crave a huge bag of Doritos.

snoworneahva Wed 29-May-13 21:09:46

I have questioned xenia on the ingredients issue before. She thinks people heat up/ cook in whatever form they buy from the supermarket - no additions are applied - so she buys salmon, butternut squash and spinach and that is what she heats up/ cooks, while other people buy food which contains ingredients and those ingredients will often include artificial junk ....she has not acknowledged that lots of people buy basic foods and cook from scratch to create a dish with many ingredients - all of which are pure and natural foods.

Typical Xenia really - there is no other way except her own and her ideas do seem to be extreme.

As I say, if she is that keen on keeping everything as clean as possible, why cook it? That can do damage to the food, not all food (tomatoes for example benegit from cooking) but I don't understand why you wouldn't want to enhance your food both with flavour and in terms of nutrition.

TheDeadlyDonkey Thu 30-May-13 08:26:40

I get what Xenia means - she prefers the food plain, but others may need to add spices etc, but it would be the difference between adding garlic, lemon, real spices, rather than adding a handy prepared sachet that also includes additives etc.

Since I started this thread, I have been eating mainly homecooked, non-processed foods, and thinking about what I am eating, and I've lost 4 pounds without really trying grin

I like an occasional can of coke zero, but have found in the last week that if I drink some, I feel starving, with a hollow aching feeling in my tummy - usually I'd eat something to take the feeling away, now I know that it's not real hunger, so I avoid drinking it now.

ppeatfruit Thu 30-May-13 09:58:56

TheDeadlydonkey and there was another poster who was asking about evidence of the badness of chemicals and sweeteners. I 'm crap at doing links but I watched a BBC programme about them and they were testing people's eating patterns; one group on sweeteners and another not. They found that our bodies don't recognise them as food so as you said deadly you 'crave' proper food after eating them so you eat more.

There is evidence about hyperactivity in DCs too.A mum of autistic boys found them calmer and more 'normal' on a no additives and no wheat diet. That was on TV too i can't remember when though.

Xenia You're missing a health kick if you don't have olive oil or garlic, onions, ginger esp. turmeric which is fantastic (it stopped DS's cat allergies when he came to stay) We also all need extra omega 3s in our diets so I put ground linseeds and pumpkin seeds in my smoothies.

Xenia Thu 30-May-13 10:01:37

Everyone knows what I mean. Processed foods with a long ingredients list - bad. Natural unadultered food you might dig out of the ground, pick off a tree or hunt good.

Spices were added because meat was off etc to hide bad food etc. Obviousy,l if you like lots of herbs and spices and perhaps even grow your own herbs by all means use those. There are lot of good things in herbs. However my point stands and is consistent with the views of most people on the thread. We were just looking for shorthands for what is likely to be good for you and what is not.

My ideas are the same as just about everyone on the tread and most doctors - eat real food and you're okay. They are not extreme at all unless you think anyone who does not eat junk and processed food is extreme I suppose.

ppeatfruit Thu 30-May-13 10:37:29

Yes I agree to an extent xenia but the Blood Type still is true for me; because as I said upthread I can eat the best organic home grown tomatoes and still get eczema.

riverboat Thu 30-May-13 10:46:26

ppeatfruit - thank you for that. I'm still not clear though - I understand that if someone is trying to pass off a diet coke, packet of crisps and low fat yoghurt as a meal, of course they will still be hungry and crave more food. But what is the logic against drinking diet/sweetened drinks in between healthy nutritious meals? I mean water isnt 'food' either in the sense of being nutritious. Or what is the logic behind it being OK not to have any dessert at all, but bad to have a low fat yoghurt? Surely you could still end up hungry and craving more in the first situation as much as the second...

itsonlysubterfuge Thu 30-May-13 11:00:26

ppeat You probably just have a food intolerance to tomatoes.

Xenia As far as spices go, they were also valued for being able to make things that were cheap and taste bad, taste good, not just meat that had gone off. What about your views on milk? How do you see flour? The point is it isn't as black and white as it seems.

Furthermore, what about taking medicine? All of that has things that have been artifically created. A long list of ingredients you can't pronounce and probably don't know what they even are. Maybe you don't take them regularly, but some people do. Should they stop because they aren't all natural? Science has come a long way and not everything man made that comes from culinary science is horrible.

I understand that eating and drinking things all the time that have artifical ingredients is not good, but just eating all natural things does not make it any healthier. The best thing to do is eat a varied diet low in saturated fats and processed sugars and learn about portion control/size.

itsonlysubterfuge Thu 30-May-13 11:07:13

Artifical sugars are something called "left-handed sugars" and our body can not digest them. However when you eat or drink something sweet, your body is expecting to get some calories and use it as energy, when it doesn't receive any calories you feel drained/tired and hungry because your body was expecting some calories. Does this make sense?

Also, plain low fat yogurt isn't bad for you. It's all the flavored ones that are bad for you because they have lots of sugar in them. Far better to buy plain low-fat/non-fat yogurt and add your own fruit to sweeten.

Our bodies need water to survive regardless of the nutritional content. You can live quite a while without food, you would have a much harder time surviving without water.

ppeatfruit Thu 30-May-13 12:01:33

itsonly the problem with the high sugar drinks is that your body is not made to cope with so much sugar (9 teaspoons in a normal can of coke NINE!!!!) perverting your tastebuds so all the other 'normal' food you eat will be tasteless and you will need to put lots of salt on it to taste it. You will also crave salty foods like processed meats and cheeses and crisps etc.

Therefore you'll be more likely to become diabetic because your pancreas has to work overtime to cope with the unnatural amount of sugar and get strokes because too much salt has been shown to be one of the causes of them too.

ppeatfruit Thu 30-May-13 12:04:49

Sorry the above post was for riverboat grin blush not itsonly

riverboat Thu 30-May-13 12:07:22

Thanks for explaining that, its only. It makes sense, but on a personal level its hard to believe because I haven't noticed those effects in myself. Maybe what your body and taste buds are used to also plays a part? As a child we had diet drinks never full sugar, low fat yoghurts never full fat, skimmed milk not full cream, margarine instead of butter...and I'd say I actively prefer the taste of all those products to the 'real' versions. So eating a piece of toast with marge doesn't make me wish it was butter or leave me hungry, drinking a diet coke doesn't seem to make me want something 'properly' sugary etc...

Whereas maybe if you are used to the 'real' products the problem comes when you try to switch to the artificial ones...

I shall be observing how I feel after a glass of squash / diet coke more closely from now on, in any case!

TheDeadlyDonkey Thu 30-May-13 12:20:01

River - I'd never noticed it before, not until I've started consistently eating 'proper' food.

riverboat Thu 30-May-13 12:29:31

See, I think I do eat proper food. Homemade dinners and lunches with lots of fresh veg, meat and fish, brown bread, brown rice etc. I just also drink diet coke, squash, put low fat spread on my bread and have the occasional low fat fruit yoghurt. To understand if that's really having a bad effect on me I guess I'd have to basically drink only water and see if it changed my hunger levels or cravings ...and switch to real butter and full fat yoghurts?

Xenia Thu 30-May-13 12:33:10

The closer the food is to how it grew the more likely it will be good for you.

I don't have milk or flour but I am not some radical extremist on these issues - if you mostly eat whole foods you will do a lot better than processed foods. I doubt anyone would disagree with me on the thread

If most of someone's diet is good then they are more than half way there. The trouble is that is not the case for most people. They start at breakfast with a load of processed stuff, jams, bread with sugar added, cereals packed with sugars and then move on to coffees, diet drinks, then the lunch will probably be pretty processed bread at the office, cakes in the afternoon etc etc on and on.

TwasBrillig Thu 30-May-13 12:58:16

I'm trying to make huge changes to my very carb based diet.

