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Live webchat with Dr John Briffa Wednesday the 4 July 12-1pm

(215 Posts)
RachelMumsnet (MNHQ) Fri 29-Jun-12 11:48:42

In response to popular demand we're delighted to invite Dr John Briffa for a live webchat next Wednesday 4 July at 12 midday.

Dr John Briffa is a doctor, award-winning health writer, and former columnist for The Daily Mail and The Observer. He is author of eight books on nutrition and self-help. His latest, Escape the Diet Trap has been widely discussed across the Mumsnet Talk boards.

In Escape The Diet Trap, Dr Briffa says you can 'achieve successful, sustainable weight loss without consciously cutting back on food and without the need for exhausting exercise'. One Mumsnetter describes the book as '...brilliant. Really easy to read without being patronising, and an eye opener with all the studies he cites. Really makes me feel that I am following a healthy diet for the first time in ages'. and another says, 'His advice is smart, sensible and rooted in Proper Science - but it's still controversial. Perfect for a webchat!'

Join us over lunch (extra helpings appear to be acceptable smile) at noon on Wednesday 4 July to chat to Dr John Briffa, or if you're unable to join us on the day, post a question in advance on this thread.

vezzie Tue 03-Jul-12 12:05:55

Hello Dr Briffa, very pleased to see you here!

Please could you explain how caffeine affects insulin and what the knock-on effect is on weight loss (or gain)? (Or whatever it is, if it isn't insulin.)

Also (another sneaky second question) how do you feel about sugars in whole fruit - are they as problematic as refined sugars? Taken in quantity?

Thank you!

TimeForMeAndDD Tue 03-Jul-12 15:00:16

Hello Dr Briffa. I too am very pleased to see you here. Although we do have BIWI and she is a very close second to you as an expert grin

I would be interested to know, if it's not a daft question, approximately how many carbs can a person eat in one sitting, before a rise in insulin levels occur.

Thank you!

BIWItheBold Tue 03-Jul-12 15:01:40


TimeForMeAndDD Tue 03-Jul-12 15:55:05

grin BIWI I've been lurking on your threads for ages, you taught me everything I know and it's thanks to you that I feel and look as good as I do <preens>

Apologies for the hijack, but credit where credit is due and all that grin

BIWItheBold Tue 03-Jul-12 16:04:20

Just send money ...

TimeForMeAndDD Tue 03-Jul-12 16:08:20


Echinacea Tue 03-Jul-12 16:51:33

Hi John. I'm an Australian naturopath (you and I are sometimes at the same seminars smile) and insulin sensitisation is a major part of my clinical practise. As you and I are singing from the same hymn book on many issues (insulin, vit D etc.) I thought I'd ask your opinion/clinical experience with paediatric nutrition. It distresses me to see so many of my patients and mum friends giving their babies pasta, baby rice and dessert at every meal. Is there a baby philosophy or guidebook you follow? What do you think of the Nourishing Traditions mob? I personally think they (and the WAPF, from whom they form their ideology) are a little way-out when it comes to childhood nutrition and weaning. Personally, if I tried to get my patients to give their newborn babies ground liver in a bottle I doubt I'd be in practice much longer! I've had a look at Nina Planck and many of the other books touted by the Weston Price followers, but it just doesn't sit right. I still find myself advising that babies should start on fruit and veg, continuing to proteins, with unrefined carbs making up a significant proportion of each meal. What do you think? Really interested to know what your research has been and what you advise in clinical practise.

Jux Tue 03-Jul-12 17:21:42

Echinacea, what you say is quite interesting. My family lived in Italy from my babyhood until I was 3 or 4. Mum says I was weaned on sweetbreads. We were all eating liver from about 1 yo, and love it to this day.

PostBellumBugsy Tue 03-Jul-12 18:49:58

Waves at Time! Didn't know you were a low carber too. It is fab isn't it - as is the wonderful BIWI. smile

Ruggles Tue 03-Jul-12 18:50:49

I'm so excited about this and swooning. Sadly also having night sweats, hot flushes and an early-ish menopause at 45.... sad I've just finished reading your book and can't wait to get started as it all sounds so sensible / logical and I would like to lose about 10 lbs. Is anything else I should do or take to help ease my way through the menopause?

BIWItheBold Tue 03-Jul-12 19:00:05

Ruggles - I've found that low carbing helps with the hot flushes, to a degree. Sugar can be a trigger. As can alcohol but I have ignored that bit of information

TimeForMeAndDD Tue 03-Jul-12 19:25:05

Hi Post smile Yep, it was BIWI's thread that got me started on it a couple of years ago. After many years of low fat, calorie controlled diets, and feeling rough, I feel like a spring chicken! So many years wasted!

