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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?

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, 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.

BigBoobiedBertha Fri 24-May-13 21:41:31

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.

NorksAreMessy Fri 24-May-13 22:39:41

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

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