This morning I had porridge and a satsuma, snack was yoghurt (Greek full fat) and half a banana, just had a small amount of pasta with tuna, a teaspoon of yoghurt instead of mayo and a salad -cucumber, tomato, snap peas, carrot, celery, pepper.

About 1/4 of a small plate was pasta, 1/4 tuna, half salad.

This is going in the right direction isn't it? Real veg and such like. Tea I've found a chicken and cous cousrecipe that looks like real food ingredients.

I've realised I've so lost track of normal (snacks of cheese and crackers many times a day, digestives, extra bowl of cereal, off packet of crisps, second helpings. . .) I actually need help rebalancing.

TwasBrillig Thu 30-May-13 13:01:54

Just to add I'm not 'low carbing (obviously!), I just meant I was snacking on too much cereal, bread etc. I want to eat healthily and less and trying to figure out what that means. I'd like to eat more real and whole food but its a complete culture change!

Is supermarket wholemeal bread ok? Is any bread? I'd like to make healthier choices and do prefer grainy or wholemeal breads. I thought the amount of sugar was tiny to make the yeast work or something?

ppeatfruit Thu 30-May-13 14:56:11

TwasBrillig you'll feel better for cutting out as much wheat as you can I do! I eat rye bread and ryvita's and pumpernickel (which is an acquired taste grin but even DH likes it he's sooo much calmer,slimmer and less exhausted when he cuts out wheat completely.

(Sainsbos do a pure rye and the big Waitroses' do a good selection of non wheat breads like spelt and Kamut which are ancient grains and easier to digest (whole wheat stops my digestion dead TMI sorry)!

ppeatfruit Thu 30-May-13 14:58:27

There's a good book called "Wheat Belly" by William Davis M.D. if you're interested.

Lifeisontheup Thu 30-May-13 15:00:14

I'm the same I think Twas I was snacking on toast, cakes (shop bought not homemade) and had lost sight of what a normal portion size is.
Recently I've started weighing things and am surprised at how small a single portion of say porridge is. 40g looks so little and I would have normally had double that.

I also find that if I buy a packet of cakes then I'll eat them all which can't be good for you whereas one slice of homemade cake, so you know it has a maximum of four ingredients is not as bad.

Kungfutea Thu 30-May-13 15:36:04

What's the problem with wheat if you're not intolerant to it or have coeliac disease? I get that it's good to mix up the grains a bit and not have too much wheat and not eat processed foods etc but I don't get what the problem is with wheat in and of itself.

I also don't get the issue with ingredients! I made a delicious cake this weekend using wholewheat flour, oats, olive oil, dried figs, dried apricots, bananas, flax seeds, walnuts and a few other goodies, certainly more than four (no added sugar though!). Why is this bad? It's not the NUMBER of ingrediets but WHAT those ingredients are!!

snoworneahva Thu 30-May-13 15:46:34

Not keen on supermarket bread, it's full of rubbish - anti fungal treatments, preservatives, improvers etc. we don't eat bread very often but when we do its home made - flour, water, fat, salt and yeast - nothing else needed.

willowisp Thu 30-May-13 15:48:49

wheat is difficult to digest - can cause inflammation in the body -> body reacts with auto-immune disease, it also blocks the absorption of various minerals & vitamins.

I'm sure your cake was delicious to you, however, it sounds very high in difficult to digest (& therefore potentially inflammatory) wheat & high in sugars which can elevate ones blood sugar. Blood sugar will then 'crash' & you could be left feeling 'hungry' when if fact your not hungry, but craving. This sort of food fits the category of high carb, low fat.

Better off eating the dried apricots/dried figs with the nuts. Soaking the flaxseeds & having them as a soluble fibre provider. I'm assuming the 'other goodies' are eggs - have them scrambled for breakfast.

willowisp Thu 30-May-13 16:00:07

wheat also encourages the body to hold on to water, so when it's cut out of the diet, people do tend to drop the water weight very quickly.

Bread & cakes are also very easy to eat, as are chips.

Lifeisontheup yes, people do lose sight of an appropriate portion. I used to use myfitnesspal as it helps focus on portion size. How many people weight pasta & rice for example, before they cook ? It's all carbs, carbs, carbs. Bloat, bloat, blood sugar surge, quick get some sugar in, oh look I've put weight on...

I managed to put my mum on a diet/eating programme last year. She ate better quality, higher fat food in those 2 mths than on her oh-crap-I-need-to-lose-weight 'regimes'. She lost 1.5 stone & looked & felt better than she had for years.
Unfortunately, whilst everyone told her how great she looked, she has an eating & personality disorder & decided she could eat what she likes & lost interest.

willowisp Thu 30-May-13 16:02:20

itsonlysubterfuge The best thing to do is eat a varied diet low in saturated fats.....what are your sources for this ?

ppeatfruit Thu 30-May-13 16:07:47

snowor I agree BUT you can get pure rye if you look carefully in the larger supermrkets, I make my own too but if you're just starting to cut it out its useful to know you can get good non wheat bread, not just the horrible GF stuff that's got all the additives in it, in supermarkets.

Xenia Thu 30-May-13 16:13:56

People have got rather fixated by my point about ingredients. I don't have some major diet principle that ingredients are bad. It was just a way of expressing - If man made it don't eat it; eat whole foods; eat foods as they grew kind of thing. The less mess around with and processed a food the more likely it will be good for you.

ppeatfruit Thu 30-May-13 16:24:32

The sad thing with that philosophy Xenia is that man has messed around with so many things that grow in the fields; wheat has been messed around with to make it grow faster and shorter etc. that's without the genetic modification,spraying, factory farming, steroids and A.B.'s etc. that are put in our 'fresh ' foods sad angry.

Talkinpeace Thu 30-May-13 16:26:52

There are two sorts of food

Fresh cooked meals made from identifiable ingredients
Industrial processed foods made from components

I try to avoid the latter.

Kungfutea Thu 30-May-13 16:50:48

I agree about supermarket bread. I bake my own (have a breadmaker) and it's far nicer - you control the fats, sugar, salt etc.

I'm sorry willowisp but what you're saying is simply not true for people who are not diabetic. The cake I made was, actually, quite low in sugar for cake plus it had fats, proteins, fibre etc from the other ingredients. Since I'm not diabetic or prediabetic, my body is quite capable of handling a small increase in blood sugar from one slice of (relatively low sugar) cake. As I mentioned before with regards to rice cakes sending you into a 'sugar coma', if your body is reacting in such a way to increases in blood sugar, you should really go to your GP and get tested for diabetes.

I haven't seen any scientific evidence that there is anything particularly bad about wheat unless you're intolerant or a coeliac.

The big deal about wheat and gluten is all faddy if you ask me other than for the few people for whom it really is an issue.

Kungfutea Thu 30-May-13 16:55:57

And what's wrong with genetic modification? I don't see anything wrong with it at all in a healthy eating diet. In fact, it's probably quite good because you can genetically modify foods to need less pesticides, fertilizers etc. Don't forget we have to feed 7 billion people and growing. GM is the way forward IMO.

Xenia Thu 30-May-13 17:00:07

60% of British people are overweight and I think it's 25% who are obese and it is even worse the older they get so something is wrong with the foods people eat.

Kungfutea Thu 30-May-13 17:07:08

It's a global problem. The greatest obesity problem is in middle income countries like Egypt, South Africa, Turkey, Mexico. Obesity is increasing far more rapidly than it did in the West and they're not equipped to deal with it (eg the increase in hypertension, diabetes, cancer) plus the negative impacts of obesity are far worse in people who had nutritional deficiencies in-utero and during early childhood, which is often the case in these countries. Parents often overfeed their kids as well to compensate for what they didn't have sad

willowisp Thu 30-May-13 17:09:59

Kungfutea I think you might like to research the impact on the environment & the unknown impact on humans & animals before stating GM is a good thing. hmm

Yes, I have had a test for diabetes thank you. It's ok, but high glycemic tips my blood sugarunfavorably.