PostBellumBugsy Tue 03-Jul-12 19:31:36

But so many years gained too Time. Imagine, you could still be doing that horrible low fat stuff! I was just bragging on another thread about how much my blood pressure has dropped on this WOE. grin

Ruggles Tue 03-Jul-12 19:36:13

Thanks BIWItheBold - eeks - that's interesting, especially as my tolerance booze as well any more.. smile

TimeForMeAndDD Tue 03-Jul-12 19:47:03

That is true Post! Thanks to low carbing I have also gained glowing skin, high energy levels and no more low moods. I feel positively 'normal' grin Also, something I've noticed, is that even though I have lost weight, 'things' haven't dropped, iyswim? I'm not saggy like a deflated balloon, I'm perky and toned, without exercise. Tis fab!

Solo Tue 03-Jul-12 22:19:15

So is this doc encouraging a low carb diet then?

BIWItheBold Tue 03-Jul-12 22:23:58

No, it's wider than that. As a general principle, his work (along with others, like Gary Taubes) reviews much of the scientific literature and studies over the years that have attempted to 'prove' that fat is the cause of coronary heart disease (amongst other diseases), whereas in fact carbohydrates are the culprit.

Cutting down on carbohydrate will encourage weight loss, but it is also a much healthier way to eat, longer term.

That's a very short synopsis! (And I hope it's an accurate one ...)

Solo Tue 03-Jul-12 22:38:11

Thanks BIWI. I used the Atkins 10 or 11 years ago and found my energy levels increased (I have ME so was very noticeable to me), but only for two weeks and then it went back down, never to return. I also found it very expensive to do, so I don't think I'll be joining you all.

zipzap Tue 03-Jul-12 23:25:51

I've realised that over the years since I've been with dh I've changed my eating habits from being fairly naturally low carb to making meals that are much more potato or pasta based without really realising as dh doesn't really like the food I used to make for me but is more traditional 'meat and two veg and lots of potatoes'.

Along the way it's meant I've gone from being a size 8 to a size 20 sad (OK so a few extra things I like have slipped in too like chocolate and always drinking fruit juice or squash as I hate water/milk/tea/coffee etc)

I'm now really trying to do something about this but a few years ago dh had a heart attack when he was 40 and he is now very concerned about his diet, to the point that he always buys low fat versions of things, cuts fat off everything, refuses to touch butter or cream, etc. as he had had high cholesterol and is on the standard medications that you have after a heart attack.

So my question (eventually, sorry) is - how compatible is your way of eating with somebody who is a potato lover who has convinced himself that he has to eat everything low fat and lots of potatoes and pasta to keep himself healthy - how can I persuade him otherwise?

(oh and if you can recommend some low carb drinks that taste nice too please... sorry, I know that's a second question but that one's for me rather than dh!)

OliviaLMumsnet (MNHQ) Wed 04-Jul-12 00:02:17

Hello DrJohn

grin Thanks for coming. I have lost 8lbs since end of April and love your book.

I am concerned RL may get in the way and I may not be able to join in so am posting my quick question for you:

My DH is a real slim jim and does not have the greedy gene that I do.
We try to eat together in the evenings (often late, he has a long day before he gets home so we usually eat after 8, often later).

Sometimes it's easy enough to e.g. for a roast meal I will just bypass the yorkshires and the spuds BUT sometimes I worry that he is missing out on the carb sides of things.
How can I best make sure that he is eating well on this WOE too?

BIWItheBold Wed 04-Jul-12 08:39:41

Olivia - nobody is missing out if they don't have carbs with their meals!

duende Wed 04-Jul-12 08:43:16

Hello Dr Briffa and welcome to MN. I have read your "escape the diet trap" with interest and following a recommendation on MN.
I have been following LC way of eating for over a month now and have reached my goal in terms of weight loss. I shouldn't lose anymore weight but would like to maintain the current weight.
Do you have any suggestions of an easy to follow maintenance plan? what carbs can I add safely? can I introduce small amounts of rye bread? or maybe a "cheat day"? I wonder whether trying to follow the 80/20 principle, as the paleo guys do, would make me more likely to stick to LC "for life", rather than give into the carb temptation one day and just reverting to old, bad habits.

BIWItheBold Wed 04-Jul-12 08:49:58

I was hoping to be able to come to MNHQ today to meet you, but sadly that's not possible, so I'm going to be very cheeky and ask another question.

I understand that calorie counting/trying to restrict calories is not a long-term approach to losing weight. However, I have read elsewhere that as you approach your goal weight that the amount of calories that you eat is something that you should be aware of.

Is this true? At what point do we need to be at least aware of, if not count, the calories? Can you still eat too much, even if the diet is focused on fat/protein and minimal carbs?

vezzie Wed 04-Jul-12 09:21:40

Echinacea - cheeky hijack - what, in a nutshell, is the position on vit D that you mention that you share with Dr Briffa? thanks!

PostBellumBugsy Wed 04-Jul-12 09:40:30

Vezzie, if you look at the front page of Dr Briffa's website you'll see one of his most recent blogs was on the anti-depressant effects of Vit D. He also believes high levels of Vit D are associated with lower levels of heart disease, MS and some forms of cancer. Basically Vit D is a good thing & we don't get enough of it!

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