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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.

Northumberlandlass Fri 24-May-13 17:20:05

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.

TigOldBitties Fri 24-May-13 17:37:14

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.

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