Perhaps you should calculate the amount of sugar in your cake before you advise me how little sugar it has - you'll find its mainly sugar.

It might also be worth you spending (quite a considerable) time really reading a lot of information about food & nutrition.

I don't have the time/energy or inclination to waste my time with anyone who is aggressively clueless.

snoworneahva Thu 30-May-13 17:12:45

Wheat causes my stomach to bloat, gives me cramps and acid indigestion, I've had painful acid indigestion for nearly 30 years and when I gave up wheat it disappeared. Sugar/refined carbs eaten after lunch gives me insomnia, I have spent years lying awake at night not sleeping for hours on end. i went on a low carb diet giving up sugar and wheat and two fairly annoying but clearly not life threatening health issues were resolved.
It doesn't matter what other people call it - being faddy or whatever - I am not allergic to wheat, I've had the test - which I know can give a false negative, I don't feel I need a label or a proper medical diagnosis - staying off wheat and sugar allows me to feel better, healthier, at last I get a good night's sleep every night and my stomach no longer feels bloated and raw. Now if I could only find the source of my skin problems. hmm

Abra1d Thu 30-May-13 17:20:15

I do the 5:2. I am the slimmest I have been for about a decade. To those who asked about feeling faint: you really get used to it very quickly. I have just been for a 3.5 mile run. I did actually walk the last little bit because I had only had a few calories all day--my fault, I mis-timed and misjudged it. But apart from longish runs, I can do everything on fast days. You just adapt.

I no longer bother with trying to avoid saturated fats such as cheese and butter. The evidence about a connection with heart disease seems patchy. I just smile politely when healthcare professionals urge me to cut back. I imagine sugar is the big enemy.

Abra1d Thu 30-May-13 17:22:36

I think Kungfutea has a point about GM, too. I would rather eat non-sprayed GM crops, for instance, than sprayed non-GM. The sprays used on some of the fertilisers used on crops around here worry me a lot, especially as I have had two pregnancies while going for long walks in the fields: you can't always know when they're spraying and suddenly I'd find myself very close to the chemicals.

Kungfutea Thu 30-May-13 17:23:52

I don't think I'm the one who is aggressive and insulting, willowisp hmm. You should read your posts! I think, by your own account, the attack on the nutritonist who dared to have something with an artificial sweetener is quite telling (and also what that nutritionist suggested to you).

As it happens, I have researched food and nutrition quite a lot. It interests me (although I certainly wouldn't assume I know more than someone who has studied it for 5 years at uni). Sometimes people can be well read yet come to different conclusions, especially with something like nutrition where it's very hard to pinpoint any one diet as THE diet. The scientific evidence isn't strong for any one diet really as it's hard to tease things out among all the other confounding factors.

I think the consensus is reduce sugar and processed carbs, focus on good fats (certainly what you're proposing on saturated fats is controversial), eat plenty of fruit and veg, beans and nuts is the way to go.

All the rest is conjecture. If it works for you, fine, but no need to attack people who don't agree as it's not the gospel truth.

snoworneahva Thu 30-May-13 17:30:13

Abra1d I think you raise a interesting point about which is less harmful - spraying non Gm crops versus non spraying Gm crops - it's a tough call. Pesticides aren't great for the environment either. I must admit I don't know enough about either side to form an opinion.

Abra1d Thu 30-May-13 17:35:54

Ideally I'd eat organic vegetables, but they are expensive. If GM means less harm to wildlife, because we're not spraying as much, it gets at least a partial thumbs-up from me.

Kungfutea Thu 30-May-13 17:40:45

I think the thing is that the issues with GM are maybes (I think we should be concerned and there should be safeguards in place but it's an exciting way forward) but the issues with pesticides/fertilizer etc are definites, we know they're not good for human health and for the environment.

GM can also increase yields in some of the poorest countries in the world where food security is a big issue eg by making crops more drought resistant - I know that's a different issue but I think equally important for GM.

Slubberdelatrinae Thu 30-May-13 17:43:33

Fascinating thread.

Can anyone direct me towards a book which will help improve my understanding of food and physiology. I'm not interested in reading a diet book, but would like to read something that explains in a little more detail than GCSE biology what happens to different food groups when they enter the human body. Watched the Robert Lustig lecture last night on YouTube about sugar. Fascinating, but some of the info on what happens in the liver when we eat fructose/sucrose vs glucose went over my head rather.

Kungfutea Thu 30-May-13 17:48:43

You can take free online courses at coursera


I did one on the basics of nutrition. It was very interesting.

Slubberdelatrinae Thu 30-May-13 18:07:11

Thanks Kungfu, will have a look smile

TwasBrillig Thu 30-May-13 18:39:22

Kungfu that cake sounds lovely - I'd love the recipe!

This afternoon I picked up some walnuts and some seeds and had a small handful of those for my afternoon snack (instead of my cheese and cracker addiction).

I've made a "moroccan chicken" with tomato, honey, lemon and spices with cous cous. It was lovely and simple to make and all from "real" food.

I think I want to aim similarly ish to Xenia's basic idea, and what Kungfu is saying - real, whole foods, and increasing fruit and veg and decreasing fat ans sugar.

I do like to bake though and am making chocolate brownies (admittedly with lots of walnuts!) for the children and at least I know what the ingredients are. I'm making cheese and bacon muffins for a picnic tomorrow - again at least I know whats in them.

I'm really interested in Kungfus cake though - I'd quite like to apply the ideas to baking and use less white flour, caster sugar etc!

Oh - random fact, I was looking for chicken stock for the recipe as I haven't yet learnt how to make it. OXO has MSG, some of the "posh" looking brands have glucose syrup (english for HFCS?) and only the own brand one looked like identifiable ingredients!!! I've never checked that kind of thing before. (We usually use veg boullion but I wanted to follow the recipe).

TwasBrillig Thu 30-May-13 18:42:48

Oh missed the bit about the course that sounds interesting althouggh I'm not "there" yet. I'm still trying to make some of the "big" basic changes towards wholefoods!

I normally buy the supermarket bread that has been baked in the bakery onsite. Does that still have lots of additives then? I assumed it was similar to bakery bread elsewhere....

We used to make our own. I could do that again. I do like them to slice it for me though - I'm rubbish at slicing!

itsonlysubterfuge Thu 30-May-13 19:59:02

If you read their names, it would seem that glucose syrup contains glucose while high fructose corn syrup contains fructose, which would make them different things. Yes they are both sugars, but different kinds of suagr are digested differently. Also, I find that the chicken/beef stock cubes tend to have less sugar and salt in them then the vegetable ones.

AvonCallingBarksdale Thu 30-May-13 20:17:32

What about agave syrup as a sugar alternative - worth it, or just as bad?

BigStickBIWI Thu 30-May-13 20:38:56

Just as bad. As is honey.

Talkinpeace Thu 30-May-13 20:41:06

All sugars are just empty calories.
They are the one part of the diet we do not need in any quantity at all.

Fat, salt, protein, carbs, vitamins, minerals - all essential for our bodies
Sugar - NOT

snoworneahva Thu 30-May-13 21:13:56

Agave is worse than table sugar - it's very high in fructose! definitely one to avoid. All sugars/sweeteners are not created equal - some are worse than others. Agave and HFCS are bad because the fructose is processed by the liver - leaving your liver in a pretty poor fatty state. Good local raw honey contains some beneficial nutrients and some would argue help to protect against infection but should be consumed in moderation.

Supermarket baked breads are just that - baked in the supermarket, the dough is often made elsewhere, they are baked on site because the smell drives you crazy, their ingredients are often a mystery as by law companies don't have to label in store baked products in the same way - so you won't find an ingredient list on the bread...even if you did it would most likely still be full of crap because the bread is still factory produced off site.

