One of the most common New Year’s resolutions is to lose weight and become more healthy. Yet every year more and more people become overweight or obese (in 2021 the % of overweight or obese adults in England and Wales was a massive 67%).
There is a huge amount of data of the illnesses linked to being overweight – estimates suggest that up to 40% of chronic illnesses are linked to an unhealthy weight.
So with so much dietary advice around what is the science on losing weight? Well from the data we currently have we can say the following with some certainty –
- Eat real food – if you don’t recognise a food ingredient on a label, don’t buy it (this includes Vegan foods). Try to cook with fresh ingredients. As a general rule have MORE protein and fat and LESS carbohydrates.
- Eggs are a complete food, try to have some in your diet.
- Eat a largely plant based diet (60% – 80% of your daily calorific intake).
- Where possible swap fish for meat (especially oily fish) which has a plentiful supply of Omega 3 and reduces heart and brain inflammation.
- Fermented dairy products are fine – cheese and yoghurt – go easy on milk, butter and cream
- Fats are not “the enemy”, simple sugars are! Cold pressed plant oils (especially Olive oil) suppress inflammatory compounds being produced such as insulin, M-Tor and IGF1.
- Use “Eating Windows“, ie only allow yourself to eat during a specific time band in the day. The best “Eating Windows” appear to be 12 and 10 hour slots eg 8am to 8pm or 8am to 6pm
- Eating late at night will pile on the pounds and insulin sensitivity is lower in the evenings, so calories consumed tend to end up as visceral fats stored by the body. M-Tor and IGF1 are both stimulated by constant eating with a break, these chemicals put the body in permanent “growth mode” and encourage inflammation in the body. If possible avoid eating after 8pm.
- Fast – if you don’t have a medical condition, fasting not only encourages weight loss but slows down the ageing process. Indeed well planned fasts can control and even cure a number of chronic diseases. Most healthy adults can manage a one or two day fast (if in doubt always consult your doctor). During fasting cellular cleaning (autophagy) and programmed cell death (apoptosis) rapidly increase.
- Enjoy your food and don’t rush eating or eat on the go.
- Be active during the day – try not to sit down for more than 20 minutes at a time. Walk when possible.
- Strength building exercises (2 or 3 times per week) eg core work or weights, increase lean muscle mass – muscles are one of the biggest burners of calories in the body particularly simple sugars. Cardio exercise is important for the circulation, heart and brain – try to become breathless with cardio exercise 3 to 5 times per week.