TwasBrillig Thu 30-May-13 21:16:05

I have golden syrup on my porridge. Not a lot but I love it. I did wonder if maple syrup would be 'better' but we on the other hand its now such a small part of my diet.

I'm incredibly grateful for this thread :-) I've really enjoyed my food the last two days and eaten a lot less.

Thanks itsonly. Of course! I got them muddled! We use the low salt veg boullion usually but hadn't checked it for sugar!

I have crackers and oatcakes in the cupboard. I haven't checked their ingredient list. I guess oatcakes are easy enough to make and I don't really need crackers.

I'm going to make hummus for tomorrows morning snack with veg sticks (anyone know how long home,made hummus lasts for?)

I could do with some other ideas -I might start a thread!

TwasBrillig Thu 30-May-13 21:18:57

Thanks for that about the bread! I've been googling the online shopping sites to see if any store displays nutritional info and none of them seemed to. I'd always assumed it was more 'real' like bakery bread. Hmm. Might have to teach myself to use the breadmaker. Its mainly my daughter who likes sandwhiches at school. If I made rolls would they keep at all?

snoworneahva Thu 30-May-13 21:25:35

I make rolls and freeze them. Then it's 20secs on fast defrost in the morning and they are fine.

snoworneahva Thu 30-May-13 21:28:01

Cleanest bread you can buy in the supermarket is ciabatta or go for Organic which often has cleaner ingredients. Making your own is even better.

TwasBrillig Thu 30-May-13 21:31:48

Ah didn't think of freezing . . . ! I always worry it will go soggy. I might give it a go. Thanks :-)

TwasBrillig Thu 30-May-13 21:42:17

I'd been thinking of eating more cous cous, bulgar wheat etc. But they're still wheat aren't they? I'm happy to eat wheat cut just thinking if I eat that one meal I probably ought not to have sandwhices for the other. Or are they whole grains and ok?

itsonlysubterfuge Thu 30-May-13 22:40:43

Cous cous is the same thing as pasta, literally. I don't really find wheat bad, I think it's best to stick to wholewheat though, because at least you are getting the benefit of added fiber. However, people here would more than likely urge you to eat something like Quinoa as a replacement for wheat, which is a seed that is a good source of protein.

Also sugar is a carbohydrate and lots of fruits and vegetables contain sugars. When you look at the back of a label on the nutritional information where it lists sugar it could be sugar found naturally in fruits, for example if you find a no sugar added jam, the sugar content is quite high because when you cook fruit you reduce the water content and concentrate the natural sugars. You should check the ingredients to see if ant suagrs are actually listed.

I disagree that you don't need sugar. I mean natural sugars found in fruits rather than processed cane sugar. If you think about eating a balanced meal which includes foods from every food group (dairy, fruits & veg, carbs, protein) you'll get a quick energy boost from the fruits and veg, but longer more sustainable enegry from the protein and carbohydrates (assuming they are complex carbohydrates from wholegrain sources). The main point of eating food is to give your body calories for energy and vitamins, minerals, proteins (among other things) which are needed for regular body functions.

Please excuse any typos and if this didn't make sense, it's past my bedtime.

TwasBrillig Thu 30-May-13 22:46:36

Thanks, really helpful. I can't believe I don't really know how to put a good weeks healthy meal plan together. (hence being interested in this thread).

we like wholemeal pasta - so is that better than cous cous. Will look into quinoa but I guess potatoes and brown rice are other alternatives for the carb bit of the meal.

Thanks for your advice. I'm going to bed too -can't believe how many typos and extra exclamation marks I've put it. Its embarrassing. I need sleep.

Talkinpeace Thu 30-May-13 22:55:18

cut down on the carbs, not totally but certainly a couple of days a week

vegetable soup / stir fry / stew
frittata or spanish omelette
ham and onion normal omelette with a side salad
steamed fish and vegetables and a nice tomato gloopy sauce

all nom nom carb free incredibly low calorie meals

have a look at pulses
make a chilli sauce with lots of beans and then dip tortilla chips into it - 50g of them is plenty
or some of the amazing chickpea curries
or mixed beans in a piri piri type sauce with some steamed chicken

Kungfutea Fri 31-May-13 01:18:46

Those meals sound nice talkinpeace. I sometimes do mashed cauliflower instead of mashed potatoes. I like it but the rest of the family demand the real thing smile

This is the recipe I used http://www.sunbeam.com.au/11373.aspx but I used wholemeal flour and added walnuts, flax seeds and chopped apricots. I also left out the sugar as its sweet enough with the fruit.

For me the important thing is to enjoy your food as well! I think the 80/20 rule mentioned above is very good. We try to eat healthily but we have dessert on Friday nights (usually something good!) and eat out once every week or two weeks (we're in NYC and love trying all the different cuisines). We enjoy it and it's fun!

ppeatfruit Fri 31-May-13 07:18:54

twasbrillig I use molasses in my oats and they're nice esp. as they have magnesium which we all need (you need to get used to the flavour though.

Ref. G.M. foods; I'd prefer not to eat corn with added mouse or fish genes thanks. Too much spraying can be prevented by better husbandry.

Xenia Fri 31-May-13 08:21:18

I think for some of us sugar is like alcohol or cocaine to an addict and all is best avoided. There are a lot of people in the UK who cannot eat one brownie or one piece of cake or one biscuit from the pack and not having any works for us. It certainly does for me and amazingly after a airly short period you don't even want or like it any more.

There are others who can easily just eat one chocolate or one scoop of honey or whatever on their food and save the rest of the bar for the next day and they are probably different. I do not speak for everyone but certainly for a lot of people simply changing your diet so you don't eat those chocolates etc tends to make you feel happier and healthier.

Food should certainly be enjoyed. An interesting issue though is effecting change and change of taste. I am not lying to say I enjoy the food I eat even if it does not consist of cakes and puddings. I am not pretending. It is just my tastes changed. In the same way I can say I enjoy my life even though I don't drink. That might seem a lie and ridiculous to a drinker but it's true.

There is a difference between enjoyment and compulsion though, isn't there? I think anybody who says they can't enjoy their life without alcohol has a big issue. Or anything else come to that but especially alcohol given the seriousness of alcohol addiction.

It is one thing to say that you enjoy something and like having it, but to say life is less enjoyable because you can't have it should send out warning signals imo.

I can and do give up things I love and enjoy surprisingly easily, for various reasons, but I usually go back to them because I enjoy them, not from compulsion. If they weren't available I wouldn't fret about it but they are nice to have. What I haven't found though, is that my tastes change that easily or quickly. Just because I don't eat something for 3 or 4 months doesn't change my enjoyment of it. I find it strange when people say that will happen. If you ate only seasonal food, would you go off things you can only eat for a few months or even weeks a year like cherries or Discovery apples (my personal favs which aren't around much). What is this mechanism that means people don't like what they can't have?

But I don't drink alcohol and never have - foul tasting stuff - so what do I know? smile

Xenia Fri 31-May-13 11:03:43

Certain things affect the pleasure sections of the brain = product dopamine etc. Computer games do. Gambling, smoking, shopping for some people, alcohol, drugs, chocolate/cacao/sugar. I am sure some people have more addictive genes than others.

If you don't then you probably don't take the product to excess anyway although with smoking everyone is better with none of that rather than just a bit and as most people usually lose I suspect gambling could be left well alone.

Too right about smoking. Foul habit. I can never understand why statistically, children of smokers are more likely to smoke. Having lived with a smoking parent it had the opposite effect on me!

I suppose some people have to be all or nothing about things. I know I can do something excessively, I can eat too much chocolate for example in terms of health (I still enjoy it), but equally if it isn't there, it doesn't bother me. As one who isn't all or nothing I suppose I don't understand the concept but equally those who have to give up completely can't understand how I can take or leave things.

I remember once, as a child, having my sweets taken away because I had done something wrong. Since I enjoyed sweets, my mother reasoned, I would miss them and behave better in order to get them back so it was a good punishment. I have no idea if I behaved better but I didn't ask for the sweets or mention them again. My mother is still surprised at my take it or leave it attitude. She didn't use the 'taking away something you enjoy' punishment again. I don't think I have changed. Interestingly I have one son who is the same as me and another who would be very upset at having something he liked taken away.

It has its disadvantages though because it would be useful if my palette changed but it doesn't and so to have an extreme diet such as yours, Xenia, would be hard work outside of my own home where I have control, because if I am offered food with less than optimum nutrition, I have no reason to reject it on the grounds of taste. On that basis, I am happy to use the 80/20 'rule' as a guideline. It sounds like you wouldn't be though?

Kungfutea Fri 31-May-13 12:18:44

Life would definitely be less enjoyable without tasty food! Why is that worrying? I think many French people would agree smile

ppeatfruit Fri 31-May-13 12:27:52

Kungfu Sadly the french are now one of the world's most enthusiastic customers of Mcdo's so the sugar\salt addiction has reached them too. Their bottoms are getting much bigger as a result grin Their 'low priced menu' restaurants are sometimes total shxx too. (I live between Fr. and U.K.)

riverboat Fri 31-May-13 12:57:25

Agree that every McDo is full at lunchtimes in France. But I think food is more democratic in France - people who go to McDo for lunch now and then are still pretty likely to eat 'proper' meals at other times. Plus the French rarely snack in my experience.

MrsPennyapple Fri 31-May-13 14:04:15

I have a couple of questions, if anyone can help.

I compared full fat milk against semi-skimmed and saw that semi skimmed has more carbohydrate in. Why would that be?

I make jam quite often and was given a book which, in an effort to make jam "healthier" advocates using fruit juice rather than sugar and water. Would this actually make the slightest bit of difference? Disclaimer, I know jam is inherently unhealthy, but I like it and I like making it.

Regarding GM foods, the jury is still out for me. I've read lately that the concentration of nutrients in our veg is vastly reduced from what it was in, say, 1930. IIRC you would have to eat eight oranges now, to get the same levels you'd have got from one orange in 1930. There are suggestions that this is due to depletion of nutrients in the soil, because crops have been bred to be disease resistant, and as large as possible. I've only got this information from TV and from Google, so am happy to be corrected if anyone here knows about such things. (It goes without saying that even our less nutritious veg is still better for you than lard sandwiches.)

BigStickBIWI Fri 31-May-13 14:11:02

Semi-skimmed will have more carbohydrate in it because it has less fat.

Re the jam, all I can see that would be different would be the taste, i.e. you will get different flavour from the fruit juice. You won't be adding any of the fibre of the fruit - it's just sugar in another form, surely?

Don't know about the soil/GM foods issue, but it's one reason for avoiding GM at all costs and also for considering organic veg.

ppeatfruit Fri 31-May-13 14:37:30

mrsPenny DH eats the Fr. St Dalfour jam which has "just' unsweetened grape juice concentrate it tastes much nicer than the usual 'pile' of sugar jam. I s'pose if you don't have too much of it it's ok but is probably not much healthier grin.

The lack of nutrients in the soil is due to oil based fertilisers being used because the goodness is not replaced with proper compost (i've always wondered why; it can't cost much to make compost whereas the artificial fertilisers must cost more. )

We try to eat organic or non sprayed carefully grown food (we ask the growers) and it tastes soo much better.

Emilythornesbff Fri 31-May-13 14:44:41

We're not eating jam now?
Good grief!

Just leave marmalade alone ok?

snoworneahva Fri 31-May-13 14:46:41

I make jam using a special setting agent that reacts with calcium to set the jam rather than sugar. So you can make sugar free jam - without resorting to concentrated fruit juice. I'm still experimenting with texture and flavour though.

Interesting thoughts on addition - my life would be infinitely poorer without chilli peppers, I miss it terribly if we visit a country/people that doesn't celebrate it's existence, we often travel with it...in fact I've just packed some for our weekend away. The thought of never having it slightly fills me with panic.

My tastebuds have changed remarkably.....I'm forever exploring new foods and flavours, not always enjoying them at first but developing a deep love for them eventually.

ppeatfruit Fri 31-May-13 14:49:56

Emily I don't eat jam or marmalade on toast because it gives me arthritis grin Sorrygrin

Emilythornesbff Fri 31-May-13 14:56:31

Well you are forgiven p grin
That can't be nice.

ppeatfruit Fri 31-May-13 15:11:54

It's when it 's with the toast i can eat it on its own or with tofu yoghurt!

Xenia Fri 31-May-13 16:15:01

Given 60% of UK people are overweight and mostly eating loads of processed rubbish, as long as you switch mostly to healthy whole foods whether they are organic or not you will make a major good change. However it is true about veg etc today. Indeed fruits are much sweeter than they are as they have been bred to be a lot sweeter so they will not even taste the same as they used to do unless you have an ancient orchard with old varieties I suppose.

MrsPennyapple Fri 31-May-13 16:23:12

Thanks for the responses about jam. BIWI pretty much summed up what I was thinking, you're just swapping one kind of sugar for another.

Snow what is the setting agent you use? Is it a naturally occurring substance, or a chemically produced one? The whole reason I make it myself is so that I know what's going into it - fruit, sugar, and sometimes lemon juice. I'd be reluctant to start adding chemicals, although I can see that it would be an option if you need to reduce sugar but don't want to stop making / eating jam. (Or marmalade.)

Btw, I made sweet chilli sauce with home grown chillies this week - yum, and also wow! Hot! grin I would be sad if I had to go without chillies.

itsonlysubterfuge Fri 31-May-13 16:29:03

Fructose, which is the sugar found naturally in fruit is different from sucrose, which is also known as table sugar. They are both sugars, yes, but the react with your body differently. In fact fructose has an incredibly low glycemic index. Sucrose is the sugar that is commonly linked with obesity.

Sugar is used to help thicken jam, not really sweeten it. If you pick fruits high in pectin, you can thicken jams without the addition of sugar. Cranberries are an excellent example, you can boil a pan of cranberries until they have popped, put it in the bowl and refridgerate. Once cold the cranberries come out in a solid block, much like jelly because of all the pectin. You can experience mixing and matching fruits to get the right thickness and flavor. I've always thought you'd also be able to mix fruit with gelatin to make jam, but have yet to experiment.

Twas I love wholewheat cous cous, it cooks in five minutes and all you have to do is pop it into the bowl your going to serve, boil the kettle, add the boiled water, cover and it's done in five minutes! Much easier than wholewheat pasta, in my opinion.

itsonlysubterfuge Fri 31-May-13 16:32:06

Forgot to say that if you use slightly under ripe fruit, it will contain more pectin than perfectly ripe fruit.

BigStickBIWI Fri 31-May-13 16:40:59

Sugar (sucrose) is half fructose and half glucose. And both fructose and sucrose are linked with obesity. Even if fructose has a low GI.

see here

ouryve Fri 31-May-13 20:40:59

I think I'll stick to making my many kg of blackcurrants into jam with the support of some nice, sticky sugar. The sugar free alternative doesn't bear thinking about [puckered face emoticon]

snoworneahva Fri 31-May-13 23:05:22

Here's the link to the calcium activated pectin, judge for yourself whether you are happy with it.

As for the fructose debate - yes it has a low GI but that is not necessarily a cause cause for celebration because given the frustose cannot be processed in the normal way through using insulin, it is consequently processed in the liver - think non-alcohol fatty liver decease and you're getting close - google "Dr Ludvig truth about sugar" for more info, if you are interested in uncovering why fructose is not as innocent as it initially seems. Agave syrup is wolf in sheep's clothing.

snoworneahva Sat 01-Jun-13 08:15:51


Xenia Sat 01-Jun-13 08:21:15

A lot of people do not think a lot of jam (and indeed too much fruit) is that good for people. Jam is basically sugar. By all means enjoy it particularly if you don't have sugar addict tendencies and eat a lot of other good things but I think it's a shame that a food like jam has ended up a discussion on what you should eat thread.

TwasBrillig Sat 01-Jun-13 08:38:34

How much fruit is too much fruit? I'm trying to put more fruit and veg in my diet and don't want to go overboard. I really have lost sight of things that should be 'obvious'.

I think I was like the people on secret eaters. I've only watched it once but it was a reality check. I assumed I wasn't 'that' type of person but the truth was I was!

Day 4 of eating clean(er) and loving it so far but appreciating the advice. I think I must have halved what I was eating but eating differently and thinking about it more is helping me make the change without craving. So far. I suspect it will get difficult at some point.

snoworneahva Sat 01-Jun-13 08:58:24

I'm not suggesting jam is a health food! I make it for my ds who is active and skinny, likes big spoonfuls of jam with extra thick double cream on his porridge. Which imo is quite a lot healthier than eating processed junky cereals - which are almost as far away from real food as you will find!

ppeatfruit Sat 01-Jun-13 09:01:49

Twasbrillig I always eat fruit when I'm hungry before a meal (i hardly ever have it with yoghurt as I said upthread. You get the benefits of the vitamins that way. (the Hay diet says to wait four hours between eating fruit and a meal but I don't find that is nec.) Since doing this I've lost weight and stopped having stomach pains, heartburn etc. I've lost nearly 3 stone recently and am maintaining AND I'VE NEVER STOPPED EATING FRUIT!!

BIWI Sat 01-Jun-13 09:17:42

Twas - that's a really difficult question to answer because it depends entirely on what kind of plan you're following! Personally I rarely eat fruit because I don't like it very much it is simply sugar as far as I'm concerned - which means sugar. And as I eat a low carb diet, it rules most of it out.

But if you're simply cutting calories or fat, then fruit is obviously perfectly acceptable.

Just bear in mind that too much fruit is also not great from a dental health perspective. As well as the sugar content, the acidity of the fruit lowers pH levels in the mouth, which increases plaque as well as causing enamel erosion.

BIWI Sat 01-Jun-13 09:18:35

Sorry - should preview more blush

it is simply sugar as far as I'm concerned - which means carbs

MrsPennyapple Sat 01-Jun-13 09:26:18

I'm sorry you're not happy about the jam comments Xenia I only asked a question, which I believe is allowed, is it not? I did state that I know jam isn't "healthy." I think it is relevant however, as the thread has discussed "real food" vs that which is made of unpronouncable chemicals. If fruit foraged from hedgerows or grown organically in my garden is not "real" then I don't know what is.

I don't think a bit of jam now and again should be ruled out, as part of a balanced diet. You might enjoy steamed veg for every meal, but some of us like other things. I'm not overweight, I'm not addicted to sugar, I don't have digestive problems, so I guess my diet is ok for me.

TwasBrillig Sat 01-Jun-13 09:34:51

I think home made jam is better than what most people eat!

I'm not low carbing -just trying to cut out as much processed food as I can and eat real food. Got to change for life as I'm obese, rather than a 'diet' so while I'm at it I want to make it healthy and sustainable.

I'm thinking of adding linseed to my porridge and trying to eat some seeds and walnuts and seeds for an afternoon snack occasionally. I'm having to relearn portion size to.

I've been reading a bit online about 'clean' eating. Really I just want to eat 'healthily' hence trying to follow this thread as I kept reading different things.

BIWI Sat 01-Jun-13 09:43:12

And that's the problem - who defines 'healthy'?!

BIWI Sat 01-Jun-13 09:45:14

... although I certainly agree that avoiding processed foods and artificial ingredients HAS to be a good thing smile

snoworneahva Sat 01-Jun-13 09:50:11

Healthy has to be something that comes down to individual needs and goals - weight loss or weight gain or stay the same, medical conditions, age, activity levels....all play a big part in determining what is a healthy diet. Without a doubt clean, home cooked food is the best starting point regardless of individual needs.

BIWI Sat 01-Jun-13 09:54:02

I agree. I'm always shocked at how little home-cooking or cooling from scratch is done these days

lljkk Sat 01-Jun-13 11:52:48

I hope what folk can take away from this thread is that there are lots of pictures of what a healthy diet can look like, and should be room for individuals to experiment and find what fits them best (always a work in progress, anyway).

ppeatfruit Sat 01-Jun-13 11:53:42

BIWI The thing about dental health and fruit is bizarre IMO and E ; (imo its the high acid diet of lots of sugar and salt and fizzy drinks that causes the bad teeth)

I've got all my own teeth and they're good ;after all Gorillas eat just fruit and veg do they all have bad teeth? My DM also has no false teeth (she's 85 BTW) and she eats a lot of fruit.

So fruit is all sugar and bad now, is it?

<<loses the will to live>>

Fruit is fine. It appears on any superfoods list you care to look at, especially berries and tomatoes. It contains all sorts of trace elements you can't get anywhere else as well as fibre and the more common nutrients.

As for the teeth thing, yes there is an element of truth in that - just look at any toothpaste advert these days - but it can be managed. A bit of fruit is not going to make your teeth rot is you just follow normal mouth hygiene habits.

ppeatfruit Sat 01-Jun-13 12:43:44

But BBB since when did adverts tell the truth? grin They just want to sell their crap products IMO. The products are generally crap esp. the heavily advertised ones because the companies have to make enormous profits after spending on the adverts they have no money left for quality.

ppeatfruit Sat 01-Jun-13 12:48:03

Thinking about it the adverts are as responsible as anyone for the shxx food and drinks that a lot people are addicted to. There was a thread on here about Coke and sooo many of the posters thought it quite okay to drink stuff with additives and or 9 spoonfuls of sugar in it.shock It's the power of advertising to normalise shit. (sorry for the rant). blush

I don't know if you have seen some of the adverts here where they are selling toothpaste which protects enamel. They acknowledge that fruit is good for you and we should be eating it but that the acid can attack the tooth enamel so dental hygiene is important. DS's dentist said the same without flogging any toothpaste.

I don't think they are disputing that crap food will have a worse effect but that fruit isn't without its risks - it is more acidic than veg for example. <<sweeping generalisation>> smile

They are trying to get the healthy eater who thinks perhaps that they don't have as much to worry about as those who live off a diet of donuts and coke when perhaps they should be careful too.

Whether the product actually works is another matter. My dentist is sceptical. I don't think I dispute idea just the usefulness of the product.

ppeatfruit Sat 01-Jun-13 13:26:30

Interestingly I used to use that particular toothpaste it worked for a while when my teeth were sensitive but stopped working until I decided to eat really healthily and my teeth are not sensitive any more (i use a non fluoride one from a HF shop) I do also "oil pull".

BIWI Sat 01-Jun-13 13:57:21

ppeatfruit The thing about dental health and fruit is bizarre IMO and E ; (imo its the high acid diet of lots of sugar and salt and fizzy drinks that causes the bad teeth)

Yes <sighs> and fruit is sugar! So if you're eating a lot of fruit, by definition you are eating lots of sugar.

One of my clients is a manufacturer of toothpastes, so I do know just a little about what I'm talking about. And it's not just based on what they say as a manufacturer, but on the basis of the very many dentists and dental hygienists that I have worked with.

BBB - as far as I am concerned, as a low carber, fruit simply isn't worth including in my diet. There is far too much sugar in it, and I get all the nutrients I need from the amount of veg and salad I eat (as well as all the other good stuff). However, it's a great food if you're not low carbing. As I was saying earlier.

What is/isn't 'good' or 'healthy' varies according to which way you choose to eat.

ppeatfruit Sat 01-Jun-13 16:57:30

BIWI But it's not like refined sugar beet is it? Fructose (which occurs naturally in fruit doesn't spike BSLs like the refined stuff it releases its energy more slowly) I'm not talking about high fructose corn syrup which is the worst of all, maybe the dentists are thinking about that stuff.

Xenia Sat 01-Jun-13 17:16:10

Just about everyone except perhaps not on this thread knows that too much fruit is not good for you. It used to be a rare thing you would have at harvest time. We all know man is a meat eater, fish eater etc

A lot of rather fat British women think if they eat a ton of fruit and main line their children on orange jucie they are going all healthy. They would be better cutting back on the ftuit a bit although it (the fruit not the juice) is better for you than junk and for many people not eating the junk food is hard enough. If they substitute the junk food with a a massive load of grapes and 4 bananas that is a huge achievement. However it is not ideal and it is still sugar.

LentilAsAnything Sat 01-Jun-13 17:21:28

Very wrong, Xenia. Hunt down your own animals and bring them down with your claws and teeth, do you? Chomp down on raw flesh? No? Why not?!

Health-wise, we are better off eating no meat, and no animal products. You have been lied to. Watch Forks Over Knives, a documentary based on the book The China Study.

lljkk Sat 01-Jun-13 17:56:19

<<Chomp chomp chomping on dried apricots.>>

BIWI Sat 01-Jun-13 18:16:47

No, ppeatfruit, it's exactly the same in terms of its action in the mouth/effect on pH levels.

BIWI Sat 01-Jun-13 18:17:31

To be precise, it is the combination of the carbohydrate from the fructose and the acid from the fruit itself that has its effect on tooth enamel.

BIWI Sat 01-Jun-13 18:19:53

Look, ppeat, I'm not trying to say that fruit is 'bad' - knock yourself out and eat as much of it as you like, if that suits you/your dietary ambitions.

I'm simply pointing out that there are reasons why some people might want to restrict their intake.

Either from a very specific dietary point of view - i.e. like me you are low carbing or, from a more general dental health point of view. The fact that one company has spent considerable amounts of money developing a product to deal with this issue would tell you that there is a problem here for some people. People who eat a lot of fruit and drink a lot of fruit juice (and those who also drink a lot of wine) are especially at risk, because of the effects I've already talked about.

exoticfruits Sat 01-Jun-13 18:26:18

It worked for me once I stopped dieting. Eat less, keep it fairly low fat, don't snack and exercise much, much more. I eat lots of fruit. I would like to say 'keep off alcohol' but I don't always manage it.

BIWI Sat 01-Jun-13 18:33:45

Hmm. And The China Study is not entirely convincing either ...

BIWI - I thought it was a myth that all fruit was too high carb for a low carb diet. Not all fruit is the same surely? Some of them have nutrients you can't easily find in veggies - again the purple colouring of berries that gives them their health benefits are hard to find in veg.

Of course if you don't like fruit, fair enough but don't write it off on the basis of it being 'just sugar' or just carbs because it isn't.

BIWI Sat 01-Jun-13 19:00:42

No, not all fruit is too high in carbs - berries are great, and rhubarb is fab (although technically, of course, it isn't fruit!)

I'm not writing fruit off at all.

But it is still sugar ...

BIWI Sat 01-Jun-13 19:04:22

I don't know why I actually have to defend this by the way, as it is actually true! In just the same way that potatoes and carrots are high in carbs, which means that they are sugar!

You choose to eat fruit. Absolutely nothing wrong with that if it's in line with the kind of diet you want to pursue. And I'm not arguing with your beliefs or choices.

All I'm pointing out is that for those of us who choose to low carb, fruit (or too much/the 'wrong' kind of fruit) is something we choose to leave out of our diets.

BIWI Sat 01-Jun-13 19:05:27

What is it, exactly, that I would get from fruit that I don't get from vegetables or salad? Or from other foods that are in my diet, like meat/fish/dairy products. I'd be very interested to know.

exoticfruits Sat 01-Jun-13 19:21:33

I like fruit- I eat lots of it everyday.

Talkinpeace Sat 01-Jun-13 19:41:04

An apple a day keeps the doctor away
but pisses off the dental hygienist.

"Diet advice"
Small portions of fresh or freshly cooked foods
with a good mixture of fruit, veg, carbs, protein and fats
and you'll be just fine

(but that sentence cannot be sold!)

lljkk Sat 01-Jun-13 19:53:47

My dentist said that the benefits of fruit and veg outweighed their cariogenic effect, and definitely to keep the F+V. The only fruit food dentist would ban was raisins.

snoworneahva Sat 01-Jun-13 20:02:01

You can eat fruit after a meal and limit the dental impact by allowing the acidity in your mouth to fall between meals - constant snacking is not good for your teeth.

Anyone else feel stifled by the food police, too much trying to have a healthy diet and listening to too much dogma brings out my rebellious side. I had the most wonderful honey and nutmeg homemade ice cream today and it was worth every single joyous calorie - it made me grin from ear to ear, I wanted to run into the kitchen and hug the pastry chef! Giving up sugar forever is not something I want to do - cake and eat it - that's what I want! grin

itsonlysubterfuge Sat 01-Jun-13 20:21:07

Carbs are not only sugar. There are two types of carbohydrates. Carbohydrates does not equal sugar.

We are programmed as human beings to enjoy sweet things, of course this is merely a theory. Which is why we enjoy them so much. We have taste buds for a reason, we like things like fruit because they are good for us and contains vitamins and minerals and aren't typically poisonous. As far as dentistry is concerned, the simple and easy solution is to brush your teeth after consuming anything, if you are very worried about your teeth.

Also, if anyone enjoys cooking programs and would like to learn more about food, I find Alton Brown's show, Good Eats, a informative and fun show to watch. He combines cooking with science and actually gives you a lot of information on the particular food he's doing a special about.

BIWI Sat 01-Jun-13 20:38:55

So, itsonlysubterfuge - what are the two types of carbohydrate?

Carbohydrates do equal sugar.

Why are we programmed to enjoy sweet things? What proof do you have of that?

And did you know that if you brush your teeth within 15 minutes of eating something acidic, you would actually harm your enamel, because it has been softened by the acid?

Unless you have any proof for the assertions you have made, you are very wrong.

snoworneahva Sat 01-Jun-13 21:35:49

Your tooth enamel is softer immediately drinking fruit juice, brushing your teeth immediately after drinking fruit juice can cause erosion of tooth enamel.

Xenia Sat 01-Jun-13 21:55:58

I think it's important realise this is all very simple - eat unprocessed foods and you will be fine. Don't worry about whether you should have dairy, carbs, meat or just a vegan diet. Don't think gosh it's so hard I might as well eat chocolate all day. These nuances don't matter,.

You can get all the vitamins you need from veg and that is better than fruit but fruit is much better for you than junk food. So if like some fruit have it although masses of it is just sugar and it might be stopping you eating enough protein and other things you need if you major on the fruit too much.

TwasBrillig Sat 01-Jun-13 22:03:44

I've just completed day 4 of no processed food and feeling good. Will make falafel tomorrow. I've stopped eating cheese daily - if I have a portion of yoghurt, and milk in my porridge is that enough calcium? I've bought some linseed for tomorrow morning.

Really good point xenia. It may be an obvious one but I need to hear I I can be very 'all or nothing' and when I start something I want it to be perfect straight away. I.!! My previous diet was awful but I thought it was ok as I never bought ready meals. I've changed overnight almost but I need to encourage myself with the good that I am doing, red it as an ongoing learning process etc rather than worrying too much. Real food is already a step up from my cheese and cracker, digestives and shreddies diet!

exoticfruits Sat 01-Jun-13 22:28:06

You just have to change your eating habits for life, instead of thinking about it as a temporary thing.

itsonlysubterfuge Sat 01-Jun-13 22:36:32

The way I was taught is simple and complex carbohydrates. The simple carbohydrates are sugar and the complex carbohydrates are starches. If you read the back of a nutrition label it says total carbohydrates, then lists of which is sugar. These numbers are often different. I guess you could technically call them both sugars as they are mono/polysaccharides, but I feel this is going too in depth for the purposes of this conversation. The point being that carbohydrates are digested differently depending on their compounds. Sugars being easily digested and turned rapidily into short bursts of energy, starches taking longer to digest and giving a longer more sustainable energy source.

As far as being programed to like sweet thing, as I mentioned before it is merely a theory. My proof being that the first food we are introduced to is very sweet (breastmilk). The fact that we are able to taste flavors at all, there is obviously a reason for this. One of the main reasons I have heard is that poisonious materials are often bitter/sour while things that are good to eat are sweet. So we developed taste buds to help us survive. Our bodies easily digest most sweet things and they are great forms of energy.

Brushing your teeth straight after eating may not be advisable, however brushing your teeth after eating is. The longer you let food sit on your teeth, the worse off they will be. Which is why dentists often say that crisps are actually worse for your teeth rather than lets say a soda because the soda barely touches your teeth, while crisps sit on your teeth for a long time.

twas Make sure you break open your linseeds before eating, as our bodies have a very hard time digesting the hard outside. Also, be careful how many you eat, they can give you stomach problems if you eat too many, too quickly because they are very full of fiber.

TwasBrillig Sun 02-Jun-13 00:13:16

Itsonly -I read something about that. How do you do it? Bash with a rolling pin or completely whizz with a processor?

Also any idea how much I'm supposed to put on?! The lady I saw last week mentioned adding them but not how much!

thenightsky Sun 02-Jun-13 00:16:08

~Twas... buy ready milled Linseed (flaxseed). It is impossible to break it up in a processor as the seeds are too little.

TwasBrillig Sun 02-Jun-13 00:19:57

Oops. Already got actual seeds. I've got a hand held processor I use for soup I could try. Or somewhere I have a pestle and mortar.

Xenia Sun 02-Jun-13 08:36:04

Yes, berries you can eat taste sweet normally as the fruit wants you to eat them and then its seeds be spread through your waste products. Bitter things and you might include potato arguably in that and night shade family stuff you have to cook to eat puts you off taking it as they do not spread their seeds through you I suspect. However int he wilds for 1 millions years we would only find fruit in season so we never ate loads of it. Mind you the last thing on the thread we want to do is put people off eating fruit who normally eat lots of junk food. Fruit is better for you than junk food. It is just that some people end up eating a lot of it as it can give you a hit like sugar if you have given up sugar and still are kind of addicted to that quick hit or high and that may mean you eat so much fruit you are not eating a more balanced diet.

Twas - certainly ( re calcium). That sounds fine. There is even calcium in products like spinach.

TwasBrillig Sun 02-Jun-13 08:55:16

Thanks, xenia. Onto day 5.

Xenia Sun 02-Jun-13 09:06:04

I also think that if you get out in the sun for 20 minutes a day with very little on the Vit D you get (and can only really properly get from the sun) helps you absorb calcium better but I cannot remember the exact details. I think calcium and getting enough is more complex than just how much milk do you drink as it is the interaction with other things that matters too.

ppeatfruit Sun 02-Jun-13 09:41:53

thenightsky i have just made my breakfast fruit grin smoothie which has added ground linseeds and pumpkin seeds (i grind them freshly in a coffee grinder we keep esp. for grinding spices etc.) It works fine grin. Oh the other thing with linseeds is you need to eat them with a glass of water. According to Liz Earle.

I try not to have milk and Iam very healthy (my teeth aren't even sensitive) Oh and I'm OLD grin it's ok for some people but it gives me bad hay fever symptoms. It's simple for me no dairy; no hay fever.

itsonlysubterfuge Sun 02-Jun-13 10:09:17

twas a pestle and mortar sounds great as you should really only have about 1 heaped tablespoon to begin with. You can eat them whole and they will still be great sources of fiber, but you'll miss out on the omega fatty acids inside the linseeds. For best results you should grind/smash just before eating, rather than buy pre-ground. Watch your digestion with linseeds as too many, too quickly can cause problems (like constpation), especially if you are adding lots of fruits/vegetables/wholegrains to your diet as well. If you have the space, you should keep them in the fridge or in an airtight container away from sunlight because they are high in fat they can go rancid quickly. Also, Xenia is right about calcium, it is absorbed into the body much better when taken with a dose of vitamin D, which is why in the USA they add it into the milk, however the sun is a great source as well, but harder to take with your dairy products. Green leafy vegetables, like kale, are also sources of calcium, if you want to have other sorces besides dairy.

snoworneahva Sun 02-Jun-13 10:18:52

Agree with xenia about getting some sun on your skin - and while your at it, get some exercise - forget about it just being a calorie burner, exercise does so much more for your health, diet is really not enough for a healthy lifestyle.

Xenia - Why is the fact that stone age man didn't eat fruit regularly even worth mentioning - if we are going back 1 million yrs, we didn't eat anything every day, certainly not meat or fish either. There wouldn't have been 3 meals a day and it would have been very feast or famine (a bit 5:2 really or probably more 4:3)- eat what you can get hold of at the time. Are you going to ration everything else to match the stone age too? How far do you take this - lets all go stone age for fruit but not stone age for meat or veg (also seasonal)? This is why paleo doesn't stack up for me as a concept because that is not how we are really eating is it?

I'm all for eating naturally but we don't live in the stone age - why limit ourselves to the way they ate, which to be fair saw a lot of them undernourished, malnourished and dead before the age of 30. I just don't see as a valid reason to be down on fruit. If you are worried about the sugar, then fine but fruit is so much more than just sugar and certainly more than a slightly better alternative to junk food which is what you seem to be suggesting.

ppeatfruit Sun 02-Jun-13 13:18:19

snow A good night's sleep is also very important in giving you the strength to withstand the junk food culture; apparently it also gives you the hormones to feel the 'fullness' when eating. Bit tricky when you've got a L.O. grin.

TwasBrillig Sun 02-Jun-13 13:29:41

Eating ok so far today, although I had a small piece of bread at lunch as I didn't fancy the potatoes. I've used mfp just to track to get an idea of amounts of things as I've obviously been clueless.

About to go for an afternoon walk somewhere. I could do with increasing exercise though. Always have kids with me so needs planning. Similarly sleep. I'm always exhausted but husband is home a bit more now and baby sleeping a bit better.

Thanks again for this thread! Oh managed to whizz the linseed so put it in the fridge for tomorrow!

snoworneahva Sun 02-Jun-13 13:51:29

And staying off sugar has cured my insomnia - which means I get a double benefit - I still eat sugar occasionally though.

Xenia Sun 02-Jun-13 13:51:57

I'm not down on fruit. I am just down on overeating it. I've said above it is much better for you than processed foods. however those addicted to sugar do often replace sugar with fruit and eat more than is good for them of fruit, that's all. I would encourage everyone to replace junk food with fruit and replace fruit juices with fruit.

yes, I agree with what is being said about sunlight, exercise and getting loads of sleep (although the latter is almost impossible with small children) although by the time they are the age of mine (teenagers) it's much easier to get yourself to bed early. Drink a lot of water too. All those things cost very little - sunshine, moving and sleeping and drinking water.

TwasBrillig Mon 03-Jun-13 14:31:31

I was trying to wait until Wednesday but weighed myself just before lunch . . Already lost 4 pounds! Its about long term health rather than weight but there's quite a lot of weight to shift. I'm hoping its going to keep falling off . . .

TwasBrillig Mon 03-Jun-13 14:32:47

I went to bed early, walked in the sun. Now I just want to sleep . . .but need to do things.

BIWI Mon 03-Jun-13 16:50:00

That's great going, Twas!

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